Fun Activities to Experience in South Padre Island, Texas
Fun activities are easy to find on South Padre Island. Not only will you find miles of beautiful beaches, but there are fun activities for adventure seekers, nature lovers and children and families as well. For instance there is boating, fishing, diving, surfing, kiteboarding and simply lounging on the beach. Not to mention Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark is also located on the island.
A note regarding COVID-19 – Due to suggested National and State restrictions over the spread of Coronavirus, many attractions, restaurants, bars, hotels have been temporarily closed or offering restricted hours. Please make sure to check the website, social media and/or call ahead to confirm that the location is open.
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Chill at the Beach
I must confess the beach is my favorite, and of course South Padre has plenty of fabulous beaches to enjoy. It’s easy to spend your time strolling along the beach, sunbathing, and body surfing as well. In addition to these fun activities, South Padre is also a great place for windsurfers and kite boarders. Not to mention kids will love spending hours building sand castles on the beach.
Isla Blanca Park
On the south end of the island you will find Isla Blanca Park. Not only does this park offer some of the prettiest beaches on the island, it is also home to El Cristo de los Pescadores (Christ of the Fishermen). This huge statue is one of the most visited spots on South Padre. In addition, some other fun activities including great fishing spots, playgrounds and boating facilities. As a matter of fact you can find all sorts of water sports to enjoy and a full service marina.
Laguna Madre Trail
For nature and bird lovers, the Laguna Madre Trail is a great way to experience both. This free trail begins at the South Padre Island Convention Center and continues out to the Laguna Madre wetlands. Not only is this trail a unique look into the wetland ecosystem, but over 300 species of birds visit this area every year. For that reason it’s a great place to view them in their natural habitat.
South Padre Island Birding, Nature Center & Alligator Sanctuary
Of course if you would like to learn even more about the animals that call this area home, then head next door to the SPI Birding Center. Not only do you have more bird-watching opportunities from a five-story viewing tower, but it’s also now an alligator sanctuary as well. You’ll be able to see different bird and butterfly species as well as alligators and possibly other local wildlife. Admission to the center costs $6 for adults, $5 for students and $3 for children. Visit nature center’s website for more information.
Sea Turtle Inc
Founded in 1977 by Ila Loetscher, Sea Turtle, Inc. was established to help protect all species of marine turtles. If you’re looking to see these fascinating creatures up close, this is the place to go. The team offers presentations about turtle conservation, not to mention kid-friendly activities to teach children how to identify different types of sea turtles. There is also a scavenger hunt that is a hit with the kids. You also have the opportunity to “adopt” individual sea turtles and nests, the proceeds of which go to helping the center’s conservation programs. Be sure to visit the website in advance to see what kind of fun activities will be happening when you visit,. There is a small donation fee to enter.
Beach Waterpark at Isla Blanca
If you find yourself getting tired of the beach, then head over to the Beach Waterpark at Isla Blanca. Here you’ll find water rides, a surfing machine, a hot tub bar and a giant sandcastle play area that are sure to amuse. Of course, there are numerous options for lunch if you get hungry. Even better is the fact that you can also bring your own picnic lunch and snacks.
Visit the Port Isabel Lighthouse
One of the best fun activities if you need a break from the beach or it rains, is the Port Isabel Lighthouse. The lighthouse was constructed in 1852 to help guide ships through Brazos Santiago Pass. Currently it’s the only one that’s open to the public on the Gulf Coast. You are also invited to explore the ground’s keeper’s cottage next door. Climbing to the top of the lighthouse is great fun for the kids and it’s also educational. In addition to the lighthouse you can visit the Port Isabel Historical Museum and the Treasures of the Gulf Museum also. Tickets are discounted if you visit all three. Additionally Port Isabel is a great place for a sunset photo op.
Dolphin Research & Sea Life Nature Center
Dolphin Research & Sea Life Nature Center is a non profit organization dedicated to being a voice for sea life and dolphins. The center offers visitors unique encounters with many of the marine animals native to the area. There are aquariums featuring live fish, starfish, crabs, octopus, snails, in addition to many other exciting creatures. They even have touch tanks so visitors can get hands-on and discover! You can also take a dolphin tour to see the dolphins in their natural habitat and learn more. The dolphins tours are $25 per person and are limited to six people per trip.
Explore the Sandcastle Trail
Another of the fun activities to do in South Padre is to build sand castles. Considering there are miles and miles of wide open beaches and tons of sand, it’s the perfect place to build them. Due to the popularity of the numerous sandcastles built by local artists and others from around the world, you can explore the Sandcastle Trail. You can have hours of fun trying to find them all. There is currently an initiative in place to rebuild, sustain and grow more castles on the island. If you are interested in learning to build a masterpiece yourself, you can also take lessons. You can find all your available options here.
Go Karts, Mini Golf & a Ferris Wheel
Gravity Park has lots of fun activities for kids of all ages and features the Rocket, the tallest Reverse-Bungee in the world. In addition there is a Skycoaster (Giant Swing), a multi-level Adult Go-Kart track and children’s Go-Karts. There is also Mini-Golf, a Ferris wheel, a Trampoline Ride, an Arcade, and a Climbing Wall as well.
Sunset Horseback Rides
Horseback riding on the beach is fun for everyone! Not only is this a great activity option for families and couples, but also for friends and solo travelers. The Stables and Island Adventure Park both offer sunset horseback rides.
The Gulf of Mexico is known for great seafood, so if you’re feeling adventurous, why not catch some for yourself. Restaurants like Pier 19 will even cook it for you. There are numerous charter fishing services to choose from and you can find a complete list here.
Enjoy the Fireworks
Last but not least, all summer long Clayton’s Beach Bar offers free fireworks on Friday and Saturday nights!
If you’re looking for more things to do in Texas, then check out our Family Friendly Things to Do on Galveston Island.
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