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7 Best Things to Do in South Padre Island, Texas

South Padre is a popular beach destination in Texas. More than just its spring break antics, South Padre offers plenty to do for all types of travelers. Wildlife lovers, beach dwellers, and history buffs will all leave South Padre Island with fond memories. Enjoy this beautiful beach destination by experiencing these things to do in South Padre.

Isla Blanca Park Blanca County Park on South Padre Island
Credit: Blanca County Park on South Padre Island by bigstock.com

Isla Blanca Park

Isla Blanca Park is perfect for nature lovers, beach dwellers, fishermen and sea shell collectors. Choose to camp here or simply enjoy Isla Blanca Park for the day. The park has a bait shop, designated fishing area, plenty of beachfront property and also a few restaurants that are within walking distance. Don’t miss out on the walking trail that surrounds the park, perfect for joggers and bikers too.

The South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center The South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center
Credit: The South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center by The South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center

The South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center

South Padre Island is home to a wide variety of bird species. Migrating and resident birds both live here. Therefore, the island has grown as a popular destination among birdwatchers. If you’re hoping to spot birds here, then head to the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center. Take a stroll along the boardwalks and walkways in the area, or even head up to the 5-story watchtower to catch incredible views of wildlife and the surrounding landscape.

The Original Dolphin Watch The Original Dolphin Watch
Credit: The Original Dolphin Watch by The Original Dolphin Watch

The Original Dolphin Watch

South Texas is a year-round home to large pods of dolphins. For a chance to see these majestic creatures up close in their natural habitat, join a tour with The Original Dolphin Watch. Offering daily dolphin watch trips in South Padre Island – it’s one of the most exciting things you can do if you’re an animal lover. Meet bottle-nose and spinner dolphins in the wild while enjoying the sunshine and salty air. Tours include refreshments and an educational presentation.

South Padre Island Adventure Park South Padre Island Adventure Park
Credit: South Padre Island Adventure Park by South Padre Island Adventure Park

South Padre Island Adventure Park

If you’re looking for a fun day out with the family, plan a trip to South Padre Island Adventure Park. It’s packed with adventure, where you can enjoy zip lining, horseback riding on the beach, a petting bar, a fun park, and more. Adventurous travelers can get out on the water and enjoy adrenaline-packed parasailing and banana boat rides, while little ones will love saying hello to the adorable barnyard animals and experiencing pony rides. Opt for the 45 minutes of hair-raising zip-lining adventures, or book a Family Favorite, Sunset, or Moonlight horseback ride on the beach.

Sea Turtle, Inc. Sea Turtle, Inc.
Credit: Sea Turtle, Inc. by Sea Turtle, Inc.

Sea Turtle, Inc.

Learn all about sea turtles at Sea Turtle, Inc. This turtle-loving company educates the public on turtles, fights for sea turtle habitat conservation, and helps rehabilitate sea turtles back into the wild. Feel good about visiting this turtle sanctuary. Visitors here will learn about sea turtles through fun presentations and kid-friendly activities. Visitors can even watch the annual release of the baby sea turtles that occur every spring. You’ll leave Sea Turtle, Inc. with a deeper appreciation for these endangered marine animals.

Port Isabel Lighthouse Point Isabel Lighthouse, Port Isabel, Texas
Credit: Point Isabel Lighthouse, Port Isabel, Texas by Bigstock.com

Port Isabel Lighthouse

Take in South Padre Island’s history at Port Isabel. The Port Isabel Lighthouse State Historic Site is home to Port Isabel Lighthouse and Keeper’s Cottage. The lighthouse has a long history, built in 1852 at the request of sea captains who needed assistance navigating the Texas waters. With a perch 50 feet above the ground, it’s a popular spot for photographers, as you can enjoy spectacular views of South Padre Island and the beaches. Tours of the lighthouse are self-guided, and at the top of the 75 winding stairs, you’ll find the 3rd Order Fresnel Lens on public display.

Build a Sand Castle Sand castle making
Credit: Sand castle making by South Padre Island

Build a Sand Castle

South Padre Island is known as the “Sand Castle Capital of the World”. Therefore, it is only fitting to build a sand castle during your stay here. Many sand sculptors flock to this area to create unique and impressive works of art all out of sand. Since sand castle making is such a popular activity in South Padre Island, visitors can book a Sand Castle Trail Bicycle Tour or even take a class on how to build an incredible sand sculpture.

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