Fun things to do in South Padre Island

  • The Beach at Isla Blanca Park
    The Beach at Isla Blanca Park
    by Stephen-KarenConn
  • Sand Castle in front of the Convention Centre
    Sand Castle in front of the Convention...
    by Stephen-KarenConn
  • Sea Turtle Rescue
    by TexasDave

Most Viewed Things to Do in South Padre Island

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    Whale Wall and Other Murals

    by Basaic Written May 30, 2014

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    There are several water related murals all around town; but by far the most famous (and best) is the "Whale Wall" at the South Padre Island Convention Center. It covers three walls of a building from ground to ceiling and is VERY impressive. The last photo is another of the murals in town.

    Whale Wall Whale Wall Whale Wall Mural
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    Sandcastles

    by Basaic Written May 30, 2014

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    South Padre Island is called the "Sandcastle Capital of the World". Take a walk through the sandcastles and admire the work and/or take a sandcastle building lesson from Andy Hancock and build your own masterpiece. For more information contact the South Padre Island Visitors Center or call (956) 433-9948.

    Sandcastle
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    Beach Access Points

    by Basaic Written May 30, 2014

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    There are 24 beach access points all along Gulf Boulevard. Gulf Circle and Treasure Island Circle have restrooms. 8 of the access points (mostly on the south end) are handi-capped accessible. There is a map available at the visitors center showing which beaches are ADA approved.

    Beaches
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    The Beaches, The Water

    by Basaic Written May 30, 2014

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    Since South Padre Island is an island there are plenty of beaches and water related things to do. The Gulf of Mexico is to the east and Laguna Madre to the west. There are also two state parks; Andy Bowie Park to the north of town and Isla Blanca Park to the south. The entire island stretches 110 miles north to Corpus Christi and includes a large section that has limited accessibility and is part of Padre Island National Seashore.

    Beach on the Gulf
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    South Padre Convention Center

    by Basaic Written May 30, 2014

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    The South Padre Convention Center opened in 1992 and has been upgraded and expanded a few times since then. The facility has over 22,000 square feet of exhibit space for conventions, shows, concerts, sporting events, and festivals and will soon have a 20,000 square foot ballroom. There are also a variety of meeting rooms and conference rooms. Nice views of Laguna Madre too. I had two reasons for coming here: One was for the Nature Walk which is pretty similar to the one at the Birding Center but is free (next tip); and to see the whaling wall (a very nice mural).

    South Padre Convention Center
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    South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center

    by Basaic Updated May 30, 2014

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    The South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center offers a new 5-story observation tower, interactive museum type exhibits to educate you about the animal species that call the Gulf of Mexico, Laguna Madre, and Padre Island home and almost 5000 linear feet of boardwalk nature trail complete with bird blinds for observing a variety of birds, alligators and other wildlife in their natural habitat. Hours are 9 AM to 5 PM daily. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for senior 62 and up, and $2 for kids 4 to 12.

    South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center
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    Watch the Wildlife

    by Basaic Written May 27, 2014

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    The climate stays pretty mild here so you can see wildlife along the nature trails most anytime you visit. Watch out for the alligators. This fella was kinda small but still dangerous. It was fun watching the heron feed.

    Great White Heron Great White Heron Ducks Duck Alligator
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    Stop at the South Padre Island Visitors Center

    by Basaic Written May 27, 2014

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    The South Padre Island Visitor's Center is a good place to begin your visit to the island. Here the helpful staff can provide maps and brochures telling you of the attractions in South Padre Island and the surrounding area. They can also help you plan how to best enjoy your visit based on your budget and interests. Hours are 8 AM to 5 PM Monday through Friday and 9 AM to 5 PM on Saturday.

    South Padre Island Visitors Center
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  • A few things..

    by pesla16 Written Aug 25, 2006

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    If you stop by the turtle sanctuary, talk it up with the staff- they'll tell you where you can find protected turtle nesting sites on the island. If your the bar kind of person I HIGHLY recommend Parrot Eyes- the last bar hidden behind the bayside Bahia Mar. Perfect sunset view, inexpensive drinks, live music and completley open. That place is paradise. For families or folks of all ages, don't miss the jedi on the southern side in Isa Blanca park. Be carful on the rocks but if you go out aways you WILL find some awesome wildlife in the high tide pools- octopus, sea slugs (which are awesome to play with!), urchins and I've even seen some dolphins and sea turtles swim nearby further out. The sun is intense so put on plenty of lotion, rent an umbrella and wear a hat. I've seen snow white northerners go home looking like they dove head first into a lava pit!

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  • Surfing Lessons

    by sgore Written Sep 5, 2005

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    You have to go Surfing while you are on the Island! South Padre Surf Co. offers lessons year round. REALLY fun for the whole family! I was suprised at how easy it was to learn...I was standing up after only a few tries and was catching waves on my own by the end of the lesson! What an incredible experience! My whole family was smiling and laughing the whole way home as we talked about how much fun our lesson was!

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    South Padre Island Convention Centre

    by yelli Written Jun 8, 2004

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    This place is the convention centre for the island as well as a wildlife reserve. There are boardwalks that go out over the bay where you can see many endangered animals from. A painter named Wyland has created a life-size painting of whales and other sealife on the walls of the centre.

    Yes, its all real sand!
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    Third Best Beach in America

    by Stephen-KarenConn Updated Apr 7, 2004

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    Of all the many attractions on South Padre Island, no doubt #1 is the beach. It has been rated by the Travel Channel as the "Third Best Beach in America." The wide white sandy shoreline stretches the entire 34 miles of the island, bounded on the eastern side by the emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and on the west by the shallow and tranquil Laguna Madre Bay. The lower five or six miles of the island are filled with a fabulous array of resorts, restaurants, shops and various attractions. Then the road up the middle of the island comes to a dead end and the larger northern portion of the beach remains undeveloped and pristine. Beyond where the road ends those with 4-wheel-drive vehicles may drive for many miles up the beach.

    The Beach on South Padre Island
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    Cristo de los Pescadores

    by Stephen-KarenConn Written Apr 6, 2004

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    Before South Padre Island was a resort it was a fishing village, and to some extent it remains so even today. Dozens of fishermen and shrimpers in the area still make their living from the sea, although fewer now than before strict environmental laws put many out of business.

    Cristo de los Pescadores (Christ of the Fishermen) is a statue which reminds us that the beautiful blue sea can still be a very dangerous place. It was placed at the lower tip of South Padre Island, along the Brazos Santiago Pass to the Brownsville Ship Channel, to memorialize area fishermen who have been lost at sea. More than a dozen men's names are on plaques around the base of this imposing statue. We were sobered and moved upon reading the handmade signs on several flowerpots next to the names. One, on a wilted poinsetta read, "Merry Christmas Daddy, We love you."

    Cristo de los Pescadores
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    The Whaling Wall

    by Stephen-KarenConn Updated Apr 6, 2004

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    On the walls of the South Padre Island Convention Centre is the famous "Whaling Wall #53" by acclaimed environmental artist Wyland. The artist wanted to show homage to whales and other creatures of the sea by devoting his talent to paint 100 such murals around the world. This, the 53rd life-size canvas for the Wyland project, spans 153 feet in length and covers 3 walls 23 feet in height. The painting took more than 111 gallons of paint, 100 volunteers, and four days to complete. Whaling Wall #53 is the first of it's kind in Texas, and also the first along the entire Gulf Coast.

    Whaling Wall #53, by Wyland
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    A Texas-Size Sand Castle

    by Stephen-KarenConn Written Apr 6, 2004

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    The largest year-round sand castle in the State of Texas is in front of the South Padre Island Convention Centre. Sons of the Beach Sand Castle Wizards, who compete in contests throughout the world, built the sand castle and restore it regularly. For this creation they used 45 tons of sand mixed with about 50 pounds of clay and 200 gallons of water. The 10-foot-tall castle stands on a 10x16-foot base and is topped off with a glue/water solution. About half a gallon of Elmer's Glue is used to coat the castle. It is always available for viewing, 24 hours a day.

    Sand Castle in front of the Convention Centre
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