10 Ways to Soak Up the Sun on South Padre Island

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One step onto sunny South Padre Island will show you exactly why it was voted America's No. 1 Amazing Island Getaway by Southern Living Magazine. Located off the southernmost tip of Texas, this barrier island has something for everyone. Whether you want to perfect your cast on a chartered fishing excursion, set off for a sea turtle scavenger hunt on the Sea Turtle Art Trail or head even further south to the sandy white beaches of Isla Blanca Park, South Padre Island is your go-to vacation destination.

Live It Up in Luxury

South Padre Island has an assortment of housing accommodations to fit anyone's budget and needs. From beachfront rental properties where you and your family can experience the island like locals to luxurious resorts and condos with unprecedented ocean views, you’re sure to find what you're looking for and more.

Experience the Local Wildlife

Wildlife lovers are right at home on South Padre Island. Start your journey into the wildlife world of the gulf at South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center situated on 50 acres of wetlands. With over 3,300 feet of boardwalks, five bird blinds and a five-story viewing tower, the Island Birding and Nature Center offers glimpses of pink flamingos, vibrant painted buntings, tri-colored herons and hundreds of additional species.

Next, spend the day up close and personal with sea turtles at Sea Turtle, Inc., where you'll learn all about sea turtles, sea turtle rehabilitation and conservation efforts, or unwind on a dolphin tour where you can get up close and personal with these ocean mammals right inside their habitat.

Give the Kids a Splash of Fun

With plenty of rides suited for a wide range of ages, Beach Park at Isla Blanca is the ultimate spot to take the kids. Thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies will be right at home on the Soaring Eagle Zip Line and the crazy curves of the Sea Blaster, while younger children will have a blast at the Lily Pad, Squid Row and Beach Park's famous landmark Sand Castle Cove. Don't worry, parents. Bob's Float-In Bar has everything you need to unwind too!

Go On a Scavenger Hunt

Love a good scavenger hunt? South Padre Island delivers with not one, but two unique scavenger hunt experiences. First, the Sea Turtle Art Trail features 10 painted sea turtles scattered across the island. The fiberglass turtles have been vibrantly painted by featured artists and given permanent homes on South Padre Island. Second, but certainly not second best, is the Sandcastle Trail which features around 30 impressive sand sculptures that you’ll have to see to believe. That is, if you can find them!

Experience World-Class Fishing

You don’t have to be an experienced fisherman to set your hook into South Padre Island’s impressive fishing scene. Drop hook, line and sinker into the depths of the Gulf with a chartered deep-sea fishing trip, where a guide will add a little truth to your future fishing tails, or take matters into your own hands and cast right off of the surf or the jetties of Isla Blanca Park.

Visit Port Isabel Lighthouse

A short 10-minute drive will take you to Port Isabel where you can tour the historic Port Isabel Lighthouse. A staple of the Texas coast for 170 years, the lighthouse has seen everything from the Civil War, where it served as an observation post for both Confederate forces and Federal troops, to two world wars where the tower stood dark until donated to the state in 1950. You can experience this unique part of Texas' rich history and still get back in time for more island fun.

Go Horseback Riding on the Beach

What better way to experience the white sandy beaches and beautiful blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico than on horseback? Get your day off to a good start with a morning beach ride or close out a day full of fun with a sunset or moonlight ride.

Visit the Beautiful White Beaches of Isla Blanca Park

Located on the southernmost tip of South Padre Island is a gorgeous locale known as Isla Blanca Park. With over a mile of white sandy beaches, the park is the ultimate spot to catch a tan, take a walk along the beach or build a sandcastle. Isla Blanca is packed with amenities that make visiting a pleasure, including pavilions, cabana rentals, onsite concessions for food and beach rentals, walking trails, restrooms, showers, shaded picnic areas and virtually anything else that you'd need for a fun day on the beach.

Take a Sandcastle Lesson

Local legend Andy Hancock specializes in sculpting sandcastles that will blow your mind. What better person to show you the ropes of sandcastle building? Signing up for a sandcastle lesson with Andy will get you and your family (up to 10 people) three hours of lessons on the beach and a free sandcastle toolkit so you can flex your newfound sandcastle-sculpting muscles for the remainder of your trip.

Skydive Over the Crystal-Clear Gulf Waters

If you've dreamed of becoming a skydiver but haven't quite made the leap, South Padre Island is the place to finally make those dreams a reality. From 11,000 feet, you'll experience beautiful sights of the Gulf of Mexico, the sandy Texas coast and the Rio Grande — and that's before the thrill even begins! Soon you'll freefall at over 120 MPH before pulling your parachute and calmly gliding for over five minutes before reaching land.

No matter how you enjoy soaking up the sun, South Padre Island is guaranteed to become a vacation spot that your family will enjoy year after year. Come and see for yourself what makes this sun-soaked barrier island paradise on earth.

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