There are enough fun things to do on South Padre Island to keep you busy for weeks, so we’ve compiled a list of the best of the best, from conventional beach relaxing to out-of-this-world excursions.
It’s hard to believe you’re still in an area known for cowboys and rodeos when you’re on Texas’ tropical island.
It is, in reality, one of Texas’ top beach towns. Continue reading if you’re ready for a beach trip!
18 Interesting Thing to Do on South Padre Island, TX
The Gulf of Mexico and Laguna Madre, one of the world’s few hypersaline lagoons, are separated by South Padre, the world’s longest barrier island.
On South Padre Island, Texas, there are plenty of things to do. There are countless possibilities for splashing, sunbathing, and sightseeing between the ocean and the lake.
Laguna Madre Nature Trail
South Padre Island is home to over 300 different species of migrating birds, and the Laguna Madre Nature Trail is a great area to see them.
This 1500-foot boardwalk spans four beautiful acres of South Padre marshes, allowing visitors to get up close and personal with a variety of creatures. The trail is free to use and is available 24 hours a day. The adjacent South Padre Island Birding & Nature Center, which has a 5-story viewing tower and instructional theatre, is well worth a visit for a modest cost.
Take a look at a SpaceX rocket launch
Your mind can fly to Mars by simply crossing the bay. At the Boca Chica launch site, some of the world’s most advanced rocket technology is put to the test.
So get a front-row ticket to history-making space exploration advances!
Make sure to set aside at least a few days in advance of a planned launch in case of weather or equipment problems.
Go to the Gravity Park
Isn’t it amazing that a complete amusement park is only a few steps away from the beach? Please sign us up! Gravity Park includes a variety of attractions, but the world’s largest reverse-bungee is their claim to fame.
If that sounds like a little too much for your holiday, they also have go-kart racing, mini-golf, and arcade games…
all with breathtaking water views!
Have you ever witnessed a sandcastle tournament held outside? Have you ever stood in astonishment while craftsmen painstakingly carved the Eiffel Tower or a favorite movie figure totally out of the sand beneath your feet?
Now it’s your chance to shine! Several industry icons teach beachgoers how to build sandcastles.
All you need to bring are a few friends or family members, and they’ll offer the toolkits and skills. After all, constructing a sandcastle is not a simple task.
Take a ride on a Jetski
You could, of course, go for a swim in the waves like everyone else. But why not do things a little differently and add a little adrenaline to the mix?
Whether you ride solo or with a friend on the back, zooming through the bay’s turquoise waters is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Some companies now offer jet ski tours in addition to jet ski rentals, so you can ride with a larger group and see the sites.
Visit the Sea Turtles at Sea Turtle Inc.
A trip to Sea Turtle Inc. is both educational and heartwarming. This rehabilitation facility is dedicated to treating wounded turtles to return as many as possible to their natural habitats. During your tour, you will be able to get up and personal with these wonderful creatures, as well as learn more about their lifestyles and the issues they face as a result of human activities.
You can even see lovely baby sea turtles making their way to the water’s edge if you visit during hatching season.
At the Coastal Studies Laboratory, you may explore the Barrier Island Ecosystem
A little educational outing may be beneficial to any holiday, and this lab is the ideal spot to learn more about South Padre Island before heading back out to enjoy its delights. Self-guided tours are available, and you may see native fish species up close and examine their enormous seashell collection, which includes specimens from all around the world.
Take a tour of South Padre Island
It’s something we’ve said before, and it’s something we’ll say again. The greatest way to see Texas is by taking a road trip. What is a scoot coupe, exactly? In between attractions, these beautiful miniature automobiles are the most fun way to go around the island.
Don’t be deceived by their little size. Scootcoupes are capable of reaching speeds of 40 miles per hour on the road.
They’re available for rent in several places, so keep your eyes peeled.
Jim’s Pier is a great place to watch the sunset
The sunset views across Laguna Madre from the western side of the island are spectacular, and Jim’s Pier is in an excellent position to catch the evening sky at its best.
Enjoy the coastal breeze on their covered patio and make a new friend or two while you’re at it, as residents and visitors alike throng here to take in the sights.
At Cristo de Los Pescadores, pay homage to local fishermen
Many visitors to this little slice of tropical Texas would not expect to see a bold (and massive) figure of Jesus in the manner of Rio de Janeiro.
The Cristo de Los Pescadores, or “Christ of the Fisherman,” memorial, however, is a popular tourist and local attraction.
This statue, which stands along the water’s edge and looks out over the water, pays tribute to the fishermen who sailed out and never returned, with each of their names written on a plaque near its base.
On a Black Dragon Pirate Ship Cruise, look for treasure
Join Captain Black-Hearted Andy, “Scourge Of The Laguna Madre,” and set sail on a reconstructed 17th-century galleon for a unique South Padre Island adventure.
Osprey Cruises offers an immersive trip that will have you walking, talking, and fighting like a pirate, all while the merry crew entertains you with pirate legends, music, face painting, and more.
While out on the water, you might even encounter some bottlenose dolphins!
Parasailing is Fun
A paragliding ride is one of the most wonderful (and a little terrifying) things to do on South Padre Island, Texas. While some locations on this list may provide panoramic skyline or sunset views, sailing over the wide seas of Laguna Madre with your legs in the air is completely another approach to experience this beautiful island.
At the South Padre Farmers Market, you may buy fresh produce
When you’re on vacation, it’s easy to get tired of dining out all of the time. If your hotel or rental has a kitchen, a trip to the South Padre Farmers Market is all you’ll need. Fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, cheeses, juices, and baked goods, as well as a variety of locally made products, are all available.
Every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the market is open.
Enjoy a Meal on the Water
Although South Padre Island is known for being a spring break hub, there are plenty of expensive accommodations on the island. Since 2006, Southern Wave Sailing Charters has offered a variety of sailing activities, ranging from dinner or moonlight cruises to snorkeling adventures.
Of course, you may always relax on one of their large trampolines and take in the scenery.
Visit the Clayton’s Beach Bar
The largest beach bar on the Texas coast keeps the celebration going all day and into the early morning hours.
Fireworks on the Pier, a stunning sky show accompanied by live music and drink specials, is held every Friday and Saturday night at this beach club on Padre Blvd. Their margaritas are legendary, and the coastal real estate is unbeatable.
Without ever leaving the beach, you can enjoy concerts, pleasant company, and refreshing drinks.
Port Isabel Lighthouse offers panoramic views
A visit to the last remaining lighthouse on the Texas coast provides a glimpse into the past as well as breathtaking views. The Port Isabel Lighthouse, which was completed in 1853, has witnessed battles, surrenders, and restorations. Visit the visitors’ center to learn more about the history of this small Texas town.
After climbing the 75 steps to the top of Port Isabel Lighthouse, you’ll be greeted with spectacular views of Laguna Madre Bay’s turquoise waters and the South Padre Island cityscape in the distance.
Isla Blanca Park is a great place to go swimming
A beachside 25-acre waterpark with waterslides, ziplines, swim-up bars, and dozens of other award-winning attractions will have your pulse racing. Beach Park at Isla Blanca, voted Texas Family Magazine’s #1 Kid-Friendly Attraction, is sure to be a success with the kids, but it also offers lots of fun for the folks.
Isla Blanca is a great place to swim, sunbathe, or surf
The most popular beach on South Padre Island, Texas, is last but not least on our list of all the greatest things to do on the island.
Long stretches of sand, cool seas, and enough amenities to keep you comfortable.
What more could you possibly want?
Arrange your folding chair and umbrella rentals put on some sunscreen, and relax at this lovely beach and summer holiday destination!
The beaches are stunning. The wildlife is magnificent. Unique outdoor activities are available. South Padre Island is a must-see attraction in Texas, if not the entire United States.
South Padre has everything, from Isla Blanca Park to the Farmer’s Market, to make your beach holiday unforgettable!