College students and families are drawn to this Texas barrier island for its oceanfront access and unbeatable weather.
Famous for its balmy temperature and oceanfront access, South Padre Island is one of Texas’s most coveted holiday getaways.
The vacation town is located at the southeastern tip of Texas and borders Mexico. As a barrier island, its eastern shoreline is along the Gulf of Mexico and is beloved by tourists for its warm year-round climate. Most of the land is a protected National Seashore, and the town of South Padre Island is relegated to the bottom tip of the island.
The island is a favored destination for college spring breaks during March, when the town is largely populated by young adults enjoying the lively nightlife. Many families and retirees enjoy visits to South Padre Island during the winter thanks to its yearlong warm climate. Its downtown is filled with resorts, hotels, bars, and souvenir shops.
Miles of pristine seashore stretches along the coastline, making it a perfect place to soak up the sun, go for a swim, or play beach volleyball. Many visitors take advantage of the horseback riding tours and take a beach ride at sunset. South Padre Island is known for its fishing opportunities and hosts numerous fishing contests and tournaments throughout the year.
Water sports are the prime activity on South Padre Island and it is not unusual to see dozens of parasailers and kiteboarders enjoying the ocean waves. Dolphin watching is another popular choice, with a wide offering of tours available. Get snorkeling lessons to explore the ocean floor of the Gulf of Mexico.
If fresh water recreation is more your style, spend the afternoon at Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark where you can enjoy water slides and other attractions that will appeal to visitors of all ages.
Port Isabel is five miles (eight kilometers) away and is home to the Port Isabel Lighthouse, which features stunning views of South Padre Island and the ocean beyond.
South Padre Island has a slender shape and compact community. Most of the island’s destinations can be reached on foot, but if you don’t feel like strolling, the town also offers The Wave, a free shuttle service.
Brownsville International Airport is a half-hour drive from South Padre Island, and has daily flights to and from Dallas and Houston. The island is connected to the mainland by Route 100.