If you don’t know, South Padre Island is my absolute favorite vacation spot in Texas. We have been there too many times to even begin to count. In fact, it is my hope to live on the island someday. If you don’t absolutely love the beach, this may not be the destination for you. While there are a few cool things to do outside of sand and saltwater, the beach is definitely the main attraction. 

South Padre Island

Interesting Facts:

  • Laguna Madre is a super rare hypersaline lagoon. In fact, it is the only one in the United States.
  • On September 15, 2001, the Queen Isabella Causeway, which connects Port Isabel to SPI, collapsed after being hit by a towing barge. This senseless tragedy took the lives of eight people.
  • South Padre is the only tropical island in Texas.
  • SPI gets its name from the original settler, Padre José Nicolás Ballí, a Catholic priest.
Pirate’s Landing Boardwalk

Useful information:

  • Best Time to Visit: This will depend on how much you are bothered by a crowd. From Spring Break until the end of Summer, it can get really crowded. We always visit the week after Labor Day, which isn’t crowded.
  • What to Wear: It’s the tip of Texas – it’s hot! Casual and beach wear is appropriate in most places.  
  • Getting around: Most people drive to the island, but some do fly into Brownsville Airport. You will also see a lot of folks walking and riding on golf carts. 
Night View South Padre Island Beach

What to Do:

  • Sea Turtle Inc. is not only fun but very educational. Their whole purpose is to rescue, rehabilitate, and release injured sea turtles. Sea Turtle, Inc. is funded through public donations and on-site gift shop sales only. So, when on the island, stop by and support a good cause.
  • Dolphin Cruises are a must when on South Padre. There are a few to choose from, but my personal favorite is Captain Murphy’s Isla Tours. We take the sunset cruise every single vacation. Who doesn’t love dolphins?
  • Port Isabel Historic Lighthouse is the perfect place to experience the island’s history along with some breathtaking views. 
  • Beach Park at Isla Blanca ( former Schlitterbahn) is located right on the beach. It is one of the state’s most prestigious waterparks. Home to waterslides, a lazy river, surf rider, a swim-up bar, and cabanas, Beach Park is fun for all ages.
Sunset Horseback Rides

Lisa Crow contributed to this article. She is a travel writer and lifestyle blogger based in Waco, Texas. Lisa is the Head of Content at Gigi’s Ramblings. She spends her free time traveling when she can and making memories with her large family which consists of six children and thirteen grandchildren. This is the next installment in the Let’s Travel to…series, a collection of short informational articles covering some of the world’s top travel destinations.