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15 Exciting Things To Do In South Padre Island, TX, That You Will Always Remember

Hello fellow adventurers! It’s Nasiba. Today I’m taking you all the way to Texas in South Padre Island, a small resort town.

It had been a long time since I had been excited about a trip like I was with this one. One, I love islands so much and two, I was going to do something exciting for the first time!


I love adrenaline-filled adventures and skydiving has always been top of my list, but I’ve never gathered enough courage to do it. I’m afraid of heights! I try to do an activity that will help me conquer this fear every year. Last year I went ziplining.

On the day, I woke up very early. I was both anxious and excited.

I said my prayers and confessed all my sins. Then I called my lawyer and went through my last will. I called my best friend and asked her to look after my cat. You know, just in case.

Anyway, if you’re reading this it means skydiving in South Padre Island was a success.

Apart from skydiving, here is a list of activities to enjoy in South Padre Island.

South Padre Island is located on the Gulf of Mexico, at the southeastern-most tip of Texas.

Because the island is only half a mile wide, you can see beaches from nearly any vantage point on the island.

Wondering where to stay on your vacation? Check out the top-rated South Padre Island resorts!

Texas is mainly known for its tough ranching exterior; South Padre Island has long distinguished itself by revolving around pure, unadulterated pleasure.

As the only tropical island in Texas, there’s no surprise that there are plenty of fun things to do in South Padre Island! Here are 15 things to do in South Padre Island.

Table of Contents

15 things to do in South Padre Island

1. South Padre Island Birding And Nature Center

A view above the Bird Blinds at South Padre Island | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.5  

Location: 6801 Padre Blvd, South Padre Island.

The entry fees: $8 for adults, $7 for students (13-18) and seniors, $5 for children (4-12), and free for children under 4.

South Padre Birding and Nature Center is Rio Grande Valley’s best destination for birdwatching and a perfect place to observe butterflies and natural wildlife in coastal South Texas.

You can stroll down the boardwalks; take a birding tour, and revel in the nature center.

The center offers a five-story viewing tower and an auditorium showing short documentary movies.

  • Why you should go:

Experience the beautiful views of the Buff-bellied Hummingbirds, the Wood Stork, and countless singers. Many bird species reside in the center year-round, like White Ibis, Brown Pelicans, Great Egrets, Red-winged Blackbirds, Great Blue Herons, and many more.

  • Things to do:

The Birding and Nature Center is where the birds that call the Rio Grande Valley home for a few days on their migration north and south.

Meander alongside the 3,300+ feet of boardwalk, stopping alongside the way to read the informative signs and peer into the leaves, searching for birds, butterflies, and other wildlife.

Surprisingly, the highlight of most visitors South Padre Island birding walk isn’t a bird at all.

It is the 12-foot alligator they spot soaking up the sun on the banks of the marshland.

2. Sea Life Center Dolphin Educational Boat Tours

This is Pip, he survived dragging fikshingline and hooks from 2weeks old on | Facebook

Rating: 4.3  

Location: 110 N Garcia St, Port Isabel.

The entry fees: $3 per person, which is used to help feed and care for the animals.

The family-friendly Center offers boat tours to see bottleneck dolphins, field trips, and a hands-on experience that lets guests become familiar with creatures they may have never met before, including fish, crabs, octopi, snails.

You can even touch a starfish.

  • Why you should go:

Education is fundamental to how the South Padre Island Dolphin Research & Sea life Nature Center introduces you to the bottlenose dolphins and different sea creatures.

  • Things to do:

Meet all the rescued sea creatures and animals and learn how to become eco-friendly.

For an extra fee (about $25 per person), you can hop on a boat for a 90-minute Dolphin Tour and observe the animals living in the Laguna Madre Bay.

Boat tours give an extraordinary insight into the lives of the dolphins in the wild and a visit to the nature center beside the Port Isabel Lighthouse (described below).

Also if you are big fan of dolphins so you can find best places to swim with dolphins in Florida, as summer is the best timing for such a thing.

3. Sea Turtle, Inc.

Little cute Sea Turtle at Sea Turtle, Inc. | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.7  

Location: 6617 Padre Blvd, South Padre Island.

The entry fees: $10 for adults; $6 for seniors; $ 4 for children 4 – 12 years, and free for children under 4.

At Sea Turtle, Inc., their mission is to rehabilitate, rescue, and release hurt sea turtles while educating the public and assisting with conservation efforts for all marine turtle species.

  • Why you should go:

Sea Turtle Inc. is the primary place in the world to rehab injured sea turtles.

The plight of sea turtles and their healing may tug at your heartstrings.

Sea Turtle, Inc. allows visitors like you to turn those feelings into motion with its rehabilitation center for rescued sea turtles, most generally the endangered Kemp’s Ridley species.

In addition to supporting patients’ recovery earlier than release, it offers a home for resident turtles that will never be placed again into the wild.

  • Things to do:

Sea Turtle Inc offers a very informative educational show that spreads awareness of how fragile marina life is and how people are sometimes careless.

The resident turtles are amazing to watch and read about their stories.

The entry fees and any souvenirs purchased in the gift shop go towards the care of these adorable residents. 

A must-visit while in checking amazing things to do in South Padre Island! The place is Dog friendly, and the staff is very welcoming and helpful; they also treat the turtles with so much care and love. 

4. Port Isabel Lighthouse State Historic Site


Rating: 4.5  

Location: 421 E Queen Isabella Blvd, Port Isabel.

The entry fees: $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, and $3 for children 4 – 12 yrs.

If you need a break from the beach or are interested in learning more about the area, consider planning visits to the Museums of Port Isabel.

Take your pick between three popular historical sites: the Port Isabel Lighthouse, the Port Isabel Historical Museum, and Treasures of the Gulf Museum.

You can visit each individually or for special admission price allows access to all three sites and are within walking distance of each other.

The lighthouse was constructed in 1852 to help guide ships through Brazos Santiago Pass.

Now it’s the only one in the area that’s open to the public – visitors are also invited to explore the ground’s keeper’s cottage.

  • Why you should go:

Today, the lighthouse symbolizes hope and is undoubtedly considered among South Padre Island’s rich maritime history.

This ancient state site is the only lighthouse in Texas open to the public, alongside its museum and reconstructed lighthouse keeper’s cottage underneath the tower.

  • Things to do:

Port Isabel Lighthouse is a popular site for visitors and photographers.

If you climb the Lighthouses’ 75 winding stairs and three short ladders, you will have exceptional views of South Padre Island and its beaches.

5. Port Isabel Historical Museum

It was great visiting the Port Isabel Event and Cultural Center today with the Dec. 9 U.S.-Mexico War of 1846-1848 Conference Planning Committee. Check out next door the Port Isabel Historical Museum | By Salomon Torres | Facebook

Rating: 4.5  

Location: 317 E Railroad Ave, Port Isabel.

The entry fees: $4 for adults, $3 for seniors. $2 for students and free for children under 5.

Port Isabel Historical Museum is an elaborate facility built as a dry goods store and residence in 1899; it now houses two exhibit levels, a theater, and a gift shop.  

  • Why you should go:

Port Isabel Historical Museum is home to one of the most significant Mexican artifacts from the U.S.-Mexican War.

The façade features the famous fish mural painted in 1906 by a local fisherman.

  • Things to do:

Suppose you are interested in knowing more about the fun things to do in South Padre Island’s history; you should consider visiting this historical museum to check out its incredible exhibits and buy some souvenirs from its gift shop. 

6. Treasures of the Gulf Museum


Rating: 4.5  

Location: 317 E Railroad Ave, Port Isabel

The entry fees: $4 for adults, $3 for seniors. $2 for students and free for children under 5.

Treasures of the Gulf Museum highlights the story of three 1554 Spanish shipwrecks.

Meeting their destiny just 30 miles north of Port Isabel, the shipwrecks are introduced to life with murals, artifacts, and hands-on activities are used to explain this fascinating event.

  • Why you should go:

Next door to the South Padre Historical Museum, this museum examines the three Spanish fleets shipwrecked in 1554.

Wreck artifacts range from silver coins to ship cannons.

The museum explains nautical advances and recounts the interaction between explorers and Native Americans.

  • Things to do:

The Treasures of the Gulf Museum is a must-see if you’re traveling with kids.

Here they can learn all about what life was like aboard a 16th-century ship and get a good look at some of the treasure found beneath the waters of the Gulf.

7. Laguna Madre Nature Trail

Is this a Western Sandpiper? Laguna Madre Nature Trail | By Peter Hinow | Facebook

Rating: 4.6  

Location: 7355 Padre Blvd, South Padre Island.

According to many visitors over various years, the best way to experience South Padre’s wildlife is to stroll along the Laguna Madre Nature Trail.

This boardwalk runs from the South Padre Island Convention Centre out to the Laguna Madre wetlands.

  • Why you should go:

The Laguna Madre Nature Trail is a 1.1 miles loop trail on a 1,500-foot boardwalk that crosses 4 acres of marshland.

It offers scenic schenes of the lagoon and is also used for nature walks and birding.

Bird watchers can view many coastal, migratory birds and many others attracted to the berries on the bushes alongside the trail. 

More than 300 species of birds pass through the South Padre Island region throughout the year.

  • Things to do:

A stroll on the Laguna Madre Natural Trail is one of the best ways to experience South Padre Island’s pristine and natural wetlands.

The access to the trail is complimentary and open 24 hours a day.

Planning a trip to other parts of Texas soon? You would love our lists detailing the top places to visit in The Woodlands for your visit!

8. Queen Isabella State Fishing Pier


Rating: 4.5  

Location: 501 E Maxan St, Port Isabel.

The Queen Isabella Fishing Pier is a famous spot for fishing from the island.

The pier is the original causeway that linked South Padre Island to the mainland before a new bridge was built withinside the 1970s.

  • Why you should go:

The central part of the original causeway was removed, and the causeway on South Padre Island became the Queen Isabella State Fishing Pier.

It has become part of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, which became a fishing pier where anglers can trap sand trout, speckled trout, croaker, sheepshead, and different fish.

  • Things to do:

You can stroll alongside the pier, watch the fishermen, or attempt to catch your fish.

There is a small tackle shop at the dock in which you can rent tools and buy bait.

The pier is free to stroll alongside; however, you have to pay a small fee if you are fishing.

9. Isla Blanca Park

By at Isla Blanca Park

Rating: 4.4  

Location: 33174 State Park Rd 100, South Padre Island.

The entry fees: $6 for adults, $5 for students, and $3 for children.

If you are planning to try out some maritime activities, rentals will cost extra.

Isla Blanca Park is located at the southernmost tip of South Padre Island and is the crown jewel of the park’s system.

Within the park, there’s over a mile of pristine seashore alongside the Gulf of Mexico.

Also inside the park are many recreation activities available for a wide variety of outdoor activities.

  • Why you should go:

There are massive beachfront pavilions, a strolling trail, surf fishing, fishing jetties, cabana rentals, a water park, a boat ramp, restrooms/shower facilities, and shaded picnic areas.

And you don’t need to bring your meals as there are onsite restaurants.

  • Things to do:

Isla Blanca Park is a beachfront park like no other, along the Gulf of Mexico seashore; Isla Blanca is a park the likes of which you will never see anywhere else in Texas.

The park has an equipment rental for diverse activities (e.g., diving, snorkeling, jet skis, parasailing, etc.). 

Visitors also can go to the El Cristo de Los Pescadores memorial, which translates to “Christ of the Fishermen,” placed on the Isla Blanca Park.

Around the bottom of the statue of Jesus is an inscription that reads, “Father! Receive the souls of those courageous fishermen who have sailed through this pass and by no means returned.”

10. South Padre Island Sandcastle Trail

Our newest sculptor – Rebecca Ramos at work, By Sandcastle Island, Inc. | Facebook

Rating: 4.5  

Location: 310 Padre Blvd.

If you did not know, South Padre Island is the unofficial sandcastle capital of the world; the South Padre Island Sand Sculpture Trail is the only one of its kind, a series of semi-permanent outdoor sand sculptures that have been available for viewing by the public for over two years.

  • Why you should go:

South Padre Island, Texas, is one of the infrequent locations in the United States where you can learn how to make a magnificent sandcastle.

The dazzling beaches of South Padre Island have numerous professional sand sculptors who have decided to help people have more fun at the beach by offering classes in the sandcastle building.

  • Things to do:

Follow the self-guided hike alongside the South Padre Island Sandcastle Trail of 30 castles sculpted by expert sand artists, a few local, and some from around the world to the giant outdoor sandcastle withinside the United States besides the Tourist Information Center.

Inspired by this monument of sand, you may be ready to join up to become a sandcastle expert. Head over to Sandcastle Lessons, in which you can learn and apprentice with a master.

By the time you are a graduate, you may have a castle to name your own.

11. South Padre Island Adventure Park

South Padre Island Adventure Park | Facebook

Rating: 4.6  

Location: 21040 North State Park Rd 100, South Padre Island.

If your idea of leisure is active, You will want to go to South Padre Island Adventure Park, where the amusement begins. On 40 acres with access to the seashore, the Island Adventure Park is an everlasting home for rescue animals and tourists searching for an amusing adventure.

  • Why you should go:

For one price, you could ride horseback on the seashore in an ocean wilderness for an hour, zipline non-stop for 45 minutes, and hang out at the petting zoo.

The same family-owned organization operates the Island Fun Park in town, where you could drive a go-kart or play a round of mini-golf.

  • Things to do:

Ride horses or enjoy the Zip-lines and the petting barn.

Take a hayride at the seashore, swim in the ocean, then end the day at the seashore with a Hawaiian luau menu and a bonfire.

12. Gravity Park

Pic taken By

Rating: 4.4  

Location: 106 W Marlin St, South Padre Island.

The entry fees: Entrance is entirely free; rides are priced a la carte.

When you get enough of sand, sun, and swimming, head to South Padre Island’s Gravity Park.

Gravity Park is a local amusement park with a variety of fun sights for the entire family, located only a few steps from the beach in the heart of South Padre Island.

  • Why you should go:

Look no further than Gravity Park for outdoor leisure. While mini-golfing and the arcade are amusing, take control of a go-kart to pick up the pace.

Ride the 60-foot Ferris wheel, or you can get into the swing of things on the Skycoaster.

  • Things to do:

Their reverse-bungee known as the Rocket is considered the tallest withinside the world.

A roller coaster is also known as the Skycoaster that will show you the island’s exceptional views.

There are go-carts for adults and kids, mini-golfing, an arcade, a trampoline, and a hiking wall.

13. Wyland Whaling Wall

Taken by

Rating: 4  

Location: 7355 Padre Blvd, South Padre Island.

The spectacular, gigantic, life-size paintings of orca whales on South Padre Island Convention Center are part of Wyland’s Walls’ worldwide campaign, organized by the renowned painter Wyland and the Wyland Foundation. 

Wyland had the goal of completing 100 life-size marine murals in public places worldwide to raise awareness of the dangers these marine mammals face.

After 27, they achieved their goal in 2008.

  • Why you should go:

The title of Wyland’s Whaling Wall #53 at South Padre Island is “Orcas off the Gulf of Mexico’. The murals are intended to encourage greater understanding of and appreciation for aquatic habitats and aquatic life.

These life-size artworks are supposed to change people’s attitudes about marine conservation worldwide.

  • Things to do:

The Wyland Whaling Wall is neat to drive by, through the parking lot of the convention center, try to get out and take a picture with it.

The wall fits the motif and vibes of South Padre Island; it definitely should be one of the things to see while visiting the Island!

14. Southern Wave Sailing Charters

Nothing like a South Padre sunset | Facebook

Rating: 4.7  

Location: 205 W Palm St, South Padre Island.

The entry fees: $63 for in-site ticket purchases, $59 for adults, and $49 for children (4-10 yrs) when tickets are purchased online.

A visit to South Padre Island or the Rio Grande Valley would not be whole without a cruise on The Southern Wave.

The Southern Wave is a large, stable, and comfortable cruising Catamaran ideal for a leisurely day’s sail, a thrilling afternoon of dolphin watching, or experiences a night watching the breathtaking South Padre Island sunset over the water.

It’s the ideal way to spend your day and to start your evening.

  • Why you should go:

While on The Southern Wave Cruise, you can swim in the warm waters and sun yourself on one of their spacious trampolines, or feel free to relax on the covered and comfortable sundeck.

  • Things to do:

Since the sunsets on South Padre Island are breathtaking, book the Original Sunset Dinner Cruise or the Moonlight Dinner Cruise for two hours of relaxing cruising along the bayfront with delicious food, water, and Sunset views.

Note: Don’t miss up our suggestions of top Caribbean cruises deals, updated content.

The chef grills an all-you-can-eat beef and chicken fajita dinner with the trimmings, picnic-style, jumbo grilled shrimp as an appetizer, grilled fish, fresh fruit, and all you can drink bottled water and sodas.

The musicians will keep you entertained with fabulous music.  

15. Skydive South Padre Island

Taken By

Rating: 4.8  

Location: 2812 Padre Blvd suite a, South Padre Island

The entry fees: $220 per person and an additional $99 for video.

There is probably no more tremendous adrenaline rush than jumping from a perfect airplane flying at 11,000 feet.

The South Padre Island and the ocean’s views are undoubtedly spectacular.

  • Why you should go:

At 5,500 feet, your parachute will open, and you cruise for approximately seven minutes over the island.

You can look out on the ocean and experience a feeling of overall exhilaration as you absorb the sights you cannot get in another way; you will have plenty of time to appreciate the island’s views and capture your new social media profile photo.

Video is also available and highly recommended. Your skydive can be charged on an edited video together with 30-60 digital images.

  • Things to do:

This is a must-do for all thrill-seekers and adrenaline enthusiasts or every person who desires the best views of South Padre Island.

Here’s your chance to peer the whole coastline blur into the horizon as you bounce out of an airplane at 11,000 feet.

I hope today’s read was informative and are excited to make your way to South Padre Island. Do tell me in the comment section when you do.

See you on the next adventure!

As you are heading to Texas we suggest you to check things to do in McKinney this weekend, some things to do in downtown Houston, and top things to do in El Paso, they have tons of fun places and activities to enjoy!