South Padre Island, TX is synonymous to beaches that locals and tourists alike greatly enjoy in the summer, but the island is much more than that. Close by are must-see attractions that are perfect for the whole family.
Here are six of our favorite South Padre Island attractions.
The Turtle Lady of South Padre Island
If you want to have some fun and at the same time make a contribution to nature, Sea Turtle Inc. is the place to be. The nonprofit was spearheaded by Ila Loetscher, better known as the Turtle Lady of South Padre Island, in 1977 in an effort to save the Kemp Ridley sea turtles from extinction. Since then, Sea Turtles Inc. has become a great place to take the children to see the animals being fed. The organization also hosts educational presentations called “Turtle Talks,” where they teach people about these beautiful sea creatures.
Hours: Open from 10 am to 4 or 5 pm (closed on Mondays)
Want to try something fun and romantic? The Stables is the place to go to for horseback riding in South Padre Island. They have sunrise and sunset rides that will let you experience the scenic beauty of the island. Apart from the breathtaking view of the Gulf of Mexico, the experience of an early morning breeze is not something you’ll want to miss.
If you prefer to watch the horses in action, they have special polo matches from time to time. You can also learn to play polo here or take some basic horseback riding lessons.
Hours: Open year-round. Reserve your time and day in advance.
Black Dragon Pirate Ship Cruise
The Black Dragon is a replica of a 17th-century galleon, which may look like a medieval ship on the surface but comes equipped with all the modern technologies that are hidden below the water.
On this cruise, the ship’s crew dress as pirates and brigands, providing the guests an interactive experience. Listen to pirate stories, have your face painted and hunt for treasures. There’s even sword fighting and water pistol battles. Plus, a chance to see dolphins on almost every cruise.
This is an adventure the kids—and kids at heart—will not forget soon.
Hours: Available daily, 11:30 am to 2 pm and 2:30 pm to 5 pm
South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center
The South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center is a perfect place to spend a relaxing day watching birds. The 50 acres of land around the center has salt marsh, dune meadows and flat lands where you can see a huge variety of birds like brown pelicans and peregrine falcons. This land is also the first landfall for birds that migrate over the Gulf Coast.
Hours: 9 am to 5 pm daily
There are many adventure and amusement parks in South Padre Island and the Gravity Park is one you won’t want to skip. Perhaps the most talked about activity here is the multi-level Adult Go-Kart. It also has children’s Go-Karts, Mini-Golf, a climbing wall, a trampoline and an arcade. Don’t miss the reverse-bungee called The Rocket, which is the tallest in the world.
Hours: 7 pm to 12 am daily
Fishing in South Padre
One of the most relaxing activities anywhere in the world is fishing, and South Padre Island offers plenty of opportunities to sit back and wait for the big one to bite. The CVB website lists some of the best fishing options on South Padre Island, so whether you’re a hobbyist or hard-core fishing enthusiast, there’s bound to be one for your taste and needs.
Hours: Check individual fishing guides and charters for their schedule.
Choosing the Right Place to Stay
Whether you’re planning a short weekend vacation or a longer stay on South Padre Island, pick a place that will be both comfortable and located close to all the fun activities and attractions.
Booking a room at Beach Park Texas resort fulfills these requirements. In addition to good lodging options, the staff are helpful, offering guests with some insider tips on what places to visit at what time. Plus, it has an indoor water park and has easy access to the beach. What more could you ask for?