South Padre Island is a resort town off the southern coast of Texas. With its warm Gulf waters and long stretches of sand, it’s a prime vacation destination.
If you’re coming to the island — plan for boating, birdwatching, fishing, and swimming, but don’t forget a visit to the famous turtle sanctuary!
Founded in 1977 by Ila Fox Loetscher, also known as “The Turtle Lady of South Padre Island,” Sea Turtle Inc. is an organization that was formed to protect and recover the endangered Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle. Today, the sanctuary is built upon three parts: education, rehabilitation, and conservation.
Sea Turtle Inc. welcomes visitors year-round from all over the world to learn about the turtles through presentations and feedings. You can arrange a private tour or dive right into the group activities. Our facility is self-guided, so visitors can navigate through the centers as they’d like.
Educational presentations known as “Turtle Talks” are offered throughout the day and serve to educate the public about the mission of the company. The talks begin daily at 11:00 am in the outdoor amphitheater and presentations last about 20-30 minutes. Topics and additional talks for each day vary, though Turtle Talks often cover what species of sea turtles call the South Padre Island area their home.
In addition to Turtle Talks, a typical day includes breakfast for the residents, meeting the turtles’ lifeguards, and a patient enrichment feeding.
Of course, no trip to the sanctuary would be complete without meeting the residents themselves! Current residents include turtles like Merry Christmas — a friendly Atlantic Green Sea Turtle and the only mature female sea turtle at the sanctuary. There’s also Fred, a
Loggerhead Sea Turtle who has been a permanent resident since 1999. Along with Hang Ten, Allison, and Gerry, these five rescued wonders make up the turtle pack.
At Sea Turtle, Inc. their noble mission is to rescue, rehabilitate, and release injured sea turtles. They educate the public and also assist with conservation efforts for all marine turtle species. To support them is to support an integral part of South Padre Island — our precious marine life.
Through public donations, this nonprofit can keep up with all the turtles’ needs. The donations also support educational programs on-site and fund internship and scholarship programs for biology students.
We like to think of a visit to the sanctuary as a vacation activity with a purpose. And, as a bonus, if you really fall in love with these sea-dwelling reptiles, as we’re sure you will, you
As you make plans for your next vacation to the coastal gem of South Padre Island, put Beach Park Texas on your vacation bucket list. With easy access to the beach, premier water attractions, and a year-round, full-service restaurant — we have everything you need for a fun few days in the sun.
From all of us at Beach Park Texas, thanks for reading! We can’t wait to welcome you to our sea-turtle filled haven soon.
If you’re planning to stay at Beach Park at Isla Blanca or even if you’re just visiting the water park, you might be wondering about what other activities you can do. Although the beaches at South Padre Island in Texas have always been a big attraction for tourists, there are other fun things to do here that you and your family shouldn’t miss.
Beach Park Rides and Attractions
The best thing about South Padre Island is the tropical feel as compared to other Texas beaches. Our wide, clean sands and blue waters are an attraction unto themselves, and when staying at the Resort, you wake up inside a waterpark and next to the beach!
From tidal wave torrent rivers to relaxing lazy rivers, the nearly two dozen attractions provide entertainment for all ages and all thrill levels, spread across almost 25 acres of South Texas paradise.
From the innovative, award-winning Transportainment river system (part transportation, part sport, part entertainment) that magically floats you from ride to ride without ever getting out of your tube to the multi-story Sandcastle Cove (voted a Top 5 Kid’s Waterpark Attraction in the entire country by USA Today), you are in control of how you relax or play.
Places to Relax and Refresh
Beach Park has plenty of lush vegetation, shade and places to kick back and enjoy Island life. Multiple man-made beaches allow entry into river systems a breeze, multiple swim-up bars are located throughout the property and of course, both the Shrimp Haus and Seaside Grill full-service (and year-round) restaurants provide Gulf views with great food!
Located along the southern coast of the Gulf of Mexico, South Padre Island has lots of pirate tales to tell, and joining a pirate cruise is a very interactive way of learning about the town’s pirate legends. Board a 17th-century galleon replica amid the sound of cannon fires and get ready to be entertained by costumed actors and activities like face painting and treasure hunts.
If you time your visit in October, you can witness the world’s best sand sculptors battle it out in a sand art contest. The annual weekend-long Sand Castle Days features sand castle building competitions for both professionals and amateurs. You’ll surely enjoy watching the entries that range from large castles to sculptures of famous people.
Design Your Own Stay
When visiting Beach Park, only your imagination limits what you can do! Spend some extra time on the tropical tip of Texas and experience dolphin
Watches, a World Birding & Nature Center, both bay and deep sea fishing, Pirate excursions, parasailing, skydiving and so much more. You can even get private sandcastle building lessons.
No trip is complete without a visit to Sea Turtle, Inc., one of the world’s renowned locations for rescues and rehabilitation.
Sea turtles travel to South Padre Island to lay their eggs each year. Some get sick or injured during the journey, and Sea Turtle, Inc. rescues and rehabilitates more than 100 turtles annually until they’re ready for release back into the wild. As for the eggs, there’s no way to predict when they’ll hatch, but follow the organization’s FB page to be informed of when public releases take place.
A variety of bird species also call South Padre Island home, and bird lovers and enthusiasts can see both the permanent residents and seasonal species during a bird watching cruise. Visit www.sopadre.com for a comprehensive list of all the things to do.
The More, the Merrier!
Enjoying activities and all the things to do on South Padre Island is always more fun in a group. Beach Park offers significant savings to company retreats and picnics, school groups, youth and non-profit organizations and many more. Behind the scenes tours and team-building activities can also be arranged.
But Wait, There’s More!
Beach Park offers a number of meeting and banquet spaces capable of hosting from 10 -500+ people! Spaces that overlook the beach, private conference rooms and even rooftop venues are available for rental. Beach Park has hosted over 200 weddings and receptions the past five years, so you can rest assured we pay attention to the details no matter the occasion. The Shrimp Haus, a preferred caterer of the SPI Convention Centre, has a large, varied menu that is sure to satisfy every appetite….and budget! Capable of catering anywhere on the Island and neighboring Port Isabel, the Shrimp Haus has long been an Island favorite and has catered groups of over 1,000 frequently.
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?
There’s no question that Texans love the beach in South Padre and we absolutely adore our island waterpark. That’s why we are excited to announce Schlitterbahn Waterpark in South Padre is beginning to transition to a new name and logo: Beach Park at Isla Blanca. Fans will begin to see the name appear on ads, Facebook, and even in places in the park.
Why a new name
Ownership for the South Padre Island park remains the same as it always has, only the name will be changing. The commitment to the Rio Grande Valley and South Padre Island is stronger than ever. The change is all part of the shift in ownership that took place in June and resulted in an agreement to sell the New Braunfels and Galveston locations.
After considerable searching, we decided the best name was one that was simple and direct: Beach Park. We love our wavy palm and sandcastle logo.
What else is changing?
“We’re committed to keeping everything folks love about the park over the years. And we are very excited to be stepping out on our own and launching a new chapter for the park,” said Mike Bigelow, Director of Marketing. “Beach Park best symbolizes all the activities beyond our fantastic water park, like restaurants, special events, and Sea Trek. We’ve already made a few changes, like lower prices on our 2020 season passes, and are continuing to work on more plans for next summer.”
The complete change to Beach Park will likely be completed by December. In the meantime, fans will likely see both names in a variety of places until the transition is complete.
For information on Season Passes at the park visit https://tickets.beachparktx.com/WebStore/shop/ViewItems.aspx?CG=SPTK&C=SPITK