Ahoy! Welcome to South Padre Island—the perfect place for all your tropical getaway needs! Whether you’re looking for a sun-filled day of sea kayaking, the best in nature observation and hikes, or deep sea fishing reels and excitement, this is the place to be. There is a huge selection of things To Do In South Padre Island!
Located on the beautiful Gulf of Mexico at the southeastern-most tip of Texas, San Padre Island spans a half mile of spectacular beaches and never ending beauty.
As the only tropical island in all of Texas, South Padre offers an abundance of activities tailor made for fun seekers.
From snorkeling in crystal blue waters to dolphin watching and sunset cruises, there’s something here to satisfy any appetite. Breweries, fish shacks, beach bars—South Padre has it all.
Visitors can explore nature trails or ancient sand dunes and see wildlife up close. Try some paddling close to shore at a windy beach break or jet skiing on golden shores—there’s nothing like a full day adventure around South Padre Island!
Don’t forget about the nightlife as well!
After dark South Padre transforms into one big fiesta with live music venues showcasing local bands or cool chill spots offering down home comfort food with exquisite local flavors—for sure a highlight your Texas escape will be remembered by.
So come to South Padre Island and make waves in life…you won’t regret it! Get organized today and experience every kind of pleasure under the sun here at San Padre Island–from shopping hubs and sightseeing excursions to carefree days relaxing by the beach–we’ll show you how sunny is done right!
Best Things To Do In South Padre Island
1. Port Isabel Historical Museum
Built as a Dry Goods Store and Residence in 1899, the museum now houses two levels of fascinating exhibits that tell the stories of local history and provide deep insights into the US-Mexican War.
When you’re done exploring inside, be sure to check out the beautiful fish mural painted by a local fisherman on the exterior of the building in 1906.
At Port Isabel Historical Museum you can see everything from artifacts related to the war between Mexico and the United States to modern art pieces made by local artists.
There’s even a theater where locals perform traditional plays and storytelling sessions so tourists can get an authentic experience. Finally, don’t forget to pick up some souvenirs from the expansive gift shop.
Whether you’re traveling solo or with family, visiting Port Isabel Historical Museum is one of the best things to do in South Padre Island.
Set aside an afternoon and come explore this wonderful facility – you won’t be disappointed!
Location: 317 E Railroad Ave, Port Isabel
Rating: 4.5 stars
The Entry Fees:
$4 for adults
$3 for seniors
$2 for students
Free for children under 5 years
2. Port Isabel Lighthouse State Historic Site
Looking for something to do off the beaten path? Visit the Port Isabel Lighthouse State Historic Site and experience a piece of history!
Situated in the heart of Port Isabel, this engaging site consists of three incredible attractions within walking distance.
The centerpiece of the complex is the alluring Port Isabel Lighthouse – originally built in 1852 to guide ships through Brazos Santiago Pass.
This valiant light tower stands proudly today and visitors are invited to take a peek inside the keeper’s cottage, if they’re feeling brave enough.
In addition to exploring Texas history, visitors can take part in an interactive game of discovery onsite at The Treasures of The Gulf Museum and learn about sea-faring life.
Stroll through local homesteads in years gone by at the Port Isabel Historical Museum. Best yet: with your admission ticket you can experience all three locations at once for a special reduced rate.
Climb the winding staircase of the Port Isabel Lighthouse and you’ll have an unforgettable experience!
This is the only lighthouse open to the public in the state of Texas, offering visitors the opportunity to explore its history and catch an unbeatable view of the island.
Constructed in 1852, this state historic site stands tall as a symbol of hope – something that still resonates with travelers today.
You can explore the museum and even take a wander by its original lighthouse keeper’s cottage, before ascending its 75 steps until you reach the top. Here, you’ll get breath-taking views of South Padre Island beaches from up high!
If you want to fill your holiday with plenty more interesting things to do, make sure that exploring the Port Isabel Lighthouse State Historic Site is at the top of your list.
With its maritime history and Instagrammable views, it’s definitely one for your bucket list!
Take advantage this incredible opportunity and discover generations past at Port Isabel Lighthouse State Historic Site.
Whether a curious traveler or a local looking to explore further, these historic site is sure to not disappoint!
Location: 421 E Queen Isabella Blvd, Port Isabel
Rating: 4.5 stars
The Entry Fees:
$5 for adults
$4 for seniors
$3 for children (4 – 12 years)
3. Sea Turtle, Inc.
Save the day with Sea Turtle, Inc.! As the primary place in the world to rehabilitate hurt sea turtles, Sea Turtle, Inc. is an essential part of conservation efforts across the globe.
Visitors can support patients’ healing before they are released and enjoy a visit to the home of endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles that will never be returned to the wild.
Even if you’ve never been much of an animal lover, seeing these majestic creatures up close will certainly tug at your heartstrings.
Make doing your part for conservation part of your next travel adventure and experience a special connection with nature at Sea Turtle, Inc.!
Their informative and educational show is an exciting way to learn about the fragility of marina life and why it’s important to be mindful and careful when exploring oceans and rivers.
These resident turtles will mesmerize you as you read their stories – they’re simply amazing! Not only that, entry fee proceeds and money made from souvenirs purchases go directly towards taking care of the beloved turtles.
We also want to mention that dogs are welcome and that the staff here is incredibly welcoming and helpful as well; they’re passionate about making sure that every sea turtle complex visitor has a great experience, while also maintaining proper safety precautions with the turtles.
So make sure to drop by Sea Turtle Inc. when looking for great things to do in South Padre Island!
Location: 6617 Padre Blvd, South Padre Island
Rating: 4.7 stars
The Entry Fees:
$10 for adults
$6 for seniors
$4 for children (4 – 12 years)
Free for children under 4 years
4. Sea Life Center Dolphin Educational Boat Tours
Come discover the wonders of the South Padre Island Dolphin Research & Sea Life Nature Center! At this family-friendly center, you can tour a Laguna Madre Bay and its abundant bottlenose dolphin population.
Take part in a 90-minute educational boat ride where you’ll observe this magnificent species in their natural habitat.
This is your chance to become a part of the sea life so be prepared to get wet, as the captain will take you up close and personal with these aquatic mammals.
And that’s not all; bring your curiosity along for a hands-on experience with creatures like fish, crabs, octopi, snails, and even starfish. Feel free to touch them!
You’ll also learn about how our activities affect their ecosystems and what we can do to become eco-friendly.
The South Padre Island Dolphin Research & Sea Life Nature Center provides an unforgettable educational destination for travelers of all ages!
We’ll take you on a unique journey that highlights the beauty and splendor of Port Isabel Lighthouse and its surrounding waters.
You’ll be among dolphins in their natural habitat as they gracefully swim alongside your boat, giving you unprecedented access to marine wildlife that is rarely seen.
Our experienced tour guides will teach passengers about different aspects of dolphin behavior such as migration patterns and behaviors.
This information is both fascinating and important when trying to better understand this species.
On these tours, visitors can discover the native wildlife of this waterfront location including fish, seabirds, and more!
The breathtaking views from our boat are something you won’t soon forget. If your heart desires an up-close look beneath the surface, we provide all necessary gear for snorkeling (optional) so you can observe fascinating sea life through your own eyes.
It’s truly one of the best things to do while visiting Florida.
Come at Sea Life Center Dolphin Educational Boat Tours where learning is fun and excitement awaits!
Location: 110 N Garcia St, Port Isabel
Rating: 4.3 stars
The Entry Fees:
$3 per person (This is utilized to assist in feeding and caring for the animals)
5. South Padre Island Birding And Nature Center
Discover a piece of paradise at the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center!
Located in Rio Grande Valley and boasting magnificent views, this is the perfect destination for bird watching enthusiasts, travelers seeking an escape from the hustle and bustle of life, or anyone looking to observe wildlife in coastal South Texas.
Stroll along boardwalks beneath the serene landscape, take part in a birding tour with knowledgeable guides, climb the five-story viewing tower, catch sight of buff-bellied hummingbirds and wood storks, and relish in the tranquil atmosphere inside the nature center.
The auditorium boasts exciting short documentary movies while many seasonal birds reside year-round. Making it even more special is being able to view beautiful creatures who stop by here as they migrate between their northern and southern homes.
Don’t miss this opportunity to be completely immersed in nature – plan your visit to South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center today!
The South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center is one of the best things to do for anyone who loves nature and the great outdoors.
Immerse yourself in a unique and fascinating natural world as you wander through 3,300+ feet of boardwalk.
Stop along the way to read interesting signs and spot an array of birds, butterflies, and other wildlife.
The highlight of this extraordinary experience isn’t even a bird — it’s an alligator! That’s right — you may be lucky enough to spot a 12-foot beast soaking up some sun on the banks of its own marshland.
So don’t miss out — book your visit to South Padre Island now!
Rating: 4.5 stars
Location: 6801 Padre Blvd, South Padre Island
The Entry Fees:
$8 for adults
$7 for students (13-18 years)
$7 for seniors
$5 for children (4-12 years)
Free for children under 4 years
6. Laguna Madre Nature Trail
The best way to reconnect with nature, experience an array of wildlife, and take in the beauty of this timeless landscape is to walk along the Laguna Madre Nature Trail.
This boardwalk begins at the South Padre Island Convention Centre, taking you through marshlands and wetlands as far out as the Laguna Madre.
As you make your way through the trails, make sure to admire the local birds that flock here each year. Whether it’s Bald Eagles, White Pelicans, Ospreys or Kittiwakes – they all call this boardwalk home.
Shortly after departing from the Convention Centre, you will be greeted by thousands of turtles basking in the sun on logs jutting out of Laguna Madre’s shallow water.
As if your stunning sights aren’t enough, be sure to pause and listen to some animals calling home in their natural habitat – one might think themselves miles away from civilization!
The beauty that awaits on this walking path is nothing short of spectacular. Don’t let your trip go by without treating yourself to a stroll along this incredible nature trail!
Add visiting South Padre’s beloved wetlands to your list of top things to do for an unforgettable experience.
Lguana Madre Nature Trail is one of the best ways to experience the beautiful and tranquil side of South Padre Island.
This 1.1-mile-long boardwalk takes you through a stunning 4-acre marshland, providing an unparalleled view of the island’s lagoon.
Bird watchers will be particularly delighted by this unique nature trail – with over 300 species of birds passing through the region each year, you can expect an array of coastal and migratory birds flocking to the bushes along the path.
Enjoy a leisurely stroll while familiarizing yourself with the island’s diverse flora and fauna, diversifying your knowledge with every step!
What’s more – accessing this incredible Nature Trail is absolutely free and available 24 hours a day!
So don’t wait any longer – explore South Padre Island in all its glory with Iguana Madre Nature Trail!
Location: 7355 Padre Blvd, South Padre Island
Rating: 4.6 stars