South Padre Island is the perfect destination if you’re looking for a place to get away and have fun. From soaking up the sun on the beach to exploring the island’s many parks and nature trails, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. And, of course, no trip to South Padre Island would be complete without sampling the local seafood.
But guess what? There’s more to South Padre than these. The island offers plenty of activities and attractions to keep you busy during your stay. Here are some of the best things to do on South Padre Island.
Here’s How to Spend Your Time on South Padre Island
There’s no shortage of things to do on South Padre Island (SPI). Here are the most exciting activities that will keep you coming back for more.
1. Explore the Laguna Madre Nature Trail
The Laguna Madre Nature Trail is a great way to get away from the island’s hustle and bustle and explore the area’s natural beauty. The trail offers stunning views of the lagoon and is a perfect spot for bird watching.
The Laguna Madre Nature Trail is also home to several animals, including crustaceans, reptiles, mollusks, and amphibians, so you can do more than bird watching here. Discovering these beautiful creatures is an exciting experience you don’t want to miss.
Can’t make it during the day? Not to worry, this iconic Nature Trail is open 24 hours, making it the perfect spot for a romantic evening stroll or an early morning walk.
2. Visit the Sea Turtle Rescue Center (Sea Turtle, Inc)
The Sea Turtle Rescue Center is one of the most popular attractions on South Padre Island. The center is home to injured and orphaned sea turtles that are cared for until they’re ready to return to the wild.
Visitors can tour the facility and learn about the work that goes into rescuing and rehabilitating these amazing creatures. The tour is both educational and inspiring, and it’s a great way to support the important work of Sea Turtle, Inc.
If you’d like to adopt a turtle, the center offers adoption packages that include a personalized certificate and a photo of your new reptilian friend.
3. Get Your Thrill on Beach Park at Isla Blanca Water Coasters
Beach Park at Isla Blanca (formerly known as Schlitterbahn) is South Padre Island’s waterpark and is the perfect place to cool off on a hot day. The park features several thrilling water slides, including the Masterblaster, one of the tallest water coasters in the world.
If you’re daring, Beach Park also offers raft rides and tube slides that will take you on a wild ride through the park. And, of course, no trip to Beach Park would be complete without floating down the lazy river.
After a day of fun in the sun, you can relax in one of the park’s cabanas or enjoy a meal at one of the on-site restaurants.
4. Take a Dolphin Watch Tour
South Padre Island is home to a large population of bottlenose dolphins, and a dolphin watch tour is a great way to get up close and personal with these amazing creatures.
During the tour, you’ll learn all about dolphins and their behavior, and you might even get the chance to see them playing and jumping out of the water.
Dolphin watch tours are a fun and educational activity for the whole family, and they’re a great way to see South Padre Island from a different perspective.
5. Get Sand Castle Lessons From Professional Sand Sculptors
South Padre Island is the perfect place to build a sandcastle, and there’s no better way to learn than from the pros.
Sand Castle teachers offer group and private lessons and will teach you everything you need to know about sand sculpting, from choosing the right sand to creating intricate designs.
At the end of the lesson, you’ll have, at the very least, a new skill to add to your repertoire. But, more likely, you’ll also have a newfound appreciation for the art of sand sculpting. And, who knows, it might even inspire you to enter the island’s Sandcastle Days competition.
Sandcastle Days is a free, family-fun event that started three decades ago. The competition features live music, great food, and a teeming audience.
6. Swim in the Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is one of the world’s most beautiful bodies of water. If you don’t mind getting a little sandy, it’s the perfect place to swim, sunbathe, and relax.
The water is warm and crystal clear, and the beaches are clean and well-maintained. In addition to swimming, the Gulf of Mexico is also a great place to relax on the beach, build sandcastles, and enjoy incredible views.
You’ll enjoy spending time in the Gulf of Mexico, whether you’re an experienced swimmer or a beginner. Be sure to use sunscreen and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
7. Take a Deep Sea Fishing Trip
Deep fishing is one of the best things to do on South Padre Island, and many charter companies offer trips for novice and experienced anglers. Our top pick is Captain Hector Lopez Fishing.
Captain Hector has been fishing since he was a child and knows the Gulf of Mexico like the back of his hand. He offers different trips, including half-day and full-day excursions.
During a deep sea fishing trip, you’ll have the chance to catch a variety of fish, including Tuna, Redfish, Snook, Tarpon, and Trout. Deep sea fishing is an exciting activity for the whole family, and it’s an exciting way to experience South Padre Island’s world-famous fishing.
8. Dine at One of South Padre’s Many Restaurants
SPI is home to various restaurants offering fresh seafood to Tex-Mex cuisine.
If you’re looking for a casual dining experience, check out Blackbeard’s Restaurant. This pirate-themed restaurant is a South Padre Island institution, and it’s known for its fresh seafood and hand-crafted cocktails.
For a more upscale dining experience, head to Clayton’s Beach Bar & Grill. This beachfront restaurant offers stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico and is a great place to enjoy a meal while watching the sunset.
No matter what kind of food you’re in the mood for, you’ll find it on South Padre Island. Be sure to ask for their signature Turbo Pina Coladas.
9. Have a Spa Day at Sapphire Spa
Sapphire Spa is a luxurious day spa that offers various services, including massages, facials, and body treatments.
After a day of exploring South Padre Island, there’s nothing better than relaxing with a massage. In addition to massages, Sapphire Spa also offers manicures and mud therapy. You can also purchase spa packages that include a combination of services.
After your spa day, you’ll feel refreshed and rejuvenated. And you’ll be ready to take on South Padre Island’s nightlife.
Final Thoughts on Things to Do in South Padre Island
South Padre Island is a beautiful and unique place to visit. There’s so much to see and do, and you’re sure to have a great time.
Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, try your hand at deep sea fishing, or explore the island’s nightlife, South Padre Island has something for everyone. So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip to South Padre Island today!
Karee Blunt is a nationally syndicated travel journalist, focused on discovering destinations and experiences that captivate and inspire others through her writing. She is also the founder of Our Woven Journey, a travel site focused on inspiring others to create memory-making adventures with their loved ones. Karee is passionate about encouraging others to step out of their comfort zone and live the life they dream of. She is the mother of six kids, including four through adoption, and lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest. You can learn more about Karee on her about me page.