Skip to Content

9 Best Things To Do In South Padre Island, Texas

9 Best Things To Do In South Padre Island, Texas

If you’re looking for things to do in South Padre Island, Texas, this is the place for you!

Over the last five years, my wife and I have been traveling the USA full time in our vintage Airstream. We’ve found that Texas is an excellent winter travel getaway. South Padre, in particular, offers so many fun activities.

The area has many ways to relax and recreate. It’s also one of the most southern positioned cold-weather destinations in the USA.

Today we’re sharing the best of what’s around.

Let’s dive in!

Take a Dolphin Watching Tour

Price: $18/adult, $15 kids

Why You’ll Love It: Who doesn’t love a boat ride with adorable dolphins jumping alongside? One of the most memorable activities in South Padre is going on the ocean in a double decker boat and seeing the pods of spinner and bottle nose dolphins frolicking in the surf.

There are multiple tour options, prices and address here are for The Original Dolphin Watch.

Address: 33256 State Park Road 100, South Padre Island

What’s the Word:  “Amazing, well worth the money.” “Splurge on the sunset cruise. The view was breathtaking and we saw 5 dolphins.” (Google Reviews)

South Padre Island, TX Vibe Score: 9/10

Visit Sea Turtle, Inc

Price: Adults $6/Children $4

Why You’ll Love It: Founded in 1977 by Ila Fox Loetscher, “the Turtle Lady of South Padre,” this center’s mission is to educate the public on sea turtles, rehabilitate and release injured turtles, and assist with conservation efforts for all marine turtle species.

Ila was one of the first female pilots, and a contemporary of Amelia Earhart.

After caring for turtles at her home, she formed the Sea Turtle Inc. organization to help save her favorite marine species. Self-guided tours can visit the rehab center and the education center at their own pace, and presentations by staff are scheduled as well. 

Address: 6617 Padre Blvd, South Padre Island, TX 78597

What’s the Word: “Very educational and a good value.” “Very cool to come and learn about sea turtle rescue and rehab.” “My kids had a blast, price was right.” (Trip Advisor)

South Padre Island, TX Vibe Score: 10/10

Beach Park at Isla Blanca

Price: $48.99 adults, $38.99 kids, many discount options are available, including buy one get one offers in tourism magazines on the island, as well as purchase in advance and group rates.

Why You’ll Love It: An oceanside water park with a variety of attractions including a surf rider pool, a float up bar, water slides, zip lines, and more. Palapas and family gathering areas make a fun day at the park.

Address: 33261 State Park Road 100, South Padre Island

What’s the Word: “Had an awesome time, it brought out the kid in us.” (Google Review)

South Padre Island, TX Vibe Score: 7/10

Isla Blanca Park

Price: $12/daily, $30/30 day pass

Why You’ll Love It: Located on the southern tip of South Padre Island, there is over a mile of beach along the Gulf of Mexico, pavilions, onsite concessions and beach rentals, and plenty of room for parking.

Enjoy sitting in the sand, watching dolphins, fishing, walking trails, or a picnic. There is a full-service marina and restaurants as well. Isla Blanca Park is a must-visit.

Address: 33174 State Park Road 100, South Padre Island

What’s the Word: “Park right on the beach, but it can get crowded.” “County did a good job on renovations of the boat ramp and pavilions.” “Lots to do at the park on a nice day. Can watch the dolphins.” (Trip Advisor)

South Padre Island, TX Vibe Score: 9/10

Laguna Madre Nature Trail

Price: Free on the Laguna Madre trail, if you continue onward, the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center costs $6-8/person but has additional features.

Why You’ll Love It: The 1500 foot boardwalk crosses 4 acres of marshland on the northside of South Padre Island.

You can spot many kinds of coastal birds, marine life, and the laid back undeveloped side of the island. The trail is easy to access and good for all skill levels.

Address: 7355 Padre Blvd, South Padre Island, TX

What’s the Word: “Great place to see nature on a slow walk.” “The North side of the island is beautiful, great excursion.”  “Go at sunset.” (Google)

South Padre Island, TX Vibe Score: 7/10

Brewery: Padre Island Brewing Company

Price: $3.50-$23

Why You’ll Love It: With a selection of craft beers, and a menu that ranges from pub favorites like deep fried cheese curds, pickles and burgers up to crab stuffed flounder, it is surely a great casual place to hang out after a day enjoying the South Padre Island activities.

Pet friendly patio, and a chill vibe on the island.

Address: 3400 Padre Blvd, South Padre Island

What’s the Word: “We liked this place so much, we went twice.” “Pet-friendly patio, good bar food, and decent sized beer tasters.” (Google)

South Padre Island, TX Vibe Score: 9/10

corona beer bottle across sands

Restaurant: Lobo Del Mar

Price: $10-$20

Why You’ll Love It: Lobo Del Mar has a great location for sunset dining and socializing with live music every night and fireworks shows on Thursdays and Fridays. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, including sandwiches, tacos, hawaiian favorites, and fresh seafood.

Address: 204 Palm St, South Padre Island

What’s the Word: “Great location for sunset dining.” “Live music, fun place to socialize.” (Google)

South Padre Island, TX Vibe Score: 8/10

cooked food on stainless steel tray

Campground: Isla Blanca County Park

Price: $40-70 night depending on hookups and season. Dry camping $20-$25. Monthly rates available $500-$800 plus utilities.

Why You’ll Love It: Camp right on the Gulf of Mexico beach! This park is close to all the South Padre Island amenities.

Address: 33174 State Park Road, 100, South Padre Island

What’s the Word: “Huge & beautiful”

South Padre Island, TX Vibe Score: 6/10

Hotel: Pearl South Padre Island Resort and Spa

Price: $74-$120

Why You’ll Love It: A great location with a private beach (shared with 4 hotels), the area’s largest pool, swim-up bar, and amazing views. A variety of room styles including condo style, with mini-kitchens.

Pearl South has an on-site seafood restaurant and a beachside bar and grill for easy dining. For full relaxation, the Sapphire Spa is convenient and offers spa and resort treatments.

Address: 310 Padre, Blvd, South Padre Island

What’s the Word: “Everything you need for a beach getaway.”  “Hotel needs updating and attention to cleaning.” “View is great, food is good, and service is nice.” (

South Padre Island, TX Vibe Score: 8/10

Trip Routing to South Padre Island

If you’re traveling with an RV (or large vehicle), trip planning to South Padre Island is essential.

With RV Trip Wizard you can get a much better understanding of what to expect for a travel day. After spending a big amount of money on an RV, you don’t want to run into a low hanging bridge!

We use RV Trip Wizard to route our cross country trips. With tools like budgeting, fuel planning, and avoiding bridges, we can easily travel safely through the USA.

Here’s how to sign up to RV Trip Wizard for free.

Discover the Best Free Camping in America

To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).

You should give it a try!

As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.

Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers that love to score the best site! 

We’ll send you the 50 Best Free Campsites in the USA (one per state). Access the list by submitting your email below:

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *