South Padre Island Attractions
The long and rich history of South Padre Island provides for fun and interesting things to see. While this is not a history lesson we want you to know a little about what makes South Padre Island such a great destination, and about the fun things to see.
Instead of just driving across the bridge to the island, know that you are on the longest bridge in the state of Texas. Built in 1974, the Queen Isabella Memorial Causeway serves as the only link, beside boats, to South Padre Island.
South Padre Island gets its name from Padre Ballí (ca. 1770–1829), also known as José Nicolás Ballí, who was a rancher, a priest, and an original grantee of Padre Island. See the statue of Padre Ballí located at the island end of the causeway.
If you turn right after getting off the causeway, or go south, you will see Isla Blanca Park. Isla Blanca Park is the very southern tip of South Padre Island, and “the Jetties”, or the stone rip rap lined up jutting out into the Gulf of Mexico is the beginning of the Intracoastal Waterway. Don’t miss the Christ statue that welcomes the sailors back from the sea, very much like the Christ statue above Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
The Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) is a 3,000-mile inland waterway along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts of the United States. While much of the Laguna Madre is not more 6 to 8 feet deep the Intracoastal Waterway is dredged to depths of 40 feet or more. Good Fishing!
While at Isla Blanca Park check out the University of Texas – Pan America Marine Biology Lab. You will be amazed at the species and varieties of marine life that call Laguna Madre and Gulf of Mexico home. Check exhibit schedules and activities.
Before heading too far north stop at the South Padre Island Visitors Center (610 Padre Blvd). If you every thought of yourself as a sandcastle builder extraordinaire, think again. It will be hard to miss the Worlds’ Largest Sandcastle. Be sure to go into the Visitors Center and get a map to see all the sandcastles around the island.
No trip to the island is complete until you see the great work being done for all species of sea turtles at the Sea Turtle Inc. Get up close and personal with these incredible creatures. Located north on the Padre Blvd, near the South Padre Island Nature and Birding Center.
The South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center, covering nearly 50 acres, presents a microcosm of the rich habitats that contribute to this very special place. Dune meadows, salt marsh and intertidal flats are all represented here, along with thickets of native shrubs and trees that are irresistible to migrating birds in their season.
South Padre Island is a crucial first landfall – a lifesaver – for birds making an arduous cross-Gulf migration from Southern Mexico and northern Central America. Especially after a spring storm, wooded lots of the island teem with an eye-popping rainbow of warblers, tanagers, orioles and thrushes. Wetlands harbor a range of shorebirds and waterfowl, while endangered species such as the Brown Pelican, Piping Plover and Peregrine Falcon may be found here as well.
Just north of the nature and birding center is the South Padre Island Convention Center. On the exterior walls are paintings by the artist Wyland. Life size sea creatures come to life in the magnificent style of Wyland.
Padre Island Rentals wants you to enjoy all there is to see here on South Padre Island. You have the fun, we will take care of the accommodations.