What To See and Do in 48 Hours on San Padre Island
If you’ve got a couple of vacation days, South Padre Island is a great place to spend them. With ample beach access points, an abundance of watersports available, oceanfront seafood restaurants, and several options to get up close and personal with nature, South Padre Island will give you the luxury getaway you’re looking for.
A barrier island along the Texas Gulf Coast San Padre Island is accessible via the Queen Isabella Causeway. It also offers convenient access by Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport, Valley International Airport, or McAllen International Airport.
Hit the Beach
With more than 20 beach access points, you’ll want to be sure to spend your first morning soaking up the sun at one of South Padre Island’s beaches. Check out Isla Blanca Park, which offers over a mile of golden sand along the Gulf of Mexico.
Get Out on the Water
After soaking up some morning rays, spend an afternoon getting active on the water. Renting a personal watercraft is one of the most popular activities on the island. Get in a workout by renting a stand up paddleboard, kayak, or kiteboard. If you’re not sure about trying it on your own and would like some guidance, several outfitters such as South Padre Island Water Sports offer individual rentals as well as lessons. If seeing the island by water in a relaxed way is more your speed, charter a boat and cruise around the island in luxurious style aboard a catamaran. Snorkel, relax in a lounging net, or go for a sunset cruise aboard one of these luxury watercrafts. There are several outfitters around the island that offer boat charters.
End your evening with a seafood dinner right on the beach. Try out Clayton’s, known as the biggest beach bar in Texas, where you can dine on seafood ceviche and sip a Pina Colada with your toes in the sand. Dance to live music on the beach deck as the sun sinks into the Gulf of Mexico. For a more upscale oceanfront dining experience, try Café on the Beach at The Palms Resort. Their dining area offers beautiful views of the water. Order a fried seafood basket with your choice of shrimp, oysters, red snapper, or a combination.
For your second day on South Padre Island, take advantage of the opportunity to get up close and personal with the island’s wildlife. Take your pick between dolphins, sea turtles, or birds, and enjoy a day outdoors observing these animals in their natural habitats.
South Padre Island Dolphin Research & Sealife Nature Center
The Nature Center offers the chance to touch creatures such as starfish and hermit crabs in their kid-friendly touch tanks, and there are daily nature presentations on dolphins and other marine life. To see bottle nose dolphins in their natural habitats, go on one of the Center’s boat tours. With tours limited to six people, this hour and a half excursion will be small and personalized, affording amazing photo opportunities with dolphins splashing and playing alongside your boat.
Sea Turtle Inc.
Founded in 1977, Sea Turtle, Inc. was established to help protect sea turtles, which they now rescue and rehabilitate. Learn more about these magnificent creatures by viewing a presentation about turtle conservation and observe as baby sea turtles are released back into the wild (spring season only).
South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center
More than 300 species of birds pass through this area throughout the year. The South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center has a five-story viewing tower offering panoramic views and an auditorium showing short documentary movies. Even if birds aren’t high on your interest list, the Laguna Madre Nature Trail is a great spot to stretch your legs on a morning stroll. This boardwalk ambles from the South Padre Island Convention Center to the Laguna Madre wetlands.
Where to Stay
South Padre Island has plenty of oceanfront hotels and condos so that you can enjoy sea breezes and the sound of the ocean against the shore from the comfort of your rental. For a resort feel with lavish swimming pools, try The Isla Grand Beach Resort. Located right on the beach on the southern part of South Padre Island, its two swimming pools, hot tubs, tennis courts, sand volleyball courts, and restaurants have all the amenities you’ll need. Another popular hotel is the Pearl South Padre. With lounge chairs and tall palm trees surrounding the massive pool, you may never want to leave – and you don’t have to. Relax in the pool all day while enjoying the convenience of the swim-up bar, which serves small meals and beer, wine, and cocktails. Other than top-notch hotels, there are a plethora of private condominiums available for rent on South Padre Island, many of which offer balconies opening right up to the ocean.
Beaches, watersports, wildlife, and great oceanfront restaurants – South Padre Island has it all!
About The Author: Natasha is a travel writer who loves writing about the beach, good food, and gorgeous locales, making South Padre Island a logical choice. This article was written on the behalf of Franke Rentals