Welcome to your own tropical Island – South Padre Island. With 34 miles of beautiful white sand and clear emerald water, South Padre Island is one of the world’s most exquisite barrier islands – and the only Island in Texas! South Padre Island has some of the widest and cleanest beaches. With the widest point of the Island being just a half-mile, you’re always just steps away from the ocean. South Padre Island is a small coastal community that offers a wide variety of year-round activities for everyone. Whether you’re a family looking for the perfect beach vacation, a couple wanting a romantic getaway, a bride planning a dream wedding, a fishing enthusiast seeking your biggest catch, a nature lover who wants to get up close and personal with dolphins and sea turtles, or an adventure-seeker in search of watersports – you’ll love what you love more on your Island – South Padre Island! No matter what time of the year, South Padre Island offers mild temperatures and calm. Our South Padre Island Travel Guide can help you with everything you need to have a great vacation at South Padre Island beaches! Also find out about other best beaches of Texas.
Weather (Best Time to Go)
The best time to visit South Padre Island is from September to February. Unless you are planning to join in on the spring break fun — rowdy partying at all hours of the day — you’ll find this tiny town rather unbearable in March. However, during the other 11 months out of the year, SPI exudes a relaxed aura perfect for sun-seekers and families. Plus hotel rates are reasonably low compared to other beach destinations. Just be advised that if you’re planning a summer trip, there’s a slight chance you’ll encounter some unfriendly hurricane weather.
March – May
It’s no wonder why South Padre has become a spring break haven: Average spring temperatures range from the mid-60s to the mid-80s. As the ice and snow begin to thaw and mid-terms come to an end, countless numbers of college students flee south for some much-needed R&R. And because many college students squeeze upward of 10 people into one room, the hotels are forced to jack up their rates to turn a profit. So if you’re looking to save, now is not the time. May, however, offers a tiny sweet spot for visitors: The college kids have come and gone and the hurricane season has yet to arrive.
June – August
Summers in South Padre are hot: Average highs hover in the upper 80s making the beach and water-centric attractions like Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark seem even more inviting. You’ll find plenty of bargain-priced hotel rooms, but make sure you prepare for the heat. Pack plenty of sunscreen and make sure to drink lots of water. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on the weather. Although it’s rare, South Padre has been known to experience hurricane weather during this season.
September – November
As temperatures drop back into the mid-80s, it becomes much more comfortable to explore South Padre (and the historical sites across Laguna Madre in Port Isabel) on foot. However, make sure to bring an umbrella. September is known as the rainiest month — although this tiny town still sees limited amounts of precipitation — and the threat of hurricane weather (albeit slight) still prevails. But don’t let that deter you from visiting. October and November are particularly great: You’ll have missed the summer heat and the winter vacationers will have yet to arrive. Plus, there are plenty of fun and family-friendly events that take place during these months.
December – February
Winter might be a little too chilly to dive into the bay — average temperatures rest in the 50s and 60s — but the weather is perfect for a stroll along the Laguna Madre Nature Trail, a picnic in Isla Blanca Park or a dolphin cruise. There are also several special events held during this time. However, SPI is a popular winter getaway spot for northern Texans, so make sure to book your hotel room at least a few weeks in advance.
Things Not to Miss
Padre Island National Seashore
Padre Island National Seashore separates the Gulf of Mexico from the Laguna Madre, one of a few hypersaline lagoons in the world. The park protects 70 miles of coastline, dunes, prairies, and wind tidal flats teeming with life. It is a safe nesting ground for the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle and a haven for over 380 bird species. It also has a rich history, including the Spanish shipwrecks of 1554.
Port Isabel Lighthouse
Of the 16 lighthouses originally constructed along the Texas coast, Port Isabel is the only one open to the public. With a perch 50 feet above the ground, it is popular with photographers and other visitors, because they can enjoy great views of South Padre Island and the beaches. In fact, a number of couples have climbed the 75 winding stairs, including three short ladders, to exchange wedding vows at the top of the tower. The grassy knoll where the lighthouse sits is ideal for strolling and relaxing, and the facilities are for historical study and scenic viewing. Picnic tables are also available.
Brazos Island Park
Brazos Island is a barrier island south of Padre Island, at the south end of the Laguna Madre. It was the spot for many battles during the 1800s. The Brazos Island State Scenic Park is located on this island. The park has a 1 square km undeveloped area and offers ocean fishing, surfing, swimming, camping, and nature study.
Things to Do
On South Padre Island, there’s never a shortage of things to do and fun activities – all year long! Whether you want to camp under the stars and wake up to the sound of waves, visit Gerry the sea turtle, take a surfing lesson, enjoy the night with live music, food and drinks – or do it all – South Padre Island offers this and much more. Love what you love more on your Island – South Padre Island!
The quality of your vacation experience is what’s important to Osprey Cruises. With six boats, they offer you and your family choices that range from Deep Sea and Bay fishing excursions and sightseeing nature cruises to high speed thrill rides and Pirate Adventure cruises. Something for everyone! If you’re looking for fun on the water, you’ll find it with them. Welcome aboard. Looking for some excitement and the wind in your hair … take a ride on Thriller! Their 55′ Speedboat. Want to score the big catch? Choose from their Bay Fishing or Deep Sea Fishing Trips. Private charters are available. Your enjoyment is what counts and outstanding service is their goal! For more information contact 956-761-6655 or visit Osprey Cruises.
The Original Dolphin Watch
One of the most unique activities on South Padre Island is the dolphin watching tour. South Texas is a year-round home to several large pods of dolphin and The Original Dolphin Watch is your ticket to viewing them in all their natural splendor. One of the most memorable activities you will take part in while visiting South Padre is a cruise. Share the thrill of meeting bottle-nose and spinner dolphins in the wild and experience the unique bond and kinship they inspire in mankind.Trips leave daily from the Sea Ranch Marina. Enjoy sunshine and salt air along with refreshments and an educational presentation aboard the 60′ cruise boat Double Sunshine. For more information contact 956-761-4243 or visit The Original Dolphin Watch.
Southern Wave Sailing Charters
A visit to South Padre Island or the Rio Grande Valley wouldn’t be complete without a cruise on The Southern Wave. The Southern Wave is a large, stable and comfortable sailing Catamaran that is perfect for a leisurely day’s sail, an exciting afternoon of dolphin watching, or experience an evening watching the breath-taking South Padre Island sunset over the water on one of their famous dinner cruises. It’s the perfect way to spend your day and to start your evening. No sea-sickness…guaranteed! Trips include snorkeling, dinner cruises, sunset/fireworks and moonlight cruises. For more information contact 956-772-7245 or visit Southern Wave Sailing Charters.
South Padre Surf Co.
“It’s not about how good you are, its about how much fun you have!” Learn to surf in 1 easy lesson at South Padre Island Texas. With South Padre Surf Company, anyone can learn to surf! Their surfing lessons and surf camps are fun for all ages! Their family owned and operated surf school caters to all people, regardless of your age, abilities or disabilities. Personal instruction from Texas most experienced and respected ocean lifeguards and surfers for an exciting and unforgettable surfing experience at the best surfing location in the Gulf of Mexico! For more information contact 956-772-7272 or visit South Padre Surf Co.
South Padre Birding & Nature Center
The South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center and gift shop is the Rio Grande Valley’s premier destination for bird watching. This unique location on South Padre Island is the perfect place to observe the birds, butterflies and natural wildlife in coastal South Texas. Visit them on South Padre Island, walk the bay front boardwalks, take a birding tour and explore the nature center. For more information call 956-761-6801 or visit South Padre Birding & Nature Center.
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$$ The Cafe on the Beach
Warm tropical breezes whispering beneath the soft sounds of the surf, the aroma of fine cuisine expertly prepared by skilled and seasoned hands wafting through the air and making its way gently to your table. The sun is setting low in the west, the first twinkling star winking from behind the orange-pink clouds floating above the beach. You’re not dreaming, you’re sitting in the covered deck dining area of the exquisite Cafe on the Beach, overlooking the dunes and surf, sharing a special moment with a special someone, an experience in paradise and an adventure in coastal dining. For more information call 956-761-1316 or visit The Cafe on the Beach.
$$ The Lookout Bar & Refuge
The Lookout Bar + Refuge is a beachfront restaurant on South Padre Island. Their small restaurant serves a simple variety of your favorite food, alongside a world-class bar selection. Everything from their burgers to their seafood contain the highest quality ingredients for the best flavor. Their bartenders are trained to provide you with anything you need, from a great drink to great company. For more information call 956-255-6642 or visit The Lookout Bar & Refuge.
$$ Pier 19 Restaurant & Bar
The entire pier has been dedicated to your dining and sightseeing pleasure. Located perfectly on the Laguna Madre between the Queen Isabella Causeway and the Brownsville Ship Channel creates a unique panorama for photography or viewing pleasure. Pelicans, dolphins, large ships, charter boats, parasailing, beautiful sunsets and much more can be viewed from the restaurant, boardwalk or Hooker’s bar at the end of the pier. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. Their specialty is “Local Wild Caught” seafood cooked to perfection. Bring your catches to them and they will have their chefs prepare you a feast with all the trimmings. For more information call 956-761-7437 or visit Pier 19 Restaurant & Bar.
$$$$ Liam’s Steak House & Oyster Bar
They are the best fine dining steak house in the Texas valley, part of Dirty Al’s company. They strive on customer service and food quality. Their customers are number one in their list. They don’t only have steaks on their menu, they also have fresh seafood from Red snapper to king crab, gulf shrimp and oysters in their delicious specialties. Give them the opportunity to have as you as one of their guests. For more information call 956-772-4700 or visit Liam’s Steak House & Oyster Bar.
$$ Sea Ranch Restaurant Bar
Sea Ranch Restaurant has been serving South Padre Island visitors for over 35 years, and has established itself as the island’s premier dining destination. If you haven’t spent an evening at the Sea Ranch Restaurant, you haven’t truly experienced South Padre. Their menu is comprised of local seafood that is caught directly from the Gulf of Mexico, and it changes often based on what is in season. Every item is made with high-quality ingredients, from fresh seafood to juicy steaks and hearty pastas. Their house specialty is the Red Snapper, which has become a customer favorite as well. For more information call 956-761-1314 or visit Sea Ranch Restaurant & Bar.
Louie’s Backyard on South Padre Island has been an island favorite for a fine dining destination for years. Each night they strive to pamper their guests with great service and to satisfy their demanding palates with scrumptious menu items cooked by their gourmet chefs. Are you looking for steak? Louie’s serves hand-cut steaks. Prefer seafood? Louie’s will tempt you with our peel and eat shrimp and fresh fish. To top it all off, you may want to leave room for their famous “Death by Chocolate” cake. Enjoy your Louie’s fine dining experience as you relax in either air-conditioned comfort or with a beautiful sunset view on our bay-front patio. Offering several dining options, everyone is sure to be satisfied at Louie’s Backyard. For information contact 956-761-6406 or visit Louie’s Backyard.
Clayton’s Beach Bar
Welcome to Clayton’s, the biggest beach bar in Texas. Clayton’s hosts the biggest concerts and special events on South Padre Island. Relax on their huge beach deck, catch some rays, and enjoy their signature Turbo Pina Coladas. Listen to live music by the best bands in South Texas and grab some delicious seafood from the bar. Check out one of their upcoming major events, concerts, and Fireworks on the Beach schedule. Everything’s bigger in Texas – especially their beach bar! For information contact 956-761-5900 or visit Clayton’s Beach Bar.
Serving seafood, sunsets and cocktails. Great place to see the sunset! If you’re looking for a gourmet meal, this isn’t the place. If you’re looking for good bar food, friendly people and a place where locals hang out, this is the place. It’s a great laid-back place with an incredible view of the bay. You’ll find an outstanding atmosphere with live bands playing. The ceviche, boiled shrimp, and Mahi Mahi fish sandwich are the best!
Kelly’s Irish Pub
They have one of the Best Reubens you will ever try, their kitchen is open late everyday and this is the spot where locals hang out nightly. Simply the most fun you will have on the island. For more information call 956-433-5380 or visit them on Facebook.
Top South Padre Island Hotels
Hilton Garden Inn South Padre Island
This property is a 5-minute walk from the beach. This hotel is located on the north side of South Padre Island, across from the convention and visitors bureau and 500 feet from the Gulf of Mexico. The hotel offers an oceanfront swimming pool and an on-site restaurant. The Great American Grill Restaurant at the property is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Room service is also available. Guests at Hilton Garden Inn South Padre Island can use a fitness center or a 24-hour business center. Laundry facilities are also available. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Hilton Garden Inn South Padre Island.
Peninsula Island Resort & Spa
This property is 1 minute walk from the beach. This South Padre Island resort has private beach access and an on-site spa and wellness center. The resort’s staff offers 24-hour concierge services to meet the needs of guests. An outdoor swimming pool with a sundeck is open to all guests of Peninsula Resort. Guests will also have access to a fitness center and free parking. Oceanfront dining at Las Olas Restaurant Bar and Grill includes coastal Mexican cuisine, beer and wine. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Peninsula Island Resort & Spa.
La Copa Inn Beach Hotel
Located on the beach of South Padre Island, this hotel is 3.1 miles from Port Isabel, Texas. It features a fitness center, business center and free WiFi. La Copa Inn Beach Hotel also offers a hot continental breakfast with omelette station. An outdoor pool and hot tub are available to guests at this South Padre Island hotel. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit La Copa Inn Beach Hotel.
La Quinta Inn & Suites South Padre Island
Nested on South Padre Island, Texas, along the Gulf of Mexico, this beachfront hotel offers convenient services such as free high-speed internet access as well as free parking. La Quinta Inn & Suites is a pet-friendly hotel with an outdoor swimming pool and whirlpool tub. Guests can work out in the fitness center or take advantage of the convenient laundry facilities. For lunch and dinner, guests can visit the hotel’s Beach Bar and Grill. The area surrounding the La Quinta Inn is filled with a variety of activities and attractions. Visitors can go deep-sea fishing, parasailing or horseback riding. Attractions such as the South Padre Island Convention Center and the World Birding Center are only minutes away. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit La Quinta Inn & Suites South Padre Island.
Schlitterbahn Beach Resort & Waterpark
This property is 3 minutes walk from the beach. Located 1.2 miles from the Gulf of Mexico beach, this resort on South Padre Island boasts a waterpark and on-site dining options. Free private parking is available. The outdoor waterpark has floating rivers, water coasters and a surfing ride. Shrimp Haus restaurant offers ocean views and casual dining at Schlitterbahn Beach Resort. Seaside Grill serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sea 4 Ever Rooftop Bar & Grill features tapas, cocktails and signature sangria. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Schlitterbahn Beach Resort & Waterpark.