What do sea turtles, swashbuckling pirates, waterslides, sandcastles, and fireworks all have in common? South Padre Island! You can experience all of these awesome things on the Island and make your family vacation a “playcation” you won’t soon forget.
Take a walk on the wild side!
Sea Turtle, Inc.
Did you know that South Padre Island is a nesting ground to the world’s most endangered sea turtle, the Kemp’s Ridley? Sea Turtle, Inc. provides the Kemp’s Ridley, and other sea turtles, with medical and rehabilitation care to ultimately return them to their natural habitat. The facility also offers visitors up-close-and-personal views of local marine life as well as educational programs, presentations and guided tours.
South Padre Island Birding, Nature Center & Alligator Sanctuary
The South Padre Island Birding, Nature Center & Alligator Sanctuary, situated along the wetlands of the Laguna Madre Bay, features exhibits on the Island’s birds and other natural features, along with a five-story viewing tower, viewing blinds, and boardwalk nature trails.
Ride alongside pods of bottlenose dolphins and watch them play in the Laguna Madre Bay on one of our dolphin tours! There are several dolphin pods residing in the waters just off the shore of the Island, so the tours boast a success rate of nearly 100 percent! What’s more, is the Island was recently ranked #3 for “10 Best Dolphin Sighting Destinations in North America” by the Travel Channel.
Set sail for adventure!
Black Dragon Cruise
Board the Black Dragon Pirate Ship, a modern-day replica of a 17th Century Galleon, and join Captain Black-Hearted Andy, Scourge of the Laguna Madre, and his jolly crew for an interactive cruise filled with stories, treasure hunts, and more. Learn to fight like a pirate, speak like a pirate, hunt for treasure, and share the booty!
Maybe you’ve been horseback riding before, but have you ever been horseback riding on the beach? Island Adventure Park offers horseback riding tours that allow you to experience the thrill of exploring the dunes of South Padre Island and splash through the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Beach Park at Isla Blanca
Formerly known as Schlitterbahn, the outdoor waterpark and resort and all-out water extravaganza, is a summertime tradition for Texans and tourists alike. There are 24 rides, the Surf Rider Surfing Wave, and it’s all connected by a lazy river. Even better, the river also doubles as the line for many of the rides — so you never even have to step foot out of the water.
Unleash your creative side!
Did you know that South Padre Island is the Sandcastle Capital of the World and home to the Largest Outdoor Sandcastle in the USA? Book a sandcastle lesson with one of the Island’s many talented master sand sculptors to learn the building basics up to advanced sculpting skills. Whether you want to build a traditional sand castle, an animal, a cartoon character, or even your very own sand throne…our local sand sculptors will show you how it’s done. You don’t need any artistic ability, you just need to be able to have fun!
End the evening with a “bang!”
South Padre Island Fireworks
As the official “Fireworks Capital of Texas,” South Padre Island sets off a dazzling firework display over the bay, check out the full schedule of fireworks on our events calendar.