Fun Teen Activities on South Padre Island

By Carla Meadows

This blog post is part of the Texas Travel Blogger take over of South Padre Island.

Although we’re at summer’s end, my daughter and I aren’t quite ready to say goodbye to the season. We plan to squeeze out all the summer memories we can before Labor Day ushers in the return to school.

Our criteria for this so-long-to-summer getaway was to find an easy-to-get-to Texas destination that offered a great beach experience with lots of fun stuff for teens.

We discovered that South Padre Island was the perfect choice for this mother-daughter adventure. The island, with its pristine beaches and tropical turquoise waters, has an array of affordable activities to keep my teen busy and make my wallet happy.

Best of all, the island’s moderate temps and lovely climate make it a great place to take your upperclassmen during school breaks and family holidays all year long.

Here are just a few of activities that your teen will enjoy at South Padre Island.

The Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark is a perennial teen favorite!

water park

My daughter loved the fast-moving interconnecting water rides, thrilling uphill water coasters and manmade surfing wave. Parents will also get a huge kick out of wet and wild adventure rides on the Gale Force and Storm Chaser.

As a mom, it was awesome to ride along together with my daughter in a two-person inner tube throughout the afternoon. We hadn’t been conjoined like that since I used to cart her around in a baby pouch sling.

water tube

Enhance your family’s waterpark experience by staying at the Schlitterbahn Beach Resort. This family-friendly destination is South Padre Island’s most inclusive beachfront resort.

You can literally sleep, swim, splash and repeat without even leaving the property. Plus, it’s got five on-site restaurants specializing in kid-friendly fare and it gives your teens access to both the indoor and outdoor waterparks.

pool hotel water park

Watersports for teens abound on the island

My daughter and I couldn’t get enough of the watersport activities at South Padre Island. There were so many choices like kayaking, snorkeling, windsurfing, kiteboarding and stand up paddle boarding.

Our adventure started out with a two-man kayak rental from Air Padre. South Padre Island’s calm, shallow waters of the Laguna Madre Bay make it perfect for an afternoon on the water. Afterwards, we revved up the action on a speeding jet ski excursion with my daughter riding gunshot for a thrilling experience neither one of us will soon forget.

jet ski

Dolphin and marine wildlife tours help teach teens about the environment

My daughter and I spotted several of Flipper’s friends on the dolphin watch tour at Osprey Cruises.

The cruise not only allows teens to take in the island’s abundant and diverse wildlife, but it also doubles as great way to view the fireworks in the evening as you dance the night away aboard the ship.

Osprey Cruises

If your teen is more of a landlubber

The Island Adventure Park is a go-to source for horseback riding on the beach with daytime, sunset and moonlight rides.

My daughter loves riding and the center has a large selection of horses specifically trained to accommodate kids of all ages and first-time equestrians. The park also features our favorite – zip lines! It’s their newest attraction and teens will think it’s a totally cool way to experience the island.

Teens will get a bird’s-eye view of the island at the South Padre Island Birding & Nature Center. With over 360 recorded species, the island is one of the premier birding locations in the Western Hemisphere.

birding center

My daughter and I hiked up the 5-story tower to explore the breathtaking 360-degree views of the island. The center has also features amazing exhibits, boardwalk nature trails and bird blinds.

Walking the expansive boardwalk trails allows moms to get those steps in, while teens join along to read the interpretive panels along the path that provide interesting educational insights.

The wide variety of interactive experiences and opportunities of one-of-a-kind adventures makes South Padre Island a top pick for your kid’s own teen choice award.

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Carla Meadows

Carla is a Dallas-based brand influencer and lifestyle/family travel writer. She’s turned her love of road trip adventures into a blog, Mommy’s Minivan Adventures, filled with fun tales and tips, along with useful product and destination reviews. Join her, her hubby, two teens and their lovable golden retriever as they strive to create intentional family moments by rediscovering the beauty of travel around the country or across town.


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