From sun worshippers to sandcastle builders, kite boarders to windsurfers, birdwatchers to beachcombers, South Padre Island (or SPI, as the locals say) attracts them all.
Island life is available anytime here, where you can get coastal and chill out by the water, have a break from the beach at South Padre Island Golf Club, or take the family to splash around at one of South Padre Island’s biggest attractions: Beach Park at Isla Blanca.
In case you need more convincing, here are five reasons to love SPI:
1. Outdoor adventures are yours for the taking
Sure, you can beach it all day and take part in nearly any type of water sport, but if you want to swim on a slightly wilder side, get face-to-face with exotic marine wildlife in the clear, shallow waters of Laguna Madre Bay.
Or take a deep dive and book a lesson for scuba diving with American Diving and learn how to navigate the open waters of the Texas Gulf Coast.
Adrenaline junkies will run for the parasailing and jet skis, while you’ll find fishing enthusiasts inshore and deep-sea fishing. Pro tip: Have one of the island’s local spots cook your catch.
2. You can be a nature tourist
SPI is a habitat for the endangered Kemp’s Ridley turtle species, and Sea Turtle, Inc. offers an up-close look at these creatures.
As the Rio Grande Valley’s premier destination for birdwatching, the South Padre Island Birding Nature Center & Alligator Sanctuary has some of the best access to observe birds, butterflies, and natural wildlife in coastal South Texas.
3. It’s the Sandcastle Capital of the World
While you’re at the beach, book a sandcastle lesson with one of the island’s many talented pros and learn from the finest sand sculptors around.
Whether you want to build a traditional castle, an animal, a character, or even your own sand throne, you’ll learn both the basics and advanced sculpting skills — no artistic ability required!
4. It’s a seafood lover’s dream
It will come as no surprise that seafood is the most popular cuisine in SPI, but you might be amazed at the diversity in flavors and vibe among the restaurants, which each have their own unique style.
For example, The Painted Marlin Grille serves up fresh seafood paired a relaxed atmosphere and gorgeous views of the sunset over Laguna Madre Bay.
Another glorious view comes courtesy of the aptly named Cafe on the Beach.
For something a bit more formal, Sea Ranch Restaurant and Bar sends out surf-and-turf at its finest — and don’t skip their Sea Ranch Swirl Margarita.
5. There are fireworks all summer long
You don’t have to wait until the Fourth of July to find that spark. There’s no more festive way to end your day at the beach than to watch fireworks reflect off the water, which happens each weekend during the summer.
Naturally, SPI also boasts a range of places to stay, all with easy access to island activities and attractions, including romantic inns, luxe resorts, and family-friendly hotels and rentals.
To plan your trip and discover more about what makes SPI special, head over to the South Padre Island Convention and Visitors Bureau.