Things to do in South Padre Island, TX

More About South Padre Island

Long before Padre Jose Nicholas Balli established the first permanent settlement on this sliver of land off the East Texas coast, native Karankawa tribes wisely spent winter months here, attracted by spectacular sunrises, calm waters, and unparalleled fishing. Since the mid-1970s, spring-breaking college students have taken advantage of the awesome year-round weather and perpetual party-time atmosphere that make this barrier island town one of the Gulf Coast's top vacation spots. Indeed, the island's sub-tropical temperatures rarely rise above 85° in the summer or drop below 65° in the winter, and steady easterly breezes sweep past palm trees and sandy dunes, providing windsurfers of all skill levels with some of the best conditions imaginable. What's more, golfers find that South Padre and the Rio Grande Valley sport some of southeastern Texas's best courses, including the championship-caliber South Padre Island Golf Club. Netters are happy to discover that the island's dry climate makes tennis a possibility all year, and anglers find the clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico and landlocked Laguna Madre Bay ripe with flounder, red snapper, amberjack, whiting, kingfish, marlin, and sailfish. Once the sun sets and hunger pangs hit, vacationers should prepare for a true treat, since South Padre's dining scene is as diverse as it is plentiful, with restaurants serving Polynesian, Mediterranean, Italian, and New American fare. Of course, visiting Texas and not sampling native Tex-Mex cuisine is nothing short of sacrilege, and places like Jesse's Cantina have all you need in the way of margaritas, sangria, fajitas de camarón, and kicking salsa. For the late-night crowd, the island springs to life with terrific bars and dance clubs, and countless thatch-roofed huts and beachside cabanas serve cold brews and mixed drinks well into the night. Fun places like Louie's Backyard, with its bungee tower and outdoor dance floor, and Schlitterbahn Beach, a huge park that boasts everything from thrilling pavilion rides to rocking concerts, round out the Padre Island night scene.