We'll begin with the most obvious attraction at South Padre Island-the wide, clean, soft-sand beach. Unlike some other beaches in Texas, South Padre does not allow vehicles on the beach within it's city limits. That's a plus, not only for aesthetics, but for the environment and overall safety as well. It also means, however, that you should be prepared to pack a big beach bag! However, if you head north on South Padre Island from the South Beach Inn, located on South Padre Island,Tx, you can drive onto the beach at a county beach access point.
If you're staying at South Beach Inn, it's just a short walk out to find your preferred spot of sand. There are no private beach areas, so take your pick.
The island has two public parks. Isla Blanca Park, at the southern end, offers RV camping sites, picnic areas, showers, rest rooms, and a snack bar. Andy Bowie Park, just four miles north of the causeway, offers picnic pavilions and a children's playground. Both parks charge a small day-use fee, but for some families the conveniences that the parks offer are well worth it.
Chairs and umbrellas are a good idea, especially if you plan to spend an entire day in the sun. Both are available for rent from concessions on the beach. Besides a chair and an umbrella, you'll want to bring towels, sunscreen, hats, and some snacks and refreshments. Glass containers are not allowed on the beach, and all trash must be taken with you when you leave or deposited in the trash bins provided.
As the sand can get toasty during those long, sunny days, beach shoes or sandals are a good idea South Beach Inn, located on South Padre Island,Tx. as well-especially if you plan to do any beachcombing! The tides at South Padre Island bring a fresh batch of seashells up onto the sand each night, so every day can bring new discoveries.
For those who prefer to make a beeline for the water, the Gulf of Mexico is ready and waiting. With water temperatures that range between 65 in the winter and 85 in the summer, South Padre offers a refreshing dip anytime.
The waves along the beach are a big draw for surfers. Those using a surfboard tend to prefer the waves at the north jetties, near Isla Blanca Park. Boogie boards are popular in the shallower waters close to shore, and bodysurfers can find good wave action almost anywhere.
Another favorite on-the-beach pastime is building sand castles. You can create your own or take a lesson from a member of the island's own team of professional sand sculptors, the "Sons of the Beach Sand Castle Wizards." Team founders Amazing' Walter & sandy feet have built sand sculptures all over the world and have taught literally thousands of people how to have more sand castling fun on the beach. To learn more about sand castle-building lessons, visit www.sonsofthebeach.com .
If you can't get enough of that salt-kissed wind in your hair, you might want to try horseback riding on the beach. An equestrian center at the north end of town offers horses for beginners and experienced riders alike. No trail rides or predetermined routes here-just point your horse toward the beach and "giddyup."