South Padre Island is known as a hot beach destination during the summer months. However, the area is full of wonderful attractions that can be enjoyed year round. South Padre Island has museums, shopping, and wildlife excursions that are fun to check out during the off-season, or while taking a break from the waves. Read through for information on some of our favorite South Padre Island attractions.
Laguna Atascosa Wildlife Refuge
Check out the largest wildlife reserve in the Rio Grande Valley. Whether you’re from out of town or a Texas native, you’ll love seeing a wide variety of animal species native to the area. Laguna Atascosa houses plain chachalacas, green jays, white-tailed hawks, Harris’ hawks, Altamira orioles, olive sparrows, aplomado falcons, and other magnificent birds in its near 100,000 acres of land. During the fall and spring, there are peregrine falcons and other birds migrating through. During the winter, the reserve is home to redhead ducks, white-fronted geese, sandhill cranes, and other beautiful waterbirds.
Birds aside, there are also coyotes, bobcats, Mexican ground squirrels, and white-tailed deer roaming the premises. The South Padre Island Unit serves as a nesting grounds for sea turtles. Visitors can enjoy the wildlife through several different activities, including photography, hiking, bicycling, or taking part in an interactive tour with a guide. Entrance fee is only $3 per vehicle.
Address: 22688 Buena Vista Boulevard Los Fresnos, TX 78566
Directions • Starting in South Padre Island, merge onto 100 west towards Laguna Vista. Take a right onto FM510 and road signs will direct you towards the visitor center.
A Blast to Cast Guide Service
A Blast to Cast is South Padre Island’s premier service for deep water fishing. Captain Mike Knox has been fishing in these waters for over 20 years. With his experience, he’ll lead you and your family to a great catch and fun afternoon. Redfish, speckled trout, and flounder are a few of the more common fish swimming around South Padre Island’s bay. An afternoon on the water includes all your necessary fishing equipment. You’ll have rods, tackle, bait, line, and bottled water provided with your excursion. Captain Mike’s boat is 24 feet long, big enough to allow for four fishers at once. This is a great option for a family day trip.
Address: 206 West Swordfish South Padre Island, TX 78597
Port Isabel Lighthouse State Historic Site
There are 16 lighthouses constructed along the coast of Texas. Among these 16, Port Isabel is the only one open to the public. The lighthouse stands five stories high, offering panoramic views of the ocean and all of South Padre Island. The lighthouse was originally built in 1852, making it one of the oldest fixtures in the entire city. Port Isabel sits on a flat grassy knoll, perfect for a calm afternoon. You can throw out a blanket and enjoy a picnic on the grounds, as well as visit the facilities for more information on the area’s history.
Address: 421 East Queen Isabella Blvd
Port Isabel, TX 78578