Padre Island National Seashore

Padre Island National Seashore is likely perfect for you if you’re looking for more pristine beaches than partying college students. While South Padre Island is known for its beaches, spring break beach bars, and endless entertainment, this park on the northern section of the island is well known for its undisturbed beaches and preserved atmosphere. There are many South Padre beaches to choose from during your trip to the Gulf Coast in Texas, but even if you stay at one of the local oceanfront hotels, it is possible to venture north to Padre Island National Seashore for a little peace and quiet.

The National Seashore extends for an impressive 70 miles of pristine beaches. In comparison, other South Padre beaches, such as Isla Blanca Park, are known for offering about one miles of sand. This park is so vast in comparison that it is possible to claim your own little area of the sand and not be able to hear (or possibly even see!) any other visitors. If your idea of the perfect beach day is reading a novel, splashing around in the warm Gulf of Mexico, and not being interrupted by radios, sports games, or screaming children, then this is the area of the island you should explore.

Adventurous travelers will be drawn to Padre Island National Seashore because it is possible to go camping here. Facilities are very primitive, but some visitors still prefer to get in their rental car and drive as far into the park as possible before setting up camp for a few days. When you’re renting a car, you will definitely want to rent a four-wheel-drive vehicle. Some areas of the National Seashore are only accessible to those with four wheel drive. Beyond camping, this beach is also known for another feature: sea turtles. The park is involved in helping this endangered species and every year visitors can witness the release of newborn turtles.

Similar to other South Padre beaches, the National Seashore is also known for its water sports. Laguna Madre, on the west coast for example, is very well known for windsurfing. If you’re more interested in relaxing activities such as bird watching, this is also popular in the park. Expect to see a variety of species including pelicans, falcons, egrets, herons, and ibises. Bird Island Basin, located also on the Laguna Madre side of the park, is home to a variety of birds during most seasons. The focus in this area of the island is more on nature and relaxation than on adrenaline-inducing activities such as jet skis or parasailing.

Many visitors choose to spend a few days camping followed by a few days at South Padre Island beach hotels. Another accommodation option is vacation rentals. There are affordable choices in both categories. While the island is known for its nightlife, visitors should know this is also condensed into certain times of year. If you’re looking for relative quiet, avoid the two weeks in March when college students have spring break and choose to visit during the shoulder season of spring and fall to experience the least amount of crowds. This will ensure that you can enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of South Padre Island beaches even further.

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