1. The southernmost island of the Texas barrier islands extending from East Matagorda Bay down to Port Isabella, Padre Island comprises 113 miles of white sand, rolling dunes dotted with grass and ocean water marshes teeming with wildlife. As one of America’s longest unspoiled barrier islands, Padre Island offers visitors many ways to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life while enjoying many fun and interesting diversions.


    South Padre Island

    South Padre KOA offers oceanside campsites as well as rental cabins. Each site features full hookups, including phone and cable TV service; many are handicapped-friendly sites. Amenities include a heated pool, laundry facilities, hot showers, a sauna and hot tub, mini golf, firewood, a restaurant and store, pavilions, a boat ramp and guided tours. Spend your time riding horses on the beach, going on a dolphin watch or deep-sea fishing, or take a day trip to nearby Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark.


    Port Isabella

    Across the Port Isabella Causeway from South Padre Island, you will find Port Isabel Park Center, where you can spend the day exploring old lighthouses, taking in the natural environs, bird-watching or fishing. The 200 grassy sites accommodate both RVs and tent campers, and offer full hookups, cable TV and hot showers. Amenities include a recreation room with pool tables, boat ramps, a dock and many fishing options. Take a quick drive south of the border for bargain shopping in Mexico while visiting.


    What to Do on South Padre Island

    Exploring by car, on a bike or on foot, you will see historical sites, museums and wilderness areas where you may catch sight of peregrine falcons, white-tailed deer, kangaroo rats and coyotes. From spring until midsummer, you may witness the spawn of loggerhead and Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles, and an impressive variety of wild birds. Golfers will enjoy the eight nearby courses and fishermen can try their hand at catching redfish, flounder, trout, wahoo, drum, whiting and larger fish such as tuna, sailfish and marlin. The Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge draws hikers and nature lovers, and at the Gladys Porter Zoo, you can see 1,500 species of animals, including alligators and ocelots. Other outdoor activities include tennis, windsurfing and kite boarding.


    Where to Eat on South Padre Island

    South Padre Island has over 37 restaurants from which to choose, with ethnic sources such as Latin-American establishments like Padre Cantina, Jake’s Mexican Bar & Grill, Isabel’s Café and Manuel’s, to Italian bistros, including Marcello’s Italian Restaurant and Lighthouse Pub and Aprimo Pizza. Understandably, most restaurants specialize in seafood dishes, supplied fresh daily by local fishermen.


    South Padre Island Climate

    While daytime temperatures in the summer hover at around 90 degrees Fahrenheit, breezes off the Gulf of Mexico make the heat more bearable; summer nights average around 77 degrees. Because winter days are mild at just under 70 degrees with cool nights dipping into the mid- to lower-50s, Padre Island makes for a comfortable year-round getaway location. Precipitation in the winter is nearly the same, averaging less than two inches per month. The wettest months are September and October, coinciding with hurricane season. No matter what time of year you come, if you’re anything like me you’ll want to fish, and this is a good launching place for expeditions to big fish. What you catch depends on your luck and the time of year, because these waters are home to over 600 species of fish, many of which are delicious.

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