The Best of South Padre Island: Where to eat, stay, and play
Texas’s tropical paradise, South Padre Island, is where most Texans go for sandy beaches, great weather, and clean water. With an average of 62 degrees, going here makes a fun vacation for the entire family any time during the year. Read about the best of South Padre Island below and make plans to visit.
If you want to scour the beach for seashells, build a sandcastle, maybe see a dolphin or two, or visit sea turtles, consider visiting Texas’s most popular beach and explore these SPI experiences.
Related: Outdoor Activities At Texas Beaches
The Best Of South Padre Island
Whether you visit in the summer for a full-blown vacation or to escape the cold in the winter, South Padre is a tourist town open year-round with unforgettable experiences. Explore miles and miles of tropical paradise from the world-class water experiences to activities on the bay – you’ll never tire of something to do.
Padre is miles of beaches with plenty of public access to the water with lots of parking. The Island is large enough for many people to play and stay. Welcome to Paradise.
Cruises And Tours On South Padre Island
Osprey Cruises offers a variety of cruises, so there is something for the whole family to enjoy. The 55′ Speedboat & Bay or Deep Sea Fishing trips would thrill your group. The dinner, sunset & fireworks cruises are great for everyone too!
Cruises And Tours
For Dinner Cruises and Black Dragon Pirate Cruises, contact Osprey Cruises.
The Original Dolphin Watch
There are fun tours on the island, but The Original Dolphin Watch tour company is a popular one to check out.
Another dolphin tour cruise to check out is Breakaway Cruises.
Captain Murphy’s Isla Tours
Contact Captian Murphy’s Isla Tours for more information on Fireworks Cruises and Eco Tours.
Island Adventure Park
How about a morning horseback ride or an hour of speed zipping on the beach? If these two outdoor activities don’t thrill you, there are many other things to do. Heck, parents, let the teens play, and you get a massage! Island Adventure Park provides entertainment for the whole family.
Meet Allison At Sea Turtle Inc.
Sea Turtle Inc is a non-profit organization that rehabilitates sea turtles like Allison. Also, learn about the sole founder of Sea Turtle, Inc., Ila Fox Loetscher – what her career was before her love for sea turtles. For $4- $10, year-round on a self-guided tour, you will meet the friendly residents and patients through the education facilities.
Take A Sandcastle Lesson
Building a fascinating sandcastle takes time and practice. Or, you can take an hour or so sandcastle lesson and learn exactly how to create a masterpiece. I did this for the first time at a beach in another state. The sandcastle instructor taught us how to build an adorable sandcastle in about an hour. It was indeed a fun experience.
At Sand Castle Lessons in South Padre, one of the sandcastle builders will teach you and your crew techniques to build something fun using sand, water, and tools.
Fly A Kite On The Beach Or Learn How
South Padre Island is the perfect Texas getaway for families with children. While swimming and sunning on the beach are the main draw, several other activities on the island are perfect for everyone – such as flying a kite!
Bring a kite and fly it all around the beach, or you can take kite flying lessons on the beach from B & S Kites or another friendly outfitter.
SPI Kite Fest – (February 2023)
At SPI Kite Fest, expect to see breathtaking kites fill the skies, intricate kite maneuvers wow the crowds, and meet kite pros like Bill Doan and some of the Nation’s best who will make SPI home for the weekend. This annual event is one you won’t want to miss!
Indoor Performance is a ticketed event on February 2nd from 6:30 – 8:30 at the SPI Convention Center.
Indoor tickets are $12 per person and must be purchased in advance.
February 3-4, 2023, from 10-4 on Friday and 10-3 on Saturday.
Tickets: Outdoor is Free
Take Up Birdwatching
Taking a guided birdwatching tour is a great way to see South Padre Island’s beautiful birds and butterflies. The tour guides are residents and primarily volunteers. They are incredibly knowledgeable about everything. On this guided birdwatching tour, you’ll enjoy a trip on the boardwalk through the tidal wetlands along the Laguna Madre. And, don’t forget your binoculars, or the center has some you can borrow. Check out the guided tours here >>> SPIbirding.
South Padre offers plenty of activities that do not involve water, like shopping! Different styles for different folks! You’ll find beach essentials and beachwear from farmer’s markets to mom-and-pop shops to an inside mall to walk through to get out of the heat. Be sure to pick up some local souvenirs to remind you of the fun you had on the island.
Hotels In South Padre Island
There are plenty of hotels in South Padre to choose from, and many are right on the beach. Beach houses and vacation homes are probably the most popular, but if you have a small group, you may want to consider renting a condo. A plethora of hotel chains is also right on the beach.
If you’re headed to the beach to play in the water the whole time you’re there, why not book your perfect beach house on the water. Vrbo has thousands of beach house rentals in SPI, mostly beachfront. I bet those go first, so book early.
Isla Grand Beach Resort
Isla Grand Beach Resort sits on 10 acres of beautiful green tropics on the beach along the Texas Gulf Coast—a tropical escape in south Texas since 1959, continuing to make vacation dreams come true for its guests. Your own little slice of paradise awaits you at Isla Grand South Padre Beach Resort! Come on, and let’s play.
From Memorial Day to Labor Day, enjoy live entertainment at the resort, oceanview restaurants, a full-service bar, and all kinds of children’s activities provided for guests. With a prime location on the Island, the Isla Grand Beach Resort offers the kind of atmosphere most people want at a resort.
More Outdoor Activities Near Isla Grand Beach Resort
- horseback riding
- sandcastle lessons
- Beach Park
- Sea Turtle Inc.
- Gravity Park
- offshore fishing
- Dolphin watch tours
- sailing trips
- scuba diving and more!
The Palms Resort
Stay and play and eat at one of the best beachfront cafes on the Island when you stay at The Palms Resort. Located at 3616 Gulf Blvd.
Pet-Friendly Hotels In South Padre Island
There are tons of pet-friendly hotels in SPI. Here are a few with affordable pricing.
- Isla Grand Beach Resort – rooms from $98 with beach access
- Pearl South Padre Beachfront Resort Hotel – rooms from $79 with beach access
- La Quinta And Suites – rooms from $99 with beach access
Best Restaurants In South Padre Island
Dining in South Padre Island is just what you expect —fresh seafood from the Gulf.
Windjammer’s Beachfront Cafe
Head over to Windjammers Beachfront Café for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Their fabulous breakfast buffet includes delicious, made-to-order omelets! Fine dining with the family is the perfect addition to your ultimate family getaway for lunch and dinner.
Being so close to the border of Mexico and the ocean, you can imagine that seafood and Mexican food rule here. Windjammers has a great combination of both.
Writer’s Favorite: We recommend the melt-in-your-mouth fajitas.
The Mexican Taquitos were tasty and served just the way I like them, topped with avocado, cheese, cilantro, and onions. Yum!
Entertainment, Drinks, and Coffee
Entertain yourself at Quarterdeck Lounge, enjoy drinks at Whiskey Shack, and a cup of Starbucks at the Coffee Hut. The Isla Grand has you covered!!
Please see the South Padre website for more restaurants on the island – https://www.spadre.com/restaurants.htm
There you have it – the best of South Padre Island – so many eat, play & stay moments!!
Don’t forget to read the beach rules to stay beach safe.