Where to Eat, Stay, & Play: The Best of South Padre Island.
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 on a family vacation to South Padre Island 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.
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.
South Padre has miles of beaches with plenty of public access to the water and lots of parking. The Island is large enough for many people to play and stay. Welcome to Paradise.
Make It A Family Vacation To South Padre Island
South Padre Island is an amazing place to visit. There are many things to do and see, including the beach, swimming, boating, fishing, and other water sports.
Cruises And Tours
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!
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 – and 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.
Annual Sandcastle Days Festival
If you’re visiting in October, look for information about the Annual Sandcastle Days Festival. it will offer a lively atmosphere filled with live music, delicious food, local arts and vendors, and more.
Chrome In The Sand Festival
Chrome in the Sand Festival (first-ever) will host motorcycle enthusiasts, classic car connoisseurs, and fans of high-octane entertainment for a weekend full of performances, a bike and car show, a poker tournament, and more.
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.
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.
Play Golf On The Island
Golfing on the Island can be a great way to spend time with friends or family. South Padre Island Golf Club is a great place to start your investigation.
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 your fun on the island.
Hotels In South Padre Island
South Padre Island is a family-friendly island. The beaches are clean, the water is warm, and there’s plenty to do.
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 are also right on the beach.
If you’re looking for a place to stay on the island, consider the options below.
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.
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. SPI has so many awesome restaurants – but here are our favorites.
Windjammer’s Beachfront Cafe
Head over to Windjammers Beachfront Café in the Isle Grand Beach Resort for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Their fabulous breakfast buffet includes delicious, made-to-order omelets! 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.
Cafe On The Beach
Located at The Palms Resort, it has lots of outdoor seating and serves up classic American cuisine.
Landshark Bar & Grill
If you’re looking for a place that’s welcoming, full of locals, and serves up some delicious food, look no further than Landshark Bar & Grill—located in the Margaritaville Spa & Resort.
Be sure to check out Blackbeard’s, located right off Padre Blvd. The burgers are our recommendation.
Tequila Sunset Bar & Grill
Like the name says – enjoy watching the sun go down while feasting on dinner and a concert.
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!!
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.