The ocean draws millions to the shores of the U.S for spring break, vacation, and fun in the sun. Padre Island National Seashore can be found off the coast of Texas and is a hotspot of activity for fun and relaxation. This National Park is the longest barrier island in the world. It is a long, narrow stretch of land that runs parallel to the shore of Texas, forming a kind of brigade or barrier. The water between the island and the coast is called the Laguna Madre, and the waters beyond the island belong to the Gulf of Mexico. The Padre Island National Seashore is located on the long and narrow Padre Island, where the fun continues all summer long.
The Beautiful Beaches
The national seashore has pristine beaches, perfect for sunbathing or having a sandcastle building contest. The beaches are clean and large, with plenty of sand and space. The national seashore is protected by the park service, and people seem respectful as they clean up their area, leaving a place loved and used by visitors as well as wildlife. There are no stores or hotels, just natural and protected beauty which makes for peace and some fun in the sun. The visitor center has information and displays on the birds, turtles and other animals that call this island home. Driving with a four-wheel drive vehicle on parts of the beach is allowed. Drive along the beautiful ocean waters for miles, for a one of a kind view!
Sea Turtle Release
Padre Island is a nesting habitat for the Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles. Park staff tries to locate the nests and relocate them to have a higher survival rate for these tiny hatchling turtles. The female crawls from the water across the sand and digs a rather deep hole to lay her eggs in. She then returns to the water leaving the hatchlings on their own for the rest of their existence. Driving on the beach, the presence of people and tidal waves can interfere with the nests and the survival of the unhatched eggs. After the eggs are hatched, the park provides the chance to see a sea turtle hatchling release! Check the website to see more information on how many nests they have found and expected hatch dates to try to see one. Releases are conducted on the soft sand at 6:45 in the morning that it is scheduled. See the baby turtles as they crawl to the water to start their lives.
The barrier island has no stores or hotels, leaving nature without interference from human destruction. Several campgrounds are considered “primitive” that cover basic needs. Campers can camp at the Malaquite Campground, North Beach, South Beach, Bird Island Basin, or the Yarborough Pass. Campers can choose at some campgrounds to either pitch their tent at the actual site or on the beach. Some have picnic tables, showers, restrooms, and grills. Keep in mind there are no pubic RV hookups in the park. Not all sites will have amenities, but there is usually something close by.
Fishing has been the primary lure so to speak to the island long before it was ever a National Park. Parking your vehicle on the beach is comfortable and convenient for excellent access to your food, drinks, picnic fun, fishing poles and more. Fishing requires that you follow the Texas laws and have a fishing license and saltwater stamp which visitors can get at almost any local tackle shop or nearby gas station. Have fun fishing off the island and enjoy the sea breeze.
Water Fun in Texas
The untamed island offers all sorts of activities to keep you and your family and friends busy and entertained. The Laguna Madre is one of the best areas to windsurf, and you will see lots of people dancing in the wind as they sail across the waves. Swimming, floating, boating, and kayaking is all great activities for the area. There is nothing on this untouched stretch of land, and it will be hard to find a similar island or seashore not littered with hotels, restaurants, or clutter. Unplug from technology, work, and stress and enjoy a wild and uninhabited island and its waters.
Family and Kid Activities
Not only is the beach a great place to swim, play and fish, about the park offers some fun family-friendly activities to see and participate in. Try one of the guided tours or a beach walk, deck talk, evening program, birding tour, or star party. The visitor center will have a lineup and schedule of the daily activities, tours, and lectures that the park staff will be giving. The kids can earn their badge in the Junior Ranger Program where a booklet is given to kids’ ages 5 to 13, and upon completion, they receive their badge. This is a great way to learn about the area and have fun.
The “Birdiest” Area
Padre is a delight to all avid birders. Because this is one of longest stretches of undeveloped beaches in the world, birds have made this paradise their home. The area has been voted the “birdiest” area in America for ten years now. The best time to birdwatch is any time at Padre Island. Many birds flock here for the winter months for the warmer temperatures and mild climate along with no snow! Birding tours are offered where you can join a guide on a tour of the island to see all the different species of birds. View the thousands of Redhead ducks as they float among the ripples, or look for the giant brown pelicans that call the ocean and island their home. White-tailed haws can be seen, especially as they build their nests in the late winter months. Tour the island to see many thousands of other birds and capture some fantastic photographs as well.
So Long Civilization
The Padre Island National Seashore is a long stretch consisting of 70 miles of pristine and untouched natural shoreline. Visitors and campers are allowed to stay and have fun but must do so in a tent or other accommodation as there are no hotels or stores here. Have fun playing in the waters and feeling the soft sand of one of the cleanest beaches you will ever see. Get situated as the sun begins to set to see some fantastic sunsets as the orange globe disappears behind the ocean. The seashore is there for the experience that you want to have on it. Experience what it is like to stand on the most extensive protected shoreline in the world and listen to the quiet of nature surrounding you.