Top things to do

Top Choice Wildlife Reserve in South Padre Island

Sea Turtle, Inc

No, you can't handle the sea turtles. But you can see rescued turtles and learn firsthand about the slow rebirth of critically endangered Kemp's ridley turtle populations. The center serves as a hospital for injured…
Top Choice Microbrewery in South Padre Island

Padre Island Brewing Company

Although it's not on the beach, this microbrewery is well worth a visit for its changing lineup of local brews. The sampler ($7) is 6oz pours of all five on tap, or if you've already picked a favorite the pitchers a…
Bar in South Padre Island

Wanna-Wanna Beach Bar & Grill

A picture-perfect cliché of the laid-back beach bar and restaurant. Lounge barefoot in plastic chairs on the shaded deck and take in the surf and sights. Burgers and other basics ($6 to $14) go down easy, but nothin…
Nature Reserve in South Padre Island

South Padre Island Birding & Nature Center

Part of the World Birding Center, this 50-acre nature preserve has boardwalks through the dunes, bird blinds, spotting towers and much more. Learn the differences between a dune meadow, a salt marsh and an intertida…
Beach in South Padre Island

Andy Bowie County Park

Across from (SPI) Convention Center, this pleasant beach park is surrounded by condo and hotel developments. It has a shaded picnic building with views and real toilets and is 5.5 miles north of Isla Blanca. Beach A…
Club in South Padre Island

Louie's Backyard

Spring-break central, Louie's serves a mere 3000 to 4000 every night. There are multiple stages, big-name rappers, a dance floor overlooking the water, cheap booze and bar snacks, and a minimalist dress code that al…
Beach in South Padre Island

North End

Padre Blvd ends 12 miles north of Isla Blanca. North of here there's 20 miles of empty sand and dunes all the way to Port Mansfield Pass. Nude sunbathers, anglers, bird-watchers and other outdoorsy types can find a …
Seafood in South Padre Island

Blackbeard's

It's been dishing out seafood in SPI since 1978, and while the large servings and quality speak for themselves, the huge outdoor terrace certainly isn't hurting its cause. Blackbeard's is popular, and you might have…
Bar in South Padre Island

Boomerang Billy's Beach Bar & Grill

Billy's is behind the shambolic Surf Motel and is one of the few bars right on the sand on the gulf side. 'Mellow' sounds a bit too energetic for this ultimate crash pad. On weekend afternoons, listen to the talente…
Seafood in South Padre Island

Pier 19

On a pier jutting far out along the water, this rambling eatery has a huge menu of fried seafood, burgers, ceviche, fish tacos, po'boys and much more. If you're just looking for a sundowner, head to the bar all the …