Top Activities in South Padre Island for Social Distancing

Social distancing in South Padre Island is a breeze with miles of sunny beaches and coastal state and national parks. But there are plenty of other things to do in South Padre Island while social distancing, from golfing and hiking to fishing and bird watching. Break out of your coop and get some fresh air with these top activities for social distancing in South Padre Island.

What to do in South Padre Island: Enjoy a Beach Day

Let’s face it, if you’re visiting South Padre Island, you’re here for the beach. The warm ocean waves and soft sand between your toes feel much more invigorating after weeks of sheltering at home. Fortunately the island is ensuring visitors maintain social distance by limiting group sizes to five and keeping shade structures at least 10 feet apart. While contact sports and any activity requiring objects like kayaks, body boards, and balls are prohibited, you can still get your morning beach walk or afternoon sunbathing session in. Masks are not required, but are recommended.

See the Local Wildlife at the South Padre Island Birding, Nature and Alligator Sanctuary

Looking for what to do in South Padre Island for wildlife watching? Lace-up your walking shoes and bring your binoculars. With over 3,300 feet over boardwalk stretching across the lush wetlands, this is the island’s premier destination for spotting coastal wildlife in the wild, while maintaining social distance. Stroll along the boardwalk through the tranquil coastal landscape as you spot migratory birds like the pink roseate spoonbill and great blue heron. In the water below, you’ll find turtles and alligators basking in the sun.

Explore the Trails at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge

For things to do in South Padre Island with a little less people and a lot more wildlife, head to Laguna Atascosa, just about 22 miles outside of South Padre Island. This refuge is a local favorite for its remote beaches and relaxing trails through pristine coastal wilderness. With over 98,000 acres of wetlands and rugged beaches, and the refuge is a perfect spot for wildlife viewing, including migrating shorebirds, falcons, alligators, coyotes, and even ocelots!


Does your escape from stress include a few rounds of golf? Fortunately, the very nature of playing golf makes it a relatively safe activity to enjoy with natural social distancing. South Padre Island Golf Club and Long Island Golf in Port Isabel go the extra mile by keeping groups to a maximum of four people for a safe and clean round of golf.

Rent a Mini-Car

Correct us if we’re wrong, but taking a bumper car off-road is always a fantasy, right? Just to be clear, these are not bumper cars. But picture a scooter and a Mini Cooper having a love child. Intrigued? These two-seater mini cars are street legal and so fun to drive! Reaching up to 40 miles per hour, you can cruise South Padre Island in style and to your hearts content. Best of all, you can see all the sights while your thrill-seeking while safely keeping your distance from people outside of your bubble. Head to to reserve your mini car. And just in case you’re feeling inspired, they also rent scooters, jeeps, scooter watersports, inflatables, golf cars, fun cars, electric bikes and so much more! Please drive responsibly.

Speaking of Bikes

Bikes are a great way to explore the island at a slower pace while also getting exercise, without feeling like you’re getting exercise. That’s a win/win in our book. If you’re not sure where to go, we suggest you visit for an updated map of the Sandcastle Trail as well as the Sea Turtle Art Trail. This is the perfect challenge for all ages to get out and exploring. To really have some fun, split your group up into teams and create a photo scavenger hunt. Not only will you make memories to last a lifetime, but you’ll have photo documentation of the good times.

But getting back to the trail systems. Both the sandcastles and sea turtles were commissioned by local artists to bring out the best of the community. The sandcastle artwork ranges from castles to mermaids and all the way to sand cars. The Sea Turtle Art Trail is another local favorite, providing up close encounters with 5-10 permanent sea turtle art sculptures across the city. Local artists were provided a fiberglass sea turtle form, adorned in nothing by a rough factory primer, and challenged to create a unique interpretation of their take on South Padre Island. Not only will you love the unexpected presence of giant sea turtles hiding around the corners waiting to say hello, but you’ll be blown away by the vision these artists were able to bring to life.

The Best Social Distancing Begins with Your Own Private Vacation Rental

For more cautious social distancing fun, nothing beats splashing in your own private pool or soaking in steamy hot tub. At Franke Rentals, our rentals include luxury amenities like private pools, outdoor patios, hot tubs, and even private beach access for a safe and comfortable getaway in South Padre Island. Contact us today to book your South Padre Island rental!

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