For your next family vacation, consider booking a trip to South Padre Island. The barrier island is located off the coast of Texas in the Gulf of Mexico and is known for soft sandy beaches, warm, clear waters off the shore, and the area’s abundant wildlife. Whether you are a bird watcher or love marine mammals, South Padre Island has a little bit of fun for everyone. Here are some of the best South Padre Island wildlife activities around the island.
Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge
The Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge is a 97,000-acre habitat located across the Laguna Madre from SPI. The refuge is known as a world-renowned birding destination, with more bird species than any other refuge in the country. Here you will see many migratory birds and wintering waterfowl. There are also several ocelots who live inside the refuge; if you are lucky, you may spot one.
Start your day at the Visitors Center, where you will find maps and brochures on the refuge. From there, there are several nature trails that will take you around the park. The Gator Pond trail is a popular hike. The trail is 3.3 miles long and takes you along the shoreline of Laguna Atascosa lake to a viewing platform on Alligator Pond.
Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge is open every day from sunrise to sunset.
South Padre Whale and Dolphin Watching
The waters off the shore of South Padre Island are teeming with wildlife. One of the most popular aquatic mammals you will see is the bottlenose dolphin. Captains Murphy’s offers eco tours and dolphin watch tours four times a day. Read more about South Padre Whale and Dolphin watching.
Each tour lasts an hour and a half and takes you to the bottlenose dolphin’s natural habitat in the Laguna Madre. During the eco-tour and dolphin watch, your boat captain will drag a specialized net along the floor of the ocean bringing up sea life to look at up-close. After you learn about the marine critters, they are placed back into the water unharmed.
Captain Murphy’s offers one eco-tour and dolphin watch, two dolphin watch tours, and one sunset cruise each day. Reservation must be made online at least 48 hours in advance and the trips are dog-friendly.
Planning Your Stay
If you are looking for accommodations on South Padre Island, consider booking one of our vacation homes. We have a variety of homes, from cozy one bedrooms for a romantic getaway to large homes that can sleep your whole family or group of friends.
For more information on our vacation homes or to book a rental, please contact us today.