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Experience Your Best South Padre Vacation

Sun worshippers from all over Texas (and beyond) hit South Padre, an island on the gorgeous Gulf of Mexico, to either play hard or relax on the beach. Visit pirate treasures on Port Isabel, bird watch and spot bottlenose dolphins. Hit the Laguna Madre Nature Trail or the family-friendly waterpark Schlitterbahn.

Whether you're a spring breaker or Mexican-American history buff, everyone in South Padre must follow the rules of the road: Brake for sea turtles.

Let Orbitz help you plan the perfect South Padre vacation. With insider tips and top attractions, you'll get the skinny on all things beach-related, eco-tourism, and where to explore and eat on your South Padre trip.

Things to do in South Padre Island

Laguna Madre Nature Trail

Stroll this large boardwalk to learn about dune systems and bird species that frequent the area. Observe exotic birds, fish, alligators, butterflies and more in their natural habitats.

Museums of Port Isabel

The Museums of Port Isabel is a complex with three diverse facilities: the Port Isabel Historic Museum, the Treasures of the Gulf Museum (think pirate treasure and cool shipwrecks), and the Point Isabel Lighthouse -- which also hosts free movies during the summer.

Padre Island National Seashore

Spring break's sensible sister boasts a national seashore on North Padre Island with a long beach and nature preserve. Primitive camping is available and most of the beach is only accessible to 4X4s. A program to re-establish a nesting beach for Kemp's Ridley sea turtles began in 1978, and in the summer, visitors can witness the release of newborn turtles. (And slow down if you see one crossing the road!)

Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Site

This national park preserves the grounds of the Battle of Palo Alto. Learn about the Mexican-American War with videos, exhibits and more. A half-mile trail leads to an overlook of the battlefield and includes interpretive panels.

Schlitterbahn

Prepare to spend a day here with 11 attractions and 13 water slides on seven acres, located between the protected dunes and wetlands. Accessible from Padre Boulevard via a beach footbridge, this park features a “Transportainment” river system. Designed to minimize lines, rivers transport guests around the park.

South Padre Island Birding & Nature Center

With over 300 species native to the island, spy birds of different feathers here on the Laguna Madre waterfront. As part of the Laguna Madre Nature Trail, you'll get up-close to birds not normally seen in the wild via boardwalks that wind through fresh, salt and brackish water habitats.

South Padre Island Dolphin Research & Sea Life Nature Center

If you don’t see a dolphin on your South Padre vacation, you must have a very good reason -- wild bottlenose are almost everywhere, and numerous tours help you spot (and learn about) our dolphin friends. The South Padre Island Dolphin Research & Sea Life Nature Center is dedicated to their preservation, and offers hands-on experiences with sea creatures (a hit with the kids).

Spring Break

Located just 25 miles from the Mexican border, this tiny town is teeming with 50,000 college students with one goal in mind: Party. Each year TV crews set up, every club is packed, hotel rooms are full, and kegs are legal on the beach. (You have to be at least 18 to party, 21 to drink.)

The Beach

South Padre is an island filled with beaches, but lounging in the sun isn’t the only thing to do here. Ramp up your fun with professionally guided expeditions, of which San Padre has dozens. Choose from diving, fishing, horseback riding, sand castle lessons and more. From kite-flying to dolphin-watching, beach fitness classes to Sea-Doo rentals, there is no shortage of fun. Need more color? Every Friday in summer, there’s a fireworks display over the Laguna Madre Bay.

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Top things to do in South Padre Island

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