South Padre Island: the perfect playground in paradise. Not only is SPI a fun and affordable beach destination, but everyone can have fun doing something different-- if that’s what they want to do. Having spent a lot of time on the Island and can tell you that people are always surprised at the amount of activities there are on this ½ mile wide barrier reef. So, here’s the scoop on the variety of activities that you can get yourself into.

Beach Activities:

Sandcastlelessons are a beach favourite - why not learn how to build a great castle in the sandcastlecapitol of the world ? South Padre island has world class instructors that can help you build anything - not just castles - great value for money , and  they can cater for families, groups and individuals. 

-Hanging out on the beach, of course! Chair and umbrella rentals are found all over the public beach accesses. Bring an ice chest for the day or set up camp near one of the fun little beach bars.

-Banana boat rentals (a personal childhood favorite! Can be found sometimes with the chair and umbrella rentals or at a little hut offering beach sports, usually behind the hotels/condos on the beach)

-Boogie boarding

-Horseback riding (they also do ATV rentals and zipling!)

-Kite Flying

-Sandcastle building. You can purchase equipment pretty inexpensively from any souvenir shop or you can take a lesson. There are a few local pros on the island that are more than happy to help you learn to sculpt.

-Sand Volleyball. Several beach bars have places to play like Boomerang Billy’s and Clayton’s.

-Water Sport Rentals

You can drive on the beach on the northernmost part of the island, past the convention center (away from the hotels and businesses) where there’s just sand. Opening the bed of your truck and having a picnic right on the beach is a great experience. Even if you don’t have four wheel drive and decide to take the risk of driving on the sand, there are locals who will happily pull you out. Just don’t forget… no glass on the beach!


On the Water Activities:

 Not many people know that South Padre Island is quickly making a name for itself as one of the top destinations for water sports, year round. SPI has lots to offer:

- Jet Skiing and Wave runners

- Parasailing

- Ambhibious Tours

- Snorkeling

- Fireworks Cruises




 -Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) 



You can bring your own equipment or rent from a local shop. There are several equipment rental locations on SPI, ready to help you channel your sense of fun and adventure. Lessons are available at most places. Check out Breakaway Cruises, Air Padre, Parrot Eyes, Island Native, On the Beach, and South Padre Surf Company for lessons and rentals.


 Fishing & Boating:

As far as fishing goes, there are numerous, excellent charters to choose from. Check this out for a list of fishing guides on SPI and in Port Isabel. Some hotels offer discounts to their guests for specific charters. Check out the activity desk or brochure corner for ideas. Or, ask for a recommendation from a local.


-Birding and Nature Center

-Dolphin Research & Sealife Nature Center in Port Isabel

- Dolphin Watch. There are numerous tour operators on the Island!

-Fins to Feathers

 Sea Turtle, Inc.

 -Scuba Diving and Snorkeling. Check out Breakaway CruisesAmerican Diving and The Southern Wave.

 Sometimes special offers for these activities can also be found at your hotel. These are fun things to do with the kids if you get tired of the beach or want something different to do. It’s also an amazing opportunity to experience some of the local biodiversity. You won’t be disappointed, no matter how old you are!



 -Gravity Adventure Park (right across from Louie’s Backyard) offers bungee jumping, the sky coaster, kiddie cars and other extreme adventures.



Other Fun Activities:

-Andy Bowie Park and Isla Blanca Park (there is a small entrance fee for these parks)

beach fun is made better by building a world class castle at Boomerang Billy's beach bar 

 -Bicycle, beach buggy, and moped rentals

 -Black Dragon Cruises out of Pirate’s Landing. The pier outside of the restaurant is also a point of interest.

 -Dining. Check out this complete listing of restaurants on SPI, ask a local for a recommendation while you’re there, or follow your heart’s desire. You won’t see but a few chain restaurants on the Island, and that’s the best part.

 -Fireworks display every Friday during the summer at 9:15 p.m. It’s FREE and fun to watch! The best seats are outdoors at one of the bayside restaurants.

 -Golf at the SPI Golf Club in Laguna Vista, TX

 -Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park in Brownsville, TX

 -Port Isabel Lighthouse and the Museums of Port Isabel

 -Sand crab hunting on the beach at night

 -Shopping. There are tons of cute boutiques and local shops all over the Island.


 -Sunset & Dinner Cruises

 - Schlitterbahn waterparks. There are now two!


 And not to be forgotten…Beach for sunrises. Bay for sunsets. Both are wonderful… and free! 


{Disclaimer: Previous post was geared towards budget travel; this is more about Sports & Activities on SPI}