General Info About South Padre Island, Texas
South Padre Island is part of the world’s longest barrier reef island and is located near the most southern portion of Texas. The island is connected to the mainland by the Queen Isabella Causeway, a 2.5-mile four-lane bridge with reported crossings of over 8 million per year. Plans are underway for a second access north of the current town limits and the extension of utilities to undeveloped parts of the island has already begun. The town of South Padre Island makes up only 5%-10% of the land that is available for development.
The community of South Padre Island is a township located in Cameron County with approximately 2,800 permanent year-round residents. However, many more Winter Texans or part-time residents claim South Padre Island as home for large portions of the year. It is also a popular destination for Mexican citizens, particularly those from Monterrey, Mexico.
South Padre Island is located at the same latitude as Miami, Florida. The Island enjoys a sub-topical environment with an average winter temperature of 65 degrees, an average summer temperature of 82 degrees and an average 253 days per year of sunshine.
The town's total area is about 1,200 acres on an island approximately 1/2 mile wide from beach to bay and 34 miles long. South Padre Island is bordered by the Gulf of Mexico on the east and by the Laguna Madre Bay on the west, one of only 5 hyper-saline bays in the world. The only saltier body of water in the U.S. is the Great Salt Lake. This unusual bay is home to diverse species of fish as well as sea turtles, dolphins, endangered brown pelicans and numerous other forms of marine and coastal wildlife.
Life on South Padre Island
South Padre Island is a small community. Our tropical weather and miles of beachfront make the island a tourist attraction and year-round delight for those of us who are fortunate enough to call South Padre Island our home. Here we put more miles on our bicycles than our cars, and the pace of life is decidedly slower than it is on the mainland. Island time means that you stop to marvel when the sun sets and forsake work for fishing or the beach every chance you get.
Among the locals, eccentric is the norm, and shorts are acceptable attire anywhere. The various tourist seasons cause the population to swell and shrink with families on summer vacation, Winter Texans escaping the chill of northern states, and spring breakers enjoying a holiday (despite what you hear, they really are nice kids).
South Padre Island has a council-manager form of government with a Board of Aldermen, consisting of a Mayor and five Aldermen. The City Manager is the chief executive officer of the town.
South Padre Island belongs to the Point Isabel Independent School District. Daily school bus service shuttles school age children across the bridge to Port Isabel's quality schools. Parks on the island include county parks Isla Blanca and Andy Bowie.
South Padre Island is an amazing destination for all kinds of water sports. We are considered the best location in the country for kite boarding. Windsurfers also come from all over the country to enjoy our breezy shallow bay. South Padre Island also offers vacationers a wide range of other activities: kayaking, parasailing, jet skiing, snorkeling/diving, horseback riding, bungee jumping, sun bathing, kite-flying, and sandcastle building just to name a few. We are fortunate and blessed to have it all.
With shallow sport fishing in the Laguna Madre Bay as well as great deep sea fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, there is a fishing expedition to fit every time frame and skill level. The area is famous for our bird watching and with our 'World Birding Center' is one of the best informational and interactive bird watching sites anywhere. The island is also home to “Sea Turtle, Inc.”, a sea turtle rescue, education and conservation center.
An excellent golf course is only 15 minutes away and we have some wonderful seafood dining, waterfront bars and live entertainment. Special activities occur throughout the year. During the summer, every Friday night is a celebration with fireworks over the bay. The island is host to several large fishing and water sport tournaments. Numerous festivals, such as “Bike Week” and “Sand Castle Days”, are annual events. The island boasts a large, beautiful convention center where concerts, craft shows, sporting events, and business conferences are held.
We are different from other south coastal areas in that our high tourist season is the summer as opposed to the winter. The highest tourist months are normally March (Spring Break), June, July and August, followed by the winter months when Winter Texans (our term for “Snow Birds’) populate the island in December, January and February.