Malaquite Beach is located on Padre Island right near the visitor center for Padre Island National Seashore. It’s about a 40-minute drive from Corpus Christi with no traffic and is definitely worth it! It’s one of the best ‘wild’ beaches in the area with soft sand and clear water, adjacent to a well-maintained visitor center with helpful staff and clean and neat restrooms, changing areas, showers, snack machines, and a gift shop. Moreover, the center carries out educational lessons and the turtle release program, which is a remarkable event for nature lovers and any curious visitors (check their online schedule in advance).
Malaquite Beach is calm and quite secluded – a really nice place for camping and family beach going. There aren’t too many visitors, and many of them are families with little kids. The beach is dog-friendly, so you’re welcome to take your pet as well and have a great time all together in a relaxing and picturesque natural setting. Camping on the shore is also possible – with picnics in the fresh air and sleeping to the sound of waves. A truly enjoyable place!
Access and Parking
The beach is easy to reach; nevertheless, it may take you one hour to drive here from Corpus Christi, depending on the traffic intensity. The entrance fee is $10 per car; they also accept National Park passes. The visitor center offers a good and spacious parking lot, located within a short walk from the shoreline. If you have a motorhome, you may drive directly on the beach to find a nice secluded spot near the water. For driving on the sand, a 4WD vehicle is recommended.
There are no restaurants or stores around, so you should take any food and drinks you may need with you – the shaded picnic tables are a convenient spot for having lunch outdoors. If you’re okay with snacks instead of a bigger meal, you can make use of the vending machines at the visitor center, which is an acceptable option once you feel the need to take the edge off your hunger.
Malaquite Beach is long and flat, with sugary-soft clean sand without too many shells – nice for walking barefoot, or building castles, or lying relaxed in the sun. In contrast to Galveston beaches, the water is really clear and much more pleasant to take a dip. Nevertheless, note that there are no lifeguards and the surf gets very strong from time to time, so be careful. If you’re looking for a calm swimming spot, there are natural wave-pools for toddlers and a nice saltwater lake, which is a few miles down.
Ambiance and Wildlife
The beach is beautiful, good for long unhurried walks, either barefoot on the velvety sand or with feet in the warm and clear water. There are many seagulls, pelicans, and other sea birds flying around (note that seagulls may try to steal your food if you decide to have a picnic). If you’re an animal lover or you have kids with you, you should go to the dunes – there’s a good chance to find small mammals and crabs.