This wild 70-mile spacious beach with stunning views and a relaxing atmosphere is definitely a place to visit if you’re in South Texas. Padre Island National Seashore boasts vast serene landscapes and water untypically clear for the Texas coast, without seaweed.
You can either park your car at the visitor’s center and follow to the beach area where vehicles are not allowed or you can drive further and find a nice camping spot – a great option for those traveling in their RV.
Nevertheless, if you travel past the visitor’s center, get ready for the lack of any shops, eateries, and beach facilities. No businesses, no people – only wild and serene nature. Thus, you’ll get a perfect opportunity to escape from the stressful city setting.
Access, Parking, and RV Camping
You can easily get to Padre Island National Seashore by car. It’s an easy drive from Houston and just 15 minutes from downtown Corpus Christi, through wetlands and sand dunes. You’ll have to pay $10 for entrance or you may buy an annual pass if you’re planning to come again. There’s a free parking lot at the visitor’s center, so you can leave your car right there.
Nevertheless, there’s another option – you can go further down the road (a four-wheel vehicle is highly recommended) and drive directly on the beach at a chosen spot. Many people camp their RVs here. If you wish to stay alone, it’s not a problem – find a remote and deserted corner; there are plenty of places.
Seclusion and Tranquility
Padre Island National Seashore is one of the best beaches in the area and it never gets overcrowded. It’s easy to find a beautiful and quiet spot to spend time with your nearest and dearest or alone. If you have a dog, you can take it with you – the beach rules allow dogs, but make sure your pet is leashed and don’t forget to pick up after it.
There are a few hiking trails. The beach itself is perfect for long unhurried walks, during which you can look for shells, or just enjoy the views and the breeze, or watch numerous wildlife species, like hawks, cranes, seagulls, pelicans, crabs, or turtles. The sand is hard-packed and easy to step on, but make sure you have your sandals on since it gets very hot at times.
Facilities At The Visitor’s Center
Most of the beach is wild, featuring no amenities. Nevertheless, you can find a variety of those, clean and well-maintained, at the visitor’s center. There, you can make use of a free parking lot, picnic area, restrooms, changing rooms, showers, and electric outlets. There is also a museum and a gift shop.
The staff is friendly and ready to help. Consult them if you are interested to see the famous turtle release – a special event, which takes place at dawn on scheduled days and is aimed at protecting little baby turtles in their first run to the water. To plan your trip with consideration to that in advance, you can join the center’s Facebook page and check for fresh updates.
- 35 minutes from Corpus Christi, TX
- 2 hours 30 minutes from San Antonio, TX
- 3 hours 30 minutes from Austin, TX
Hotels and rentals
If you're considering staying for one or even a few nights, there are plenty of options available near the beach. Chose your preferred accomodation type and your favourite room provider:
- Nearby rentals from VRBO.
- Nearby rooms and properties from Booking.com.
Additionally, there's a number of beaches near Padre Island National Seashore which you can visit:
- Malaquite Beach (3 miles)
- Bob Hall Pier Beach (9 miles)
- Padre Balli Park Beach (9 miles)
- Whitecap Beach (10 miles)
- Michael J. Ellis Beach & Seawall (10 miles)