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Immerse yourself in South Padre Island sunshine for a weekend full of marine wildlife, water sport activities, and tons of fun interactive learning opportunities!
Snorkeling at Laguna Madre Estuary - Welcome to the Laguna Madre Estuary, the gorgeous southern Texas spot where the Rio Grande enters the Gulf of Mexico. This large shallow body of water separates Padre Island from the southern Texas mainland is actually one of the largest hypersaline coastal lagoons in the world. The term hypersaline merely means that this body of water is saltier than seawater that flows in, meaning that it evaporates faster than freshwater flows in. This entire area contains water that is on average about 3 feet deep, but never more than 5. There are several different tropical fish within this area, making it one of the best recreational fishing and snorkeling areas. Spot different marine creatures, such as the sea turtles who like to come to nibble the seagrass at the estuary beds, or perhaps a school of redfish, black drum, or spotted trout! Bring your snorkel gear, your camera, and your sense of adventure to have an amazing time!
Beach Time - South Padre Island is one of the few islands in Texas, making it a beautiful destination of wide, clean beaches! This tropical Texas island getaway allows you and your group to be only steps away from the ocean at all times, the widest point of the island at only a half-mile total. The beach scene in South Padre is all about constant mild temperatures, calm waters, and plenty of activities for adventure seekers, nature lovers, or people who just need some R&R. Any spot on the beach here will provide relaxation, water sports, fishing opportunities, sea turtle and dolphin watching points, and even sandcastle lessons! Tourists and locals alike have often walked away saying this is the best beach in the Gulf of Mexico, its soft white sand and shallow and safe waters with over 20 access points inviting even the biggest skeptical!
Pier 19 - End your night at the locally loved eatery with the absolute best nightly sunset views in South Padre, Pier 19! This family-friendly venue features expansive bay views, amazing seafood, and casual American fare, all for a reasonable price! Leading from the restaurant is a 750-foot pier to the water, making this a truly special seafood experience! You will catch dolphin and pelican sightings here, as well as opportunities to sit and watch the many windsurfers, para sailors, kayakers, and fishermen around you. Pier 19 serves some of the best burgers and sandwiches, unique Texas chef specialties, and even seaside themed cocktails (virgin options are available as well, of course!). Try the mussels and clams, fresh Caldo de marisco, seafood omelet, spicy shrimp diablos, deep-sea ribeye, or fresh flounder, snapper, tuna, or Mahi. Before you go make sure you save plenty of time to take in the pier views, snap some essential South Padre seaside photos, and hit the fun sea-themed gift shop!
Sea Turtle Hospital - The Sea Turtle Rescue Center, conveniently located on Padre Boulevard, is owned and operated by the conservation company Sea Turtle, Inc. The mission of this enterprise is to "rescue, rehabilitate, and release injured sea turtles, educate the public, and assist conservation efforts for all marine turtle species." Sea Turtle, Inc. provides educational talks and tours to any group size daily, though if you have 10 or more students in your group you will want to book in advance, especially with all their fun Field Trip Tour options available. The daily 20-30 minute presentations are called Turtle Talks, in which staff members and educators from the region will talk about the company, local sea turtles, and Texas conservation efforts. See Allison the turtle's prosthesis be put on and speak to her lifeguard about her rehabilitation, or go over and watch Gerry the turtle eat his lettuce lunch and be put through fun and effective turtle enrichment, great prep for being released into the wild again!
Sea Life Safari Cruise - End your South Padre Island weekend adventure with a sunset or midday eco-cruise at Osprey Cruises! This Padre Boulevard company provides an introduction and overview of the ecology of Laguna Madre through a fun interactive cruise, placing a special emphasis on wildlife in the area. This professionally narrated cruise will give your group an extensive natural history lesson on the great estuary and all its inhabitants, from "fin, feather, shell, and hide." On these cruises you will be aboard the passenger yacht Osprey, a high profile cruiser well-suited for sightseeing. You will amazing panoramic views from the upper deck, allowing you to see for miles with binoculars. You will find no other view like this in South Padre Island! During a cruise you will have amazing bird-watching opportunities (there are over 600 species in this area alone!), guaranteed dolphin sightings (there are hundreds of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins here), live observation, and identification tanks, not to mention tons of local geological history.