Padre Island National Seashore separates the Gulf of Mexico from the Laguna Madre, one of a few hypersaline lagoons in the world.
The park protects 70 miles of coastline, dunes, prairies, and wind tidal flats teeming with life.
It is a safe nesting ground for the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle and a haven for over 380 bird species. It also has a rich history, including the Spanish shipwrecks of 1554.
This place is lovely! $10 per car entry, and it’s good for 7 days so bring the family a few times while you’re in the area for a real bargain. You can spend the day at Malaquite beach, where there are shaded picnic tables on the sand, a large shaded deck overlooking the beach, and showers and restrooms- so bring some food and drink and prepare for some fun!
If you’re looking for something a bit more remote and have a 4WD vehicle, you can drive down the island on their unspoiled beaches for 65 miles, finding the perfect spot to hang out and fish/relax in solitude. There are areas that don’t require 4WD to access, such as Malaquite Beach Visitor Center with it’s gorgeous beaches, picnic areas and small museum.