Padre Island National Seashore

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About Padre Island National Seashore

Are you ready for this? Padre Island National Seashore is the “longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island in the world.” Mic drop. What that means is that with urban sprawl, pollution, and other detrimental factors that continue to threaten wildlife, Padre Island remains a place where nature can balance itself, where visiting is like being transported to the past. The park protects 70 miles of coastline, dunes, prairies, is a haven for 380 bird species, and is a safe nesting ground for the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle--one of the most endangered sea turtle species in the world. Plan your trip from late April through mid-July and you just might be fortunate enough to see newly hatched baby turtles released into the wild! Also, if you have more than a weekend on your hands, access is $10 per car, and is good for 7 days. What a deal, right?

Campgrounds in Padre Island

Malaquite Campground

1. Malaquite Campground

Just a half-mile north of the visitor’s center, Malaquite Campground features 48 semi-primitive sites. Camp at your site, or pick out a sweet spot...

9 Saves
Bird Island Basin Campground

2. Bird Island Basin Campground

Located on the waters of the Laguna Madre, the Bird Island Basin Campground is a great place to windsurf, kayak, boat, bird, and fish to your...

5 Saves
South Beach Campground

3. South Beach Campground

The South Beach Campground is very similar to North Beach Campground, but it’s south (obvi. ), and runs along the Gulf of Mexico from the end of...

Lindi: We ADORED this National Seashore. A couple of friends and I tent camped here over Spring Break. Besides the weather being a...
4 Saves
North Beach Campground

4. North Beach Campground

100% Recommend (3 Responses)

Save that cash and buy your honey a bouquet of flowers, this camping area is free of charge! The North Beach Campground runs along the northernmost...

Elena: You should go in the summer when they are releasing the baby turtles.
4 Saves
Yarborough Pass Campground

5. Yarborough Pass Campground

The adventure begins before you even get to your campground! This all-exclusive primitive paradise is accessible only through the 4WD area of South...

4 Saves

4 Reviews

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Hipcamper lindi

We ADORED this National Seashore.

A couple of friends and I tent camped here over Spring Break. Besides the weather being a little chilly and mostly overcast, we had such a good time.

The primitive camp sites along South Beach are completely free, you just drive down until you see a place to call home for the next few nights and set up camp.

One of my favorite things about this camp site/beach was that it never got crowded the whole time we were there. And even with the people who were there, it was very quiet.

If you are looking for a place to camp on the beach, this is seriously it.

(side note: showers in the visitor center are at subarctic freezing temperatures...)

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Hipcamper emily

Who knew Texas beaches could look like this! Came down from Fort Worth on a whim and fell in love with this place. Malaquite campground was full but no worries, south beach was exactly what I needed.
Easy to drive out and snag a spot even with a non 4WD vehicle ( I have a Nissan cube).
You have a gorgeous front row seat to the ocean no matter where you settle. It can get pretty windy so be sure to secure all your gear, and maybe leave your tent fly off to check out the crazy awesome view of the night sky while you fall asleep to the sound of the waves

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Hipcamper Elena

You should go in the summer when they are releasing the baby turtles.

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History of Padre Island National Seashore

For almost its entire existence, Padre Island has remained undeveloped wilderness. Because the National Seashore endeavors to preserve Padre Island in its natural state, visiting the island is very much like stepping back into the past. With few exceptions, visitors can now see Padre Island as it has existed throughout most of its history and how it is described in the few extant descriptions by the early explorers.
Four nations have owned Padre Island at different times. The first was Spain, which owned Padre Island from its entry into the New World until the Mexican Revolution of 1820. Following the revolution, Mexico owned Padre Island from 1821 until 1836, when the newly formed Republic of Texas claimed the area between the Nueces river and the Rio Grande. Padre Island was under ownership by the Republic of Texas until its territory was acquired by the United States, following the War with Mexico of 1845-1848. Throughout these times, the island has been known by several names, with Padre Island being only the most recent. It has also been known as "la Isla Blanca" (White Island) and "Isla de los Malaguitas" (Island of the Malaquites, a band of the Karankawa people).