Looking for a things to do on your Port Aransas vacation? A beautiful and historic national seashore is just a short drive from Port Aransas, making it a perfect day trip. Padre Island National Seashore is the longest section of undeveloped barrier island in the world, stretching over 130,454 acres. This beautiful area is located on North Padre Island, just a few minutes south of Port Aransas and the Sandpiper Condominiums beachfront resort. Visitors to Padre Island National Seashore can enjoy bird watching, boating, camping and horseback riding on the beach. There is also a whole host of water activities available including scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming, and windsurfing. Padre Island National Seashore welcomes over half a million visitors each year!
A visit to Padre Island National Seashore can be a very educational experience. Vast efforts have been made over the years to preserve the natural state of this national seashore area. The barrier island’s rare terrain made up of coastal prairie and a dynamic dune system protects one of the few hypersaline lagoon environments in the world, the Laguna Madre. The national seashore is home to numerous marine and terrestrial plants and animals as well. Some of which are rare, threatened and/or endangered species. Padre Island National Seashore is also home to over 350 species of migratory and resident birds. Special events and programs offered at Padre Island National Seashore, including beach walks, mini-talks, campfire programs and bird watching walks, are a great way to learn more about the national seashore’s history, animal life and more.
Padre Island National Seashore is also well known for its turtle population. It is home to Kemps Ridley, Green, Loggerhead, Hawksbill, and Leatherback turtles. Padre Island is the primary nesting area of the Kemps Ridley in the United States. Staff at the national seashore is part of an effort to save the Kemps Ridley, the most endangered species of sea turtle. The National Seashore incubates Kemps Ridley eggs found along the coast and releases the baby sea turtles into the Gulf of Mexico once they have hatched. Visitors are invited to watch most of the hatchling releases free of charge. Baby sea turtles are released at Padre Island National Seashore from May through September.
Pets are allowed at Padre Island National Seashore but must be kept on a leash at all times. Camping areas are offered on a first come, first served basis and there are no hook-ups at the national seashore. Weddings can be held on the beach with a special use permit.
Padre Island National Seashore Hours
- Open seven days a week year-round.
- The Visitors Center is open daily. With the exception of Christmas & New Year’s Day.
National Seashore Admission
- The entrance fee is $10.00 per vehicle.
- The permit pays for entry into the park for up to 7 consecutive days.
- Annual Passes are available for $20.00.
Directions to Padre Island National Seashore
The national seashore is located on North Padre Island, which is just South of Mustang Island. From the Sandpiper, head in a Southerly direction along State Highway 361 for approximately 6 miles where it intersects with Park Road 22. Turn left and continue straight (south) on park road 22 for about 7 miles to the entrance. Road signs are visible once on the Padre Island.
Visit the National Seashore website for more information.
20301 Park Road 22
Corpus Christi, Texas 78418
Malaquite Visitor Center
PO Box 181300
Corpus Christi, TX 78480-1300
Headquarters: (361) 949-8173
Visitor Information: (361) 949-8068
Hatchling Hotline: (361) 949-7163