South Padre Island
26░6'43?N, 97░10'11?W
(26.111935, -97.169587)GR1

Located on thirty three miles of unspoiled white sand beaches disconnected from the mainland, South Padre Island sits on the southern most tip of the longest barrier chain islands in the world and the longest stretch of undeveloped beach in North America.

The island is named after Father JosÚ Nicolas BallÝ (Padre Balli), a Catholic priest and settler who was one of the first to establish a permanent European settlement in the drifting sand dunes of the lower Texas coast.

Once inhabited by fierce Karankawa Indians, the island captured the interest of Spanish explorers, like Alonso Alvarez de Pineda, charged by the Spanish government to map the Texas coastline in 1519. It wasn't very many years later that treasure-laden Spanish ships sailed regularly past the island in route to Havana, Cuba, and eventually to Spain. More than one such ship met its fate and found its final resting place in the white sands and surrounding aqua-blue waters of the island. Treasure hunters still explore the region in search of lost silver and gold and jewels, and occasionally old Spanish coins still wash upon the beaches for whoever is lucky enough to walk the lonely stretch of sand at just the right time.

A popular destination for family vacationers and annual spring breakers, South Padre Island sports some of the best beaches in North America. The crystal turquoise waters of the Laguna Madre Bay and southern Gulf coast offer great snorkeling and dive adventures.

Other popular water sports on the Island include sailing, surfing, waverunning, kiteboarding, and windsurfing.

The ideal subtropical environment offers 253 days of sunshine on average with summer temps ranging from 75-degree lows and 95-degree highs. Winter temps range between 55-degrees to 75-degress on average, offering the perfect year round climate.

Padre Island is a low, sandy island characterized by large, irregular sand dunes, sparse vegetation, and a strong prevailing wind off the Gulf of Mexico. It is a barrier island off the coast of southern Texas, in the Gulf of Mexico, and extends south from Corpus Christi Bay to Brazos Santiago Pass, and is separated from the mainland by Laguna Madre. Padre Island is a much-desired resort with excellent fishing and abundant bird life. The island receives an average of 900,000 visitors per year, the majority being from the regional area.

2014