Author: CODESM Support

Free Beach Activities For Kids On SPI

South Padre Island (SPI) is a popular vacation destination for families all year long, thanks to an endless array of activities that keep the kids busy. However, the undisputed star of SPI is the beach. Laguna Madre Lagoon, South Padre Island Beach, and Isla Blanca Park are all family-friendly places to enjoy sand, surf, and sun with your kids. The best part of the beaches on SPI is the fact that many beach activities are free, or very inexpensive. If you want to hit the beach with the whole family on a budget, here are some of the very best activities to embrace on SPI.

Walk Laguna Madre Nature Trail.

Turn the beach into a wildlife adventure by walking the Laguna Madre Nature Trail. This 1,500-foot boardwalk is flat enough and short enough for even the littlest feet to traverse successfully, but chock-full of some of the island’s abundant wildlife.

The trail provides breathtaking views of Laguna Madre, as well as fascinating glimpses into wetlands that house a plethora of birds, turtles, and other animals. Known especially as a place to birdwatch, the trail provides glimpses of both coastal and migratory birds who are drawn to the many berry bushes that line the path.

Bring your binoculars and the kids and hit this trail as a must-see part of your SPI adventure. With such a walkable and variable locale available on SPI, you may even want to come more than once.

Walk Sandcastle Trail (and build some yourself).

Your list of free kid-friendly things to do on SPI should also include a stroll down Sandcastle Trail. This trail allows you to enjoy many of the unique sand sculptures that dot the island. If you check the trail map before you go, you can even see which sculptures are completed and which are currently under construction or renovation so you can plan your trip accordingly.

Some of these sand sculptures have been crafted by SPI locals, while others have been created by artists who have traveled from international locales. While you can travel the trail by foot, the sculptures are spread out a bit, so the best approach is to rent a golf cart or slingshot from Paradise Fun Rentals to take yourself and the kids on an exploratory trip to see some unique beach sculptures.

Of course, once you gain inspiration from Sandcastle Trail, you should head to one of the island’s beaches to build your own sandcastles. We have all the supplies you need, so even if you didn’t bring chairs, blankets, buckets, and shovels, you can still create your own sand masterpieces with your favorite little ones.

If you are willing to spend a little money on a one-of-a-kind beach experience, you can even pay for sandcastle building lessons. Is it worthwhile? It might be if you want kid-friendly activities on SPI that go beyond the normal sunbathing and swimming.

Teach the kids to fish.

Thanks to the multiple beaches on South Padre Island, there are dozens of places to teach your kids to fish. You can go surf fishing at many of the sandy locations on the island, or check out the jetties and piers that provide access to deeper water.

One of the most scenic piers for fishing (or just enjoying the view with your children) is the Queen Isabella State Fishing Pier. One acre of park and pier juts far out into the water providing a peaceful view and a perfect place to teach your kids to cast, catch, and enjoy the many fish that swim in the waters below.

Need fishing supplies? Stop by Paradise Fun Rentals for the stylish and spacious transportation you need to get to any of the island’s fishing spots, and for the gear that can make fishing one of the best kid-friendly activities on SPI.

Climb the northern dunes.

One of South Padre’s Island’s well-kept secrets are the northern dunes. Just head to the island’s northern beach and climb the dunes. This is a perfect kid-friendly activity for SPI because it provides your children with a free way to jump, roll, climb, and run without a great deal of expense.

One bonus of the northern dunes is the ocean view that greets you after you crest the hills. You can put up your beach chair and relax while your kids expend their energy playing on the dunes. That makes for an ideal holiday for the entire family.

Swim at any of the island’s beaches.

No beach vacation would be complete without a swim in the beautiful blue ocean waters. Swimming in the ocean can be tricky with little ones, but inflatables, floaties, and the right choice in beach can provide a safe and memorable way to get in the water on SPI.

One of the calmest areas to swim on the island is Laguna Madre Lagoon. Plus, the saltiness in the lagoon makes it much easier to float in the blue waters. Just be aware that there are no lifeguards and the area is prone to strong currents and tides, so embrace swimming with your kids with the same caution you would exercise anywhere else.

Bring your kayak or paddleboard into the Laguna Madre Lagoon.

If you want to do more than swim in the peaceful Laguna Madre, you can bring a kayak or paddleboard to enjoy with your children. As one of the best kid-friendly activities on SPI, kayaking or paddle boarding provides hours of fun on the water for a relatively low cost. Whether you are new to these activities are ready to embrace a well-loved hobby, enjoying the water with your children is one of the best ways to enjoy everything South Padre Island has to offer.

If you choose to visit South Padre Island, you should come prepared for endless beachy fun. Here at Paradise Fun Rentals, we have many options for golf carts, slingshot rentals, and other must-haves to make getting around the island and enjoying your time there easier and more relaxed. Book your SPI vacation now and stop by Paradise Fun Rentals for the everything you need to ensure a memorable time.

Top 5 Outdoor Activities In South Padre Island For Every Kind Of Traveler

SPI lighthouse

It doesn’t matter what kind of a traveler you are. There are all kinds of fun activities for you to do on South Padre Island. From building sandcastles to educating yourself about nature, climate, and wildlife, the opportunities are plenty. The outdoor activities SPI stated below are the experiences you cannot afford to miss out on as they will enrich your life and inspire you in ways unknown.

Sea Turtle, Inc

If you care about the environment and wildlife preservation, look at Sea Turtle, Inc. Established in 1977, Sea Turtle, Inc. provides an eye-opening experience and educates you about the importance of all species of turtles.

The organization focuses on spreading awareness about the turtles and providing the best care and support they need.

Sea Turtle provides you with educational activities and helps you explore through:

  • Well-organized field trips
  • Various outreach programs to educate the community
  • A kids program involving fun activities like summer camps, night outs, experience being a vet
  • Interactive virtual learning experience by providing school programs for kids

Apart from these activities, they also allow you to participate in the rehabilitation and conservation aspect of it. You can adopt a turtle or buy gifts from their shops, which can help them continue their mission to help take care of turtles.

If you’re looking to have a fun experience learning, then this is it. You can go to their website to book appointments and see what other programs you might be interested in. Overall, it is a fun learning experience for all kinds of travelers.

Visit Isla Blanca Park

Located on the southern edge, Isla Blanca Park has some clean and beautiful beaches to offer. If you’re looking to take a break and relax, then you have to visit it. Most people visit to take a picture near a famous statue called Christ of Fisherman, which is beautiful when the sun is setting. It is enormous, and one cannot miss this place. It is a valued deal, and you’ll get to experience something calm and beautiful. Apart from these attractions, this place also provides:

  • Clean and beautiful beaches
  • Well managed boating and fishing areas
  • Clean lodging experience
  • High-quality dining experience
  • Play areas, parks, gardens to have fun

SPI fishing

South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center

If you’re looking for a fun distraction from the beaches and the outdoor activities in there, you must visit SPI Birding and Nature Center. It is a non-profit organization in Texas. If you are a photographer or generally someone who likes to learn and explore wildlife, this is the place for you. This place is home to various birds, insects, alligators, turtles, owls, and snakes.

You can spend about 2 hours doing activities such as:

  • Learning about the geography, flora and fauna, and everything about the place
  • Beautiful walk along the boardwalk
  • Explore the wildlife. Get to pet snakes, and alligators under supervision
  • Spot and enjoy the birds
  • Fall volunteer planting
  • A gift shop/store to buy memorabilia to gift your loved ones

It has a wide area to walk. It is an excellent place for you to hang out with your friends or family members, learning about different types of birds and animals. This is a fun experience for people of any age. The place is a treat, especially for kids.

Visit their website to get geared up as they teach you and guide you through buying the right set of binoculars and other camping gear from you to get the best of this experience.

Get To Be A Sandcastle Architect

If you’re a creative person who likes building things and looking to spend time relaxing, then you can take sandcastle building lessons.

They provide you with the necessary skills and toolkits to learn to build and have fun during that process. If you are a competitive person, then you can even participate in competitions as well.

Enjoy The Sunset At Jim’s Pier

If you’re into enjoying sceneries and sunsets, you must enjoy the beautiful sunset on the Western side of the islands. It paints the sky red and beautiful. You can relax and hang out with your friends or family here. After having an adventurous day, Jim’s Pier offers a nice and relaxing view to end the day.

So, these were the five outdoor activities that every kind of traveler can enjoy in South Padre Island and have the best time while on the island. Your drive to reach South Padre Island will be pleasurable, but driving your own or (one of our rentals) car on the SPI beach is an experience of a lifetime.

Can’t-Miss Scenic Drives To Take in SPI

SPI beachside view

South Padre Island is the only tropical beach destination located in Texas. It is the second-longest island in the United States. It is a remarkable beach destination to unwind and a sure way to fulfill your long-awaited beach calling without leaving the state.

One of the best beaches to visit, South Padre Island (SPI) houses impressive white sand beaches, dolphins, turtles, and a lot more. Although SPI is appropriate to visit anytime throughout the year, it’s a top-rated destination for spending your spring break here.

It has been ranked among the top 10 beach destinations for spring breaks, and it is an “in demand” holiday getaway for groups, singles, couples, and families.

You wouldn’t want to leave once you set foot here. It is filled with many fun activities, such as fishing, snorkeling, jet-skiing, riding a scooter, diving, bungee jumping, surfing, windsurfing, kiteboarding, and horseback riding, skydiving, shell hunting, and many more. Several visitors come from Texas and across the country down here every year to relax on the beautiful beaches.

We have curated a list of places you cannot afford to miss while you are here and to make your trip the best one to remember:

Drive On The Beach

Your drive to reach South Padre Island will be pleasurable, but driving your own or (one of our rentals) car on the SPI beach is an experience of a lifetime. You will get a sense of freedom when driving on the sand alongside the beach waves crashing. There are some layers to getting legal access to bring your vehicle onto the beach.

Take care of not getting stuck into the sand, even if you do, it’s easy to get out with the help of others. You can drive nearly on a 30-mile stretch. Camping is also allowed on the beach, which is another one of the free activities there. It’s a perfect way to relax and do star gazing.

Horseback Riding

One of many great day activities is a horseback riding tour. Leave town to join others here on the beach to enjoy this fun activity. Drive down South Padre Road 100, which is surrounded by sand dunes on both sides. It is already an incredible sight to drive down here.

Once you are here, you will be acquainted with a horse and ready to ride in a flash. This tour lasts about 90 minutes which will take along the sand dunes on the beach. It is a sight to remember.

Drive A Scoot Coupe

You might not have done it in your lifetime, have you? Here is your chance. Driving a tiny three-wheeler scooter car is as fun as it sounds. It may look a bit weird, but driving around in a small car called a scoot coupe is the best way to explore the surroundings. They can go more than 40mph, and it is so fun to explore the area because of its size.

Visit The Sea Turtles

Sea Turtle, Inc. assists tourists like you to have an experience you will never forget with its all-around year rehabilitation center for rescued sea turtles and rehabilitation of endangered species. It is a beautiful place for everyone to visit but especially kids. They will get to learn more about sea turtles and also see people helping others out of kindness.

It is among the most popular South Padre Island tourist attractions for the right reasons, of course! You can yourself help the turtles in any way possible, make donations, or start conversations about the work they are doing.

One such rescued resident of turtles Inc. is Allison, saved in 2009 and given prosthetic flippers. She is the first turtle in the world to successfully use a prosthetic. She inspires everyone she meets.

Dolphin Sealife Centre

If your kids aren’t satisfied with turtles, take them to see dolphins afterward. It has kid-friendly touch tanks and aquariums for animals. They aim to guide and entertain the tourists with native sea life species. Moderated dolphin stunts are also conducted for entertainment purposes. You and your kids can learn so much about marine life and dolphins, how they interact and live.

Explore Laguna Madre Trail

Some may say it’s the best to experience South Padre Island. It is a 1500-foot boardwalk trail that goes in a loop. If you are a bird lover, you must experience this trail. You will be able to spot different species of birds. It’s a 1.8 km long trail that is primarily for walking and bird watching. It is an incredible sight to see in the mornings. It is a great way to explore sunsets and sunrises.

So, take each of these scenic drives in SPI and enjoy them to the fullest.

How to Keep the Kids Busy on SPI

Kid bicycles

If you are planning a beach holiday with the kids, you won’t run out of kid-friendly things to do on South Padre Island. SPI is a popular tourist spot for families with children. Tourists flock to this beautiful little island all through the year, and kids love it. From visiting the famous Big Padre alligator to rescuing sea turtles to go-karting at the amusement parks, the island offers a mix of education and entertainment for young visitors to the island.

Here’s a short list of the many kid-friendly things to do in SPI:

Bird watching and gator counting

One of the island’s main attractions is the South Padre Nature Center and Alligator Sanctuary. On the center’s short trail, you can take an educational walk to see several species of local birds in their habitat and get to know more about their way of life. In addition, reptile enthusiasts can watch alligators roam freely in the alligator sanctuary. Big Padre, the sanctuary’s mascot and a giant gator to boot, is a local celebrity, and visitors flock to marvel at his size and beauty.

Nature walks such as the one at the nature center, are the island’s most refreshing and exciting bonuses. Natural swamps, migratory birds, and berry-laden trees provide a welcome relief from the cacophony of nearby urban centers.

Selfie at the Whaling Wall

South Padre Island is located north of the Mexican border. Whale sighting is one of its many gifts to visitors, but the orcas that swim by in the Gulf of Mexico are threatened by human activity. The Convention Centre features a large whale mural painted by Robert Wyland and is part of his nationwide endeavor to make everyone aware of the risks faced by these majestic creatures. Take the family to strike a pretty pose before the giant whale mural and share it with friends. It is a kid-friendly way to do your party to preserve nature on SPI.

Go-karting at the amusement park

Head over to one of the island’s amusement parks, such as Gravity Park for single and double go-karts that you can share with older kids. For the adventurous ones, there are go-karts for younger kids too. Wall climbing, golfing and playing Crazy Shopping at the arcade are other kid-friendly amusement park activities to try on SPI.

Head to the beach

What’s an island without its beaches? South Padre Island beaches are clean, safe and patrolled. The beaches are off limits to most motor vehicles. However, there are parking spots nearby and you can leave your car there. Walk or take a swim with the family.Or, you can relive childhood memories by building sandcastles. You can even see a permanent giant sandcastle on the island or take a workshop to learn the art better. SPI beaches are meant for the young and the young at heart alike.

Bike riding

Rental bikesThe streets of South Padre Island are very bike-friendly, and several places throughout the island offer bike rentals. Choose this kid-friendly activity on SPI as one way to have fun getting from one activity to the other, or make the bike ride your activity by enjoying some of the island’s most beautiful trails.


Fly over the breathtaking island with trained guides. Paragliding and parasailing over the sea give you a bird’s eye view of the scenery. As waves roll below, your eyes follow the Laguna Madre as it stretches along the beach, the cruises and banana boats below, and the resort town’s many attractions. Children are usually accompanied by adults, so you can have a great time bonding in the air.

Horseback riding and interacting with rescued animals

Horseback riding on South Padre is a calming experience. Enjoy riding along the shoreline and share an unhurried joy with your family. Spread over many acres of sparsely crowded areas of the island, these horseback riding parks are run by the local community.

An added bonus is the petting barn at Island Adventure Park. There are various species of birds and animals here. Children can interact with the animals while learning all about them in an unforgettable, hands-on experience.

Fishing and angling

Walking down the Queen Isabella fishing pier, you’ll spot a fairly large number of hobbyists and professionals trying their luck at fishing. While trout are commonly caught near the pier, anglers often catch bigger fish a little deeper into the water. If not throwing a line, you can simply take a walk along the pier. It’s a clean, quiet place, and if you are lucky you might sight dolphins in the water. Take in the cool sea breeze even on warm days.

Another option is to book a fishing charter and spend many long hours on the sea. As one of the best kid-friendly activities on SPI, they usually have experienced guides on board along with different types of angling activities on offer. Book your rides in advance and fish to your heart’s content.

Learn about sea turtles

South Padre Island and its community are closely linked to the sea. Sea turtle rescue and rehabilitation is an important aspect of local life. Ridley sea turtles are rescued, treated, and released back into the sea. At Sea Turtle, Inc., children (and parents) come to know about the threats faced by this and other turtle species found worldwide and conservation efforts that are being made in this regard. So hang out with the marine life at the rescue center, donate if you want, or collect souvenirs to take back home.

Sailing, Snorkeling, Kayaking

There seems to be no end to the attractions this island has for beach-loving Texans. Charter boats, kayaks, and other watercraft are rented out to visitors and offer amazing views of sunsets and the sea. Dive into the calm waters with full snorkeling gear and come back up on the surface to a delectable lunch. You might find musicians on board to keep you company. Charters offer different services and operate at different times. For instance, some might rent out for birthday parties and other celebrations. To make the most out of your ride, check it out in advance and make your reservation early

These 10 different kid-friendly things to do in SPI are just a sampling of the fun to be had on the island. Head out for this bustling beach town and bring back priceless memories. You can now take a tour of the island on rented golf carts and save yourself time and energy for the more important things, like drinking a pina colada. Get in touch with Paradise Fun Rentals today, and put fun in the driver’s seat!