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Padre Island National Seashore

Padre Island National Seashore separates the Gulf of Mexico from the Laguna Madre, one of a few hypersaline lagoons in the world. Because it has remained undeveloped wilderness for most of its existence, it’s an area teeming with nature and wildlife, from its 70 miles of coastlines, dunes, prairies and wind tidal flats to the famous Kemp’s ridley sea turtles and 380 bird species that live there. Owned by four nations and seeing battles like the Mexican-American War from 1845 to 1848 and World War II, the island has a rich history. Today Padre Island is protected by the National Park Service. The National Park Service preserves the island in its natural state, allowing visitors to see the same Padre Island that existed hundreds of years ago.

Padre Island National Seashore

Padre Island National Seashore

See Extraordinary Wildlife!

See Extraordinary Wildlife!

Explore Beautiful Padre Island

Explore Beautiful Padre Island

Padre Island National Seashore Padre Island National Seashore
See Extraordinary Wildlife! See Extraordinary Wildlife!
Explore Beautiful Padre Island Explore Beautiful Padre Island

What to Expect During Your Visit to Padre Island National Seashore

Start your visit to Padre Island in the Malaquite Pavilion, home to the park’s Visitor Center. Then, head outdoors to explore the seashore and discover nature at its finest. If time permits, visit the Bookstore in the Malaquite Pavilion for gifts and keepsakes to remember your time at Padre Island National Seashore.

Malaquite Pavilion

In the Malaquite Pavilion is Padre Island National Seashore’s Visitor Center. Visit the information desk for maps and brochures about what the park has to offer. Watch an introductory film and explore several exhibits that will orient you with Padre Island National Seashore. The Malaquite Pavilion’s two observation decks overlook the dunes, grasslands and Gulf of Mexico and present perfect photo opportunities.

Things to Do at the Padre Island National Seashore


Rent a pair of binoculars from the Visitor Center’s information desk and head to one of the Malaquite Pavilion’s observation decks to discover the birds of Padre Island. More than 380 species of birds have been found on Padre Island National Seashore, half of all bird species documented in North America. Lookout for waterfowl, shorebirds, pigeons, wrens, mockingbirds, wood-warblers, grebes, gules, pelicans, sparrows, blackbirds, raptors and herons.


Embark on a treasure hunt on the beach. With many of the currents that flow through the Gulf of Mexico, beachcombing is a favorite activity among Padre Island National Seashore visitors. Visitors who wish to explore the seashore might come across seashells, sea beans (drift seeds), driftwood, lumber, plastics and things lost or discarded by seagoing vessels.

Sea Jellies and Jelly Like Organisms

Jellies and jelly like organisms can also be found on the beach.  You may see the Portuguese man-of-war (blue jellyfish), Blue button, By-the-wind sailor, Cabbagehead, Moon jellies, Sea nettles or Comb jellies. Jellies are an important part of the food chain and a favorite snack of birds and turtles. During certain times you might be able to view shorebirds and other wildlife feeding on jellyfish that have washed ashore.

Shop the Visitor Center’s Book Store

The Padre Island National Seashore’s Book Store is located in the Malaquite Pavilion. Within you’ll find gifts and keepsakes for purchase including postcards, posters, magnets, bookmarks and a wide variety of books related to Padre Island National Seashore.

Travel Tips

-          The Malaquite Pavilion is ADA compliant. Wheelchairs especially designed for use in the soft sand of the beach are available to rent from the Malaquite Pavilion free of charge. A valid driver’s licence or personal wheelchair must be left at the visitor center until the beach wheelchair is returned.


-          Remember not to touch jellies if you come across them on the beach, they have stinging cells.


-          Don’t forget your camera. There will be exciting photo opportunities during your visit to Padre Island National Seashore.