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Padre Island National Seashore

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Padre Island National Seashore encompasses 133,000 acres of America's vanishing barrier islands. It is the longest remaining undeveloped barrier island in the world. White sand beaches, interior grasslands, ephemeral ponds and the Laguna Madre provide habitat for a wide variety of flora and fauna. The island also provides recreational opportunities for everyone to feel the wind in their faces and the surf on their feet.  

Call our Hatchling Hotline at (361) 949-7163 for information on attending releases of baby sea turtles. For detailed information on sea turtle nests found so far this season go to the inDepth section then to 'Sea Turtle Nesting Bulletins'.

For questions on Resource Management issues, such as oil and gas production or facilities within the park, plans to modify Bird Island Basin, or scientific studies conducted within the park, please contact our Resource Management Division at (361) 949-8173 extension 227 (Ken McMullen).

Pets are permitted throughout the park, except on the visitor center deck. All pets must be on a leash.

   

CONTACTS

Email - PAIS_Visitor_Center@nps.gov

Fax- 361-949-8023

Write to
Superintendent
PO Box 181300
Corpus Christi, TX 78480-1300

- or -
Malaquite Visitor Center
PO Box 181300
Corpus Christi, TX 78480-1300

Phone
Headquarters - (361) 949-8173
Visitor Information - (361) 949-8068
Hatchling Hotline - 949-7163
Resource Mgmt. - (361) 949-8173 x227
Today's Weather - (361) 949-8175

TRAVEL BASICS

Operating Hours, Seasons
The park is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The visitor center is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., during the winter. Summer hours are extended to 6:00 p.m. The visitors center is closed on Christmas and New Year's Day.

Getting There
PLANE - The nearest major airport is Corpus Christi International Airport. It is approximately 43 miles away.

CAR - The seashore is located southeast of the city of Corpus Christi, Texas. Visitors to Corpus Christi should head East through the city on South Padre Island Drive (Highway 358). After crossing the JFK Causeway and the bridge onto Padre Island, continue about 10 miles south on Park Road 22. The physical address for the Malaquite Visitor Center is 20402 Park Road 22, Corpus Christi, TX 78418.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION - There is no regularly scheduled public or commercial transportation to the park.

Weather & Climate
The gulf shore is usually hot and humid. Shorts, tee-shirts and a hat are recommended. During the heat of the summer, sunscreen is highly recommended. Footwear on the beach is recommended due to the intense heat of the sand. Plenty of drinking water is always recommended.

Winters are usually mild with daytime temperatures ranging between 50-70F. Nighttime temperatures are usually 20 degress cooler, but very rarely does the temperature drop to freezing. Only a few days may reach into the 30's. Christmases or New Year's Days with clear, blue skies and temperatures in the 70's are not unusual.

Windsurfing weather: March, April, and May average 75% of days with winds over 15mph with frontal passages bringing much higher winds 2-3 days per week. From late May to late July there are consistent thermal winds usually increasing to 12-20 mph in the afternoons. For current wind speed call (361) 992-9463. For a detailed report or printout on wind and water conditions at Bird Island Basin, go to the 'activities' page of this website.

For daily park weather and tidal updates call (361) 949-8175.

For weekly local area weather (including marine forecasts) call (361) 289-1861. The 'more information' link above leads to the National Weather Service website for this area and provides the local conditions and forecast as well as links to other types of weather and climate information.

Accessibility
The Malaquite Beach Visitor Center is fully accessible. There are graded ramps to the exhibit area as well as accessible restroom facilities. Two wheelchairs, specially designed for use in the soft sand of the beach, are available free of charge. An elevator is available for access to the main observation deck. A video on the sea turtle program is closed captioned in either Spanish or English.

Getting Around
There is no public or commercial transportation within the park.

FEES/PERMITS

INCIDENTAL BUSINESS

Title 36, Chapter 1, Section 5.3 of the Code of Federal Regulations requires anyone conducting any commercial activities within the park to obtain an Incidental Business Permit. To be eligible for the permit, the activity must be appropriate to the preservation of the park. The services provided must originate and terminate outside the park and all aspects of business (i.e. advertisement, exchange of money, etc.) must take place outside the park. No one will be allowed to construct temporary or permanent structures in the park nor will anyone be assigned any buildings or portions thereof, except as allowed to the general public. The services provided must not conflict with the preferential rights provided under any concession contract. Permittees must be licensed by the State or local authorities, where applicable, to conduct business within the state of Texas. For more information on obtaining an incidental business permit, contact the park Administrative Officer at (361) 949-8173 extension 233.

Special Use Permits

SPECIAL USE PERMIT
A special use permit is required for all groups of over 25 people not participating in an educational program or a beach clean-up. Activities, for which a special use permit is issued, cannot interfere with the normal flow of visitor use and cannot damage park resources or facilities. The permittee is liable for any overtime incurred by the park to deal with the permittee or damage caused by the permittee. The final decision whether to issue a special use permit is left to the discretion of the park superintendent.

CAMPING

Bird Island Basin
Open All Year
Totally primitive. A camping permit is required and is available at the Malaquite Visitor Center. No reservations are taken for camping, but space is usually available. There are chemical toilets only. Suitable for both RV and tent camping. Bird Island Basin is located on the Laguna Madre approximately four miles from the visitors center. In addition to camping, Bird Island Basin has a windsurfing area (ranked by Windsurfing Magazine as the best flat water sailing site in the continental USA) and a boat-launching ramp.
For More Information on this campground please call (361) 949-8068

Malaquite
Open All Year
Semi-primitive, providing only toilets, rinse showers, picnic tables and 50 designated sites (8 sites are for tent camping only, 26 are for tent or RV camping, and 16 are for RV's only).There are no hook-ups. There is a gray water dump station and potable water filling station prior to entering the campground. Please do not run generators after 10 p.m. For security, the area is patrolled by rangers. Camping is accommodated on a first-come basis. No reservations are accepted. The campground is rarely full; during fall, winter, and spring usually less than half the sites are occupied. A camping permit is required and is available from the campground host, patrolling rangers, the entrance station, or from the information desk at the Malaquite Visitor Center. Campsites are located less than 100 feet (33 meters) from the beach and have an unobstructed view of the Gulf. The Visitors Center is 1/2 mile south along the beach.
For More Information on this campground please call (361) 949-8068

North Beach
Open All Year
Primitive and at no charge. A camping permit is required and is available from the Malaquite Visitor Center. Open to RV and tent camping. No reservations are taken for camping, but none are needed as space is always available. There are no facilities and no designated sites. Camping is permitted from the dunes to the water's edge (about a 100 ft. distance) and from the park's northern boundary to the northern barricade of Closed beach (about a 1 mile distance). Campers may choose a location and stake out a claim. Open to two-wheel-drive vehicles, however, beach conditions may vary with weather and campers should always use caution to avoid becoming stuck in unexpectedly deep sand. Be aware that this stretch is often used by people traveling from the park to a nearby fishing pier (out of the park) and that there is a moderate safety risk because of the traffic flow.
For More Information on this campground please call (361) 949-8068

South Beach
Open All Year
Primitive and at no charge. A camping permit is required and is available from the information desk at the Malaquite Visitor Center. No reservations are accepted; space is always available. Camping is on the beach within 100 feet of the water's edge. There are no designated sites. Campers may choose any location they desire and stake out a claim. The camping area extends from the dunes to the water and from the end of Park Road 22 down 60 miles to the southern boundary of the park at the Mansfield Channel. There are no roads; all driving is on the beach. The first five miles after the end of the park road are open to two-wheel-drive vehicles. The lower 55 miles are open only to four-wheel-drive vehicles. The beginning of the four-wheel-drive area is marked. Please note that in Texas beaches are considered highways and all vehicles on them must be street-legal and licensed. Be aware that driving conditions on the beach may vary with the weather and sometimes areas of soft sand may be found in the two-wheel-drive area making driving difficult and becoming stuck possible. Some areas within the four-wheel-drive area (particularly Little Shell and Big Shell beaches) usually have very deep sand. A site bulletin on how to prepare for driving down island are available by contacting the Visitors Center. Contact the Visitors Center before driving down island to check on beach conditions. Driving off the beach and into the dunes, grasslands, and mudflats is not permitted.
For More Information on this campground please call (361) 949-8068

Yarborough Pass
Open All Year
Primitive - there are no facilities. A camping permit is required and is available from the Malaquite Visitor Center. Reservations are neither accepted nor needed because space is always available. Located on the Laguna Madre 15.5 miles south of the visitors center. No fee is charged for use. Access to this campground is possible only through the four-wheel drive area of South Beach. To find the campground drive to the 15 mile marker then backtrack approximately 100 yards and look for a notch in the fore-island dune ridge. Driving through the notch places one on a caliche road, parts of which are sometimes flooded by marshes. Follow the road approx. 1-2 miles to the campground. Be aware that the notch through the dunes is sometimes filled with exceptionally deep and soft sand in which even four-wheel-drive vehicles become stuck occasionally. The flooded areas may be deep. Use caution when crossing to avoid flooding engine or exhaust. Do not drive in the mudflats surrounding the campground. The upper layers of the mud dry first, giving the appearance of solid ground, but leave soft mud underneath in which it is easy to become bogged down. Fines for damaging the mudflats are heavy.
For More Information on this campground please call (361) 949-8068

LODGING

None
There are no hotels, lodges, or cabins available at Padre Island National Seashore. Only tent or RV camping is available. Please contact the Padre Island Visitor Center (operated by the city of Corpus Christi) at (361) 949-8743 between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. central standard time for information about lodging on the island but outside the park.
For More Information on this lodging please call (361) 949-8743

FACILITIES

Visitor Centers
MALAQUITE BEACH
Open All Year
Phone - 361-949-8068
Location - The physical address is 20420 Park Road 22, Corpus Christi, 78418. From Interstate Highway 37 turn onto highway 358. The highway changes its name from 358 to South Padre Island Drive then crosses over the Laguna Madre on the JFK causeway and becomes Park Road 22. At the end of Park Road 22 is the National Seashore. Following it through the park takes one to the Visitors Center and a half mile farther the road ends on the beach. The total driving distance from I-37 to the beach is 37 miles.
Closures - Christmas and New Year's Day
Special Programs - Educational and interpretive programs are held year-round depending on staffing and weather. Deck talks and beach walks are held almost every day. Deck talks last 30 minutes and are an in-depth discussion of objects including shells, sea beans, and man-made items to be found along the shoreline. Beach walks last 45 mins. and are guided walks along the beach in which a ranger talks about the natural history of the island and discusses anything seen along the shore including shells, birds, flotsam, and plants while touching upon environmental issues of importance to the park. Evening programs may be offered at the Malaquite Beach campground in summer and winter. These normally last 45 minutes and may be on a variety of topics from wildlife to history to astronomical topics such as meteor showers, comets, and the constellations. Forty-five minute bird-watching walks may be offered at Bird Island Basin during migration. The National Seashore also offers environmental education programs for school groups of all ages. These professionally-presented programs teach children about such topics as habitat and migration while providing direct contact with nature. Contact the park environmental education specialist at (361) 949-8068 for more information. Other programs may be offered depending upon season and demand. An orientation video provides insight into the wonders of the park. It is available upon request year-round at the information desk.
Exhibits - Wayside exhibits detailing the park's natural history and environmental issues facing the park are placed along the edge of the main deck. Adjacent the information desk is a small museum of the island's human and natural history.
Available Facilities - The Visitors Center has an information desk, small museum, bookstore, concession stand, observation decks, restrooms and showers (open 24 hours), a small auditorium for 20 people, and picnic tables. Information on beach conditions, weather, sea turtle releases, the latest wildlife/bird sightings, and the local area can be found here as well as information on all other aspects of the park. Safety and orientation materials are available. The visitor center is fully wheelchair accessible with ramps to the main deck and an elevator to the main observation deck. Specially-designed wheelchairs for use on the beach are available at no charge. Some printed materials are available in Spanish. All exhibits are in both Spanish and English. A three minute video on sea turtles is available in either Spanish or English.

  Map
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Detailed Map


Contact Info
contact info
Phone, Email, Address, GPS coordinates


Campgrounds Nearby
campgrounds
List of Nearby Campgrounds


Weather
weather
Local weather forecast


OUTDOORS
These outdoors activities are available near Padre Island National Seashore.
 Campgrounds Near Padre Island National Seashore:
Hatch Rv Park, Corpus Christi, 2 miles away
Puerto Del Sol Travel Trailer, Corpus Christi, 3 miles away
Greyhound RV Park, Corpus Christi, 4 miles away
Gateway Mobile Home Park, Corpus Christi, 5 miles away
Sea Breeze RV Park, Portland, 6 miles away
Gulfway RV-MH Park, Corpus Christi, 8 miles away
Portland Mobile Home Park, Portland, 8 miles away
 Marinas Near Padre Island National Seashore:
City Marina, Corpus Christi , 1 miles away
Corpus Christi Marina, Corpus Christi , 1 miles away
Marina Village RV and Mobile Home, Corpus Christi , 11 miles away
Bluffs Landing Bait & Tackle, Corpus Christi , 13 miles away
Bahia Marina & Docks Store, Ingleside , 14 miles away
 Hotels Near Padre Island National Seashore:
V Boutique Hotel, Corpus Christi , 0 miles away
Omni Corpus Christi Hotel, Corpus Christi , 1 miles away
Holiday Inn CORPUS CHRISTI DOWNTOWN MARINA, Corpus Christi , 1 miles away
Super 8 Corpus Christi/Bayfront Area, Corpus Christi , 1 miles away
Best Western Corpus Christi, Corpus Christi , 1 miles away
Econo Lodge & Suites, Corpus Christi , 1 miles away
Emerald Beach Hotel, Corpus Christi , 1 miles away
 Beaches Near Padre Island National Seashore:
Corpus Christi Beach, Nueces County , 2 miles away
 Whitewater Near Padre Island National Seashore:
Whitewater Outfitter - Slow Ride Guide Services Kayak Rentals, San Patricio County , 18 miles away, Whitewater outfitter
 Public Lands Near Padre Island National Seashore:
Mustang Island State Park, Texas , 17 miles away
Goose Island State Park, Texas , 35 miles away
Lake Corpus Christi State Park, Texas , 37 miles away
 Golf Courses Near Padre Island National Seashore:
Gabe Lozano Senior Golf Course, Corpus Christi , 4 miles away
Oso Golf Course, Corpus Christi , 6 miles away
Pharaohs Golf Club, Corpus Christi , 7 miles away
Kings Crossing Golf, Corpus Christi , 9 miles away
Kings Crossing Country Club, Corpus Christi , 9 miles away

Copyright © Stratus-Pikpuk, Inc. - Pictures of park and text about park by the US National Park Service. Operating hours and fees are valid at the date of publishing and are subject to change, please contact park directly for current information.