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Spring Break at South Padre Island: The Ultimate Guide

Spring Break at South Padre Island has a standing reputation of being the ultimate Texas Spring Break destination.

College students flock to the small island, on the southernmost tip of the state on the Texas Gulf Coast, to experience the island’s tropical weather and beautiful beaches.

The island’s prime location, next to the Mexico border, is a draw for many Texas spring breakers and one of the best places to visit in Texas.

South Padre Island Spring Break is comparable to the party scene experienced in Daytona Beach, boasting loads of activities for spring breakers to enjoy.

With night clubs, poolside parties, beach activities, delicious food, and plenty of water sports, Spring Break in South Padre has something for everyone and is a true hot spot.

Believe it or not, South Padre is also a great Spring Break destination for couples and families.

In this post, I want to explore both sides of South Padre Island, Texas, for different spring breakers: those looking for the party scene and those looking for the quieter side of South Padre Island.

But first, let’s dive into some general information about the island that is good for everyone! And remember, planning ahead is highly recommended for Spring Break trips, as the island gets crowded!

How to Get to South Padre Island

aerial view of South Padre Island

If you are down for a Texas road trip, you can drive to Padre Island. Remember that Texas is a vast state, and you might be in for a long drive!

Flying to South Padre Island, Texas, renting a car, or taking the shuttle is also an option.

The nearest airports are McAllen International Airport (MFE) in McAllen, Texas, Valley International Airport (HRL) in Harlingen, Texas, and Brownsville South Padre International Airport (BRO) in Brownsville.

These airports are small, and the airlines servicing them are limited so prices can get a bit high.

HRL and BRO airports offer a shuttle service to get you onto the island. The shuttle from BRO is free, while the shuttle from HRL has a fee.

Getting Around South Padre Island

Once on the island, you may or may not need a car, depending on where you are staying.

A free shuttle service, the Island Metro, runs up and down the island and goes to Port Isabel.

Of course, the island also has both Uber and Lyft available, and these are the best options if you are on the island to party. We never want you to drink and drive!

Walking is also a great way to get around, as most things are within walking distance. The island is only half a mile wide at its widest point.

One of our favorite ways to get around South Padre Island (and Port Aransas) is to rent a golf cart.

You will see golf carts, scooters, and bicycles all over the island. Each makes for a fun mode of transportation and a great Spring Break memory.

Where to Stay on South Padre Island

Areas of the Island

Of course, for the best experience, you want to stay on the island; remember that you must book far in advance, especially during Texas week (when Texas schools are on Spring Break).

I would recommend booking your accommodations no later than January!

The east side of the South Padre is the side on the Gulf Coast. This side of the island is home to many beaches, restaurants, and accommodations.

The west side of the island faces the Texas mainland. This means there are fewer beaches, but there are still many dining and entertainment options. These accommodations on the island’s west side are generally calmer and more affordable for Spring Break.

The island’s north side has fewer accommodations for visitors and more permanent homes. This is a great place for families looking to stay away from some of the crowds. Try to find a vacation rental in this area if that is you.

The island’s south side puts you in the middle of the Spring Break action, so if you are looking for a party package, this is where you want to be.

South Padre Island Accommodations

beach South Padre Island

Of course, there are a lot of accommodations on South Padre Island, so this list isn’t comprehensive. With that in mind, here are a few places to consider for your South Padre Island Spring Break.

Budget Hotels in South Padre Island

These hotels traditionally come in around $150 a night.

Mid-Range Hotels

These hotels include many well-known brands. Some are beachfront, and some are not, so please verify before booking if that is important to you.

Luxury Hotels South Padre Island

These South Padre Island hotels offer more amenities and more luxurious accommodations. Of course, that means they also come with a higher price tag.

Campsites on South Padre Island

There are also campsites available on the island. Here are a few to consider:

  • Isla Blanca Park
  • South Padre Island KOA
  • Andy Bowie Park

Brownsville

If you can’t find accommodations on South Padre Island that fit your needs, you can stay in Brownville, Texas.

Brownsville is the southernmost city in Texas and is an affordable option for your South Padre Spring Break.

Staying in Brownsville means driving onto the island, which can take 30+ minutes, depending on where you stay and the traffic conditions.

South Padre Island Spring Break Things to Do

Visit the Beach

Spring Break South Padre Island beach

The beaches on South Padre Island are some of the best beaches in Texas and one of the biggest draws to this area.

Hitting the beach is one of the favorite daytime activities for college students and families.

Of course, you will find an area with a Spring Break party on the beach, but you can also enjoy a quieter beach scene.

The party scene can be found at Clayton’s Beach Bar, open from 12 pm until 6 pm daily in March.

Clayton’s Beach Bar is one of the go-to events for the ultimate South Padre Island Spring Break. Their daily events include DJs, live music performances, and fun, competitive games to keep the party going!

For a quieter scene, check out the beach at Boca Chica State Park, one of Texas’s prettiest beaches!

To get the whole group involved in a fun activity, consider doing a South Padre Island sand castle experience!

Go on a Dolphin Watching Tour

Dolphin-watching tours are a fun way to enjoy being on the water during your Spring Break in South Padre.

Being on the water allows you to be in close proximity to the dolphins to have a fun and unique experience.

If you book your experience at the right time, you can also catch the epic sun sets over the water!

Check out this 1.5-hour dolphin tour for your South Padre adventure or this private dolphin and history cruise.

Consider booking this fireworks cruise with dolphin watching tour for a fun and unique experience during your South Padre Island Spring Break.

Check out a Pool Party

You must check out a pool party for the ultimate Spring Break experience.

The pool party scene in South Padre is banging all over the island.

Some popular spots include Peninsula and Holiday Inn Beach Resort.

To ensure you get into the parties, check out the party package offered by SouthPadreSpringBreak.com.

Do Some Water Sports

Water sports offer continuous excitement for your spring Break on South Padre Island, and with so many choices, there is something for everyone.

Of course, you can enjoy banana boat rides or check out the jet ski rentals. I mean, everyone loves banana boat rides and jet ski rentals!

South Padre even offers private historical jet ski tours, which give you a unique look into the area’s history.

Like most coastal areas, South Padre offers a snorkel tour and private boat charters for visitors to enjoy.

If parasailing or taking kiteboarding lessons is your style, you can do that on the beach, too!

If you want to try your hand at bay fishing, check out this half-day bay fishing tour, or for the ultimate fishing experience, grab some friends and book a private bay fishing tour.

Visit the Nature Center

Book a Photo Shoot

Why not hire a professional photographer to capture the memories of your time in South Padre?

We love documenting our vacation through photos, and a professional photoshoot ensures you get the best quality photos to make lasting memories.

Discover Sea Turtle Inc.

sea turtle

Sea Turtle Inc. is an incredible place to learn all about sea turtle conservation and rehabilitation.

You can visit their facility to learn about their great work, and if you are lucky, you might be able to participate in a sea turtle release!

Go Shopping

When you have had your fill of the beach, head out and shop while on the island.

South Padre has fun and quirky shops, perfect for souvenir hunting.

Of course, you can also find great t-shirts, swimsuits, sunglasses, and items you might need for the beach!

Where to Eat, Drink, and Party on South Padre Island

Spring Break South Padre Island beach party

Clayton’s Beach Bar

Clayton’s Beach Bar is famous for its epic spring break parties.

Here, you can enjoy prizes, giveaways, DJs, live music, and some incredible drinks.

Louie’s Backyard

During the day, Louie’s Backyard is known for its stunning views and great surf and turf cuisine, but at night, Louie’s becomes one of the hottest clubs in South Padre Island.

Louie’s defines Spring Break party thanks to its epic dance parties, DJs, and multiple decks over Laguna Madre Bay.

Louie’s Backyard is the place to be at night on South Padre Island.

Dirty Al’s

Dirty Al’s has you covered if you want some delicious seafood. You have to check out the fried shrimp, trust me!

Wanna Wanna Beach Bar and Grill

Like many restaurants in Padre, Wanna Wanna Beach Bar and Grill serves delicious seafood. But that isn’t all on their menu. They also have a delicious burger and great discounted beverages. So, when hunger strikes, Wanna Wanna is the place to be.

Laguna BOB (Bar on Bay)

Laguna BOB has a great environment and doesn’t charge a cover charge! That makes it easy to enjoy a night out dancing to live music and the many drink specials offered at Laguna BOB.

Longboard Bar and Broil

Longboard Bar and Broil is another great Padre Island restaurant serving excellent food and a wide variety of drinks overlooking a fabulous view.

Padre Island Brew Co.

For a casual, relaxed environment, head to Padre Island Brew Co. Here, you can enjoy great burgers, seafood, and steak accompanied by some delicious craft beer.

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Michelle Snell founder of That Texas Couple and Totally Texas Travel

About The Author

Michelle Snell is a travel writer, history buff, wine lover, and enthusiast of different cultures. Michelle enjoys bringing places to life through her informative writing style on her blogs, That Texas Couple and Totally Texas Travel.  Her practical tips and suggestions help make travel dreams a reality while immersing her readers in the history, culture, and food of a region.  She is happiest sipping wine in Italy or chilling on a beach with her husband, Marty.

Hottest Spring Break Spots for Partying - Night Box

Monday 15th of April 2024

[…] Spring Break at South Padre Island: The Ultimate Guide […]

Jody

Sunday 28th of January 2024

Great article! Thanks for the great info! Going to save this one!

Lori

Sunday 21st of January 2024

So, the best advice seems to be Book NOW! Looks amazing!

texasonly

Monday 22nd of January 2024

Yes, if you want to go this spring. LOL!

Brittney

Sunday 21st of January 2024

South Padre Island seems like the Destin of Texas! Would love to check out the Sea Turtle Inc!

texasonly

Monday 22nd of January 2024

Sea Turtle Inc is so great. South Padre is definitely different than Destin, but it is our version. :)

MicheleinPlaya

Sunday 21st of January 2024

Wow!! I have friends who have second homes on South Padre Island and they have told me that is is party central during Spring Break. I live near Cancun so I get it!! Looks like a place I might enjoy visiting when the crowds are gone.... The beaches are lovely!

texasonly

Monday 22nd of January 2024

It really is a great beach community, but, yes, it is really crowded for spring break.