Corpus Christi, TX 78418
- Mustang Island
- National Park
- $5 - $10
Padre Island National Seashore is massive. At 130, 434 acres, it is the longest stretch of barrier island that remains undeveloped . . . not only in the United States, but in the world. Undeveloped as it is, the seashore is extremely important ecologically. The Kemp’s ridley, the world’s most endangered sea turtle, uses a stretch of Padre beach as its nesting site. Although this isn’t the only place the Kemp’s ridley nests, it is the most important such in the United States. Four other endangered species nest here: the Loggerhead sea turtle, the Green sea turtle, the Hawksbill sea turtle, and the Leatherback sea turtle.
Padre Island is also a flyway for birds, over 380 species worth. About 45 percent of the birds of North America have been documented here. Of these species, Brown Pelicans, Redheads, Least Terns, Piping Plovers, Reddish Egrets, and Peregrine Falcons occur in very significant numbers. Bird Island Basin is a popular site for marsh birds within this popular birding site, and the Gulf beach is full of gulls and shorebirds.
Beyond watching sea turtle releases and birding, star gazing is a popular pastime in the park. Padre Island has a star party once a month, usually during a new moon. And although there are no bicycle trails, bikers often take to the scenic roads alongside the motorists.
Hours + Fees
Map + Directions
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.