Bird Island Basin
Windsurfing is one of the popular activities at the Bird Island Basin, which can be found on Padre Island's bay side. This location is one of popular windsurfing spots in the United States. The basin is also great for kayaking, camping, fishing, and birding. Equipment rentals, as well as kayaking and windsurfing lessons, are offered at a concession. Both RV and tent camping are permitted for a fee.
Grasslands Nature Trail
The Grassland Nature Trail offers visitors an opportunity to see what exists past the beach and behind the sand dunes. This paved, three fourths of a mile trail can be found just beyond the entrance gate to the park.
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Novillo Line Camp
At one point in time, Padre Island was used primarily for ranching. A short walk to Novillo Line Camp will take you back to the past where cattle were corralled by cowboys. The camp is the last remaining structure from the Dunn family cattle ranching operation.
Backtracking around 100 yards from South Beach's 15-mile marker will lead park visitors to Yarborough Pass. A 4-wheel drive down an access road from South Beach or boating in from the Laguna Madre are the only ways to reach this area. Camping is allowed with a free permit from the kiosk at South Beach.
Little Shell and Big Shell Beaches
Visitors to the park can drive 10-15 miles along South Beach to find Little Shell Beach. Another 10-15 miles down South Beach is Big Shell Beach. These two beaches offer great opportunities for finding seashells. It's also an excellent area to go beachcombing with a 4-wheel drive vehicle.
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Port Mansfield Channel
Port Mansfield Channel, a man-made waterway, cuts through Padre Island. The channel was created to provide a way for barges and other vessels to reach Port Mansfield. A 4-wheel drive vehicle is required in order to reach this area that cuts through the island about 60 miles south of South Beach's entrance. Port Mansfield Channel marks the park's southern boundary. Rock jetties located at the channel, constructed during the channel's creation, offers a spectacular spot for viewing green sea turtles, dolphins, and other wildlife that might be swimming the the area. The water around the rock jetties is also great for fishing. The Port Mansfield Channel area, including the last five miles of South Beach, also provides possibly the best shelling in the Padre Island park.
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Padre Island's Laguna Madre is possibly one of only six hypersaline lagoons in the world, making it a rarity. A hypersaline body of water contains more salt than an ocean. The Laguna Madre is perhaps one of the most unoticed natural wonders in North America. Just looking out onto the water of the lagoon, the Laguna Madre might not seem too different from other bodies of water around the world. However, underneath the water's surface, the lagoon's life is unique. The area is also great for windsurfing, boating, fishing, birding, and more. Padre Island National Seashore in South Padre Island, Texas - Photo: bodnarinq /Fotolia
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