Sout Padre Island


South Padre Island is the longest and the best known unit in the chain of islands and peninsulas off the shore of Texas running from Galveston to Port Isabel.
Nature has done better to construct a natural seaside resort paradise here than the most enthusiastic planner could ever dreamed of doing.

The island is 110 miles long and 4 miles wide in the widest place. To all intents and purposes it is perfectly straight with a crook at the midsection known as the Devils Elbow. This is the famous graveyard for ships. Padre is a long, long stretch of shifting sand and sand dunes with a few scraggly oaks in tiny groves or clusters known as "motts". It is a paradise of beautifully colored sea shells, and beachcombers can find almost anything in the world washed in from the sea.

A large part of Padre Island hasn't changed much since the Spanish conquistadors first nicknamed it "el Desierto Muerto", meaning the dead desert. Four hundred years of recorded history show that across the dunes have struggled Indians and pirates, missionaries and conquerors, colonizers and ranchers, developers and visionaries. Twenty-five thousand years ago cannibalistic Indian tribes gnawed human bones along the shores of the island.
In 1894 Padre Nicholas Balli, established a mission and ranch, Rancho de la Santa Cruz, near the center of the island. It ws from him that the island got its name. After Cortez defeated the Aztecs in Mexico, he started 20 galleons with gold and precious jewelry to Spain. Three of these were wrecked on Padre Island. Two were recovered but the third has never been found. From that time until Pat Dunn established a ranch on the island in 1879, restless feet have been walking hunchbacked along the islands searching out the treasures tossed up by the sea, and many have been successful.

The principal things to be enjoyed are swimming, water-skiing; surfing, deep-sea fishing, parasailing, sailing, dolphin cruise, windsurfing, bicycling, tennis, shelling, horseback riding on the beach,  picnicking, bachcombing, collecting beautiful sea shells and enjoying the islands many great restaurants and shopping opportunities.