View from Here

Dallas' favorite summer beach town is a must-visit winter destination


South Padre Island
Photo by Daniel Cavazos
South Padre Island beach seagull
Photo by Daniel Cavazos
South Padre Island beach
Photo by Daniel Cavazos
South Padre Island beach
Photo by Daniel Cavazos
South Padre Island beach
Photo by Daniel Cavazos
South Padre Island
Photo by Daniel Cavazos
South Padre Island beach
Photo by Daniel Cavazos
South Padre Island beach
Photo by Daniel Cavazos
South Padre Island beach
Photo by Daniel Cavazos
South Padre Island
Photo by Daniel Cavazos
South Padre Island
Photo by Daniel Cavazos
South Padre Island
Photo by Daniel Cavazos
South Padre Island beach
Photo by Daniel Cavazos

Deep in the heart of South Texas exists one of the state's great natural treasures. South Padre Island is often thought of as a spring and summer destination, with its abundance of outdoor activities, warm temperatures, and excellent swimming water. However, it is the fall and winter seasons that offer a unique and beautiful perspective of “the island.”

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Getting cabin fever on the island? Head back across the Queen Isabella Causeway and check out the famous Port Isabel lighthouse.

South Padre Island is located anywhere from 2.5 to 4 miles off the coast of Texas.

The fall and winter seasons are often thought as dreary, but South Padre Island offers many sunny days from November  through February.

At 2.5 miles long, the Queen Isabella Causeway spans the Lower Laguna Madre, and offers the island’s only point of automotive entry.

Winter Texans (folks from colder climates that migrate south for the winter) are a valuable asset to an island that struggles economically in the down season. Jim Rockford of Bemidji, Minnesota, has been cruising the island streets for over a decade.

Long gone are the umbrellas and chairs of summer, but the beaches of South Padre Island still serve as an excellent landscape for sea-gazing and an afternoon stroll.

When the weather cooperates, shirtless beachgoers can be found strolling the shorelines of the Gulf of Mexico.

The water of the Lower Laguna Madre is home to some of Texas’ best saltwater fishing. Contrary to popular opinion, fishing in the fall is one of the best times to catch trout, redfish, flounder, or snook.

Gulls become more active in the fall and winter as they feed over the bay waters.

Sea Turtle Inc., a nonprofit sea turtle rehabilitation center, is quite busy this part of the year as cold snaps stun the turtles, requiring STI to step in and help. Executive director Jeff George can often be found leading an educational lecture for visitors.

Unlike the busy spring and summer months, restaurant waits are almost nonexistent in the fall and winter. 

Nightlife options are not as plentiful with the bayside bars usually closed on cold evenings, but you can always count on some quality karaoke at the Coral Reef Lounge.

 It’s a Texas crime to miss a South Padre Island sunset.