Padre Island is actually two barrier islands off the Gulf Coast of Texas. At 113 miles in length combined, it would be the longest barrier island in the world. However, because of the artificial Mansfield Channel created in 1964, the island is split into two: North Padre Island, which is a residential subdivision of Corpus Christi with a small degree of tourism infrastructure, and contains the National Park Service's Padre Island National Seashore, which protects 60 miles of undeveloped coastline; and South Padre Island, a popular Spring Break and summer resort community that is accessed via the Rio Grande Valley in deep south Texas.
|South Padre Island |
City and popular spring and summer resort
|Padre Island National Seashore |
Protected area for the northern part of the world's longest barrier island
Other than South Padre Island, the only other city on Padre Island is a portion of Corpus Christi at the northern extreme of the island. This part of the city is largely residential, but there are a handful of resort hotels and restaurants for visitors.
Direct access between North and South Padre Islands
Direct access by car between the two islands is not possible, due to the Mansfield Channel separating the two, in addition to the protected lands of Padre Island National Seashore. The nearest roads are 55 miles to the north or 22 miles to the south. The only access between the two islands is to return to the mainland and take US Highway 77 between Harlingen, Kingsville, and Corpus Christi.