Parks & Recreation Master Plan

07 Parks Master Plan_NEW (1).pdf

The Parks & Recreation chapter was approved on January 19th, 2022.


Padre Island is the largest of the Texas barrier islands and is the world’s longest barrier island. The island is located along Texas’s southern coast of the Gulf of Mexico and is noted for its white sandy beaches. Meaning father in Spanish, it was named after Father Jose Nicolas Balli (c.1770-1829), who owned the island and served as a missionary priest and collector of finances for all the churches in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV). He also founded the first mission in present-day Cameron County.

Padre Island is the second-largest island by area in the contiguous U.S. after Long Island in New York on the Atlantic Coast. It is about 113 miles (182 km) long and 1.8 miles (3 km). The southern end of the island is separated from Brazos Island by the Brazos Santiago Pass.

The City of South Padre Island, commonly known as SPI, is located on its southern end. However, the island as a whole is sparsely populated. The central part of the island is preserved in a natural wild state as Padre Island National Seashore and part of the lower island is protected as part of the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. Since 1964, the island has been divided by the artificial Port Mansfield Channel. The terms “North Padre Island” and “South Padre Island” are often used to refer to the separated portions of the island. Padre Island is included within the jurisdictions of Cameron, Kenedy, Kleberg, Nueces and Willacy counties in Texas.

The City of South Padre Island is located at the southern end of South Padre Island with the City limits extending approximately 6.8 miles from the northern edge of Isla Blanca Park in the south to the northern municipal boundaries located approximately .5 miles north of Edwin King Atwood Park Road. The Queen Isabella Causeway is the only road access to the mainland; it is 2.5 miles (4.0 km) across the Laguna Madre to the City of Port Isabel. Brownsville is 25 miles (40 km) southwest of South Padre Island.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the City has a total area of 2.3 square miles (6.0 km2), of which 2.1 square miles (5.5 km2) is land and 0.2 square miles (0.5 km2), or 8.44, is water.

We want to hear from you!

Your comments are important to The Island Way… South Padre Island’s Comprehensive Plan. Please use this form to provide additional comments, suggestions, and concerns about your ideas for the future of South Padre Island, as well as any comments you would like to make about the information presented to City Council.