South Padre Island is full of fascinating facts. Did you know that the first residents of South Padre were the Karankawa Indians? The last of this native tribe disappeared around the 1850s. Local legend states that they were an aggressive people of great height and strength. Some stories suggest that they may have been cannibals. They protected their territory with huge bows and great arrows that most men weren’t capable of drawing back or using.
In the 1500’s the South Padre area was used to export riches from Mexico to Spain. The most famous wrecks occurred in 1554 when millions of dollars of silver was lost. You can learn more about the 1554 shipwrecks at the Museums of Port Isabel.
Over the centuries many ships were lost on the shallow sandbars and South Padre treasure hunters still flock to the area looking for long lost treasure. Please know that any treasure found belongs to the State of Texas and state law dictates that it must be turned over for historical preservation.
Laguna Madre Bay
The Laguna Madre Bay is a hyper-saline lagoon. Saltier even than the Atlantic Ocean. There are only a half dozen hyper-saline bays in the world. The only saltier body of water in the country is the Great Salt Lakes.
This unique bay provides a special ecosystem that is perfect for some sea life. Many creatures including dolphins, sea turtles and fish migrate to the Laguna Madre Bay to hatch or raise their young. Protecting this unique area is crucial to the health of the Gulf of Mexico.
Port Isabel Lighthouse
The Port Isabel Lighthouse stands on the smallest state park in Texas. It is one of the few lighthouses in Texas which is open for the public to climb and enjoy a great panoramic view.
The lighthouse is closed until late August 2017 as Texas Parks & Wildlife undertakes some much needed renovation on the historic structure. The Visitors Center in the Keepers Cottage is still open to the public.
Coast Guard Station, Then and Now
The South Padre Island Coast Guard Station was constructed in 1974 and houses the main offices and duty crew quarters. In addition, there is an older station building on the south end of Padre Island. This building was put up in 1924 and is still in occasional use by the University of Brownsville. Occasionally, a local will tell the story of the ghost of an early station worker rumored to still haunt the old station after his suicide by hanging.
Port Isabel Yacht Club
In the 20’s and 30’s the area was popular with the rich and famous. During the time of prohibition Port Isabel Yacht Club was built to provide the elite with a yachting destination. The guest list included Amelia Earhart, Al Capone, President Harding and President Eisenhower and Charles Lindberg.
Today, the building is in need of restoration. Having the club condemned in recent years, The City of Port Isabel is working to acquire the building and seeks to adapt it for office, educational and cultural uses.
When you’re planning a visit to South Padre Island TX check out the comfortable and affordable accommodations we can provide you with at Padre Getaways.
We have rental properties located near the area’s best attractions, finest dining establishments, and the hottest nightlife around. Then there are the condos and homes located directly on the Gulf of Mexico offering phenomenal views and tropical breezes. We’ll see you soon!