Gulf Coast
2010 Census - 2,816
2000 Census - 2,422
South Padre Island, Texas
City of South Padre Island Texas History:
Spanish Explorer Alonso Álvarez explored surveyed the southern portion of South Padre Island in 1519. He called the island Isla Blanca. At the time of his exploration, the Karankawa Indians inhabited the area. In 1805, Padre Jose Nicolas Balli and his nephew Jose Balli were given a land grant by the Spanish government that included Padre Island, portions of northern Mexico, and the Lower Rio Grande Valley. They were the first settlers on the island and they established Rancho Santa Cruz de Buena Vista approximately 24 miles north of the southern tip of the island. The island and the town of South Padre Island were named after Padre Balli. The Padre brought in settlers, though he did not receive clear title to the land until 1850, after his death. The island was a resort in the mid-1800s. Access was by ferry until the 1954 Old Queen Isabella Causeway and the Long Island Village Swing Bridge were completed. The Queen Isabella Causeway connected Long Island in Port Isabel with South Padre Island. The swing bridge connects the mainland town of Port Isabel and Long Island Village which is located across the Intracoastal Waterway from Port Isabel. The swing bridge is still operating. The Port Isabel end of the 1954 causeway was converted into the Queen Isabella State Fishing Pier when the current Queen Isabella Causeway was completed in 1974. The fishing pier is now closed due to safety concerns. South Padre Island began to develop after the 1954 causeway and the swing bridge were completed. The South Padre Island beaches are rated as one of the top ten beaches in the U.S. The best gulf side beaches are located on Park Road 100 north of town, and at Isla Blanca Park on the southern tip of the island. The 1972 population of South Padre Island was 314. Today many of the businesses and private homes are owned by foreigners. Do not speed in this town or you WILL get a ticket. The town is popular with spring breakers. South Padre Island is bordered on the east by the Gulf of Mexico, the south by Brazos Santiago Pass, and on the west by the Laguna Madre. It is located on Park Road 100 (Padre Boulevard) across the Laguna Madre from Port Isabel, 40.8 miles southeast of Harlingen, 22.7 miles slightly northeast of Los Fresnos, and 28 miles northeast of Brownsville, Texas.  
IMPORTANT Sea Turtle Hotline: (956) 380-9677. (866) 887-8535.
If you see a nesting or injured sea turtle, call the hotline number. If possible stay in the area until the rescuers arrive; give the turtle wide berth and do not touch the turtle. Give good directions to the location. Other numbers to call include (956) 748-3607.
SPI Animal Control:
All dogs must be on a leash when outdoors (outside a private fence) in the city limits of South Padre Island. It they are picked up by Animal Control you will have to show proof of your pet’s current rabies shot before retrieving your animal. We learned this the hard way when our hunting labs got loose. Bailey, the younger one, knew to beat a retreat to Wanna Wanna. Abbie the older one had more fun exploring and checking out the dogcatcher’s cage which she refused to get out of. (956) 761-3226. After Hours: (956) 761-5454.