Camp on Padre Island National Seashore's North Beach

Malaquite Visitor Center

Oceanfront camping along the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island in the world.

The largest undeveloped barrier island on Earth, the seashore is more than 130,000 acres of dunes, grasslands, and beaches. Drive over 60 miles along the beach to choose the perfect camping spot. Four-wheel drive is recommended to drive the full length of beach; however, two-wheel drive vehicles are able to safely drive down the first 5 miles of beach. Primitive camping is open to RVs and tents. There are no facilities and no designated sites. Campers are required to pay the designated entrance fee ($10/day) and obtain a free camping permit. Flush toilets and rinse showers are available at the Malaquite Visitor Center or campground. Campfires are permitted on the beach. For more information, head to the Padre Island National Seashore page on NPS.gov

There are plenty of activities to keep you entertained if you do not want to sunbathe, relax, and ride the waves all day. There is a scenic Grasslands Nature Trail, plenty of wildlife viewing, and fishing. One of the most exciting activities on the Seashore is watching a Kemp's Ridley sea turtle release! If you time your visit right, you can watch the hatchlings make their way back to the sea. You can check the projected hatch dates here: https://www.nps.gov/pais/learn/nature/2016-nesting-season.htm

Note:

  • Dogs are welcomed if kept on leash
  • Can be fairly windy at night
  • Moderate traffic flow along first 5 miles of beach

Pack List

  • Beach blanket/chairs
  • Towels
  • Sunscreen and/or shade canopy
  • Tent and camping gear
  • Firewood
  • Food/snacks/brews
  • Drinking water
  • Cooler
  • Bug spray (mosquitos are not bad since windy)
  • Yard games/book/frisbee/tunes/other beach games
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Activities Chillin, Camping, Bodysurfing, Swimming
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Features
Beach
Dog Friendly

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

A Beautiful Treasure...

We had at awesome time at Padre Island...with over 60 miles of beach, you can easily find isolation and have a campsite all to yourself. You can drive the beach or easily backpack to find a spot. The wildlife, especially the birds, are diverse and plentiful. Plus, you can't beat a cup of coffee while watching the sunrise over the Gulf, all from your tent. We spent our days walking the beach, searching for wildlife, playing frisbee and exploring the dunes. Sadly, there's a lot of trash which washes up along the dunes. Make sure you practice Leave No Trace ethics and pack out all your trash. There are dumpsters at visitors center for when you leave.

Serene Camp Spot, watch out for Jellies!

This campsite blew me away, really beautiful and a peaceful place to sleep. But when we ran into the water to swim in the morning we were greeted with swim suits full of baby jellyfish! It makes for a hilarious story now (running naked back to the car after tearing our swimsuits off in the water), but that was a bit of a shock!


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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