South Padre Island, Texas

South Padre Island is a resort community in Cameron County, Texas, United States. It is part of the BrownsvilleHarlingen Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2000 census, the town had an official population of 2,422 people, although this significantly underestimates its size since many people split their time between vacation properties on South Padre and permanent residences elsewhere in the Rio Grande Valley or in Nuevo Leon. The town is located on South Padre Island, a barrier island along the Texas Gulf coast assessible via a causeway from the town of Port Isabel. South Padre Island is named after José Nicolás Ballí (Padre Ballí), a Catholic priest and settler.


In September 1967, Hurricane Beulah caused extensive damage to much of the town of South Padre Island. On July 23, 2008, Hurricane Dolly made landfall on the island as a category 2 storm, also causing extensive damage to the town.


Subsequent to rebuilding from Hurricane Beulah, the island became a popular spring break destination for college students and other tourists. Many multistory resort hotels and condominiums have been erected along the coastline to the Gulf of Mexico. The Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark, the second of its kind in Texas, opened in South Padre Island in 2001.

The South Padre International Music Festival is an annual event that occurs the first weekend of November. 2007 marked the inaugural year of the event and was attended by almost 10,000 festival-goers throughout the weekend. Sixty-four bands across fourteen venues filled the island and rocked to an array of both national and international acts, ranging from country, reggae, rock, and indie jams to Latin rock, ska and jazz.


South Padre is home to many watersport activities with PWC rental and dolphin watches being the most popular. Other favorites are horseback riding adventures on the beach and ecological tours that explore Padre Island National Seashore.

Fishing is also popular. Also, every year the Texas International Fishing Tournament is held in late summer with winnings totalling almost a quarter million. Along with many other fishing tournaments such as Ladies Kingfish Tournament, Hooters Tournament, Redfish Rodeo just to name a few.


South Padre Island is located at (26.111935, -97.169587).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 1.9 square miles (4.9 km²), of which, 1.8 square miles (4.7 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.2 km²) of it (4.23%) is water.


South Padre Island experiences a humid subtropical climate, similar to that of the Tampa Bay Area of Florida but with less precipitation and slightly higher summer maximum temperatures. The average high in January is 67 °F (19 °C) and the average low is 52 °F (11 °C). The average high in July is 95 °F (35 °C), and the average low is 77 °F (25 °C). The warm season is long, as average high temperatures are 90-99 °F °C (32-37) , and average low temperatures typically around 77 °F (25 °C). The region experiences relatively high dew point values, around 75 °F (24 °C) in the summer time, resulting in higher relative humidity values from June through September.


As of the census of 2000, there were 2,422 people, 1,211 households, and 662 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,335.9 people per square mile (516.7/km²). There were 4,685 housing units at an average density of 2,584.1/sq mi (999.4/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 94.59% White, 0.70% African American, 0.45% Native American, 0.21% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 2.77% from other races, and 1.24% from two or more races. 22.83% of the population is Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 1,211 households out of which 15.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.2% were married couples living together, 4.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 45.3% were non-families. 35.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.00 and the average family size was 2.54.

In the town the population was spread out with 12.9% under the age of 18, 6.2% from 18 to 24, 28.2% from 25 to 44, 34.2% from 45 to 64, and 18.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 47 years. For every 100 females there were 113.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 115.9 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $45,417, and the median income for a family was $53,250. Males had a median income of $39,250 versus $30,028 for females. The per capita income for the town was $31,708. About 10.2% of families and 12.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.1% of those under age 18 and 7.8% of those age 65 or over.

Every summer and spring break, tourists flock to the island and greatly increase its population, Most are Texans, but many come from neighboring Mexico, particularly from the states of Tamaulipas and Nuevo León. South Padre Island is especially popular with residents of Monterrey Mexico and Oklahoma residents.

Spring Break 2009 kicks off February 16 with the majority of students traveling to South Padre Island for "Texas Week". This is the week when the majority of Texas schools take off for spring break. "Texas Week" begins March 16th.

During the winter, many "Winter Texans" from the north and midwest live on the sandy barrier island and in nearby Port Isabel. These seasonal residents most of the time reside in trailer and mobile home parks and in older wooden homes on raised platforms (to accommodate tidal surges).


Children living in South Padre Island are zoned to schools in Port Isabel Independent School District. Children go to Garriga Elementary School (Grades K-2), Derry Elementary School, (3-5), Port Isabel Junior High School (6-8), and Port Isabel High School (9-12). All of the schools are in Port Isabel.

In addition, South Padre Island residents may apply to schools in the South Texas Independent School District.


Brownsville/South Padre Island International Airport in Brownsville and Valley International Airport in Harlingen serve the island.

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