5) South Padre Island
Once a major spring break destination, South Padre Island has become more family friendly recently. On U.S. News & World Report’s Best Family Beach Vacations in the USA, it ranked 15th. Its small size makes it pedestrian-friendly, but there is also a free shuttle. Take advantage of the water activities, including kite-boarding, fishing, and surfing. Go bird watching along the Laguna Madre Nature Trail with its 300 species of birds. Get an up close up look at sea turtles at Sea Turtle, Inc. conservation center. Isla Blanca Park is also highly recommended, though parking can be a challenge in the summer. Should there be a day of poor weather, there are three historical sites to check out: the lighthouse, the history museum, and the Treasures of the Gulf Museum. Finally, the Dolphin Research & Sealife Nature Center has dolphin tours and touch-friendly tanks with crabs and starfish.
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