Located on the tropical tip of Texas South Padre Island offers a break for anyone looking to get away for a weekend or an extended vacation. This barrier island, two and one half miles off the mainland, is bordered by the Gulf of Mexico and the Laguna Madre Bay, connected by the Queen Isabella Memorial Causeway. Initially named "Isla Blanca" or "White Sand", it first was charted in 1519 by Spanish explorer Alonzo de Pineda. In 1804, missionary priest Jose Nicholas Balli established the first settlement after a grant was made by Spain's King Charles IV.The Island is a year-round vacation destination, offering a sub-tropical climate with winters averaging 65 degrees and summers 82. There is an average of 253 days of sunshine annually. Spend your days enjoying watersports, horses on the beach, parasailing, fishing or just chilling. For the Eco tourist there are dolphin watch trips, a world class birding center and one of America’s best Sea Turtle rescue & education centers. With over 300 recorded species during biannual migration, South Padre Island has become one of the premier birding locations in the Western Hemisphere.