About South Padre Island
The Town of South Padre Island is located at the eastern edge of Cameron County in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, just 30 miles north of the Mexican border. Bordered by the Gulf of Mexico and the Laguna Madre Bay, this little slip of land-a 34-mile-long barrier island, 1/2 mile at its widest point-is not your ordinary beach destination. The island's thriving coastal town provides activities and amenities, while wide expanses of unspoiled dunes preserve nature and privacy.
Brief History and Facts
According to the 1994 census estimate, about 2,028 residents live in the Town. However, depending on the tourist season, some 2,000 to 5,000 people work on the Island, providing services to the Town's 20,000 to 200,000 visitors. The Town of South Padre Island is linked to the mainland by the Queen Isabella Causeway, a 2 1/2 mile four lane bridge to Port Isabel Texas. South Padre Island was first charted, in 1519, by the Spanish Explorer Alonzo de Pineda. He named it "Isla Blanca" or "White Island." Then in 1804, Missionary Priest Padre Jose Nicholas Balli established the first settlement on the island after the initial grant was made by King Charles IV of Spain. The Port Mansfield Gulf Channel was completed in 1964 which separated South Padre Island from Padre Island. South Padre Island was incorporated in 1973 and one year later the Queen Isabella Causeway was completed. South Padre Island is a year-round vacation destination located at the same latitude as Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The Island enjoys a sub-topical environment with mild dry winters, and warm breezy summers. With a winter average temperature of 65 degrees, a summer average temperature of 82 degrees and and an average of 253 days of beautiful sunshine, it's no wonder why so many people love South Padre Island. South Padre Island has a council-manager form of government. The Board of Aldermen, consisting of a Mayor and five Aldermen, have two-year staggered terms. Board elections are held every year on the first Saturday in May. The City Manager is the chief executive officer of the town.