Frequently Asked Questions


Fees & Passes

Do I have to pay to use North beach?

Yes. North Beach is a part of the national seashore and park entrance fees are required in this area.

How long are entrance passes valid?

  • A one-day pass is valid until 11:59pm on the date of purchase. This pass is not valid for camping overnight.
  • A seven-day pass is valid for seven days from the date of purchase. This pass is valid for camping overnight.
  • An annual pass is valid for one year from the month of purchase. This pass is valid for camping overnight.

Do I have to pay to use the boat ramp?

Yes. In addition to your park entrance fee, you are required to also purchase a boat ramp pass if using the boat ramp.



Can I have a campfire on the beach?

Yes. Small campfires are allowed to be built on beaches where camping is also allowed. Build your fire away from the dunes. Do not use wood containing nails. Extinguish your fire with water and do not bury with sand.

Does the beach have lifeguards?

No. There are no lifeguards on the beaches in the national seashore. Lifeguards are present seasonally on some of the beaches operated by the City of Corpus Christi.

Do you have (bait, gas, ice, etc.) available for purchase?
No gas, firewood, or fishing licenses are sold in the park. Ice and small snack items are available at the Park Store located in the Malaquite Visitor Center. The nearest amenities from the main park entrance are about 10 miles away.

Where can I find seashells?

Seashells can be found anywhere along the gulf beaches and at any time of the year. Higher concentrations of shells are found after large storms and during very low tides. Places like Little Shell Beach and Big Shell Beach are popular beachcombing areas due to their higher concentration of shells.

How can I see a sea turtle?

Sea turtles only come onto the beach during their nesting season in the spring and summer. It is rare to encounter a nesting sea turtle on your visit to the park. Most people wanting to see a sea turtle can do so during a sea turtle hatchling release event.

Does the park close at night?
No, the park is open 24 hours a day. View Operating Hours and Seasons. Padre Island is a great place for stargazing.


Regulations & Resource Protection

Can I drive a UTV in the park?

No. All vehicles operating in the park must have a valid state or government-issued vehicle registration and license plate issued for public highway travel. The state of Texas does not register or license UTVs for highway use. The Texas OHV (Off Highway Vehicle) license plate does not meet this standard.

Do I need a fishing license?

Yes. A valid Texas fishing license package (license and endorsement) is required to fish in the park, although exceptions may apply and fees vary. Children under 17 years of age do not require a license. Visitors fishing within Padre Island National Seashore must follow the fishing license requirements in accordance with the laws and regulations of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Fishing licenses are not available for purchase inside of the national seashore.

Is hunting allowed in the park?

During approved Texas hunting seasons, waterfowl may be taken from park waters on the Laguna Madre. Hunting waterfowl from land in the park is prohibited. State of Texas hunting licenses are required. All other hunting is prohibited.

Can I use my metal detector in the park?

No. Possessing or using a mineral or metal detector, magnetometer, side scan sonar, other metal detecting device, or sub-bottom profile is prohibited.

What can I collect in the park?

Only unoccupied seashells and sea beans may be collected in the park. It is illegal to collect any natural or cultural resources from the park, with the exception of seashells and sea beans.

Can I operate my drone (Unmanned Aircraft) in the park?
Launching, landing, or operating an unmanned aircraft from or on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service within the boundaries of Padre Island National Seashore is prohibited except as approved in writing by the superintendent. Exceptions are not provided for the purposes of recreation, including fishing.

Can I set off fireworks in the park?
No. The use of fireworks is strictly prohibited on all federal lands.


Volunteering & Employment

Can I volunteer at Padre Island?
Yes! The National Park Service needs volunteers throughout the year to assist with all aspects of park management. Read more about volunteer opportunities.

How do I get a job at Padre Island?
Learn more about Working With Us.


Becoming a National Park Site

When was the park established?

September 28, 1962.

Why was the park established?

Padre Island National Seashore preserves, protects, and interprets the outstanding natural, cultural, and recreational resources of the longest undeveloped barrier island in the United States and its surrounding water for public benefit, inspiration, and scientific understanding.

What agency manages the park?

Padre Island National Seashore is managed by the National Park Service.


South Padre Island

Is South Padre Island a part of Padre Island National Seashore?

No. Padre Island National Seashore does not extend on to South Padre Island. South Padre Island is a separate island located to the south. The city of South Padre Island is located on the island of South Padre Island.

Can I drive directly from the national seashore to the city of South Padre Island?

No. There are no direct roads connecting Padre Island National Seashore and the city of South Padre Island.

Last updated: May 9, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 181300
Corpus Christi, TX 78480


(361) 949-8068
Malaquite Visitor Center information line.

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