South Beach, Mile 0 to 5

The paved road ends and turns into beach. The gulf is ahead. Bollards block the beach to the left.
The paved Park Road 22 ends and beach driving begins.

NPS Photo

Quick Facts
Decimal Degrees: 27.41533, -97.30151
National Seashore

Beach/Water Access, Pets Allowed, Primitive Campsites, Scenic View/Photo Spot, Tent Campsites, Toilet - Vault/Composting, Trash Dumpster

South Beach includes 60 miles of sandy beach along the Gulf of Mexico. It is accessed from the end of the main park paved road, a half-mile south of the visitor center. When conditions allow, driving is permitted on South Beach. Traveling on the beach beyond the paved road is done so at your own risk. Weather reports and tide charts are available online. Beach mile marker signs are located every five miles. The northern boundary of South Beach is bordered by vehicle bollards at Malaquite Beach, and the southern boundary of South Beach is bordered by the Mansfield Channel.  

Four-wheel drive vehicles are always recommended between mile 0 to 5 and many be required depending on conditions. Check for posted signs.  

Fees and Camping Permit 
Park entrance fees are required. A seven-day pass or annual pass are required for overnight stays. To camp on South Beach, fill out a free self-issued camping permit in the kiosk at the entrance of the beach. Camping is not permitted on Malaquite Beach.

Protect the Dunes 
Do not drive behind the dunes, over areas of beach covered in vegetation, on tidal flats or wetlands. 

Right of Way 
Northbound traffic has the right of way. Watch for pedestrians. 

Do Not Block Traffic 
Keep the main driving lane clear when parking or camping on the beach. 

Speed Limits 
Mile marker-0 to MM-2.5: 

  • 15 MPH year-round. 

MM-2.5 to MM-60: 

  • 25 MPH, day after Labor Day through the end of February. 
  • 15 MPH, March 1 to Labor Day. 

Stay Limit 
Campers may stay at the national seashore up to 14 consecutive days, but then must vacate their site and leave the national seashore for at least 14 days before returning to camp again. The total number of days spent camping in any combinations of visits cannot exceed 28 calendar days per year. 

Quiet Hours 
Quiet Hours are from 10pm – 6am – Outside of quiet hours, every reasonable effort should be made by campers to maintain peace and tranquility. Please consider your neighbors before turning up the volume. 

Generator use during quiet hours is prohibited. Idling vehicles to charge batteries during quiet hours is also prohibited. Generator noise levels must not exceed 60 decibels at 50 feet as measured on the A-weighted scale. 

Campfires are permitted along gulf beaches where camping is allowed. Please follow these beach fire rules: 

  • Build fires away from the dunes and below the high tide line. 
  • Extinguish fires with water. Do not bury with sand. 
  • Do not burn trash or wood with nails, e.g. wood pallets. 
  • Remove burnt debris. 

Pets are welcome but must be leashed at all times and under your control. Please pick up after your pet and dispose of waste properly. 

Leave No Trace  
Store all unused food and beverage in a latched, hard sided container or a vehicle when not in use. Properly dispose of all trash. Dumpsters are located in each campground, beach entrance, and at the Malaquite Visitor Center

Padre Island National Seashore

Last updated: February 9, 2024