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4501 Padre Blvd
South Padre Island, TX 78597
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Parks and Recreation

Welcome to the City of South Padre Island Parks and Recreation Division Home Page.

The City of South Padre Island maintains several City parks.

Water Tower 1 

Water Tower Park is located on the corner of Laguna Boulevard and W. Huisache Street at the base of the Water Tower. This park consists of a half basketball court, several modern children's play structures, and shade structures with tables. Public restrooms are also available at this location.

Tompkins playground 

John L. Tompkins Park is located at 6100 South Padre Blvd. This park includes two playgrounds, basketball court, restroom and a large green space. This park was dedicated in 2016. John L. Tompkins, aka Mr. “T,” was a former WWI fighter pilot. In the late 1940’s he acquired the 2,000+ acres now known now as South Padre Island, Texas from a defunct corporation. At the time of his acquisition, the only access to The Island was by boat. The Coast Guard Station and a smattering of fishing shacks, with no utilities, were the only structures. Through his efforts with the officials of Cameron County and the Texas Legislature, laws were passed to allow the election of a bond issue to construct the original Queen Isabella Causeway that was completed in 1954. It was then that his historical “Pink House” was built on the beach to encourage others to do likewise. This was done when the only transportation of supplies and workers was up the beach at low tide, then toted on their backs to the dune site. And here is “The Rest Of The Story:” He made a trade with the Cameron County officials and conveyed the Right Of Way for Padre Boulevard and 252 acres at the north boundary of the development that is now Andy Bowie Park and the South Padre Island Convention Centre. That tract has an estimated present value of between $150 & $200 million. A modest plaque on the wall of the Convention Centre that acknowledges his role for the inception of the 88 mile long Padre Island National Sea Shore, a perseveration of the natural state in perpetuity.

Turtle Park 

Turtle Park is located on E. Morningside just off of N. Padre Blvd. This lush park features a climbing turtle for toddlers and a nice covered pavilion with tables. There are no public restrooms at this park. The park is dedicated in honor of Ila Loetscher who was born in 1904 in Iowa. From her early life, Loetscher had developed in interested in engines and aviation, and she became one of the first female pilots at the age of 25. At the invitation of her friend Amelia Earhart, Loetscher was one of the 99 charter members of the Ninety-Nines, an organization founded in 1929 to promote fellowship and support for female pilots. By the 1950s, her focus had changed from flying to family. When her husband of 32 years died in 1955, the family opted for a new beginning and moved to South Padre Island. While living on South Padre Island, Ila Loetscher developed an affection for and interest in sea turtles, which would come to define the latter half of her life. She accompanied fellow island residents on trips to Mexico to get eggs for the endangered Kemp’s Ridley turtle that they would then plant and protect on the island, and she received a state license to care for sick and injured sea turtles. In 1977, Loetscher founded “Sea Turtle, Inc”, a non-profit corporation focused on protecting and preserving sea turtles, particularly the Kemp’s Ridley. Her activities on behalf of the turtles gained her the nickname, “The Turtle Lady.”

Butterfly Park

Butterfly Park is located at 4316 Gulf . The park is part of the National Wildlife Federation’s Mayors’ Monarch Pledge initiative. Mayor Patel signed this pledge on Oct. 22, 2016, declaring the City’s support for Monarch initiatives. The park has a covered picnic bench area, butterfly statue, many varieties of native Rio Grande Valley and butterfly plants and beautiful views of the Gulf. In 2017 the park was certified as a Monarch Waystation, providing milkweeds, nectar plants and shelter for Monarchs throughout their annual cycle of reproduction and migration. 

Lis Memorial Park

Lis Memorial Park was dedicated in 2016 and was made possible by a generous donation by Dr. Joseph C. and Jeanne K. Lis. This pocket park is located on W. Esperanza and this neighborhood green space consists of a bench that overlooks a wetland area. A nice place to take a break during the day.

Statue of Balli  



Queen Isabella Memorial Park is located in the median near the crossover at the foot of the Queen Isabella Causeway. Located on this site is a monument to the victims of the 2001 Causeway Collapse. A bronze statue of Padre Balli, the Island's namesake, is also located in this area.


The South Padre Island Gateway Project consists of several decks that overlook the wetland area that surrounds the entrance to the Island. Great place for photo opportunities when you arrive.

The Cameron County Parks System also has several beach access parks on South Padre Island. Isla Blanca Park is located at the southern end of the Island. There is a per vehicle entry charge for this park. Isla Blanca Park has restrooms, food vendors, picnic areas, RV spaces as well as overnight accommodations. Andy Bowie Park is located just outside of the northern City Limits. Andy Bowie Park is equipped with RV spaces, pavilions and restrooms. There is a per vehicle entry fee for this park. County Beach Accesses 3-4 are free beach access parking lots with no amenities. County Beach Accesses 5 and 6 are vehicle access points where visitors can actually drive on the beach for a fee. Edwin King Atwood Park (County Beach Access 5) is equipped with a pavilion and portable restrooms. Beach Access 6 has no amenities. For more information or to contact the Cameron Co. Parks call (956) 761-3700

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