Padre Island National Seashore | NORTH BEACH

North Beach at Padre Island National Seashore

North Beach at Padre Island National Seashore

Padre Island National Seashore’s North Beach is a 1-mile stretch of beach at the north end of the park. It is accessed by taking North Beach Road, which oddly enough comes before the park entrance station where you pay your entrance fee. However, don’t think that you can sneak on the beach without paying because if you get caught, you will be fined. Why the National Park Service didn’t put the entrance station before North Beach Road is beyond me, unless the road was added afterwards. If so, just move the entrance back a half mile. Anyways…

Driving is allowed on the beaches at Padre Island National Seashore because most of the sand is hard-packed, similar to a dirt road. If you drive down the 60-mile-long South Beach, you’ll eventually hit soft sand and will need a 4-Wheel-Drive vehicle to proceed farther. Not at North Beach. The entire 1-mile stretch is always hard.

Driving on North Beach at Padre Island National Seashore

Driving on North Beach at Padre Island National Seashore

North Beach actually continues beyond one mile, it’s just that you will be leaving Padre Island National Seashore and proceeding onto a county beach (separate fee required). A palisade of barrier poles marks the border, and there is a gap wide enough for vehicles to pass through.

North Beach border of Padre Island National Seashore and a Texas county beach

North Beach border of Padre Island National Seashore and a Texas county beach

Trash on the beach is a big problem at Padre Island National Seashore due to currents that merge together and push Gulf of Mexico trash—tons of it—onto the beach. South Beach is a disgrace, but at only one-mile long, it’s easier for volunteers and park visitors to keep North Beach clean. It’s not spotless by any means, but it’s better than South Beach. Trying to keep the 60 miles of South Beach free of trash is impossible.

Camping is allowed on North Beach. There is no fee, but you must fill out a permit at the self-pay station at the end of North Beach Road. You do not need a permit if you only plan to spend the day. See the Beach Camping web page for more information.

Back to the Top


Last updated on February 28, 2022
Share this article