Padre Island National Seashore | CAMPING

Tent camping on South Beach, Padre Island National Seashore

Tent camping on South Beach, Padre Island National Seashore

There are two developed campgrounds (Malaquite and Bird Island Basin) and one primitive campground (Yarborough Pass) at Padre Island National Seashore, plus you can camp anywhere on the 60-mile-long South Beach or the 1-mile-long North Beach. Amenities are sparse even at the developed campgrounds, and while RVs are welcome, there are no electric or water hook-ups anywhere in the park. There is, however, a dump station at the entrance to the Malaquite Campground that is available to all campers.

All campsites are taken on a first come, first served basis. There is a fee at the two developed campgrounds, and these are paid at the self-service pay stations at the entrances. The primitive campground and all beach camping is free, but you do need to fill out a permit.

One thing to keep in mind when deciding to camp at Padre Island National Seashore is that there isn’t a shade tree in the entire park. With no shade, even mildly hot summer days can be brutal. I camped in late October, and it was extremely hot during the day with the sun beating down, but the night wasn’t too bad. However, there’s no way I’d camp here from June through September.

During the warmer months, if the wind isn’t blowing, mosquitoes are a big problem everywhere on Padre Island. I was camping at Malaquite Campground, and when the wind was blowing there wasn’t a mosquito in sight, but when it died down, they were perched on the outside of my tent just daring me to come out. And these weren’t just mosquitoes. They say things are bigger in Texas, and they aren’t joking. I first thought they were mutant flies. They are about five times bigger than the mosquitoes I’m used to and have stingers about a quarter inch long, which means they can get to you right through your pants and shirt. At least a dozen of them got in my tent when I had to get out to use the restroom, and when I started killing them, it was like squashing blood-filled water balloons. And this was in late October.

See the following web pages here on National Park Planner for details on each campground.


Malaquite Campground

Bird Island Basin Campground


Yarborough Pass

Beach Camping

Back to the Top

With a few exceptions, use of any photograph on the National Park Planner website requires a paid Royalty Free Editorial Use License or Commercial Use License. See the Photo Usage page for details.
Last updated on February 28, 2022
Share this article