Padre Island National Seashore | MALAQUITE CAMPGROUND

Campsite at Malaquite Campground, Padre Island National Seashore

Campsite at Malaquite Campground, Padre Island National Seashore

CAMPING SEASON

The Malaquite Campground at Padre Island National Seashore is open year-round.

TYPE OF CAMPING

Both tent campers and those in RVs are welcome at Malaquite Campground. Tent campers can either camp at their actual campsite or on Closed Beach, the beach that runs in front of the campground. However, you cannot get to the beach directly from the campsites due to heavy vegetation and sand dunes that block the way. Instead, after parking your vehicle at your campsite, you must haul your equipment to the beach via one of the four paths through the dunes. You can camp anywhere along the beach in front of the campground.

A road runs the length of the campground, and campsites are on either side. Tent campers will want to choose sites on the ocean side because they have a large grassy area (there are six campsites exclusively for tents). The campsites on the opposite side of the road have only a paved parking area and are thus better suited for RVs. However, all campsites are taken on a first come, first served basis, so RVers can take ocean-side sites, and tent campers may end up on the pavement.

At each end of the campground road is a cul-de-sac, so those with large RVs should have no problem turning around.

Malaquite Campground at Padre Island National Seashore

Malaquite Campground at Padre Island National Seashore

Grassy area for tents on the oceanside campsites at Malaquite Campground

Grassy area for tents on the oceanside campsites at Malaquite Campground

RV sites at Padre Island National Seashore's Malaquite Campground

RV sites at Padre Island National Seashore’s Malaquite Campground

NUMBER OF SITES

There are 48 campsites at Malaquite Campground. Twenty-four paved sites and 18 ocean-side sites are open to both tent campers and RVers. There are six additional campsites on the ocean side that are for tent campers only (three at each end of the campground). One campsite on the ocean side next to the restroom is reserved for disabled visitors.

Each campsite can accommodate up to eight people, two tents, and two vehicles. The driveways on the paved-site side of the campground are wide enough to fit two vehicles side-by-side, so if you are pulling a trailer, you can unhook it and park your truck next to the camper. The ocean-side sites have a gravel back-in driveway and a roadside parking area. The tents-only sites are assigned single-vehicle parking spaces on the paved-site side of the road.

RV campsites at Malaquite Campground, Padre Island National Seashore

RV campsites at Malaquite Campground, Padre Island National Seashore

AMENITIES

The paved campsites have nothing more than a parking area and a picnic table. There are no grills.

RV side of Malaquite Campground at Padre Island National Seashore

RV side of Malaquite Campground at Padre Island National Seashore

The ocean-side campsites have a picnic table, a slatted canopy (provides some shade but won’t keep the rain out), and a grill. There is also a large grass area for pitching a tent. There are no firepits, so fires are only permitted in the grills. Campfires are allowed on the beach as long as you dig a pit. You cannot start an above-ground bonfire.

Oceanside campsite at Padre Island National Seashore's Malaquite Beach

Oceanside campsite at Padre Island National Seashore’s Malaquite Beach

There are no electric or water hook-ups, but there is a dump station near the campground entrance. The restrooms have modern toilets and sinks. A separate building has cold-water showers, though I found that the water leaned more towards warm than cold (in late October). I hate cold water showers, but these were more than tolerable. There are lights inside, but not all of them were working. You may need to bring your own lantern. There are also outdoor rinse-off showers at the north end of the campground.

Restroom building at Malaquite Campground, Padre Island National Seashore

Restroom building at Malaquite Campground, Padre Island National Seashore

Showers at Malaquite Campground, Padre Island National Seashore

Showers at Malaquite Campground, Padre Island National Seashore

A boardwalk next to the restroom leads up and over the sand dunes to the beach. You can also get to the beach via sand paths at either end of the campground.

Boardwalk connects Malaquite Campground to Closed Beach at Padre Island National Seashore

Boardwalk connects Malaquite Campground to Closed Beach at Padre Island National Seashore

Ice is available at the Malaquite Visitor Center, but there are no other concessions at the campground. If you need firewood, food, or other basic camping supplies, you must leave the park and travel back towards Corpus Christi.

TERRAIN

There isn’t a shade tree on Padre Island, so with half the campground being on black asphalt, I can’t imagine how miserable camping at Malaquite Campground must be during the summer. I visited in late October and it was still warm, though not bad for camping. And with no trees, or any other vegetation for that matter, there is no privacy between campsites. The terrain is level, so whether you are in a tent or an RV, you won’t have any trouble with uneven ground.

Flat and treeless terrain at Malaquite Campground, Padre Island National Seashore

Flat and treeless terrain at Malaquite Campground, Padre Island National Seashore

RESERVATIONS

All campsites at Malaquite Campground are taken on a first come, first served basis. No reservations are accepted.

If your RV is your primary vehicle and you thus have nothing to leave behind at your site to mark it as occupied when you go out exploring Padre Island National Seashore, there are wooden OCCUPPIED signs available at the campground host’s campsite near the restroom.

Occupied Campsite signs are available at the host campsite at Malaquite Campground

Occupied Campsite signs are available at the host campsite at Malaquite Campground

FEES

There is a fee to camp at Malaquite Campground. Payment is made at the self-registration pay station at the entrance. First find an empty campsite, then return to the pay station to fill out a registration form and make a payment. You can pay with cash, check, or credit / debit card. For card payments, write your card information on the form. When done, tear off your receipt and place the payment envelope (with your payment inside) into the drop box.

At the time of this writing, the camping fee is $14 / night ($7 if you have a Senior or Access Pass). However, be sure to get the latest fees on the National Park Service’s official Malaquite Campground web page for Padre Island National Seashore.

Self-service pay station at Padre Island National Seashore's Malaquite Campground

Self-service pay station at Padre Island National Seashore’s Malaquite Campground

CAMPGROUND RULES

•  Check out time is 12 PM.

•  There is a 14-consecutive day camping limit. After 14 days of camping you must leave the park for at least 14 more days before returning to camp again. There is a 28-day yearly limit.

•  Generators are allowed, but not between 10 PM and 6 AM.

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Last updated on February 28, 2022
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