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8

By DINAARÉVALO

It’s home to the most popular beaches

in Texas. It boasts mild temperatures al-

most year-round. To the east, turquoise

waters glitter in the sun, lapping ashore

in waves made gentle by several sand-

bars near shore. To the west, dozens of

species oI fish birds and turtles call the

warm, calmwaters of the Laguna Madre

home, protected as they are by South Pa-

dre Island.

South Padre Island is a barrier island

that hugs theTexas coastline. Once home

to the Karankawa Indians, the Island was

granted to Nicolás Ballí by the

king of Spain in 1759. Eventu-

ally, the land passed to his grand-

son Padre Jose Nicholas Ballí, a

Catholic priest, from which the

Island eventually took its name.

Today, the City of South Padre

Island lies along the southern end

of the island, nestled between

a network of Cameron County

parks with Isla Blanca Park at the

southernmost tip, and E.K. Atwood and

Andy Bowie Parks to the north.

7he first bridJe to connect the ,sland

to the mainland was completed in Feb-

ruary 1954 and was called the Queen

Isabella Causeway. Twenty years later,

a new causeway was completed and

christened the Queen Isabella Cause-

way while the only remaining section of

the old bridge was renamed the Queen

Isabella State Fishing Pier. The 2.39 mile

long bridge built in the 1970s remains the

only road connecting the popular tourist

destination to the mainland, but a second

causeway is in the works. Expected to be

built north of Beach Access 6, the sec-

ond causeway will span approximately 8

miles and connect just north of the Town

of Laguna Vista.

The City of South Padre Island was

first incorporated in

and thouJh it

serves as home for just under 3,000 per-

manent residents, it is most well-known

as a resort community )rom fishinJ to

nightlife, to ecotourism, there’s some-

thing for everybody on the Island.

South

Padre

Island