If you have an emergency, dial 911 or notify any park ranger.


Protect Your Park, Protect Yourself

Padre Island National Seashore is a special place that is open for everyone. People from around the world visit the national seashore to reconnect with the natural world and the cultural history of the area. Protect yourself and the sights you plan to enjoy by following a few simple rules:

  • Follow the Leave No Trace Seven Principles. By following the Leave No Trace Seven Principles, you will help protect yourself and the park for years to come.

  • Never approach animals. The animals in the park are wild and unpredictable, no matter how calm they appear to be.

  • Never feed wildlife. Animals that become dependent on human food may become aggressive toward people and have to be killed. Keep all food, garbage, or other smelly items packed away when not in use.

  • Stay on boardwalks and trails. Ticks and venomous snakes are present in the park. Keep your children close and pets on a leash.

  • Never park in the road or block traffic. Use pullouts to watch wildlife and let other cars pass.

  • Check the beach warning flag. A colored beach warning flag is flown at the Malaquite Visitor Center during business hours to indicate the Rip Current Risk for the day.

Your safety is your responsibility. Park rangers are available during normal working hours to provide assistance. If you have an emergency, dial 911 or notify any park ranger. Several medical facilities are located on the island outside of the park.


Be Prepared

Arrive to the park with everything you need for your visit. No food, firewood, or fishing licenses are sold in the park, and the park does not have a gas station. The nearest amenities from the park entrance station are about 12 miles away. The park also does not have a post office or sell stamps and cannot mail items for visitors.

Beach Safety

There are no lifeguards at the national seashore; swim at your own risk. Use caution when swimming and never swim alone. Strong currents flowing parallel to the beach, tides flowing to-and-from the beach, and sudden drop-offs in the ocean floor can be hazardous for swimmers and waders alike.

The Gulf of Mexico is a natural environment. Hazardous marine life such as jellyfish and stingrays may be present.

More information on swimming in the park, including the beach warning flag system for rip currents, is available.

Beach Driving

Beaches in Texas are public highways. You are entering the beach at your own risk. The park is not responsible for injury to visitors or damage to vehicles while driving down island. Learn more about beach driving regulations and best practices.




Jellyfish and Portuguese man-of-wars have special stinging capsules called nematocysts that deliver an uncomfortable sting. Contact with nematocysts can produce painful local swelling, redness, and a stinging, prickling sensation that progresses to numbness, burning, and throbbing pain.

Treatment for a Jellyfish Sting:

  • Rinse with seawater to remove remaining nematocysts.

  • Test a small area with vinegar.

  • If vinegar is helpful, soak for at least 30 minutes.

  • If vinegar increases nematocyst discharge, immerse the injury in hot water.

  • After soaking, remove all visible tentacles.

  • Seek emergency treatment if you have severe symptoms. See your health care provider if your symptoms worsen or the wound shows symptoms of infection.


Stingrays have a sharp serrated barb on their tail that they use for self-defense. When stepped on, stingrays will whip their tail inflicting a laceration or puncture wound. Pieces of the barb may remain imbedded in the wound.

Treatment for a Stingray Sting:

  • Control bleeding.

  • Immerse the injury in water as hot as the patient can tolerate for 30 to 90 minutes or until the pain is gone.

  • Irrigate the wound.

  • Clean the wound.

  • Elevate the extremity to help control swelling.

  • Monitor for signs of infection of envenomation.

  • Provide medications for pain.

  • Seek emergency treatment if you have severe symptoms. See your health care provider if your symptoms worsen or the wound shows symptoms of infection.


Be alert for venomous snakes. Rattlesnakes are present in the dunes, grasslands and mudflats. Park visitors should avoid walking off trail in these areas. If you see a snake, leave it alone! All animals in the park are protected by law. If bitten by a rattlesnake, seek emergency medical attention.


Coyotes are native to the island and are opportunistic omnivores — meaning they will eat what is available. Coyotes have been known to raid campsites with food or trash improperly stored and even prey on pets, including small dogs. Keep a close eye on your pets when visiting the park and keep pets on a leash at all times.

Mosquitoes and Ticks

Mosquitoes and ticks can be prevalent throughout the park and there is a risk of mosquito-borne diseases and tick-borne illness if you are bitten. It is important to take precautions and to be aware of the risks.

When in Mosquito and Tick Habitat:

  • Wear light-colored clothing, long sleeves, and long pants, with pant legs tucked into socks and shirts tucked into pants. Consider wearing gaiters as well.

  • Do frequent tick checks of yourself and any children or pets with you.

  • Always check for ticks after any outdoor activity, both at the end of the day and the next morning.

  • Consider using chemical applications. 0.5% Permethrin insecticide applied to clothing is effective in reducing mosquito and tick bites; however, when used improperly it can create negative health effects. DEET repellent has only limited effectiveness against ticks (less than a couple of hours). Picaridin is another repellent option that will not ruin synthetic fabrics or their water-repellent finishes. Always use and store chemicals according to the manufacturers' instructions.


Hazardous Materials

A variety of hazardous materials periodically wash ashore. If you come upon hazardous materials, do not touch the items. Note the location and alert a park ranger as soon as possible.

Last updated: February 4, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 181300
Corpus Christi, TX 78480


(361) 949-8068
Malaquite Visitor Center information line.

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