Special Use Permits


What is a Special Use Permit?

A special park use is a short-term activity that takes place in a park area and:

  • Provides a benefit to an individual, group or organization, rather than the public at large;

  • Requires written authorization and some degree of management control from the NPS in order to protect park resources and the public interest;

  • Is not prohibited by law or regulation; and

  • Is neither initiated, sponsored, nor conducted by the NPS.

Example of activities requiring a Special Use Permit within Padre Island National Seashore include weddings, memorial services, commercial filming and/or photography, special assemblies, First Amendment Activities, and athletic events.


Activities that Require a Special Use Permit


The seashore’s natural and scenic backdrops can serve as a beautiful location for your simple and quiet wedding ceremony, but specific guidelines regarding noise levels, decorations, number of attendees, and event times must be followed. Contact us for more information on wedding conditions and guidelines.  

Park regulations allow for the scattering of cremated human remains within the national seashore. You must adhere to the specific rules and conditions outlined within your issued permit. There is no fee for the scattering of ashes. Contact us for more information on scattering of cremated in the national seashore. 

Freedom of speech, press, religion, and assembly are constitutional rights. However, the courts have recognized that activities associated with the exercise of these rights may be reasonably regulated to protect park resources. First amendment activities such as the distribution and/or sale of printed matter, religious services, public demonstrations or assemblies are permitted to take place in designated locations near the Malaquite Visitor Center, North Beach, and South Beach. There are no permit fees associated with First Amendment Permits. Contact us for more information on designated first amendment areas and permits. 

Some activities that fall outside normal visitation at Padre Island National Seashore also require obtaining a Special Use Permit. Examples would be an organized public gathering, operation of a public address system in connection with a public gathering and other activities. Please use the Long Form application found in the How to Apply section of this page to apply for these activities. Contact us for more information. 

A commercial film permit is required for any individual, business, or organization (including nonprofit groups and educational institutions) filming for a market audience or receiving compensation associated with footage or recordings made on the seashore. More information on Commercial Filming and Still Photography on the seashore is available.


How to Apply

Download and complete the special use permit application form. Send your completed application, any associated documentation, and the $75 non-refundable application fee via check or money order to the seashore’s Special Use Permit Coordinator.

Special Use Permit Application (Long Form) [PDF 251 KB]

All applications must be postmarked 45 days or greater prior to the start date of the proposed activity to be conducted in the seashore. The non-refundable application fee may be paid by check or money order payable to "National Park Service."

Applications are handled in the order they are received. Priority will not be given to urgent requests, nor will the park reply by express mail. Requests which involve multiple locations, complex logistics, environmental compliance, or coordination with multiple NPS divisions or visitor activities will require a minimum of 45 days to process.

Requests for permits are evaluated based on the information in the application. Therefore, applicants are encouraged to attach maps, description of activity, check in points, what support will be provided, etc. to assist the park staff in evaluating your request.


Contact Us

Contact us for questions or more information about Special Use Permits in the seashore or send completed applications to the address’ below.


(361) 949-8173 Ext.229

Special Use Permit Coordinator
Padre Island National Seashore
P.O. Box 181300
Corpus Christi, TX 78480


Commercial Use Authorization

Padre Island National Seashore's Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) program authorizes the provision of suitable commercial services such as fishing guides, windsurfing and paddle sport livery services, guided tours and workshops to park area visitors. Information on how to apply for a CUA permit for your commercial services can be found on our Commercial Use Authorization page.

Last updated: March 30, 2023

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 181300
Corpus Christi, TX 78480


(361) 949-8068
This is the primary phone number for the Malaquite Visitor Center at Padre Island National Seashore.

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