Padre Island National Seashore offers a mind-boggling 70 miles of protected, unspoiled coastline. Before visiting Malaquite or Boca Chica beaches, you might want to stock up on lunch and drinks, because you’ll be far away from commercialism. (On the southern edge of South Padre Island, Isla Blanca Park has far more amenities.) Blessed with the hot Texas sun, the Gulf waters are ideal for swimming from late March until November. Jellyfish do frequent this part of the Gulf, so be sure to check with lifeguards which areas are safe for swimming and beachcombing.