Visit Harlingen/South Padre Island.

Your Rio Grande Valley adventure awaits when you deplane at Valley International Airport. Whether you’re headed to South Padre Island for watersports and beach-bound sunbathing or staying on the mainland to explore Harlingen and the surrounding towns, there’s plenty to do during your visit. Rent a car, call a rideshare, or hop on the shuttle to get started.

Lovers of resort-town amenities and activities will want to head straight to South Padre Island as soon as they touch down. Once you cross the Queen Isabella Causeway to the barrier island for which this gulf town is named, you’ll be immersed in a world of Spring Break vibes and opportunities for watersports thrills. Rent a boat for the day, try kitesurfing, or just soak in the Gulf Coast rays from the comfort of a beach towel. Keep your eyes on the Gulf, though—you may be able to spot dolphins at play.

If you’d rather stay on the mainland side of the Causeway, Harlingen and the larger Matamoros-Brownsville metropolitan area have plenty for those who aren’t beach-bound. Lovers of flora and fauna can explore the Hugh Ramsey Nature Park, which is the partial home of one of Rio Grande Valley’s nine World Birding Centers. The Harlingen Arroyo Colorado World Birding Center is an urban preserve that stretches across several parks following the Arroyo Colorado waterway. Hike, bike, or bring your binoculars for some local birding.

Looking for opportunities for local color? Head to neighboring Brownsville, where there always seems to be a festival. Notable calendar entries include Charro Days—a local Mexican culture celebration shared with Matamoros, Mexico—and its sister festival Sombrero Festival, and the annual three-day Latin Jazz Festival. Art and history lovers will also find several galleries and museums in Brownsville, including the Brownsville Museum of Fine Arts and the Historic Brownsville Museum.

Experience the echoes of rich culture during day-to-day life on the Gulf Coast—plan your next trip to Harlingen/South Padre Island and book a flight to Valley International Airport with Southwest®. Southwest Airlines flies to Harlingen/South Padre Island often, which makes it easy to plan your next visit. Of course, having a memorable trip is about more than finding a deal on airfare. Learn more about the Southwest® Experience and book your upcoming flight to Valley International Airport.

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Things to do in Harlingen/South Padre Island.

Parks and preserves
  • Hugh Ramsey Nature Park
  • Padre Island National Seashore
  • World Birding Center
Outdoor adventures
  • Boat and watercraft rental
  • Dolphin watching
  • Kiteboarding
Area festivals
  • Charro Days
  • Latin Jazz Festival
  • Sombrero Festival