The Laguna Madre Nature Trail, known locally as the birding boardwalk, provides access to the Laguna Madre bay for birders and other outdoor enthusiasts. From the 1,500-foot boardwalk that extends across four acres of wetland, onlookers can see egrets, herons, oystercatchers, terns, and our own White-Morph Redish Egret wading in the shallow water of the Laguna Madre. The Black and Yellow Rail have also been sighted.
A short 20-minute drive from South Padre Island is The Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, located east of Rio Hondo and bordering the Laguna Madre bay. This 45,000-acre federal preserve is the Valley's largest wildlife refuge and is home to over 400 species of birds, plus ocelots, deer, javalina, squirrels, long-tailed weasels, alligators and mountain lions. Admittedly, mountain lions are rare, but have been spotted none the less.