Campsite name: Malaquite Campground on Padre Island, Texas
Camping type: Frontcountry Campground
Campsite opening hours: Check-in time is 1 pm and check-out time is 12pm. The quiet hours are from 10 pm to 6 am.
Booking Link: Reservations are not applicable at Malaquite Campground as all sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. However for questions please contact the Malaquite Visitor Centre on 3619498068
Fees: The cost is $14.00 per night per site. There is an additional park entrance fee.
Certain pass holders are eligible for a 50% discount on their camping fees, this includes, America the Beautiful Federal Lands Senior Pass and America the Beautiful Federal Lands Access Pass.
Facilities: There are 48 sites available at the Malaquite Campground. All sites are limited to two vehicles, two tents and a maximum of eight people.
The Malaquite Campground is open to both tents and RVs and no reservation is required. There are established campsites that are paved and gravel. The campground features restrooms, picnic tables and free cold-water showers. A selected number of sites have shade structures and grills available.
The campsites are located on a grassy sand dune about 200 yards from the water's edge. Once you have paid you are allowed to set up your tent anywhere including on the beach.
For RV campers there are no hookups however a dump station and potable water is available on the road to the campground.
There are limited facilities as there is very patchy cell phone reception. There is however trash collection available, ice for sale and there is staff available on-site during the busy season. There is a park store located in the visitor center that sells limited items.
Pets are welcome at Malaquite Campground. However, they must be on a leash at all times and must not disturb other campers or chase wildlife.
Camping Month: The campground is open year-round however the best season would be outside of the busy holiday periods. This is due to the fact that there is no reservation available; it may be difficult to secure a campsite during busy times and weekends throughout the year.
Gear: The campground has facilities for both RVs and/or tents. If you have a 4wd vehicle then you are able to drive on the beach and even camp on the beach for free.
Food: There is no food available at the campground however the Malaquite Campground is only 40 mins or 35 miles from the town of Corpus Christi. It is recommended to stock up on all supplies needed for your stay before heading to the campground. Check out our list of recommended camping snacks for some great ideas to take along on your trip.
Do not disturb or feed the local wildlife. Seagulls, coyotes and other creatures regularly visit the campground. Coyotes have been known to raid campsites and get into coolers that are left out.
Lookout Spot: There are no lights in the campground so the star gazing opportunities are incredible. Simply look up and you will have the best view imaginable.
Activities: The campground is located on the gulf side of the island, it is an ideal location for swimming, beach combing and fishing. The best time for beachcombing is after a storm. Natural and cultural resources are protected, although you are allowed to keep up to a five-gallon bucket of any beach finds. Please return any animals that are still in their shells to their original location because each and every living creature is vital to the ecology of the area.
For fishing, a valid Texas fishing license and endorsement are required to fish in the park. However, licenses are not available for purchase inside the park itself. For state, regulations visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website. Often flounder, speckled trout and redfish can be caught directly from the beach.
Swimming is possible at both the basin and the gulf side of the island. However, no lifeguards are on duty so safety must be taken into your own hands. It is important to never swim alone as strong currents exist and there are sudden drop-offs in the gulf floor.
Be calm if you find yourself caught in a riptide. Once you are free from the current, swim parallel to the shore until you reach the shore. Never try to swim against the current to the coast.
On the Laguna side of the island, the Bird Island Basin campground is located. This is a popular place for windsurfers. Lessons are available or if this is not your thing the windsurfers are fantastic to watch.
The island features 350 different species of seabirds that migrate through the region. Commonly seen birds include the Laughing Gull, Tern’s, Pelicans, Least Sandpiper, Sanderling, Greater Yellowlegs, and the Great Blue Heron. If you enjoy bird watching then this is a great place to enjoy it with the sand between your toes.
Highlight: During the summer months, sea turtles hatch on the island. To improve their chances of survival, park rangers relocate Kemp's Ridley sea turtle nests to the beachfront at Malaquite Beach. The eggs are watched over during the summer and their "due dates" are observed so that the public can witness the turtles hatching and shuffling into the ocean. It's a beautiful sight!
Tips: There is also a second campground in the Padre Island National Seashore area. If Malaquite Campground happens to be full the second one is named Bird Island Basin. As Malaquite is located on the gulf side it often fills up faster. However, as Bird Island Basin is located on the Laguna side it sometimes has more availability. Despite Malquite being busier the peaceful ocean sound is often a drawing card for visitors.
If you have a high clearance, 4wd vehicle you can also drive and camp on the beach itself. This is the only way to travel to the park's most remote areas. Texas beaches are public highways and all traffic laws still apply. The driving conditions on the beach are changing constantly due to currents, winds and tides. Dangerous driving conditions can occur due to debris washed ashore and changing conditions.
It can be very hot and humid in this part of Texas. A tent or RV with adequate ventilation or even a fan is necessary and the free cold showers are a welcomed treat after a long day in the heat.