Padre Island National Seashore (PINS) is a National Seashore located on Padre Island off the coast of South Texas. In contrast to South Padre Island (well known for its beaches and vacationing college students), PINS is located on North Padre Island and consists of a long beach where nature is preserved. Primitive camping is available there and most of the beach is only accessible to four wheel drive vehicles.North Padre Island is the longest undeveloped barrier island in the world. The National Seashore is 70 miles (110 km) long with 65.5 miles (105.4 km) of Gulf beach. The Park hosts a variety of pristine beach, dune, and tidal flat environments, including the Laguna Madre on its west coast, a famous spot for windsurfing. It is located in parts of Kleberg, Kenedy, and Willacy counties, with Kenedy County having the majority of its land area.
Due to the location of Padre Island National Seashore on the Central Flyway, a major migratory route for birds, about 380 species of birds have been documented within the park, which represents approximately 45% of all bird species documented within North America. The park was designated as a "Globally Important Bird Area" by the American Bird Conservancy in 1998 for providing an "important habitat for globally significant numbers of Brown Pelicans, Redheads (5% of the world's population), Least Terns (8% of the North American population), Piping Plovers (10% of the world's population), Reddish Egrets (7% of the biogeographic population) and Peregrine Falcons (7% of the North American population).The best time to see the multitude of the park's bird migrants is during either early spring or fall and winter when thousands spend the winter there or migrate through. During the summer the most common birds are shore and marshbirds as well as some raptors and songbirds. The most common birds on the Gulf beach of the park during the year are the Willet, Sanderling, Black Skimmer, Great Blue Heron, Double-crested Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Grey Plover, Laughing Gull, Brown Pelican, Reddish Egret, and five species of terns, including the Least Tern, Caspian Tern, Black Tern, Sandwich Tern, and Royal Tern. The two periodically appearing birds nesting on the park's shores are the Least Tern and Piping Plover.Bird Island Basin, on the Laguna Madre side of the park, may be periodically dry during the summer or during periods of extended drought. It is home to a wide variety of birds when wet, including Black-necked Stilts, Roseate Spoonbills, Great Egrets, American White Ibis, and many others.