Bird Island Basin is the only area at Padre Island National Seashore where you can easily access the Laguna Madre. The basin is an area where the water is slightly deeper than most of the Laguna Madre. It is named for nearby North and South Bird Islands, which are two of the few natural islands in the Laguna Madre and are named for the large numbers of birds that have nested there for hundreds of years.
The area was originally known as Permian Basin, because the Permian Oil company kept an oil storage tank there as well as a landing ramp for boats. After the tank was dismantled in the 1970s, the park named it for the nearby islands.
Bird Island Basin is one of the most popular windsurfing spots in the country and has been ranked by Windsurfing Magazine as the best flat water sailing site in the continental USA.
There are RV and tent camping sites available and a boat ramp that is great for reaching the popular fishing hot spots in the Upper Laguna Madre and Baffin Bay.
There is an additional fee to use the facilities at Bird Island Basin, $5 per day or $10 annually. Use of this area is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Be careful where you park, you may be towed if you park in a restricted area.