South Padre Island Texas Vacations

 

 


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Introduction to South Padre Island 

South Padre Island is a true resort town, with about 3,000 year-round residents, and an influx of several thousand more when the winter chill sends northerners south in search of sunshine and warmth. Water sports are a major draw, from power boating, sailing, and windsurfing to bay, surf, and deep-sea fishing. And some of us simply want to relax on the beach, allowing the gentle murmur of the water to soothe our senses and wash away the stress of this hectic modern world. More energetic visitors can also bicycle, play tennis and golf, and go horseback riding. Birding is as popular here as in other areas of South Texas, with more than 300 species.
 

 

 

The sunsets are grand, reflecting in the water of the Laguna Madre, and many restaurants capitalize on their location with outdoor seating. Set your taste buds to enjoy fresh seafood of all kinds prepared in a variety of seasonings -- Italian to Mexican, broiled to deep-fried. And if you catch your own, some restaurants will be happy to cook it for you (the ones that do advertise it).

The town of South Padre Island stretches along 25 miles of sand on the southern tip of Padre Island just across the Laguna Madre from the mainland, and the small town of Port Isabel. Easily accessible by plane into nearby cities, it has become a favored place for conventions. Conventions here are usually small affairs and don't really cause the traveler any inconvenience, but beware spring break when hordes of college students invade the town and raise a ruckus.

South Padre Island makes many lists of the top beaches

South Padre Island is part of the world’s longest barrier reef island and is located near the most southern portion of Texas. The island is connected to the mainland by the Queen Isabella Causeway. “The Island” as the natives refer to it offers spectacular beaches with the promise of fun in the sun.

The Island boasts hotels, camping facilities, and condominium rentals in various price ranges sure to match any budget. The Island inhabitants are friendly to tourists with the Island being family oriented and offering something for all ages. Beach Scene Most visitors come to the island for the beach scene. Miles of beaches along the Gulf Coast provide spectacular areas to enjoy swimming, walking, sandcastle building and sun bathing. Kite boarding, sky diving, and wind surfing are two other activities for the more adventuresome. Warm tropical breezes, clear blue skies, and bright sunny days are the usual weather conditions for the island. The Island with its year round activities makes this area a busy tourist attraction.

 Fishing along the coast as well as deep sea fishing, diving, snorkeling, horseback riding along the beaches, and swimming are among the activities available. Special Activities on the Island Special activities are held during the year. Bike week, “Roar by the Shore,” is held every October. The Sand Castle Days with winners in various categories is also in October and during December the Lighted Christmas Parade is a popular attraction.

The Island boasts a large convention center. Beauty pageants, craft shows, and businesses have utilized this beautiful center. During February, SPI holds its Market Days at the convention center featuring a large variety of arts and crafts. Sea Turtle, Inc. which was begun by Ila Loetscher known as the “Turtle Lady” to aid endangered and injured sea turtles offers a unique look at the turtle. You can get an up close look and learn about the sea turtle from volunteers. In the gift shop is an assortment of turtle related books, clothing, and jewelry for purchase to support this non-profit organization.

At Andy Bowie Park on the gulf side, you can find pavilions for picnics and even a few camping spots for RV camping.  A larger RV camping facility is available on the other side of the island near the Sea Ranch restaurant. Laguna Madre Nature Walk is 1500 feet of boardwalk overlooking four acres of wetlands to view birds and other natural wildlife. Schlitterbahn Beach Water Park occupying over 26 acres is a popular attraction on the Island.

There is a petting zoo featuring marine wildlife, a giant sandcastle to explore, and a huge variety of water rides. Dolphin Cruises are available to observe the bottle nose dolphin which inhabits the bay. Deep sea fishing excursions are a favorite attraction. At Gravity Park, you can experience a reverse bungee jump. Shopping As a respite from the beach scene, interesting shopping boutiques and island gift items are available. T-shirts, swimsuits, jewelry, and shells are plentiful. An interesting shop is the Cat House where all items relate to cats.

Dune buggies and go carts and boogie boards can be rented to travel around the island. Dining Restaurants feature delicious seafood recipes. The Sea Ranch Restaurant with the rating of a 5 star restaurant is a favorite restaurant with tourists and locals. An abundance of sea food, Italian, and Mexican type fares are found in local restaurants. Many eateries offer a spectacular view of the water as you enjoy your meal.

Casual dining is the usual on the island. Near by attractions Gladys Porter Zoo is located on the mainland in Brownsville. It is known world wide for its 31 acre preserve with 1800 animals living in their natural habitat including mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. The zoo, which is rated in the top ten for small zoos, features a free-flight bird aviary, bear grottos, sea-lions, a children’s zoo and nursery, and animals from Africa and Asia. Charro Days is held in February in Brownsville.

This bi-cultural festival showcases a parade, mariachis, modern-day Tejano music, food, dancing and other activities. A day trip to Matamoras, Mexico to shop for silver and leather goods and the traditional handicrafts is only about one/half hour from the Island. Dining in this Mexican city is also popular. On the grounds of the Marine Military Academy in Harlingen is the original bronze sculpture which was used for casting the Iwo Jima Marine Monument in Arlington, VA. This sculpture, depicting the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima is 100 feet high and weighs over 130 tons.

 During Spring Break, the island is swamped with college students seeking fun in the sun. Winter Texans, those who live in Texas for the winter, also find south Padre Island a relaxing spot to escape the cold north temperatures. The Island is a premier vacation spot for families as there are diverse activities for all ages. In conclusion, South Padre Island is a marvelous vacation spot for the entire family. With so much to see and do on the Island and in nearby cities, you can satisfy everyone’s vacation desires.

 

 



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