Summer on South Padre Island
We didn’t spend our entire summer on South Padre Island. But with such a laid back vibe, maybe we should have. I’ve done posts about spending a short weekend with the Hubby or a group of girlfriends on South Padre Island. But this summer, we took two boys and another couple to the island for the week surrounding 4th of July. Here are my top tips and tricks for a laid back family week on South Padre Island:
1) Think ahead and rent the right place: One of the greatest things about South Padre Island is the long stretch of beach that goes on for miles. There are a lot of places available to rent. Since we stayed right on the beach, the adults could drink coffee on the balcony while watching our 13 year olds on the beach. We loved the ability to come back and forth from the beach to the house in case we forgot something. If the beach got too crowded, we could always head back to the pool at the house. It also meant we never really set up a giant tent and camped out at the beach all day long. That’s just a little too much beach time for my taste.
2) Rent a boat for the fireworks: The big 4th of July fireworks are launched from a barge in the middle of the bay. While the 4th of July fireworks are the biggest, they do launch a show every Thursday and Friday during the summer season. It’s cheaper to just drive over to the bay side of the island and try to get a spot at a restaurant or dock. But there’s nothing like seeing the fireworks exploding right above you. The sunset ride from the marina out to the barge is quite a sight to see also. We took a cooler full of snacks and beverages both for kids and adults.
3) Get out there and get active: South Padre has so many things to offer. Surfing, bay fishing, paragliding, jet skiing, banana tube rides, go karts, putt putt golf, bungee chairs, kayaking, paddle boarding, sand castle lessons, bird watching complexes, sea turtle rescue farms, horseback riding, dune buggies, shopping, crab hunting, and dolphin cruises just to name a few! Morning appointments sometimes get a discount so don’t be afraid to ask.
4) Hit the grocery stores in Port Isabel before you go over the bridge to the island: Summer weekends and holidays can be crazy for the restaurants on the island. We do a big grocery shop on the way to the house and cook simple meals. I love a crockpot meal at the beach so that it can cook while we play, and no one has to wait while I slave in the kitchen. Simple breakfast and lunches that can be eaten on the beach or on the big balcony are great. We can avoid crowds by eating out for lunch while everyone else is at the beach. Or we go out on week nights that we think might be less crowded.
5) Relax: I don’t normally take naps. I can’t relax enough in the middle of the day. But on South Padre Island I could sit out on the balcony on the couch with a book and nod off in minutes. The sound of the waves was so soothing. Even though there are tons of activities, there is nothing just screaming at us not to miss it. South Padre Island city council has outlawed ties. Restaurants are within their rights to cut your tie off if you enter an establishment with one on. We’ve visited the island for the last 15 years and I’ve never seen anyone in a suit. Good policy. Great relaxing.