South Padre Island, Texas, might be known as a popular Spring Break destination. But there are good reasons (appropriate ones) to consider making this a family getaway once the college crowds depart. That have nothing to do with wet t-shirt contests or bar crawls.
For one, there’s the beach. Yes, it’s the same beach that brings spring breakers here in droves, but the big sandy beaches of South Padre Island are broad enough to leave room for both sun bathers and sand castle builders. If you’re looking for water-based entertainment, the menu is expansive. Local operators offer scuba diving trips out to the Texas Clipper (a top Gulf Coast dive site), dolphin watching and snorkeling trips to spots like the South Padre Island jetties and the Laguna Madre Estuary. Kids 3 years and older can even sign up for surfing lessons, as can the older folks still young at heart. Trade your board in for a change of pace and spend a few hours kayaking; rent single, tandem, even fishing kayaks at South Padre Island Kayak Enterprises. And if you’re looking for a bigger adrenaline rush? Try renting a jet ski, parasailing or even sky diving. Which should bring you back to earth, if nothing else.
Avid anglers rejoice: there’s also fine fishing in these parts. Charter boats based in the area run deep sea trips as well as bay outings. If you still haven’t got your sea legs, plan to cast off from the long jetty at the Islands southern tip, part of Isla Blanca Park. Make a mental note: not only is the park’s beach beautiful but there are also picnic areas, playgrounds, camp sites and a walking trail on hand.
And finally, there’s Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark. Though this Schlitterbahn facility offers easy access to Gulf waters, chances are your family will want to stick closer to the tube chutes, wave pool, water coasters and possibly the swim-up bar. It’s the perfect antidote to, horrors, boredom at the beach.
So while South Padre Island, Texas, might have a certain Spring Break reputation, don’t let this put you off if you’re looking for a family-friendly destination.