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Family Beach Vacation | South Padre Island

I was so excited to visit South Padre Island for the very first time, and it was also Walt and Whitney's very first trip to the beach! If you aren't familiar with the area, South Padre is about 6 hours south of Austin and only 30 minutes from the border of Mexico. Come along as I share where we stayed, what activities we enjoyed, and where we ate!


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STAY:
When booking our trip I used VRBO and specifically looked for a condo that was walking distance from the beach. If you've taken a family beach trip you know how much stuff comes with you to the beach...chairs, toys, towels, sunscreen, snacks, and more! I did not want to have to load up the car and drive to the beach. Thanks to VRBO I found this amazing condo located in the PERFECT location and I loved the open kitchen/living room layout. The condo is 1,399 sq. ft, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and has beautiful modern decor. My sister and her family rented a condo next door and they would come over every morning to eat breakfast. The condo sleeps 8, and has access to two pools, 2 hot tubs, a fitness center and an enclosed kids play area.

The best part is the beach is a two minute walk away! When the kids needed to use the restroom or we wanted to eat lunch, we easily walked back to our condo. We rented a tent and chairs for $40 a day which I HIGHLY recommend. To rent a tent you need to go to the main office as you must pay in person. VRBO is by far my go-to site for searching and booking a rental for vacation. It's easy to share what places you are considering with other people in your group so you can all agree on where you want to stay. My tip is make sure there are lots of rooms and beds so everyone can have their own space. I've slept in one room with all 5 of us and it was not a pleasant experience!

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EAT:
There are hundreds of restaurants along the island, and the best part is all the fresh SEAFOOD! We ate breakfast and lunch at our condo and for dinner ate out. Lobo Del Mar Cafe was a fun atmosphere with live music and a beautiful view of the ocean. Every night at 8:15pm bagpipes would play, and at 9pm there is a fireworks show on the water. You can view the fireworks from most of the restaurants that face that side of the island.

Our last night we enjoyed dinner at Sea Ranch while my nieces babysat my kiddos. It was a Saturday night and a wait was expected so we grabbed a drink at the bar and sat out back on the water and watched the boats come and go. It's one of the nicer restaurants on the island, but most people were dressed casual. I had lobster tail for the first time and it was delicious! Other entrees we loved included fried shrimp, crab, oysters and tuna steak. We actually took our oyster shells back to Walt and Whitney as souvenirs...bahaha!

There are lots of ice cream and dessert shops around town great for kiddos if you're looking for a snack while you shop or after the beach. Other restaurants that were recommended included The Palms Cafe, Blackbeard's, Yummies Bistro for breakfast, Laguna BOB, Parrot Eyes and Louie's Backyard.

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ACTIVITIES:
There are so many great activities for families at South Padre! Here are a few:

- Gravity Park: Adventure and amusement park located in the center of the island. Attractions include go-karts, mini-golf, trampoline, arcade, climbing wall and a sky coaster wing with a view of the whole island. This is better for older kids and is only open from 7pm - 12am daily.

Schlitterbahn Waterpark

- Sand Castle Lessons: They offer two and three hour lessons for groups that want to make a serious sandcastle! Open to all ages, although my toddlers would want to smash it the entire time. I think this would be such a fun family activity!

- Watersport Rentals including jet skis, parasailing, stand up paddle boards and kayaks.

- Guided Fishing Trips

- Pirate Ship Adventure Cruise: This would be so fun for kids and they serve dinner on board!

- Skydiving: Talk about an amazing view! I'm kicking myself I didn't do this, but I'm just now finding out about it.

- Dolphin Watch Tour

- Sea Turtle Rescue Center: Children under 4 are free

- Island Vehicle Rentals: Rent golf carts, off road jeeps, bicycles, mini-cars, and scooters

- Shopping: There are tons of beach shops along both sides of the island great for souvenirs!

- Beach: If you don't have access to the beach via your hotel/condo there are public access spots.  If you want to take your vehicle it costs $15 per car. My tip is to bring bodyboards, sports balls (volleyball, football, soccer ball) and sand castle tools. I bought my kids these $4 shovels and they were obsessed!

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If you get the chance to visit South Padre I hope you find this guide helpful. Happy travels my friends! Check out #coultertravels to see more of our family adventures.

Our stay was stay was gifted by VRBO, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

4 comments:

Elena said...

These are great suggestions! I’ve been to SPI once before, when my husband and I celebrated our three-year anniversary with a “reading vacation” where we read the books we’d been too busy to touch in the weeks and months prior, all from the comfort of a poolside lounge chair. We went on the Eco dolphin tour, caught awesome sunrises and sunsets, and enjoyed absolutely delicious food. The Isabel lighthouse and the local bookstore (which sadly closed down) were also favorites. I found your post on pinterest because we are returning next week, but with a 8-month old one tow this time! I loved your suggestions for family-friendly ways to enjoy the island! Beautiful, vibrant photography as well!

Raquel B. said...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog about this trip to SPI, I am now looking forward to going and celebrate my husband's bday there next month. Me and my family will definitely be checking out some of the places you mentioned. Thank you

Anonymous said...

Excellent "tour" through SPI. Thanks!

Unknown said...

Hi! Next time you must visit Joe’s oyster bar in Port Isabell It’s a great place to eat at..