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South Padre Trip Report, May 14-22

Delta, Canada
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237 posts
14 reviews
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South Padre Trip Report, May 14-22

We visited South Padre for the first time ever, flying from Seattle to San Antonio, spent one night there, then drove to South Padre in a Thrifty Rental car.

First, next time we'll fly to Harlingen. I enjoy driving, especially somewhere new, but there is really nothing worth seeing between SA and SPI!

SPI was cooler than normal, but that was fine for us Canadians. What an amazing stretch of beach! We rented a condo on the 8th floor of the Aquarius (Unit 804 - we have a separate review for it) with an incredible view - and the constant roar of the waves was a great way to fall asleep every night!

Sunshine every day, windy, so cool evenings where sweaters were required. We enjoyed the sunset on the top deck at Louie's Backyard a few times. The $7.99 ribs on Thursdays & Sundays are great, but I wouldn't recommend the seafood buffet.

We did some parasailing with Breakaway Cruises. That was fine, for about $65 each but not as thrilling as I expected. A bit of fear for sure, until we settled into our harness as we quickly rose above Laguna Madre. A wonderful view of the island for sure. Definitely a bucket-list type of thing, but not something I would likely do again.

The Schlitterbahn, on the other hand, was fantastic and we'd go again and again if we could. We went on the second last day of our stay. We went on a Monday on purpose so it wouldn't be as busy. There were several busloads of school kids there but except for one ride, the line ups were minimal. They have done a great job at giving it a nostalgic feel, even though it is brand new. The rides are fantastic, especially Sea Blaster and Tempest. But be warned, when you're on those uphill coasters, keep your rear end high up in the tube, otherwise you'll end up a bit battered and bruised back there LOL. Signage or a word from the attendents would be helpful.

Also, watch your sunscreen. A lot of time spent in the water removes the effects of sunscreen and it's easy to get sun burn. The indoor section is a bit of a walk, but a really fun river run with great waves to enjoy. Not much else in the indoor section unless you have young children, but the river run is worth the walk.

We visited the Port Isabel lighthouse which was good, but the area around it is very gimmicky, with pirate themed buildings that look out of place.

We visited the sea turtle farm which was interesting but the bird centre was even better since we got a great look at the resident alligator. He swam right towards us, stopped near us, got out of the water to sunbathe, but not before a great big yawn to show us his teeth. All of this about 6 feet away from us. Yes, we were standing on a boardwalk with that gator but a few feet away, but safely below us.

We took a couple of drives north on the beach and enjoyed fireworks on the beach on both Friday & Saturday nights at Claytons Beach Bar.

At least at this time of year, SPI has a nice laid-back beach feel and it was a vacation that we very much enjoyed. We are planning a return, if only to go back to the Schlitterbahn!

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Austin, Texas
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4,473 posts
205 reviews
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1. Re: South Padre Trip Report, May 14-22

Thanks for the trip report! We don't see many on the Texas forums, so it's a treat when we get one. I'm happy to hear you had a great time. This makes me want to go back to SPI!

Chillicothe...
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8 posts
3 reviews
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2. Re: South Padre Trip Report, May 14-22

Great report .... Just a note about that weather ...... last winter was a bear almost everywhere , including South Texas ..... where it was about 20 degrees below the average temps found down there.... definitely NOT your typical winter season!

Arlington, Texas
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809 posts
21 reviews
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3. Re: South Padre Trip Report, May 14-22

But then again, it snowed on Christmas Day on SPI a few years ago. Texas weather: the only thing you can count on, is to not count on it!

Fort Worth TX
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2 posts
40 reviews
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4. Re: South Padre Trip Report, May 14-22

My husband and I are meeting friends on SPI this week. We have never been so thank you for a great review!!

Delta, Canada
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237 posts
14 reviews
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5. Re: South Padre Trip Report, May 14-22

You're welcome Jeb! We use Trip Advisor a lot when planning our vacations so it's only right that we contribute to help others plan theirs.

Delta, Canada
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237 posts
14 reviews
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6. Re: South Padre Trip Report, May 14-22

mr ted you are welcome too! and appreciate the weather feedback from linlo and gordonmike. It's always good to know that someone actually reads what we write lol.

Oklahoma City
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37 posts
94 reviews
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7. Re: South Padre Trip Report, May 14-22

Any recommendations for restaurants? Did you check out the dolphin cruises?

Arlington, Texas
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809 posts
21 reviews
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8. Re: South Padre Trip Report, May 14-22

Yummiest for breakfast or lunch. Dirty Al's for shrimp. Gabriella's for Italian. Burger Fi for burgers. Liam's for steak or seafood not fried. Manuel's in Port Isabel for breakfast .

North Texas
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287 posts
94 reviews
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9. Re: South Padre Trip Report, May 14-22

lino, perfect recommendations, exactly what I would recommend

Dallas, Texas
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12 posts
103 reviews
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10. Re: South Padre Trip Report, May 14-22

Don't miss Wanna Wanna for a stellar beach bar and drinks. The big Stripes gas station down the island has the BEST breakfast tacos (no joke- always a line). Laguna Bob's has good drinks and a fun bayside atmosphere. Harpoons is known for great fish tacos and is a local hangout. Fun pool and darts too (kid friendly) Cafe Kranzler, Gabriellas and Yummies are very well regarded too.