Why Go To South Padre Island

Every March, like clockwork, students cram into cars and head to South Padre Island for spring break fun in the sun and 24-hour beach bashes. While the island is still home to spring breakers for just over a month, the area has seen a rebirth of sorts as a popular family vacation destination. That's because South Padre, or SPI, delivers with wide sandy beaches, sparkling blue water and a mixture of fun activities for kids of all ages.


But there’s more to SPI than beach revelry. Kiteboarding is a favorite pastime and several sports outfitters offer deep-sea fishing trips and dolphin-watching excursions. The consistently warm weather also seduces northern Texans seeking refuge from the cold. And it's understandable: Just a day's drive from major Texas cities like Houston and Dallas, this seaside paradise is right in the state's own backyard.


The U.S. News & World Report travel rankings are based on analysis of expert and user opinions.

South Padre Island is ranked as:

  • #3 in Best Beaches in Texas

  • #3 in Best Spring Break Destinations

  • #4 in Best Cheap Spring Break Destinations

  • #5 in Best Places to Visit in Texas

  • #15 in Best Cheap Family Vacations

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Best Things To Do In South Padre Island


If you're not interested in getting wet, don't go to South Padre. The main reasons for visiting this tiny island town (besides the lively spring break parties) include boating, fishing, diving, surfing, kite-boarding and simply lounging on the beach. Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark is a great way to enjoy the warm weather and keep the kids entertained. You also shouldn't miss your chance to hop on one of the many dolphin cruises or get up close and personal with the turtles at Sea Turtle, Inc.

South Padre IslandTravel Tips

  • Spring break is still big - For six weeks out of the year, South Padre overflows with rowdy 20-somethings, which can ruin your family-friendly getaway.

  • Safety first - If you're in town for spring break, remember that the bright sunshine can maximize the effects of alcohol. Don't forget to eat regularly, drink plenty of water and keep your friends close by.

  • Know which way the storm is headed - If you're visiting between June and November, make sure to pay close attention to the weather. South Padre is sometimes prone to hurricanes.

  • Reserve in advance - Although it's not hard to find a decent room, consider booking at least a few weeks in advance, especially during the winter when SPI welcomes an influx of snowbirds.

  • Leave the car behind - Don't waste money on a rental car. South Padre is small enough to explore on foot and the free Island Metro offers regular transportation around town and across Laguna Madre to Port Isabel.

  • To Save Money avoid spring break rates - As March approaches, hotel rates are known to triple. If you want to go in the spring, aim for late April or May.

*SOURCE: Information From This Page Can Be Found at U.S. News & World Report