Posted July 9, 2009 by Nicki Krawczyk
Just a smidge (technical term) north of Mexico, you’ll find yourself on the balmy beaches of South Padre Island, Texas. A small resort town merely blocks wide at the southern tip of Padre Island, this little burg was decimated by Hurricane Beulah in 1967, only to be subsequently rebuilt into a haven of bliss.
Popular with both families and spring-breaking co-eds (though not usually at the same time), this getaway spot features beach-y Gulf-breeze splendor with no need for those pesky passports. Should you find yourself with an itinerary sending your sunny little self down south in this direction, I’ve compiled a list of must-dos for your minimal moments off the beach.
Kiteboarding. Strap your feet to a board, grab the handle of a kite and (if you catch the wind right) get pulled through the surf faster than you can say “gale-force winds.”
Dolphin Research and Nature Center. With oceans naturally comes ocean life, and with ocean life comes the need for research and conservation. Get a hands-on lesson about all things aquatic around Padre Island and, for a mere 25 bucks, you can even adopt a dolphin. At last check, you could claim a bottlenose named “Nubbins.” Move fast.
Waterpark. With a name like a German medical procedure, Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark sounds a lot less fun than it is. Well, prepare for a pleasant surprise. Tube shoots, surfing machines, uphill water coasters and more await the amusement-seeking chlorine fiend…and a swim-up bar awaits the older libation-seekers.
Sandcastle Building Lessons. Just a little bit of water, some sand, a shovel and a pail? Sure, it’s that simple if you can be comfortable with a mediocre sand castle. For those of you more interested in quality, form, longevity and all-around sand-sational aesthetics, schedule yourself some sandcastle building lessons. You’ve got plenty of expert instructors to choose from: while it may be messy, these people don’t mess around.
Black Dragon Cruises. Ooookay, technically this may qualify as a “kids’ activity” but I’ll remind you that real pirates were certainly not for children. In that spirit, I say head on board this pirate ship and enjoy the heck out of the pirate crew, pirate stories, treasure hunt and, well, face painting. C’mon you’re on vacation; just go with it.