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South Padre Island

Discussion in 'Travel' started by Whisky, Oct 20, 2018.

  1. Whisky

    Whisky F1 World Champ
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    Jan 27, 2006
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    The original Fernando
    I am going there in January, what do I not want to miss?
    I know it's pretty small, 1/4~ mile wide, 2-3 miles long, do I want to
    stay in the middle, or further south? (yes, I know the difference is a mile..)
    I booked the Best Western Beachside Inn, but was looking at some others a bit south.

    Any tips?
     
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  3. Whisky

    Whisky F1 World Champ
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    The original Fernando
    simply stunning...
     
  4. tomc

    tomc Two Time F1 World Champ

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    Take this with a grain of salt, since it's been 10 years since the wife and I were last there. I see SPI as a "chill and do nothing" kind of beach destination. Unlike Key West, for example. Wife and I just chilled, enjoyed the surf, worked on our tans, had some good Tex Mex on the mainland, etc. We stayed in an RV park...T
     
  5. Whisky

    Whisky F1 World Champ
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    I am just stunned not a single person has replied, aside from you...
     
  6. tomc

    tomc Two Time F1 World Champ

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    ^Sorry, only me again! :p I'm not surprised. I don't think a lot of people have the Rio Grande Valley on their travel radar except for Winter Texans, and maybe bird watchers. Which is a shame, weather is usually pretty nice, and the people are friendly. The one or two times we visited SPI, to be honest, there is not much to do on the Island. At least not that I can recall. I would guestimate that the wife & I have been to the RGV maybe a dozen times since we moved to Texas; mostly we stay on the mainland - more to do, friends in Edinburg, wife likes shopping across the border in Mexico & at the larger outlet malls, I like finding hole in the wall Tex-Mex & BBQ places, etc. Not to be rude, but curious, what led you to choose SPI? You didn't ask, but maybe you did - I would explore Brownsville! The zoo is nice. The Sabal palm sanctuary is a good place to waste a couple of hours. http://sabalpalmsanctuary.org/ If you want to explore Mexico, I would go across from the smaller towns further inland.

    If you want a good place to eat & don't mind a bit of a drive. Vera's Backyard in Brownsville. I think it's the last place that makes authentic barbacoa in an underground pit (pozo). Wife and I visited time before last. The lady who runs it is a charmer. I, of course, had the cabeza. Wife refused. We were the only folks in there as it was before lunch rush, so the lady behind the counter came over. Chatted. Gave us a free sample of their carnitas. Holy pork! It was like a thick-cut bacon taco.

    https://www.texasmonthly.com/food/how-to-cook-authentic-barbacoa/
    https://www.texasmonthly.com/bbq/veras-backyard-bar-b-que/

    T
     
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  8. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Texas!
    I never go there unless I have to. If you want nice beaches, go to Alabama or Northwest Florida.
     
  9. killer58

    killer58 Formula 3

    Jun 30, 2010
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    I was stationed at NAS Corpus, the “Texas Riviera” as the signs call it.
    I will never go back.

    If you must go, go to the pay beaches, not the free ones.
    Watch out for tar balls.
     
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  10. Ricambi America

    Ricambi America F1 World Champ
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    I have been to SPI. Two words: never. again.

    I'm quite particular about the style of beach and beach-vacation that I prefer, and SPI just missed on a whole bunch of levels.
     
  11. Whisky

    Whisky F1 World Champ
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    Jan 27, 2006
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    The original Fernando
    Care to elaborate?
    I just want to go somewhere in the USA where it is WARM, well, compared to where I am (it's 24 out outside right now here)
    ZERO interest to anywhere Mexico.
    SPI is super-affordable, motel-wise, and I am not too keen on Florida.
    I love Hermosa Beach, but it's almost unaffordable anymore...
     
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  13. tomc

    tomc Two Time F1 World Champ

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    ^Does it have to be a beach location? If not, I'd look inland toward the Rio Grande Valley. Or, even San Antonio if you want a bigger city, albeit not as warm...T
     
  14. Continental AutoSports

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    Be gentle, but I visited SPI YEARS ago during the "off-season", so the party crowd was literally non-existent (seemingly only locals were present). I'm sure scenery and leisurely activities have been added or removed since my last visit but it was a figurative ghost-town. If tumble weeds rolled on past while we were at dinner I legitimately wouldn't of been surprised, it was that dead. I don't remember much, other than it was desolate, zombie-apocalypse desolate; again, I can't stress enough this was more than 10 years ago, but still thought I'd add my two cents!
     
  15. jimpo1

    jimpo1 Two Time F1 World Champ
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    I live in Texas and have for 30 years. When it was time to buy beach property, I went to NW Florida as Dale mentioned. Texas beaches just don't compare. Start at Pensacola and go East all the way to Panama City Beach. You can find a place to stay in literally every price range.
     
  16. M. Brandon Motorcars

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    Go a few hours up the coast, just north of Corpus, to Rockport. Best kept secret on the Texas coast.
     
  17. Whisky

    Whisky F1 World Champ
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    #14 Whisky, Jan 15, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2019
    Ok, here is my 'book report' on South Padre Island (SPI) Texas.
    A really nice place to take your significant other - if it is off-season, meaning,
    not over the summer or spring break.
    Summer has lots of kids, spring break has a lot of college kids.

    If going with your significant other it is nice, lots of really good restaurants - all with good bars.
    You want to stay on the 'gulf' side so you can stroll the beach, the 'bay' side has no beach to walk.
    Lots of motels in all kinds of price ranges, you can get 8 nights for $350 on up to whatever you
    want to spend, I stayed at the Best Western because it was centrally located, right between the
    two north-south streets that the FREE bus service travels, and they cross by every 30 minutes.
    You don't need a car here, you can walk everywhere, the longest walk I did was 3 miles, from
    'Pier 19' to my motel, stopping at every shop on the way. I could have taken the shuttle several times,
    but I chose to walk it this particular time.
    AirBNB and VRBO has a lot of places here as well, but more pricey.
    There is a really nice police presence on the island, I felt safe everywhere I went.

    The buses are free, but they only run 7am to about 8pm, they say 9pm, but they STOP at 9pm,
    so you need to be on-board by about 8:20pm or so. You can also catch one to Port Isabel, which
    has a few nice shoppes and restaurants as well.
    There are a handful of 'couples' things to do, a 'bird' sanctuary, a turtle rescue place, you can
    take a dinner cruise on a boat, a few dolphin watch cruises (seasonal?), and then you have the
    usual t-shirt and beach towel shops - tons of them - and they all carry pretty-much the same thing.
    There are a handful of pricey 'clothing' shoppes, but not many, I'd say less than 5.
    There is a decent grocery store and 4 or 5 liquor stores where you can get whatever you need to
    live out of your room for a few days, I bought a fifth of Rum, Coke, and some ready-made sandwiches
    along with having them slice me some deli ham and turkey to ADD to the sandwiches. I didn't want
    to eat out for EVERY meal. The Best Western had a fantastic hot breakfast...


    If you like SHRIMP - SPI is the place to go. They have shrimp - and they cook it a zillion different
    ways, I don't care for shrimp so I have simple sandwiches and other fish such as mahi-mahi.
    Every restaurant features shrimp, and it is all good, from what my fellow patrons that sat next to
    me said.

    One thing to be careful of is if you have a 6am flight out of Brownsville or Harlingen, it may be a chore
    to find a reliable ride to the airport. I found a guy, and he was at my hotel at 4am sharp. But I tip well...

    I managed to hit 11 restaurants or bars in 8 days, 10 were very good, one was so-so.
    I had drinks at every one, some were really good, and some I am not sure I felt or tasted any alcohol
    at all. I had a 'Wanna Wanna' drink at the Wanna Wanna bar, and I felt it! Two of them and I don't
    think I could drive (IF I was driving - I never had a car there)
    Dinner picture is Mahi-Mahi at Blackbeard's.
    Volleyball picture is looking out from Wanna Wanna.

    So that's my synopsis - a great place to take a significant other, if it is off-season and you like
    dining out.
     

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  18. Whisky

    Whisky F1 World Champ
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    #15 Whisky, Jan 16, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2019
    Tom, sorry I did not reply to this earlier, I will now, even though I have already been and returned this past weekend.

    1) You are correct, the island had FEW people on it Jan 4-12, those that were there I think were winter Texans, and most
    were at least 65+, but everyone was very nice, friendly and talkative. I think most of the folks I talked to were from
    Wisconsin, with some Michigan, Iowa and North Dakota mixed in. I wonder why.... LOL

    2) I didn't choose SPI, the G/F did, so I booked a plane ticket to go with her, as she goes every January and stays with
    friends in a condo, she invited me to come along.
    So I booked the ticket, then we broke up a month later, and to cancel the ticket or change it would have cost me about
    as much as the ticket cost, so I said scroo it and I found a great room at a great rate on booking.com, and I went anyway.
    Funny thing was - she didn't go! She broke her arm and wrist the week before, and I didn't know that as we broke up
    and no longer talk to each other. I would have gone anyway.

    3) EVERYONE said not to go across the border into Metamoros, they all said to go inland (as you suggested) to Progreso MX,
    but I did not go into Mexico at all, the logistics with getting from SPI to Progreso were a PITA if you don't have a car.
    Next time I will visit MX because next time I will drive to SPI, and not fly. Park this side of the border and walk across, like
    everyone does.
     
  19. tomc

    tomc Two Time F1 World Champ

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    ^Awesome. When I saw your post in NFL thread, I was hoping you would post up your thoughts on SPI & RGV.
    1) That is my recollection. Having lived in Dakota long ago, I understand why they are there! Friendliest people I've met.
    2) You single guys and your exciting lifes! :D
    3) I have heard same.
    Glad you had a good time in Tejas, and thanks for spending big $$$ and helping our economy. :)
    T
     
  20. Whisky

    Whisky F1 World Champ
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    The original Fernando
    And I may be going back to SPI next month.
    'Ultimate' road trip.
    Omaha NE to Moab UT for 7 days.
    Page AZ for 2 days.
    Prescott AZ for 3-4-5 days.
    From there, I have some options:

    1) To SoCal, up the PCH to Sacramento, then home to Omaha on I-80,
    with a few days spent off I-80, Yellowstone maybe.
    *OR*
    2) To Texas, Midland, Odessa area, around there, I want to find some oil fields to
    photograph, and from there to SPI for 4 days, and from there, home to Omaha
    via Dallas and Ok City.
    3) Or just straight home to Omaha from Prescott. Depends on how run-down I get.

    I am doing the above alone, in my car, mainly tent camping in UT and AZ.
    The 'alone' part is what sucks, which may tip me to 3), because when I go places,
    I like to share my sights, nobody to do that with this time.
     
  21. Whisky

    Whisky F1 World Champ
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    Jan 27, 2006
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    The original Fernando
    And now, I will probably be going back to SPI later this year, or early next year. Sept, or Jan.-Feb.
    Why?
    Because I still have $615 worth of AA 'credit' to spend, and I have to BOOK the flight by Aug 22 or lose it.
    So why SPI again?
    Easy.
    The rooms are cheap as hell off-season, and I don't have to rent a car,
    as everything you want to do is within walking distance, or on the route
    of the FREE shuttle bus that runs constantly from 8am to 8pm.
    Last time, 8 nights at a '9' rated motel was $505, you can't beat that, and it
    included a hot breakfast.
    There really is nothing not to like about SPI, but I will say they don't have a real wild 'night life' crowd,
    and that's good, to me anyway.

    Well, I am also considering flying in to Jacksonville, visiting Don Garlits drag racing museum in Ocala,
    then driving over to the Naval Air Museum in Pensacola, might do that, depending on what a rental car will cost...
     
  22. Whisky

    Whisky F1 World Champ
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    Jan 27, 2006
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    I did this road trip May 5-22.
    Moab off-roading for 5 days, then I went back up to I-70, hooked into I-15, down thru Vegas, and over to Victorville CA.
    You folks in CA are nuts. I was going 95 mph on I-15 - and getting passed by every other car like I was tied
    to a stump!
    Stayed in Victorville, when into Ontario, left 4 days later.
    Took an interesting route to Lake Havasu City AZ - took Hwy 18 to Hwy 247, then took Hwy 62 all the way
    to Parker AZ, then took Hwy 95 on the AZ side up thru Lake Havasu City, then connected with I-40 east.
    AWESOME route, two-lane road, few people on it, probably one you won't want to do in a supercar.
    After that, over to Prescott for a few days, base out of there, went to the GC, then took Hwy 89 up thru Page and Kanab to
    Zion NP, then continued up 89 all the way to I-70. GORGEOUS route, all two-lane, though.
    Then I-70 east 1,100 miles home. (stayed overnight in GJ CO)
    Fun trip, but it sucked doing it alone, not sure if I will ever do it again, alone.
     
  23. Whisky

    Whisky F1 World Champ
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    Off to SPI again, Feb 15-22 2020, but staying in a great AirBNB I nabbed...
    Not sure if I will be alone or not, a few ladies are 'interested', who knows....

    Anyone else visiting SPI then?
     
  24. Whisky

    Whisky F1 World Champ
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    Jan 27, 2006
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    The original Fernando
    Spent a week in SPI, the weather sucked, one day the temp was the same there
    as it was in Omaha (59), windy, rainy, snotty....
    Coconut Jack's - best burger there, Montana's Kraken - best club sandwich I've ever had,
    Meatball Cafe - good Mahi and Pasta...
     

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