All-Inclusive Packages Make So. Padre, So Family-Friendly

Turquoise waves lap against white sand beaches as music from a live band drifts over the dunes. You sip a frozen margarita and crack open the bestseller you’ve wanted to read for weeks, while your children build a sandcastle and your spouse joins a pickup soccer game. No, you’re not in Miami, Cancun or Cali. You’re in South Padre, and we’ve all grown up since your college spring break.

With over 300 days of sunshine, 30 miles of pristine beaches and an array of engaging activities for kids of all ages, South Padre Island is an ideal family vacation in every season. And there’s no better way to enjoy all the island has to offer than with an all-inclusive package from Enjoy SPI.

Stay at one of South Padre’s top rated, beachfront hotels, and leave the menu planning and cooler packing to the experts. With an all-inclusive package, guests at Hilton Garden Inn, La Copa Inn Beach Hotel, La Quinta by Wyndham and Courtyard by Marriott, enjoy meals and drinks (alcohol for 21+ guests) for every night of their stay. All onsite restaurants and bars participate in these packages, which means that guests have five distinctly different dining options around the island.

“If you’re a Texan, this is your beach.”

Wake up with made-to-order eggs and pancakes from the breakfast buffet at Barry’s International, ranked #3 on the island by Trip Advisor. When it’s time for lunch, don’t let hunger break up the beach fun. In addition to full bar offerings, the Lookout Bar & Refuge serves up coconut shrimp, quesadillas and kid favorites right on the beach, while Copa Cabana Bar & Grill offers grilled burgers and other popular items, poolside. Anytime the kids’ snack monsters roar, pick up freshly griddled tacos from the Barry’s Tacos & Margaritas airstream trailer, and when your party monster starts to howl, raise a glass to good times at Bar Louie, South Padre’s newest, most dynamic beachfront dining experience, located at Courtyard by Marriott SPI. Serving the island’s only frozen martini, appropriately named “The Diva,” this gastrobar prides itself on handcrafted cocktails, local craft beers and an extensive menu of eclectic dishes. As you sip a mojito and savor the coastal breezes and panoramic views from the bar’s 8000 square foot deck, you’ll experience a tropical vacation right in your own backyard.

“If you’re a Texan, this is your beach,” says Hershal Patel, Partner and Director of Operations of Perspective Hospitality. Having travelled extensively throughout his childhood, Hershal sought to recreate the relaxing, all-inclusive vacations he experienced internationally, right here in Texas, no passport required. In addition to the cost-savings that comes from staying in-state, Hershal cites the island’s natural beauty, ecotourism activities, and friendly people as key features that make South Padre a premier, year-round retreat for families. At only a quarter-mile’s width and hugged by the Gulf of Mexico to the east and Laguna Madre to the west, the island guarantees convenient beach access and stunning views no matter where guests kick off their flip flops.

“When you book your package here, this becomes your island,” says Perspective’s President Barry Patel. In addition to food and drinks, these packages also include a dolphin watch tour with Breakaway Cruises. More excursions and island adventures are in the works, but hotel amenities promise fun-filled experiences within steps of your room. All of Perspective’s beachfront hotels feature temperature-controlled swimming pools, hot tubs, kiddie pools with water features, and direct access to the beach. And because the hotels welcome four-legged friends, South Padre Island can be Fido’s island, too.

“When you book your package here, this becomes your island.”

Spring (Break) might be the season for which the island is most famous, but tropical weather makes outdoor fun available year-round. After the college students head home over the Queen Isabella Causeway, take advantage of the island’s many family-friendly activities.

Young children delight in shell collecting and splashing in the Gulf’s warm, shallow water, while older siblings boogie board, skimboard and snorkel. Ready to step up your beach time? Let local experts teach your kids the professional tricks of sandcastle construction or register your teens for a kiteboarding lesson. The family that survives extreme sports together makes memories together. Parasailing, jet skiing and zip-lining are available, year-round, on the island, while horseback riding and fishing provide slower-paced, though equally-memorable experiences. In summer’s peak season, Memorial Day to Labor Day, live music and fireworks light up the beachfront entertainment hub of the Hilton Garden Inn, La Quinta, and Courtyard by Marriott hotels, while musical performances on the outdoor deck at nearby Clayton’s Beach Bar & Grill entertain beachgoers throughout the year.

Because of its unique location, South Padre island attracts an array of wildlife as well as the naturalists and enthusiasts who come to observe it. An essential stopping point for migratory birds on their way to Mexico and Central America, the island hosts a stunning variety of exotic and rare species such as roseate painted buntings, redheads and peregrine falcons. Witness another winged migration in September as Monarch butterflies alight on the island before finishing their journey in Michoacán. During sea turtle nesting season, April to November, don’t miss scheduled sea turtle releases on the beach. Thanks to local preservation and rehabilitation efforts, South Padre island remains home to the endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, the unofficial symbol of the island.

For those seeking serenity, late fall and winter months are the most peaceful. The majority of island attractions continue to operate, and your family is first in line. Even the most popular ecotourism centers, such as the South Padre Island Birding & Nature Center and Sea Turtle, Inc., exude calm and fulfill the dreams of parents traveling with children: no lines, no whines. Winter is also the best time to view the greatest variety of migratory bird species on the island, and the pathways, boardwalks and blinds of Laguna Madre Nature Trail are ready to be explored. Get a front row seat at a Turtle Talk, and spend quality time staring into the eyes of Big Padre, the 12’6”, 700-pound alligator. These are the memory-making experiences that bring families back, year after year.

When people come to South Padre, they become a part of a larger family. “We are very much in tune with the community, and we want to be as inclusive as possible,” Barry explains. “We’re just a big family here.” Many of these extended winter families reunite during epic holiday events such as the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve buffets, which feature in additional vacation packages offered by Enjoy SPI.

At just a half-day’s drive from Austin and Houston (think: four Disney/Pixar movie distance) or a short, inexpensive shuttle ride from the Harlingen Airport, a family-friendly, tropical vacation in South Padre is more parent-friendly than you think.

To book your all-inclusive South Padre Island getaway, visit www.enjoyspi.com. Condos and villas are also available.

Words by Karen Krajcer

Photos by Bee Creek Photography.

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  • Florence NightingFail

    Yeah, this is not gonna happen. The votes are not there, not even close. Move on because the Lege needs to focus on things that can or may pass.

    • I’m in 100% agreement with Governor Abbott on NOT expanding Medicaid: it’s broken & a lost cause.

    • Jed

      i would be much happier if the lege focuses on things that can’t pass.

      as would most texans, whether they know it or not.

  • WUSRPH

    How about equal space for the Texas CPPP. Texas PPF has now had its turn…..give the other guy the same opportunity.

    The use of the word “factoid” in a comment on the other site to describe some of the evidence the in TPPF’s editorial piece is more than justified. Most people do not know that factoid actually means an invented statement that is only true because it has appeared in print. http://www.merriam-webster.com

    The word was made up by Norman Mailer to defend his use of made up material in a book that was supposed to be a bio of Marilyn Monroe.

    • Jed

      saw this after i posted my comment. agreed, but the fact that TM does run stuff from the TPPF and not from the CPPP (prove me wrong) should come as no surprise.

      is the name “texas review” already taken?

    • Jed

      actually, the word “fact” doesn’t imply any truth value, either. there can be “true” facts and “false” ones.

  • Gritsforbreakfast

    You’ve framed a false debate over whether Medicaid is “supposed to be” a jobs program. Start with a red herring and the discussion is pointless. The purpose of the ACA was to provide health care. Opponents argued it would destroy the economy and increase health care costs but that was a lie and it turned out the opposite was true. Here’s what I wrote yesterday in the comments to the column you referenced:

    “So we’re to believe that pumping billions of dollars into the economy
    won’t improve growth or create jobs because … what? … Obama? How is
    this the only area of the economy where more customers and more spending
    equals fewer jobs? You can say it, but it doesn’t make it true. There
    are several logical disconnects in this editorial, which btw I would
    have appreciated being labeled such at the top of the article.”

    Running indigent health care through local emergency rooms is flat-out stupid when there’s a viable opportunity to do it smarter via the ACA. Progress Texas is FOS too but their foibles don’t make Davidson’s column any more probative.

  • Meanwhile, today was outgoing Governor Rick Perry (R)’s last full day as our 47th Governor as he continued a tradition of passing the Pat Neff bible to Governor Greg Abbott (R) inside the State Capitol building.

    Plus, there’s lots of photographs of this event!

  • Texas Publius

    Every time someone tells you that “the federal govt will pay for that,” just replace it in your brain with “the Chinese govt will pay for that by loaning the US federal govt the money to pay for it”—-then decide whether it’s a wise choice.

    • José

      Only because right wingers have somehow decided that it’s unpatriotic for the country to pay for its bills immediately. Any tax whatsoever is called theft, no matter how reasonable it may be.

      • WUSRPH

        The GOP once believed in “fiscal responsibility” but it gave it up when St. Ronald doubled the national debt while cutting taxes and when George W. paid for two wars with a credit card. It is humorous that the only balanced budgets were under Bill Clinton, a Democrat. When you hear a GOPer talk about a balanced budget remember it is all just talk!

  • The website of the governor’s office has been changed
    http://gov.texas.gov/
    http://gov.texas.gov/about
    http://gov.texas.gov/firstlady

  • Erica, here’s one of the photographs from Abbott’s inauguration.
    I’ve heard reports that former Governor Perry was on the stage with Abbott, can anyone confirm that ?

    • WUSRPH

      Would someone please put Blue out of his misery and tell him whether Perry was there or not. He’s been fixated on the question for three days now.

      • LMFAO

        • WUSRPH

          Huh?

          • I did see Texas A&M University Chancellor John Sharp at the inauguration though.

  • Jed

    awesome. i knew that article was bunk, but i had no idea he was a TPPF guy. what does that say, when a TPPF propaganda piece is not discernably different than the stuff the TM staff produces?