October Road Trip to South Padre Island
The sun still shining bright, warm temperatures, and my bestie living in the valley was the perfect reason to visit South Padre Island in October. This time, I brought along a fun group of friends to explore the island with. Not only were we ready for a fun time on the island, we were also visiting on the weekend of Sandcastle Days 30th Anniversary. (Click here to read more about Sandcastle Days.) As soon as we arrived on the island, the energy of SPI automatically gets you in the mood to relax. What really set the mood for a weekend of R & R was the waterfront view we had at the South Padre Island KOA Holiday property. After our drive and settling in at the condo, it was a bit tough to the leave the tranquil setting.
Our first evening on the island, we had dinner at the Padre Island Brewing Company. My love for trying new brews and seafood lead me to picking out this place. I was impressed with how generous the samples were on the beer flights; my favorite beer was the crisp Blonde Ale. For dinner we ordered the beer battered shrimp and the Gulf Trifecta Flounder that was topped with a crab cake and served with 3 Gulf shrimp; it was delicious. After beer tasting and our tummies full, we walked it off on the pier with a few cold beers overlooking the Laguna Madre and checking out what the local fisherman were catching.
Morning arrived quickly. As they say, “time flies when you’re having fun”. We needed to fuel up for our long day of exploring the island so we went to the Grapevine Café. If you ever visit South Padre Island you NEED to eat here. The food was fantastic, prices were very affordable, the service was great, AND they have mimosas. The laid-back atmosphere of the café was filled with visitors and locals waiting patiently for their good grub. My favorite dish was the shrimp and grits but, the crab meat omelet stuffed with real lump crab meat, tomato, lightly glazed with hollandaise and topped with sliced avocados, is a good choice too. Since its “pumpkin spice” everything season, they even had pumpkin spice pancakes.
Our first touristy spot on the island was at Sea Turtle, Inc. At Sea Turtle Inc., their mission is to rescue, rehabilitate, and release injured sea turtles, educate the public, and assist with conservation efforts for all marine turtle species. Through our self-guided tour, we could see the turtles and learn about their stories; each turtle was unique and was rescued. Sea Turtle, Inc. was founded in 1977 by Ila Fox Loetscher (Also known as “The Turtle Lady of South Padre Island.”). In 1999, Sea Turtle, Inc. moved from Ila’s backyard into its current location. We also visited the South Padre Island Bird and Nature Center; the views and wildlife we encountered made the visit totally worth stopping by.
After giving love to the turtles and our nature walk, we stretched out our sea legs and boarded “The Getaway” for a 2-hour boat cruise courtesy of Breakaway Cruises. The weather was perfect and the waves were not choppy at all. We were taken around the bay where we saw dolphins, schools of fish, and got to bask in the sun. The boat crew threw out a net to bring aboard marine life for all of us to see up close as they explained what each animal was. The cruise was relaxing and is family friendly; you may even see a pirate ship!
Being a tourist makes you thirsty so, we headed over to Clayton’s Bear Bar & Grill where Sandcastle Day’s was being held at. Talk about a fun place! They have really good drinks, carry my favorite beer (Landshark), and you can’t go wrong with live music. We walked downstairs from the bar area and were immediately at the Sandcastle displays. Sand sculptors from all over come to the island every year for the fest to build and show off their greatest creations. Talk about talent!
Dinnertime was upon us and how can you not hit up Louie’s Backyard? I am not sure what my favorite thing about this place is. The seafood buffet, the drinks, or the amazing sunset you get to see while dining there. Being that we had a long day of good food, sight-seeing, adult beverages, and sunsets, we decided to chill by the pool at the condo for the evening. Our full and fun itinerary had us beat.
Our last morning on the island was spent watching the sunrise on the beach. This has been a tradition of my bestie and I for over 10 years; this time we shared the tradition with our other friends. The breathtaking view of the sunrise on the beach is always a reminder for me to take a deep breath and slow down, appreciate all that life has brought me, and my heart was full since I was able to share it all with my great friends.
A BIG thank you to South Padre Island Visitor’s Center for treating my friends and I to a great weekend. Will be back! All images and opinions expressed in this post are my own.