Thursday, February 4, 2016

South Padre Island, Texas - Spring Break: Senior Edition

The beach scene in February at South Padre Island, TX 

Another week away from the blizzards of the Great White North: sunny skies, low 70s, fresh shrimp, sunset sails, retirees, families. Not so many Canadians this year, so the locals say, due to the dropping value of the CDN dollar, but we’ve seen many Manitobans and Quebecois flocking here alongside Minnesotans, Wisconsinites, North and South Dakotans and New Yorkers. Despite, or perhaps because of, the greying Winter Texans and kids here, Port Isabel and South Padre Island have a nice, laid back feel, at least for now. Rumor has it that the snow birds are about to fly the coop since the college spring break mayhem is getting ready to erupt. For now though, it's peaceful.

Enjoying a cold beer and live reggae music at Clayton's, South Padre Island

But, hey, even senior citizens enjoy live music, dancing and a cocktail or two, so there is also a lively beachside bar vibe even before the wet bathing suit contests commence. Camping here is expensive by our standards though, so we’ve been Wal-Marting it in Port Isabel, 15-minutes away and driving over the bridge every day. There are lots of coupons and specials though, so I managed to snag a deeply discounted sunset sail and dinner on the Southern Waves catamaran.   

Eating grilled shrimp on the Southern Waves catamaran 

We did find an inexpensive campsite at Isla Blanca, right before you enter the park gates, there is a small camping area that can cost as little as $15 for a tent site. RVs can use those sites too, but there are no hookups (electric or water) although you can still use the showers and dump your tanks in the nearby park. We also visited the SPI Birding and Nature Center during an event with several lectures on dolphins, raptors, etc. and the Sea Turtle Rescue Center, where they rehabilitate injured turtles and are able to release 90% back into the wilrd.  

 Blue heron at SPI birding and nature center