Heading South to Padre
Updated: Nov 28, 2021
04/02/21-04/05/21 | South Padre Island, TX | South Padre Island KOA Holiday
Social Media may have its downsides, but some of the upsides include really fun, spur of the moment "hell yeah, we'll meet you there" trips! In response to one of my recent Facebook posts, a conversation about how much we missed seeing our friend Luke spurred an opportunity to meet up with him and his lovely wife, Jackie, down in South Padre. I have never been, personally, and even though it is a MONSTER drive (probably around 10 hours for us) - we thought it'd be fun.
Having never been, finding a campsite (in more of a resort and AirBnB style area) was a bit of a challenge for me. NOTE: If anyone has great suggestions for camping on the Texas coast, shoot them our way!
As you have probably guessed, we really try to avoid standard RV parks for a variety of reasons. However, on occasion, it really works out great to have the ease and accessibility of a known quantity like KOA. There is a KOA Holiday right when you cross the bridge into South Padre - and they had some tent/car camping sites "on the water". I don't know if it is seasonal, or just this area, but good gravy - there were SO many grackles. I mean... SO many.
We rolled in pretty late in the day, so not much to share about the first night. The sites were gravel...and very level. Restrooms were pretty far away, but they were clean! We had our traditional brats and chips for our first night of camping, then we went to bed. There are a lot of lights in the KOA, so I learned a very valuable lesson and have since begun wearing an eye mask to sleep at night. Too much light came through the window and it made it really hard to sleep soundly.
Saturday morning, we got up and decided to head down to the beach. We heard you can drive onto the beach in certain areas, so we thought we'd give that AWD a go on the sands of South Padre. We had fun driving down the strip and people watching. The commerce was so fun! All these vendors selling floats and yummy treats from their vans and trucks. I snagged some elotes in a cup. It was not sweet like I expected, but it was still very good! Much more authentic than the stuff I get at Fuzzy's, eh?
It was fun to watch people gathering and spending the day with their family along the water. I didn't find the dug out fire pit and seating area very safe...but people seemed to be enjoying them. The weather was overcast and cool...but it was still great to be by the ocean. It always gives me a sense of peace. We didn't stay terribly long...and we got out by the skin of our teeth. Had we stayed the later, the tide was coming up and could have caused some issues for departing safely. Also, the sand was a bit trickier to navigate in a giant van than we thought... but we got out. (I think we decided to get some of those gripper things so you can get yourself out of those situations, but not 100% sure - open to feedback/experiences from everyone!)
We traveled a bit down the road (the real road) and found a place to park with public access to another stretch of the beach. By now, the sun had come out a bit more and we were able to walk along and see a different area. This one was more resort and AirBnB-ish. No cars allows on this stretch. I wanted to walk in the water, but y'all there were so many jellyfish! I had zero interest in getting stung, so we stayed up in the dryer parts of the sand. I loved that they had a little water station where you could rinse your feet after walking along the beach.
We got hungry (and thirsty) so we set out to find somewhere to grab some noms. We ended up at Padre Island Brewing Company. They had the BEST salsa I have had in ages, and their beer wasn't bad either! We picked up a shirt for Mike's dad and I got a shirt...and then we headed out to meet up with Jackie and Luke!
We had a great dinner on the water with Luke and Jackie, and then called it an early evening. I can't believe it took us this long to sync back up with Luke - we always enjoy spending time with him, and Jackie is a friggin hoot. Such an amazing soul! Feeling lucky we got to grab some time with them.
Sunday, Mike and I both had a hankering for a Bloody Mary, but all the popular spots were super packed...so we found a place called Mahi Nic's and had Bloody Beers instead! They were great and we loved the small little bar next to the water.
We found out some of our other friends were in town, as well and made plans to have everyone come to "our place" for a little happy hour. Kelly, Rhonda, Gillian, and Rob were in town to stay at Rob's condo on the island. We had a great time catching up, drinking a few beers, and enjoying our impromptu "sharkcoochie" board. (we had some salami, cheese, and crackers in the van... and basically served it all on a cutting board. LOL)
Mike made some super yummy chicken kebabs and we had those over caesar salad for dinner. We enjoyed another gorgeous South Padre sunset, and fell asleep with full bellies and hearts.
The next day we headed home - and intended to stop at the Chupacabras Craft Brewery (since one of our adorable dogs' names is Chupacabras). We did stop, but they were so busy...we decided to just stop somewhere else and make a sandwich. We found a great little city park in Salado, TX - Pace Park, and enjoyed a few sandwiches under the limbs of a gorgeous old tree along the river. It was beautiful.