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Trip Report South Padre Island Trip and Info Part 1

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This a report of our trip on the week of Sept 22nd .. since there rarely are reports of SPI, I thought I would do one so others will know what is going on, it may not be put together well but I am trying to cover a lot .. we spent the week at the Royal Beach and Tennis Club in a condo right off the causeway .. a beautiful place with 3 pools, hot tubs and kids pool .. it was a 2 bedroom condo the was very spacious and clean .. I will say that if you stay at the this property as well as many others we could see down the way, it would be advantageous to have some kind of wheeled cart to carry beach items since most properties sit back some 50 to 100 yards or more from the beach its self due to pools between the rooms and beach .. the beaches in front of all the properties are kept clean and raked each morning .. flags are posted as to the safety of the ocean .. there is a fine of $2000 dollars for any glass on the beach so keep your drinks in a can or plastic .. since we were in the off season, there were no crowds but people do come in and stores and restaurants are open .. before you cross the bridge there is both a huge HEB and Super Walmart to buy groceries at usual prices .. gas is not really jacked up on the island, a couple of cents more than the mainland .. there had been post of police problems but they seemed to patrol as usual and didn’t seem aggressive in writing tickets .. we took bikes to ride and had a blow out but were glad to find a bike shop at Island Native Surf Shop that repaired our back tire for $15 .. We did buy some odds and ends food items at the local grocery store called the Blue Marlin IGA .. they have most anything but are bit more expensive yet figure in the time and gas to go across the bridge than they are very handy .. plenty of liquor stores and prices are the same but ice is expensive .. since you are near the Mexican border there are plenty of Mexican radio stations but maybe 2 English stations on the radio dial .. there is an ACE hardware store and a car repair shop for if you need that kinda thing or help
The Beach: like I said the beach is raked each morning .. various access to it if you rent a house or hotel and within walking distance and not beach side .. several have toilets and others picnic tables but all have parking spaces .. Now for the adventuresome that want the to get away from the condo madness and get on the beach with your vehicle than follow the main road out a ways and you’ll find a main access and an other access further down a couple of miles or so .. this is access cost $5 dollars to get on and you pay the feller at the entrances .. again the rule of NO GLASS is enforced so watch it .. now here is where it gets tricky .. no being of sound mind I left the jeep at the house and took the F150 truck on this trip .. SAND is you enemy and it is everywhere and it doesn’t matter how deep you can get stuck .. no 4 wheel drive than the secret is to air down your tires to 15 psi and you will be fine, don’t and you will get stuck .. having said that, don’t venture to the last access without 4 wheel drive or not airing down, this access is a sand pit .. there is a feller just pass this entrance with a tow rope to get you unstuck but not for free .. how much don't know but believe me he doesn’t sit there for nothing all day if he aint making money .. you can park along the beach but if you feel even more adventurous, than you can travel another 30 miles to the end of the north island .. you can camp out there and seems lots of people fish there .. lots of interesting stuff to look at that has washed up and lots of birds is your into that as well .. some ask about nude sunbathing, well I saw one topless but I have heard the local constable drives the beach and frowns on such, so you do what you feel .. cant drive on the dunes which actually are private property so stay off them as well or you get the constable on your case for that as well .. just don’t get stuck cause there is NO cell phone and not many drive by for long period of times .. surf can get rough as there is not the shallow sand bar around the condos/hotels way out there .. have fun but be careful

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    Part 2:
    One of the secrets to staying on the island is finding drinkable water .. the water is actually fine to drink if you can hold your nose everytime you take a sip, so, the way to circumvent this is problems is a lime .. squeeze a lime wedge in your water and it takes the wang of a taste right our of the water .. not lemon but lime .. most restaurants don’t even serve water unless asked for, so ask for a lime to go with your water ..
    And that brings us to restaurants: Dirty Al’s is a must .. go first there and judge all other places by the shrimp or oysters served there .. best bang for your buck hands down .. Next would be is Joe’s Oyster Bar on the mainland at Port Isabella .. hot fried shrimp and excellent oysters as well as a fine place to shop and take back some fine fresh seafood .. we didn’t hit any beach bars but if you wonder in some of the restaurants it helps to find the happy hour board and see what the drink specials .. we ate huge breakfast burritos at the Big Donkey but notice $3 dollar 20oz marguerites from 3 to 6 .. pays to pay attention .. we wanted a nice sit down plate dinner and we ate at the Pelican Station again on Port Isabella and they were excellent .. the fried clams melted in your mouth .. this is a part of the Dirty Al’s chain of eateries you find on the island and actually encompasses all their dinner options under one roof, Mexican, Creole, seafood .. really nice décor and view ..
    Things to Do:
    Well besides the beach there are other things to do .. the finest time we spent was at the Sea Turtle Inc, the sea turtle rescue place .. hands down a great great place for all ages .. feed a giant turtle, see sick turtles being helped, learn all there is about the area and its nesting .. just a splendid place to go and if you want to stiff um, the place is free but all they ask is a contribution at the door as you come in or leave .. there is a huge birding center for all the various migrations of birds that spend time on the island .. very interesting but not really my thing .. down the road 20 miles towards Brownsville is Palo Alto National Battlefield .. very interesting place to visit about the starting place for the Mexican War of 1846 .. course this was the proving grounds for all the up and coming famous generals of the Civil War .. very nice place and interesting video .. next a no miss at Harlingen some 30 miles away is the original Iwo Jima memorial .. this is found near the airport and easy to find .. the original plaster cast reassembled that the bronze statue were cast from in Washington .. much much more detail that the bronze couldn’t show .. a very fine museum is there with lots of stuff from the battle itself .. a short walk to the statue and marvel at this huge beautiful work of art up close .. even one of the flag raisers is buried there on the beautiful grounds .. really a must see .. Fishing is cheap as well .. bay or ocean fishing everywhere
    In Closing: South Padre is a great place to go and relax .. not really expensive except for lodging .. go there to eat shrimp, drink and watch the sun set and rise .. and on the way out, all major highways has a border patrol inspection station where the ask if you are a US citizen and if need be, search your car .. especially if the drug dog start going crazy and pointing at your vehicle .. if the highway is busy, be prepared wait

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