South Padre Island and Port Isabel

This vacation area really has two completely separate identities. For much of the year it is a quiet set of beaches with a few thousand residents. Texan tourists visit their rental homes or the resort hotels and enjoy the serene beaches and the many outdoor activities. Then for a few weeks each year Spring Break descends upon the area, injecting a monetary boon but also a youthful, reckless energy bent on partying, partying, and more partying. The prices for most things skyrocket during March. Debauchery reigns supreme. And then, just as suddenly, the storm lifts and the town quickly returns to its windswept calm, nothing but bright sunshine and crashing waves.

The big attractions here are obviously the sand, sun, and surf, but if you want a better understanding of the history and culture of the area—or if ugly weather has you looking for different activities—head across the causeway to Port Isabel.

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