This fall, Amanda Spencer, well-known author of the food and lifestyle blog S.A. Foodie, traveled to South Padre Island. From fine dining at the Island’s top restaurants to happy hours overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, Spencer’s trip to the Texas Coast was one for the books. Check out her experience below. >>
Sitting on the southern coastal tip of Texas, South Padre Island (SPI) is bordered by the Gulf of Mexico on the east and Laguna Madre on the west. The Island is well known for its beaches and calm waters. SPI enjoys perfect temperature from the low to mid 70’s, on average, during the Winter months. This makes it very attractive and a great time to visit for those looking to stay warm. From winter festivals to live music, this resort town always has something to offer. If you get tired of playing outdoors, SPI offers many beautiful shops and Centers for nature lovers to visit.
Enjoy a lovely stroll on the boardwalk at the South Padre Birding, Nature and Alligator Sanctuary and keep your eyes peeled for many species of birds and the small alligators that inhabit SPI. After that, head on up to the five-story viewing tower for some incredible views. Don’t forget to check the schedule for the “Bird Walks” and “Alligator Talks” programs available every day.
Ceviche Ceviche is definitely one of the most talked-about places to get ceviche on the island! Not familiar with ceviche? No problem! They'll walk you through it and will let you customize your ceviche from spice level to add-ons like fruit and veggies. Using Mahi Mahi and shrimp from the Gulf, it doesn’t get any fresher than this. It’s prepared right in front of you, making it your perfect blend of flavors. Enjoy Poke bowls? They customize that too! Create the perfect social media pic by asking them to top off your order with an avocado rose.
The biggest beach bar in Texas, Clayton’s hosts the biggest concerts on the Island. Come with your friends for the fun atmosphere or make new friends by playing games on the beach. Relax on their beachfront deck while you enjoy their signature drinks and live music. It’s always a good time at Clayton’s!
Located on the north side of the Island right next to Clayton's Beach Bar, Courtyard by Marriott is the newest beachfront hotel on South Padre Island. This modern hotel is ideal for both business and leisure travelers with large meeting spaces. Enjoy a large room with a balcony, free wifi and a large flat panel TV in each room. This hotel also features Bar Louie Restaurant and an 8000 square foot beachfront Bar Louie deck.
F&B—Food & Beverage is an upscale eatery where Chef Walter Greenwood will woo you with an impressive menu and cocktail list. The food is always delivered with excellent presentation using the freshest of ingredients. For the wine connoisseur, their food to wine pairings are always spot on. If you're looking for a restaurant that pays attention to the details, this is the place to be. You'll even find your napkin refolded when you least expect it.
Given the short time this restaurant has been opened, it's impressive that Chef Walter Greenwood has made this the most sought after cuisine on the island. Unique dishes like Red Snapper Crudo and Spiny Lobster topped with crustacean foam are made for the most discriminating palates. With a continually changing menu, you’ll always be back for more.
For the experienced and inexperienced angler, Osprey Cruises is an affordable way to satisfy your fishing desires.
Equipped with the latest navigation technology as well as fishing rods and bait, you can opt to fish in the bay, or take a 5 or 8-hour deep sea fishing trip on Osprey Cruises. Costs are as low as $25-$100 and spectators are always welcomed for a lower price.
The Painted Marlin is a family-oriented and relaxed bayfront eatery that offers tasty tacos, burgers and fish. Their Shrimp Cakes and Ahi Tuna are a must-have. Out fishing all day? Dock your boat and they'll cook your catch a variety of ways.
It’s a perfect place to watch the sunset in a colorful decorated environment with outdoor seating. Stay awhile at the Painted Marlin and enjoy an IPA or signature drink at the Mako Bar while you listen to live music.
Cruise for the afternoon or into the sunset on a Southern Wave Catamaran. A must do excursion for a complete island experience.
With live music on deck and a chef to prepare your dinner, you can relax and take in the beautiful essence of Laguna Madre Bay.
With supersize cinnamon rolls and giant tacos, Pier 19 has tasty food for the hungry.
Located entirely over water with views on both sides, at Pier 19 you can see dolphins and pelicans right out your window. Enjoy live music and drinks in a casual atmosphere or pick up some souvenirs from their gift shop.
Serving South Padre Island for over 35 years, the Sea Ranch is located over the beautiful Sea Ranch Marina. It has been recognized for its fresh seafood, succulent steaks, hearty pastas, and amazing desserts. Order the Red Snapper and have it cooked to your liking (blackened, fried, grilled, or Cubano style). Try something different and order their Snapper throats, one of my favorites.
Need a break from the traditional souvenir shops? Step into Sisters Interiors for their unique furniture and decor pieces. Sisters Interiors specialize in remodeling and renovations, so if you’re looking for a certain look, take advantage of their keen eye. You'll find plenty of gorgeous items to add to any room.
Founded in 1977, Sea Turtle Inc. rescues, rehabilitates and releases injured sea turtles. This important facility is concerned with education and conservation of all marine turtle species. Open all year, turtle feedings in the am and pm are interesting and enjoyable. Self-guided tours through the rehab area as well as educational presentations lasting 20-30 minutes are offered.
Lodging is plentiful on the Island and is reasonably priced to accommodate individual preferences. Many hotels and vacation rentals have upscale amenities and are located on or closely accessible to the public beach. Multi-story properties with views are available. Dining options are plentiful to accommodate any taste preference.
Aquatic adventures on the Island are varied and readily accessible. Shell hunting while walking on the beach is very popular, especially with the cool fresh sea breezes—take a sweater.
Early mornings with your favorite beverage can be most memorable and provide the perfect opportunity to capture photos of the beautiful sunrise.