A Quiet South Padre Island

1 04 2020

We’ve just spent 5 nights at Tropic Winds RV Resort in Harlingen.  This is always a resupply stop before moving out to the Island, and our visit this year is no different, just a bit more constrained with only essential businesses available.  Encore Resorts (owners of Tropic Winds) has made what appears to be an easy versus practical decision to close all indoor facilities including their laundry rooms along with all pools and hot tubs.  However, they won’t budge on charging the daily resort fee – even with no resort facilities available!

Arriving at Isla Blanca park on South Padre Island on April 1st, the first impression is that things are pretty “normal”. Social distancing and masks are required at the check-in office.  But, in the park, with about 150 rigs, it’s pretty typical of this winter to summer cross-over period.  After years of visits to Isla Blanca, we’ve finally managed to snag one of the coveted “S” sites.  These 20 sites next to the El Cristo de los Pescadore, “Christ of the Fishermen” statue provide full hookups including 50A service and some of the best ship channel views in the park.  Some of these sites have extended patios and end-site #23 even has a beautiful cactus garden!

Brownsville Ship Channel & “Cristo” statue

Isla Blanca Site S23

The brand new beach pavilions that were completed since we stayed last year are shuttered, as are all other park facilities except the shower houses.  With no day use access, the beaches and boardwalks are eerily quiet – it’s rare that you see more than 2 or 3 others on the entire Isla Blanca beach.  These closures are even more obvious as we enter Holy Week leading up to Easter on April 12th.  Usually a very busy time everywhere on South Padre Island, the beaches are empty as is the main town.

Isla Blanca Boardwalk

Isla Blanca Amphitheater

In early April, Cameron County is observing state mandates for closure of most except non-essential businesses.  About 50% of the Padre restaurants are providing some type of curb-side food service.  We’re able to take advantage of a few favorites including South Padre Island Brewing and Painted Marlin.  And, we took advantage of the very clean and quiet laundry facilities at Bluewater Laundromat.

Bluewater Laundromat, South Padre Island

With our prime location, we’re hopeful of watching a SpaceX test rocket fire across the ship channel at Boca Chica.  However, on April 3rd, Starship SN3 is completely destroyed during cryogenic proof testing. Beach and road closures for April 6th-8th which were expected for the 150 meter “hop” test were cancelled pending the delivery of SN4.  Darn…maybe next year!

By late April, we’ve decided that we’re ready for a change of scenery and want to spend time with family back in Harlingen before returning home.  We set April 25th as our departure date. Coincidentally, Cameron County announces they are going to start relaxing beach and park access on that same date.  So, with restrictions being lifted, this seems like an excellent time to depart the quiet, seemingly safe haven of our small island community. The plan is to spend about a week back in Harlingen…more from there…

 


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