Departing South Padre Island

1 05 2019

We’ve just spent 2 weeks on South Padre Island enjoying nearly all of our favorite eateries on the Island: Lobo del Mar (formerly Palm Street Pier), Tom & Jerry’s, Painted Marlin, Padre Island Brewing, and the Café on the Beach at The Palms Resort.  We also enjoyed two evenings at one of the newest establishments, Long Board Grill & Bar right across from Lobo del Mare on Palm Street.  This new venue is all about entertainment with an over-water stage providing the audience great views across the Laguna. Covered and uncovered decks with comfortable seating and a typical “island” menu of fish, tacos and burgers made this new place one of our favorites.

The new construction at Isla Blanca Park is progressing.  The new amphitheater looks nearly ready to open, the new north beach pavilion has working lights and landscaping and the new south pavilion was just getting it’s roof.  The new boardwalk area connecting the two pavilions is about half way complete.  New roadways and parking lots are under construction.  With Easter on the first weekend we arrived, these new parking lots and the beach was packed for the Semana Santa holiday.  The old bait & beer shop is still standing at the jetty, and the original bathhouse and boat launch is still in place, now right behind the new Cameron Country Event Center (and amphitheater).  Nearly all other shower houses in the RV park are closed for remodeling.

Across the Brownsville ship channel, work continues to progress on the new SpaceX facility.  Gleaming in the sunlight, quite visible from South Padre, is a test version of the Star Hopper – a short tethered rocket being used to test the Raptor engines.  We kept a close eye on the ‘hopper, hoping to view some sort of rocket test.  We even drove over to Boca Chica one afternoon to see the progress of the SpaceX facility.

Our sites this year were perhaps the best ever – #C400 and #C401.  These sites overlook the ship channel and the new events center & amphitheater.  They have lots of sandbur avoiding concrete, as well as a garden area providing privacy and wind break.  And, as it turns out, best view of the Starhopper across at Boca Chica!

 





Chillin’ on South Padre Island

13 04 2017

After arriving on South Padre last Sunday the 2nd, we’ve checked out all of our favorite places by the following weekend. The beer and burgers are still great at the Padre Island Brewing Company.  Palm Street Pier, with our favorite entertainers – Chuck and Earl – keep the place dancing on Friday and Sunday nights. Saturday morning finds us having delicious Bloody Mary’s and breakfast at the Palms Resort Cafe.  And yesterday we enjoyed dinner at Tom and Jerry’s.  We’ve picked out a few new places we want to check out before departing the island.

The Palm Street Pier Bar & Grill

Sunset from “the Pier”

Palm Sunday the 9th of April, marked the official start of Semana Santa, the most important Mexican holiday season after Christmas.  All week we’ve watched as additional visitors set-up RVs here at Isla Blanca Park.  No doubt the parking lots and beaches will be overflowing by Friday afternoon.  Once the Easter festivities have quieted, we’ll make our way back to Harlingen for a few days before starting the trip back north.

More from South Padre as Semana Santa gets rolling…





Sites at Isla Blanca, South Padre Island

2 04 2016

During the check-in procedure at Isla Blanca we found that reservations may now be made for any week or longer period.  Having occupied basically the same sites for the last 4 years, we decided it was time to look around a bit and see what else might be available.  Of highest priority is some type of view of the ship channel.  Ship traffic this year seem slow, but in past years the view of the massive cargo ships or tankers that look like they are nearly within arm’s reach is amazing.

South Padre Island, Isla Blanca (L-R) 403, 404, 405, 406

South Padre Island, Isla Blanca, (L-R) 403, 404, 405, 406

The best sites for a channel view are along the fence – in the area that we normally park in, sites C406  through C399.  We initially were assigned site C404.  But, after backing into this rather tight site with no patio or even grass, we opted for the more open site C361. C403 has perhaps the most space of any along here, and C401 has a great patio area both on the side and the rear – making 401 & 402 or 402 & 403 great companion sites.  Of course, the absolute best channel view sites are S15 through S23 in the “premium” section.

South Padre Island, Isla Blanca 361/360

South Padre Island, Isla Blanca 361/360 (and 363/362 on left)

Between the two areas are some other interesting sites.  East of the standard rows, there are what appear to be compounds that allow 2, 3 or even 4 RV’s to share a large patio area.  Site C469 combined with D17 or D19 would offer great space and views as long as companion sites were not occupied.  Nearby, directly backed to the fence, are good sites C131A, C131, D20 & D21. Any of the sites at the row ends (C215, C173 & C154) would also offer lots of space a views.

South Padre Island, Isla Blanca #D17-C131

South Padre Island, Isla Blanca #D17-C131

South Padre Island, Isla Blanca #D17

South Padre Island, Isla Blanca #D17

South Padre Island, Isla Blanca #469

South Padre Island, Isla Blanca #469 – site D21 & D20 (occupied) in background

During this year’s visit, the ant and sandbur populations seem to be at their peak making cement or brick patio sites seem very worthwhile.  Some good “patio sites” include C201 & C202.  Unique “pull-in” sites C184 & C185 with a nice garden and C238 with taller trees for a good wind block.  Another interesting corner “pull-in” site would be C242.

South Padre Island, Isla Blanca #184

South Padre Island, Isla Blanca #184

South Padre Island, Isla Blanca #185

South Padre Island, Isla Blanca #185

South Padre Island, Isla Blanca sites 201

South Padre Island, Isla Blanca, #201

South Padre Island, Isla Blanca sites 201/202

South Padre Island, Isla Blanca, Sites 201/202

South Padre Island, Isla Blanca #238

South Padre Island, Isla Blanca #238 (back-in)

South Padre Island, Isla Blanca #242

South Padre Island, Isla Blanca #242





Island Time, South Padre Island, TX

1 04 2015
South Padre Island, Isla Blanca Park

South Padre Island, Isla Blanca Park

We’re back on “Island Time”.  After spending 3 nights at Tropic Winds RV Park in Harlingen, we’ve made the short drive to the gulf coast, crossed over the Queen Isabella Causeway and are parked at the Isla Blanca park for the next 2 weeks.  This is our 3rd visit to SPI, always in sites C321 & C363 that overlook the Brownsville Ship Channel and fishing area. We’ve arrived just ahead of the big crowds that are expected for Semana Santa or Holy Week ending on Easter Sunday.

As luck would have it, good  friends Wendy and Mark are also here on the island for one more night before beginning their trip back home to Winnipeg, Canada.  We join them at the KOA Kampground for a few beers and great conversation as well as an introduction to their “puppy” Roper – the newest addition to their family.  It’s been two years since we first met in Lajitas, TX and it’s great to catch up with them again.  Safe Travels Mark & Wendy!

We’ll lay low during the big Easter weekend, and then venture out as the crowds leave.  We want to get back to the Palm Street Pier Bar & Grill, the Padre Island Brewing Company and Isabel’s Café for some home cooked Mexican breakfast.  And, we’re always on the lookout for new, fun places.  More from SPI as our 2 weeks progress…





Hanging out on South Padre Island

25 03 2013
South Padre Island

South Padre Island

After attending the Onion Fest in Westlaco on Saturday, we packed up and moved 40 miles further down the Rio Grande to the Gulf of Mexico on South Padre Island. We’ll be staying at the Isla Blanca RV Park, a Cameron County park of over 600 sites. The park encompasses nearly the entire south end of the island, almost from the Queen Isabella causeway to the Gulf of Mexico and the Brownsville ship channel. On the east side of the RV park is a mile of sandy beach, with a couple of snack pavilions and a long fishing jetty.

We’re going to hang out here for a week so, I’ll take more pictures and update information on South Padre over the week.

Isla Blanca Park

Isla Blanca Park

Isla Blanca Park

Isla Blanca Park

Isla Blanca Park

Isla Blanca Park Site C363