Post height Pandemic Paradise: South Padre Island Texas
I recently embarked on my first post-COVID vacation, a journey that took me back to my family's roots. South Padre Island, Texas, became the destination of choice, as it's the homeland of my maternal grandparents.
The last time I visited was as an infant, so this trip had been a long time coming, and it allowed me to truly connect with my family's heritage. It was an extraordinary experience, especially given that it was my first vacation post the height of the pandemic.
During my stay, I found a cozy haven at Saida Towers through a vacation rental with Vacasa (https://www.vacasa.com/usa/Texas/South-Padre-Island/). It turned out to be the perfect location, offering easy access to the beach and inviting pools for relaxing. South Padre Island, nestled along the Gulf of Mexico, treated me to twice-daily beach excursions, either in the morning or afternoon, followed by leisurely walks and refreshing swims in the evening. The warm water and sea breeze were a welcome change from the California cold that sets in after sunset.
Brown Sun Frames were perfect for a Fall beach day!
In addition to beach bliss, I indulged in some tourist activities. A visit to Sea Turtle Inc. (https://seaturtleinc.org/) was a truly eye-opening experience.
This sea turtle conservation facility shed light on the harsh realities these remarkable creatures face in their environment, including the risk of injury from boat propellers, entanglement in fishing equipment, and getting stuck in rocky jetties. This past nesting season, Sea Turtle Inc. released an impressive 7,000 hatchlings back into the sea.
Crossing over the bridge, I climbed the stairs to the top of the Port Isabel Lighthouse (https://portisabellighthouse.com/lighthouse/). Built in 1852 with bricks imported from New Orleans, this historic beacon guided ships into the Rio Grande and the harbor within a 16-mile radius.
The 360-degree views from the lighthouse offered a stunning panorama of South Padre Island, Bayside, Brownsville, the Matamoros border, and even the SpaceX facilities.
A week prior to my vacation, South Padre Island hosted its annual Sand Castle Days (https://www.sandcastledays.com/) event, hosted by Clayton's. Although the official event had concluded, the intricate sand sculptures remained for visitors to admire.
I also got a sneak peek of the holiday sand castles, at Sandcastle Village https://sandcastlevillage.com/ next to Louie's Backyard.
My trip reached a deeply sentimental note when I visited Isla Blanca Park, a place I'd yearned to see for a lifetime.
The park is home to the Cristo de los Pescadores, or the Christ of the Fisherman statue (https://www.sopadre.com/listing/cristo-de-los-pescadores/), which holds a special place in my family's heart. It's not just a monument but a site where we pay tribute to our late relative.
Of course, no vacation is complete without savoring some delicious cuisine. I had the pleasure of enjoying some of the best seafood at Joe's Oyster Bar in Port Isabel (https://www.gulfseafoodmarket.com/), a restaurant that proudly holds a place in the top 100 restaurants in all of Texas on Yelp.
The portions were so generous that I had leftovers for dinner back at my rental.
I also had a delightful Mexican dinner at Nautico Island Grill (https://nauticoislandgrill.com/), a newly opened restaurant that offers both lunch and dinner options.
Their menu features a delectable array of soups, salads, and both Mexican and Italian dishes. I couldn't resist their frozen limeade – it was the best!
On my final day, I indulged in a traditional Mexican breakfast at Emilia's (https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60928-d6665485-Reviews-Emilia_s_Old_House-Brownsville_Texas.html). With three locations in the area, this hidden gem serves their meals with fresh, handmade tortillas, and the food was simply outstanding.
In conclusion, my trip was an amazing experience filled with relaxation, breathtaking scenery, and mouthwatering food. I'm eagerly looking forward to returning in the future.