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Tkb North American Travel Guide: South Padre, Texas

On February 24, 2021   |   By thekiteboarder.com

Ashallow bay with a pristine coastline dotted with great surf, consistent wind and warm water most of the yearmakes South Padre Island (SPI) a safe bet for everyone from beginners to seasoned kiters. Our easy bay accessand steady wind offer beginners the best foundation to learn and progress, while intermediate kiters and expertsenjoy honing skills in both flat water and ocean riding. Although the area experiences good kiting year-round,fall and spring seasons are typically the busiest for kiteboarding, offering a variety of great conditions alongsidemild temperatures. During these times, youre likely to cross paths with wind seekers from all over the world.Wintertime is also a safe bet for stronger wind days, fewer crowds, and plenty of warm days. Digital nomadsand retirees find SPI a great place to spend a winter, with affordable rentals and modern life conveniencesnearby. The late summer months of July and August bring many light days ideal for foiling and freeriding. Foroceangoing kiters of all skill levels, SPI offers miles of easy-access wave riding. Beginners just starting in thewaves will experience all sorts of conditions ranging from small wind swell to cleansizable

groundswell. SPIhosts a friendly local population of surfers and kitesurfers who are happy to point you in the direction of the bestwave-riding spots.Foilers find the bay the perfect place to brush up on skills before heading out into the oceanto enjoy the many days when the waves are small and inviting. Aside from South Padre Islands reputation asa windsports destination, its scenery, laid-back vibe, accessibility and affordability make it an all-around greatplace to be. Families will find many activities that cater to them and will appreciate the convenient access of thebeaches and the complete amenities of a region with a substantial year-round population. The town itself is highlywalkable, bike-able and easy to navigate, with a simple layout that makes getting around and staying active abreeze. SPI allows its visitors to bypass the travel-related stressors associated with farther-flung, overpopulateddestinations while still enjoying a beautiful and unique location.



IDEAL DISCIPLINES:
Kiteboarding | Foilboarding | Wingsurfing

CLOSEST AIRPORT:You can fly into South Padre Island International Airport(BRO) or Valley International Airport (HRL).

DISTANCE TO LOCATION: BRO is 30 minutes fromdowntown, and HRL is 45 minutes.

TRANSPORT TO LOCATION: All the major rental carcompanies are available at BRO and HRL airports. Theresa $45 shuttle from HRL to the island, and a taxi or Uberride typically runs $50 to $80. Everything is within walkingand biking distance, and theres a free and easy local buswith many convenient stops along with local taxi and Uberdrivers available at all times.

Photo: Maggy Lefebvre

BEST SEASON: SPI offers year-round kiting conditions,but October through June has better chances of strongwinds and wave riding conditions. Summer brings reliableafternoon medium to light winds, great for flat waterfreestyle, foiling and cruising.

WIND RANGE: From October through May, riders have abetter chance of strong wind and wave riding with 15-30knots most days. June through October might be a littlelighter, with most days trending 10-20 knots.

WATER TEMPERATURE:High season is generally considered fall and spring when thetemperatures are mostly mild. The air hovers in the 70s to80s with the water in the 70s. Most kiters use a neoprenetop or a spring suit, but there are very warm days whereno neoprene is needed or slightly cooler days where a fullsuit is ideal. In the latter part of spring through early fall,you will not need any neoprene.December through February is not quite considered highseason, but while there are still plenty of kiting days, thetemperatures can range from the 70s to the 50s, with thewater ranging in the 60s. Most riders choose a 3/2mmor 4/3mm full suit and/or booties. January is usually thecoldest month.

OFF-SEASON:August and September have beautiful weather and greatsurf but statistically the lightest wind conditions.

LOCAL RULES/SAFETY HAZARDS: All beaches on South Padre Island are open to kiting without restrictions.There are many great accesses to the flat water bay, including a huge kiteboarding and windsurfing specificbay with access, as well as many accesses to the beach on the ocean side. Common sense safety rules apply:Avoid launching and flying over non-kiters on the beach and dont kite close to or around swimmers or surfers.It is recommended to use the private flat water kiting beach called North Flats for the most open space as it isuncrowded and the best beach choice for beginner kiters as well.

Photo: Brett Newcomb

LODGING RECOMMENDATIONS AND COSTS:South Padre Island retains the allure of an affordable, easy-access beach destination only a hop and a skip awayfrom anywhere in the USA and many international countries. As a major vacation destination for many typesof visitors, housing options are abundant, and prices widely vary, especially in the fall, winter and spring. Gooddeals can be found especially for more extended stays, and beachfront units can be had for as low as $100 anight. Theres plenty of budget-friendly and big-name hotels ranging from $50-80 a night, and for RVers, theresa KOA and county park campground. For medium-budget travelers, there are condos, Airbnb and apartmentrentals ranging from $80-$150 a night. The more spacious/well-stocked two to four-bedroom options run$150-300 a night, and there are many luxury options (high-rise condos, beachfront units and bigger homes)ranging from $250-450 a night.

LOCAL CUISINE:South Padre Island offers a wide variety of good cuisine, and the prices are affordable compared with urbanareas and pricier destinations. Burgers and fried seafood are abundant at the many beachside and baysidehangouts like Coconut Jacks. For fine steaks and featured local seafood, try Liams Steakhouse, F&B or SeaRanch. Make sure to sample some local Gulf of Mexico seafood like red snapper, oysters, and shrimp. There aretraditional Mexican taquerias, Tex-Mex, sushi, and five different Italian restaurants in town, along with our localbrewery, Padre Island Brewing Company. As a world-class fishing destination, you will find many restaurantsthat will cook your catch. Many options are also available for the health-conscious: try Ceviche Ceviche for aquick lunch or a spinach salad (tip: add the sashimi-style tuna). Make sure to stop by the year-round farmersmarket on Sundays and try Frannys keto-friendly treats and Acacia Farms local organic veggies.

Photo courtesy of Prokite South Padre

LOCAL SHOPS/SCHOOLS:
Prokite South Padre www.prokitesouthpadre.com
Air Padre Kiteboarding www.airpadrekiteboarding.com
Windsurfing Inc www.sopadre.com/listings/windsurf-inc
H20 Sports www.h2osports.net/

LOCAL RESOURCES:
www.prokitesouthpadre.com – Info on kitespots and general island info
www.airpadrekiteboarding.com – Info on kitespots, lodging, restaurants and alternative activities
www.spadre.com – Surf and beach cam, surf report and general SPI info
www.sopadre.com – Tourist island info

WHY JENIFER HARREN RECOMMENDS THIS SPOT:
As part of the Prokite South Padre team, South Padre offers perfect year-roundkiteboarding lessons for all levels and styles of riders. For wind seekers who love a laidbackatmosphere, good conditions and easy access to spots, its easy to see why SouthPadre Island is a great place to live and teach kiteboarding. The Prokite team loves living,kiting and operating a fully stocked shop, and we are committed to helping visiting kitersmake the most out of their trip to South Padre Island year-round.

THE ONE THING EVERYONE MUST DO:Pose for a picture at the South Padre Island sign at the entrance to the island and kiteboard a lot!

NON-WIND ACTIVITIES:On the inevitable no-wind day, you can explore the restaurants, shopping and waterfront bars that are abundantnearly everything is within walking and biking distance. South Padre Island offers miles of beautiful clean beachesfor swimming, running, sunbathing, and shell hunting, as well as clean, relatively warm water and great wavesfor surfing and SUPing. Nature lovers and eco-tourists will find many opportunities to enjoy the regions uniqueecology. You can sign up for world-class fishing charters, birdwatching and dolphin watching. Visit the Sea TurtleInc. Rescue Center or the SPI Birding and Nature Center, or take a sunset walk in the dunes anywhere northof town to get a sense of the pristine habitat. There are plenty of activities when the sun goes down; from barhopping, live music and party boat cruises to watching fireworks, theres always something going on. Whenthe conditions are right, those equipped for beach camping can drive a few miles up the beach and experienceamazing stargazing. Back in town, bikers, runners and dog walkers will enjoy recently improved sidewalks,dedicated bike lanes and, of course, miles of clean beaches.


Tkb’s North American Travel Guideis chock full of destinations like this. Get the digital roadmap to more nooks and crannies than you could ever hope to explore in a North American season. Whether youre into kiteboarding, foilboarding, snowkiting or wingsurfing, this guides got all the in-depth travel info and insider intelyou need to plan your next North American kiteboarding adventure.If you’re already a Tkb subscriber, log into your account to view the entire North American Travel Guide Guide for free.

Read the full article: Tkb North American Travel Guide: South Padre, Texas