We spent two nights at the Super 8 on South Padre Island, Texas. We found a ridiculously cheap AA rate of $54 a night and combined with American Airlines Rewards tickets we had a cheap trip to Texas!
The Super 8 is more of a place where people stay for a week or so. The room came with a kitchenette and some families were grilling outside their rooms in the parking lot. We walked across the parking lot to the Big Donkey for Mexican food for dinner. (Food was great!)
Beach access is up a block from the hotel on Gulf Blvd. Daughter is old enough to carry her own items and we would walk to the beach each day. I am very happy to pay $100 less a day and walk the 5 minutes to the beach.
There is a pool and hot tub at the Super 8. Kind of different, they are behind a large locked gate to the front of the hotel… This pic is from Super 8. It was always dark when we got to the pool after dinner and watching the sunset. The pool was very crowded each night but they never seems to stop kids.
We would stay at the Super 8 again. It was very clean and it didn’t bother me to have people cooking in the parking lot. I had read up on the hotel before we visited and was not surprised to see it. If that gets someone a vacation and they are doing it safely and away from my room I could careless!
Super 8 South Padre Island
4205 Padre Boulevard, South Padre Island, TX 78597 US
More information can be found here: http://www.super8.com/hotels/texas/south-padre-island/super-8-south-padre-island/hotel-overview
We had a change of plans for our last night in southern Texas. We were supposed to stay at the Casa De Palmas in McAllen. I had the stay booked on a certificate so the night would be free. But it was hot, we missed the beach and Daughter really wanted to surf again. Back to South Padre for us!!!!
We found a reasonable last minute night at the AAA rate at the Travelodge South Padre of $89. The Travelodge is two stories and an easment property on the beach. They have beach access through a little (and by little I mean VERY narrow) walkway. IF you meet someone with a cooler you need to back up…
The hotel also has a decent sized pool and hot tub for families. The pool was very busy during our stay so daughter did not swim very long.
The rooms had been updated even though the hotel appeared to be older.
We enjoyed our stay here immensely. The dedicated beach walkway across the parking lot made it easy to pop out to the beach at dusk. In under 3 minutes you were on the sand.
We are making plans to return to this hotel next summer. The location is perfect for our family and the price is fantastic for a “beach” hotel. I can walk 3 minutes to save $100 a night!
Travelodge South Padre Island
6200 South Padre Blvd, South Padre Island, TX 78597 US
More information can be found here : http://www.southpadretravelodge.com
We took a beach break by walking the nature trail from the South Padre Convention Center. (7355 Padre Blvd, South Padre Island, TX) I had to convince daughter she would see something cool as all she wanted to do was boogie board at the beach.
This was the something cool I wanted to show her, she told me we could have just driven by it. Oh the start of the teenage years, looking forward to them so!
Its Whaling Wall #53. We parked right near it and walked along the side of the property to the nature walks. Free to park and walk around the bay side trails/ boardwalk.There is a little garden behind the conference center and these trails take off from the driveway to the left of the conference center.
For some reason there were tons of butterfly in these bushes next to the boardwalk.
We saw a duck who keep hiding when we walked by.
And this crazy duck kept sitting on the rails…
We took in the scenery.
It took us around half an hour to walk the boardwalk trails, look for fish in the water and take a few pictures.
This boardwalk is located next door to the South Padre Birding Center. From the looks of things they used to share the boardwalk trail. In several spots it looks like they put up new boardwalk trail right next to the conference center trail. They charge $5 a person to walk their boardwalk thru the same shrubs and backwaters to the bay. Same bay and 99% the same trail, I wasn’t going to pay $15 for that same experience that took about half an hour. During birding season you will see more but in early June it was fun to walk and see the local birds.
South Padre Island Surfing
We have spent a lot of time in Florida and my daughter whenever possible has spent hours on a little boogie board. If it’s water she is in it and trying to ride the waves. We spent $8 on a boogie board for the weekend from Wal-Mart. This was $8 well spent! She spent hours on Friday in the water, and then Saturday night, and then Monday afternoon. It owed us nothing! At the end of our trip on the way to the airport we gifted it on to another young girl who looked very excited to have it.
Knowing how much my daughter loved the water we found South Padre Surf Company. They offered either a 1 hour class at $40 or a 3 hours surf camp at $80. Talking it over with my husband we agreed to sign her up for the 3 hour. We figured by the time she mastered it the hour would almost be over, so why not do the camp?
We arrived at Isla Blanca Beach Park promptly at 7:45 to meet up with the other surf campers. The group was 4 adults and 3 kids for this day. Each person is assigned a 10 foot soft coated board and a red rash guard type shirt to identify you as a student. It’s a short instruction on land with the basics for paddling out, where to stand on the board and practice on rising up to a standing position. Then they hit the water for the real thing.
Rachel the instructor held the back of the board the first couple of times to get everyone the feel of catching a wave. A couple of wobbly rides and our daughter was standing up, grinning ear to ear! The first thing she said when she took a break on shore was that she wants a surf board. The child was hooked!
She spent the next 2 ½ hours riding the waves in, playing with another girl in the class and sitting on her board like the local teenagers were doing. We would laugh because she didn’t like to wipe out in the water so she would ride her board close to shore and just hop off into ankle deep water. Then she turned around and drag the board back out again to catch her next wave.
The next time we are down near South Padre Island we will definitely be contacting South Padre Surf Company either for another surf camp or to rent a board for the day!
Beach Break- Sea Turtle Inc. South Padre Island, Texas
When it gets too hot, I get off the beach. My goal is to avoid frying my family so we head off the sand to get some shade and some lunch. Saturday’s beach break was to Sea Turtle Inc. Each person in our family picks the one thing they want to see/do/visit/eat or whatever and we do our best to make it happen. Sea Turtle Inc was my pick for this trip.
Sea Turtle Inc is open 10-4 Tue thru Sunday and closed on Mondays. It’s a $3 donation per person to visit and when we went it was pretty busy. But I think busy is a good thing for them; it means the word is getting out about their work! And it was really hot at 3pm on a Saturday, so that might have helped increase visitors.
Inside the hospital are large tanks filled with the different sea turtles. There are Loggerheads, Greens, and Kemp’s Ridleys. The smaller Kemp’s are my favorite kind. The turtles are kept at the hospital until they are well enough to be released, but sadly some will never be able to live in the wild. The tanks are large and spread out a bit so it was never too crowded to check out the turtles. And there were lots of volunteers answering questions and explaining about some of the resident turtles.
In the summer the turtle nests are released after hatching and often those releases are open to the public in the early morning. We were really hoping to catch a release on our visit but we were about 2 weeks too early for this year’s hatchlings. I think seeing a release would be incredible, where else can you do that?
They even have a live camera if you want to check them out at http://www.seaturtleinc.org/sea-turtles-live/ We were even able to see a poor turtle have a sharks hook removed from his mouth during our visit. Another turtle was getting his shell fixed up with zip ties and tape. The work they do is amazing!
I have heard a lot of comments on how it “must be nice to travel!” Or “you are one of those families!” Or “going away again?” Those remarks make me want to flick people in the forehead. But some people really want to know how do we afford to travel? For now that is the point of my blog, that anyone can do this!
We just spent 6 great days in Texas, it turned into 7 unexpectedly but life happens. It was a wonderful trip and we had the best time! And it was pretty cheap, cheap enough that anyone really could do this trip!
How do we do this????
#1 is not being a hotel snob. Really! Be smart about your hotel choices. (If there is a hotel promotion going on while I have a hotel stay even better.) But really look at your hotel choices. I like to read reviews on Trip Advisor so I have an idea of what the hotel will be like.
This past trip to Texas is a great example of hotel choices. We stayed at the Super 8 on South Padre for 2 nights. With my AAA discount I paid $62.59 including taxes per night. It was clean, had breakfast and a pool. That is all my family requires. We walked 2 short blocks to the beach access to the Gulf. We could have stayed at the La Quinta for $159 a night or the Holiday Inn at $172. Our child is older, lugs her own towel and toys so we will walk 2 short blocks everyday to save $$$. Looking back my daughter will not remember what hotel we stayed in, but that we got to go to South Padre. Keep it in perspective!
Also on this Texas trip we used the hotel promo to our advantage. I needed a night nearer to the airport since we were planning to arrive later in the evening. $70-90 was the going rate on a list of various chain hotels. But Marriott has a promo going if you stay 2 separate times you get a night free. Fairfield Inn fit the bill and with tax was $85.88. We stayed there on Tuesday and Sunday of our trip. Earned a free Marriott night in any hotel categories 1-5. We will use that toward our next vacation. (And I had Marriott gift cards so we paid even less cash out each night!) IF there is not a hotel promo at the time always sign up for the rewards program of the hotel. Those points add up over time, some programs are faster than others but why throw away an eventual free night?