About three hours south of Corpus Christi you’ll find the beach community of South Padre Island, which is located at the southern end of Padre Island, the longest barrier-island in Texas. According to Wikipedia, Padre Island also happens to be the longest barrier island in the world. From the town of South Padre Island, you are only a stone’s throw from Mexico.
I had one afternoon and night on South Padre and my modest goals were to walk on the beach, dip my feet in the surf, and enjoy some fish tacos while sipping margaritas at a beach bar. I won’t hold you in suspense. Mission accomplished on all counts.
As far as I could tell, there is only one route to get to South Padre, which you can only enter from its southern end, and that route is surprisingly remote. You really have to want to get to South Padre to get to South Padre. But, it’s well worth the drive.
South Padre has a reputation as a major Spring Break destination. Fortunately, I was there in the off-season, and possibly the nicest time of the year. The weather and water were easily warm enough for swimming, and there were only a handful of people on the beaches.
My hotel was ocean-front…or Gulf-front. My room wasn’t quite ready when I arrived, so I broke out the flip-flops from the trunk of my car and headed for the beach. My hotel was near the end of the developed stretch. So, this snapshot is looking south from the beach at my hotel.
Facing north, you could see much less development, so that’s the direction I walked, even though I basically had the beach to myself regardless of the direction I headed.
And of course I bumped into a few people who were more than happy to snap my picture, just so I could have tangible proof that I’m not making any of this up.
My room was ready by the time I finished my walk, so I unpacked, got settled in, and immediately headed out for dinner. Laguna Bob’s is a beach bar/restaurant I had on my list. It’s on the waterfront of Laguna Madre, the narrow body of water separating Padre Island from the mainland, so I headed there.
I sat at the bar of the outdoor deck, where there were also tables. There were quite a few people at the tables, and only a few at the bar, but everybody was having a good time, joking around with each other and cajoling the barmaid as they ordered more rounds. So, these were mostly regulars.
It wasn’t long after I started in on my fish tacos and first margarita before a woman a few seats down from me at the bar, who had been focused on the football game on the TV near her, started up a conversation with me. She asked me about the French fry combo that came with my tacos…no joke.
A second woman sat down with the first, and before I knew it, I was having a great conversation with a retired librarian from the Dallas area, and her aunt, who lived about two hours west of South Padre, in McAllen (if I have that right). As always, it seems I only need to mention this road-trip, and I make new friends.
Both of these women were great to chat with and volunteered a raft of information, both about Texas and about resources for finding all kinds of hidden gems of Texas. In turn, I am going to share with you the two main sources among a list that they wrote on a scrap of paper for me: the Texas Country Reporter, and the Texas Bucket List.
And you thought this post was going to be nothing, but self-indulgent fluff! I knew I had a point in there, somewhere. I just wasn’t sure how I was going to get to it.
So, everyone is having a great time out on the deck and they are keeping the two barmaids very busy…lots of cocktails and beer. And it wasn’t long before another lively woman from one of the tables came over to the three of us…total strangers…and invited us over to her table of friends to chat, laugh and watch the sunset over the water.
Are we seeing another pattern? This is just how so many nights went on this trip.
So, here’s a quick snapshot of the sun setting over Laguna Madre, from the deck of Laguna Bob’s…a fitting conclusion to my one night on South Padre.