Some people love winter. They love snow and winter sports and getting bundled up to go outside and soak up the sunshine. The atmosphere of winter hits differently than in summer, when being outside takes effort in terms of preparing and keeping warm. And then there’s the warm up- the undeniable enjoyment of cozying up by a warm fire after you’ve spent time outdoors, preferably with a mug of hot cocoa (with or without marshmallows!) if your hand. For the rest of us, there’s south Texas and South Padre Island. There’s miles and miles of beaches that are begging to be explored, warm enough weather that you can leave your winter clothes at home and an island vibe that sticks around all year. The average temperature on South Padre Island, even in the winter months, stays above 70 degrees, meaning this spot is an affordable, warm escape for anyone who doesn’t love the idea of messing with hats and mittens. If a winter getaway is on your agenda, here are all the reasons South Padre Island is the place to be in the colder months of the year.
Five things to do on South Padre Island in winter
- Walk the Sandcastle Trail. South Padre Island has around 30 sandcastle sculptures located around the island, all designed by professional sandcastle artists. Some are shaped like, well, sandcastles, while others are a tribute to the businesses or buildings they are located near. Enjoy finding and snapping photos of all of these intricate designs that will definitely get you into the island state of mind.
- Have an adventure with South Padre Island Adventures. This spot has so much to do the hard part will be deciding where to start! How about a zipline adventure? Or maybe some go-karting? Maybe mini golf is more your speed. Or it’s a warmer day and you want to try parasailing. You can do all this and more to really capture the essence of summer even in the colder months.
- Get up close with wildlife at the South Padre Island Birding, Nature Center and Alligator Sanctuary. Wander along more than 3300 square feet of boardwalk, exploring what Mother Nature has to offer nature center visitors. Or stop by and listen to one of the “Gator Talks” to learn more about these fascinating- and sometimes terrifying- creatures. The five-story observation tower is sure to give you a unique perspective on this unique nature preserve.
- Go dolphin-spotting on the Original Dolphin Watch Tour. Embark on an hour-and-a-half journey that will enable you to see dolphins in their natural habitat. Learn about these amazing creatures as you watch them interact and play with one another. The tour is offered multiple times a day so you can choose whether you want to be on the water early in the day or at sunset. In warmer weather, you can also choose a snorkeling excursion.
- Enjoy the island life with live music and great food with views of the water. South Padre Island has no shortage of fantastic places to grab a bite to eat. Whether you want a burger or a taco, ice cream or waffles, there is a spot on SPI ready to serve you something delicious. But if you want a spot where you can pull up a chair and stay a while, look no further than Longboard Bar and Grill. Featuring live music seven days a week as well as a family-friendly vibe and delightful dishes, Longboard’s is a place you’ll want to keep coming back to for the atmosphere as well as the food.
Stay salty, friends!
South Padre Island lodging
If you are looking for a quiet, affordable spot to kick up your boots while you coast on island time this winter (or spring, or summer, or fall!), look no further than Palm Gardens RV Resort in Harlingen. With planned activities, plenty of RV hook up sites, a gated entry and more, Palm Gardens is a perfect place to call your home away from home. Just a quick drive to South Padre Island, Harlingen (and Palm Gardens RV Resort) is a quiet spot in the Rio Grande Valley to cozy up in during the colder months. You’ll love the relaxed, warm vibe you get at Palm Gardens RV Park and will love it’s proximity to all the excitement on South Padre Island.