Family-Friendly Island Resort on the Gulf of Mexico
As flocks of birds migrate across the Gulf from Central America, many will make first landfall on South Padre Island. The Hilton Garden Inn South Padre Island lies within earshot of the 50-acre Birding and Nature Center, where more than 300 avian species, including brown pelicans and peregrine falcons, contribute to a symphony of chirps and warbles. Surrounded by dune meadows on a sandy stretch of the coast, the resort infuses its natural environs with a relaxed, beachy ambiance.
On the private balconies of the two-queen junior suite oceanfront, the sea-salt breeze drifting off the Gulf weathers a pair of wooden armchairs. Matching cherry sleigh beds in the two-queen Evolution partial-view room face a 32-inch LCD TV. The bathroom comes stocked with Neutrogena products and a three-jet body shower to wash away sand more effectively than streaking through a car wash.
The Hilton Garden Inn South Padre Island hosts an extensive breakfast buffet at the Great American Grill, a casual eatery with self-serve coffee, fresh fruit, and pastries. As the sun arcs over the south Texas sky, vacationers splash in the hotel's pool and wade into the balmy Gulf surf.
South Padre Island: Inviting Waters and Diverse Wildlife in Quiet Coastal Town
Between South Padre Island and the Texas mainland, a bay called Laguna Madre boasts excellent windsurfing conditions. Full-service rental shops offer lessons and group instruction, allowing beginners to harness the steady breezes that sweep across the Gulf. The island also plays host to kiteboarders at The North Falls, a 500-acre private lagoon with open launch sites, consistent winds, and a floating conveyor belt powered by manatees.
A half mile south of the hotel, Sea Turtle Inc. houses endangered Kemp's ridley sea turtles, an indigenous species that ranks smallest in its reptilian family. Founded in 1977 by Ila Fox Loetscher, affectionately known as "The Turtle Lady," the nonprofit organization was based out of her backyard until it was transferred to the current rehabilitation and rescue center. Tours of the hospital unit include open swimming-tank observation, costumed performances, and conservation education.