Texas Resort Close to Gulf of Mexico
Padre Island, the biggest of the Lone Star State's barrier islands, stretches nearly 130 miles along the Gulf of Mexico. Despite the fact that it has the longest sand beach in the country, Padre remained relatively untouched until the 1950s, when the Queen Isabella Causeway connected the island's southern stretch to the Port of Isabel. From that point on, Padre Island has been the primary beach getaway in Texas and a popular spring-break destination as well. La Copa Inn sits right across from the causeway bridge that put the island on the map. The resort has its own private swath of white-sand beach and, thanks to its convenient location, La Copa offers easy access to a range of outdoor pastimes, including kitesurfing and horseback riding.
There are plenty of reasons to stay on the grounds of the resort, though. Chief among them is an outdoor pool deck overlooking the gulf. Each morning at La Copa Inn begins with a free continental breakfast of fresh fruit and warm entrees such as belgian waffles. Later, a nightly happy hour in the lobby gives guests a chance to socialize over complimentary beer, wine, and snacks. There's a communal jacuzzi next to the pool, and some rooms are outfitted with hot tubs. Opt for a beachfront room to enjoy a private balcony with views of the coast.
South Padre Island, Texas: Family-Friendly Fun and Beachfront Leisure
South Padre Island isn't actually an island—it's the name given to the resort town on the southernmost point of the much larger Padre Island. Because the town occupies such a narrow stretch of land (only two or three blocks wide), getting from the Gulf on the east side to inland Texas on the other takes minutes by car. Still, most visitors choose to stay near the coast and lay out on the beach or set sail on a fishing charter to seek out swordfish, blue marlin, and spotted sea trout. A local water park is a safe bet for kids.
For a better understanding of the area's history and culture, head across the causeway to the Museum of Port Isabel. The complex encompasses three facilities, including one that showcases the treasures found in three 1554 Spanish ships that sunk in nearby waters. The Point Isabel Lighthouse is another of the city's main attractions. It was built in 1852, when the low-lying Texas coast presented visibility problems to incoming ships. Today, you can climb a spiral staircase to the top, where the view shows off the causeway, Laguna Madre Bay, and Port Isabel's historical downtown.
Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.