South Padre Island offers excursions for anyone looking to get away for a quick or extended vacation. Located on the tropical tip of Texas, The Island is bordered by the Gulf of Mexico and the Laguna Madre Bay, and its only link to the mainland is the 2 1/2 mile Queen Isabella Memorial Bridge. The 34 mile-long barrier reef is about a 1/2 mile at its widest point and has about 5,000 inhabitants and about one million visitors annually. Streets are bustling with resort hotels , condominium towers, restaurants and recreational activities. This little slip of land was initially named "Isla Blanca" or "White Sand" when it first charted in 1519 by Spanish explorer Alonzo de Pineda. In 1804, missionary priest Jose Nicholas Balli established the first settlement after the initial grant was made by Spain's King Charles IV. It was incorporated in 1973, and the bridge was completed a year later. The Island is a year-round vacation destination, because it enjoys a sub-tropical climate. Jacketless winters have an average temperature of 65 degrees; breezy summers have an average temperature of 82 degrees; and there is an average of 253 days of picturesque sunshine.
Colorful flip flops and Hawaiian shirts are commonplace as pedestrians stroll down Padre Boulevard, South Padre Island's main retail street, allowing enticing aromas and lively music to lead them into restaurants and bars. In 1997, the Island passed a proclamation stating that visitors come across the Laguna Madre bay to escape the workday world, re-focusing their priorities on beautiful sandy beaches along the Gulf. Because the pristine atmosphere is sometimes shattered by the appearance of the most blatant symbol of conformity and business throughout the world - the "tie" - it has become necessary to further protect visitors to the Island, it states. Therefore, the "tie" was deemed detrimental to the Island's welfare and banished. First offenders are given a written warning notice accompanied by a complimentary South Padre Island t-shirt, and second offenders are fined the cost of a fine silk tie. Although the Island is a hubbub for meetings and conferences with a beautiful innovative Convention Centre built on the bay, attendees are encouraged to wear relaxing attire. Known as a meeting planner's dream, the Island is one of the fastest-growing meeting and convention destinations in the Southwest.
South Padre Island's beaches serve as the perfect relaxation backdrop for a tanning session, reading your favorite novel or sipping a frosty cocktail, but there are activities to feed an adventurist's hunger. Kiteboarders and windsurfers dance through the Island's waves as others parasailing glide along the blue sky and soak in the moment filled with a breathtaking, postcard-like Island panorama. Others test their skills at surfing, skiing or horseback riding. Ecotourism is vibrant with dolphin boat trips, birding and sea turtles. The Dolphin and Nature Research Center provides a hands-on encounter with the Gulf's inhabitants and stresses the significance of conservation. With more than 306 recorded bird species, the Island has become one of the premier birding locations in the Western Hemisphere. Historic Port Isabel is located just over the bridge. It offers much of the same recreational activities. This quaint fishing village is home to the Point Isabel Lighthouse where tourists can catch a bird's-eye view of the Gulf and Laguna Madre Bay. The Island is also a hotspot for retirees from northern regions seeking warmer weather. These residents are known as "Winter Texans."
South Padre Island lies on the southernmost tip of Texas and is situated on the south end of Padre Island, the longest Barrier Island in the world and the largest stretch of undeveloped ocean shopping beach in North America . The Island is linked to the mainland by a two and a half mile long bridge, the Queen Isabella Memorial Causeway. The City of South Padre Island is home to an estimated 5,000 people, and according to the Convention and Visitors Bureau, over one million people visit the Island every year. It is a hotspot for retirees from northern regions to stay throughout the winter months. These residents are known throughout the Rio Grande Valley as "Winter Texans." One of the best kept secrets in Texas has finally been revealed and the value of this jewel has been made known. It is a unique setting that lures people to return again and again to enjoy the spirit of adventure that can be found there. South Padre Island is a year-round vacation destination located at the same latitude as Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The Island enjoys a sub-tropical environment with mild dry winters, and warm breezy summers. With a winter average temperature of 65 degrees, a summer average temperature of 82 degrees and and an average of 253 days of beautiful sunshine, it's no wonder why so many people love South Padre Island. South Padre Island has a council-manager form of government. The City Council, consisting of the Mayor and five city council members, have three year staggered terms. The City Manager is the chief executive officer of the city.
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