All in for the Family at South Padre Island

Forget FAM trips. When meetings come to South Padre Island, Texas, it is an experience for the whole fam. With 34 miles of white-sand beaches, the ideal climate and attractions for all ages, South Padre Island is a family-friendly destination for meetings, retreats and other events.

Because South Padre Island is easily accessible by land, air and sea, attendees have the option to extend a meeting into a family vacation or bring the kids along during an event. Where else can a world-famous amusement park be a thrilling destination for children and also serve as a meeting venue?

Island events held year-round provide built-in local entertainment and activities for event planners. Lodging options range from full-service resort hotels to condominium rentals, totaling more than 5,000 rooms for visitors on any budget.

Indeed, this award-winning destination has been recognized for its affordability, accommodations and activities. There’s no need for figurative fireworks—South Padre Island’s skies light up with weekly shows on the beach and bay. It’s no wonder the destination appeals to all.

Here are five reasons attendees and their families will celebrate meetings on the only island in Texas.

The Main Attraction

South Padre Island’s 34 miles of white sand make for a breathtaking backdrop for events. The South Padre Island Convention Centre, which accommodates up to 2,200 attendees, includes breath taking views from the Sunset Terrace overlooking the Laguna Madre Bay. Views of the blue water and skies are as good as advertised. A bonus is the potential for attendees to catch a glimpse of their kids making the most of the business trip.

SPI Convention Center

Meetings can move from the main meeting venue to the beach for a myriad of teambuilding activities. Whether the retreat, conference or event coincides with Sandcastle Days in October, attendees can channel their own inner child when building sandcastles. Various companies provide lessons for groups and families.

Convention Center Meeting Room

Another way to make the most of South Padre Island’s average annual temperature of 74 degrees is through water sports. Fishing and snorkeling excursions make for good bonding moments either as part of a retreat or a family getaway pre- or post-meeting. More adventurous types may try their hand at one of the various forms of surfing available.

Schlitterbahn South Padre Island

A world-famous waterpark, Schlitterbahn South Padre Island is also available as a home base for meetings or as a unique off-site venue. With 221 guest rooms, Schlitterbahn Beach Resort is the second-largest hotel in South Padre Island. It also sports more than 20,000 square feet of meeting space.

The 25-acre park, features the first underground water slide that connects the indoor and outdoor parks, has an on-site conference center, Sea 4 Ever, accommodates up 700 attendees. While children and spouses enjoy the rides, marine life experience and 10 ziplines, meeting planners will have access to state-of-the-art technology for education sessions. Catering options include a variety of specialty buffets, plated meals and boxed lunches. Breakfast is available, as is bar service for evening receptions.

Out of the boardroom, the park is also a prime spot for teambuilding activities either on the beach or on the slides.

Experience Nature

More than 1,400 species of fish inhabit the waters surrounding South Padre Island. Convention delegates and families have a wide option of activities involving marine life.

Sea Turtle Inc. provides an in-depth look at South Padre’s pride and joy. A trip to the rehabilitation center provides educational and giveback opportunities. Each year, the facility rescues and rehabilitates more than 100 sea turtles. Attendees and families can watch the turtles return to the ocean during one of the dozens of scheduled releases in the summer months.

Several companies offer eco-tours centered on dolphin watching. Dinner cruises are available for memorable receptions. Sunset views and kebab meals are among the highlights, giving planners the option to allow families to join attendees during a meeting activity. Less formal but perhaps more family-friendly are pirate ship tours that sail in prime dolphin waters. The experience includes performances by fire-eaters and magicians before setting sail and then actors singing and swashbuckling provide onboard entertainment.

Affordable Housing

One exception to the rule that everything is bigger in Texas is the paycheck for meeting on South Padre Island. Four full-service hotels, more than 20 select-service hotels and nearly 3,000 condo rooms and beach homes give attendees a variety of lodging options. This is especially valuable should attendees look to extend their visit pre- or post-meeting.

The best deals are available in the summertime shoulder season—room discounts of up to 60 percent are available for weekdays between Labor Day and Memorial Day. In the high months of July and August, smart shoppers will do well looking at events Sunday through Wednesday.

Fireworks

Between April and October, there is at least one set of fireworks set off weekly on South Padre Island. The built-in entertainment lights skies every Friday and Saturday on the beach and Thursdays and Fridays on the bay. Many area restaurants and hotels, including Clayton’s Beach Bar & Grill, can be used as your base for planning a fireworks-viewing event.