* Written by Kimberly Maldano

Booking a family vacation – say, to South Padre Island – is always fun! What’s not fun is anticipating the stress (and mess!) of traveling with kids. We’ve all been there, right? The good news is traveling with kids doesn’t have to be stressful. In fact, with a few tips and tricks up your sleeve, it can even be fun! Whether you’re looking to stay beach or bayside, fill your itinerary with loads of activities, or catch some rest and relaxation along the shoreline, make your next family vacation an unforgettable adventure. And, leave the stress at home. Here’s how:

Plan ahead.

You know what they say -  failing to plan is planning to fail. Don’t let your trip take you by surprise. Instead, plan ahead for fun, sun, and endless blue skies on Texas’ best beach. South Padre Island’s close proximity to beach, food, and family-fun activities makes getting to and from local landmarks a breeze! Drive, walk or bike along Padre Blvd. to take in the sights upon arrival, then make a loose plan to keep your days on track and your tours on time. The more you plan, the less likely you are to miss out on all the fun Island happenings! But, by all means, you’re always welcome to simply enjoy our 34-miles of breathtaking Texas shoreline. There’s even an app for that. Check out our trip planner tool here.

 Book an Island vacation rental (for more elbow room!)

Experience Island living with comfort and convenience. You choose the setting – a condo for a small family, a multi-level house for larger groups, beach side or bayside, and so much more. Some rentals are also pet friendly; just be sure to check before booking and review the rental policy. Now, don’t get us wrong – hotels and room service are fantastic; however, when it comes to kids (or pets!), the more room, the better. Give yourself that extra elbow room with all the comforts of home with a vacation rental. The Island boasts more than 5,048 number of rentals with an average price from $79/night. After a long day of exploring, vacation rentals allow guests to play and run free (just like at home!) without giving up those gorgeous Island sunset views.

Prep breakfast and snacks at home. Then hook and cook your catch!

With so many local dining options, you may be tempted to try all the local flavor; however, when traveling with kids, consider making a few meals at home (in your fabulous vacation rental!) to save on time and money. With local grocer, Blue Marlin, just a short drive away, make plans to cook simple meals, like breakfast, with your kids and pack bags of beach snacks in case you’re in a pinch. Then, ask local vendors about guided fishing tours. Hook a fish and cook your catch for lunch or dinner at several local restaurants for a true, Gulf Coast dining experience.

Book activities for the morning. Then, make time to relax (or play!) on the beach.

Ride the waves with an expert-led surfing lesson. Build a sandcastle like a pro with lessons from local sand sculpture artists. Learn about endangered sea turtles at Sea Turtle, Inc. Or, take flight with bird watching at the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center. Then, slow down and make time for some R&R, too. Knock the activities out in the morning, then sit back and watch (or swim alongside) the waves. Your kids will have just as much fun lounging in the sand as they will with planned activities.

Experience the local scene. Explore seasonal events.

Traveling with kids can be expensive. But, that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on local events and seasonal happenings. Visit South Padre Island’s event calendar to browse free and moderately-priced events that are sure to entertain your family during your stay.