Beachside or bayside, sunrise or sunset...no matter where you're at on South Padre Island or what time of day it is you don't have to look very hard for a spectacular view. There are many restaurants and bars on the Island that boast great views of the Gulf of Mexico or the Laguna Madre Bay, but here are a few you should definitely check out while you're here.
Coconuts Jack's SPI
Welcome to "The Nut." Complete with thatch rooftops, Coconuts Jack's SPI is a favorite spot for tropical drinks with an unobstructed view of the Laguna Madre Bay and the Queen Isabella Causeway. You'll find the usual suspects on their drink menu, such as Margaritas and a variety of frozen beverages. I asked the bartender what he recommended that wasn't necessarily an obvious choice on the menu. The answer was a green drink called a Lucky Charm, which includes melon liqueur, peach schnapps, vodka, coconut rum, and pineapple juice. While enjoying my green drink I was able to catch not only the beginning of a gorgeous sunset, but also the Southern Wave catamaran as their sunset dinner cruise sailed by.
Island Insider Tips: – There is generally live music on the weekends by local artists. – One of the highlights on their food menu is a pound of bacon!
2301 Laguna Blvd., South Padre Island, TX 78597 | (956) 761-4218 | Hours: 10am–2am Daily | Website
Laguna BOB (Bar on the Bay)
Laguna BOB is a "colorful shack" that sits right on the Laguna Madre Bay. This local hangout boasts an impressive year-round lineup of live music, great food, awesome bartenders, and of course, a killer view of the Bay. We walked up to the bar to find two of the usual bartenders and asked them if there were any signature drinks or "hidden gems" they would recommend. Without missing a beat, they whipped up two colorful concoctions for us to try: a Blue Hawaiian (Malibu, Blue Curaçao, Midori and pineapple juice) and a Rum Runner (white rum, dark rum, Malibu, Malibu Pineapple, pineapple juice, orange juice and grenadine). Even though these are fairly common tropical drinks, the recipes tend to vary quite a bit from bar to bar. I would highly recommend both drinks, but your Laguna BOB experience wouldn't be complete without catching that fabulous sunset. (Warning...both drinks go down really smooth.)
Island Insider Tips: – Looking for non-fried food options? Try the Maui Wowie Burger. – Monday is 1/2 price wings all day.
2401 Laguna Blvd., South Padre Island, TX 78597 | (956) 433-5499 | Hours: 11:30am-2am Daily | Website
Wanna Wanna Beach Bar & Grill
Wanna Wanna is favorite amongst both the locals and the tourists. With its tiki hut style bar and its location right on the beach looking out at the Gulf of Mexico, it's not hard to see why. Wanna Wanna is famous for its Turbo Piña, a Piña Colada with an extra shot of dark rum floating on top. It's dessert with a kick! The off-menu item I would highly recommend is their Strawberry Margarita on the rocks. They take their classic Margarita, complete with a fresh mix of juice, and add strawberry purée to it. You can walk out onto the beach with your drinks (just be sure to dispose of your cups and straws properly and help keep our beaches clean!) or just enjoy the view from the bar area or a table. Make sure you take a look around and take in all of the eclectic signage — it adds to the charm of the place.
Island Insider Tips: – Wanna Wanna is pet-friendly. – Don't forget to try the Ceviche!
5100 Gulf Blvd., South Padre Island, TX 78597 | (956) 761-7677 | Hours: 11:30am–10:30pm Sunday–Thursday, 11:30am–12:30am Friday & Saturday | Website
Cannon Bar at Pirate's Landing
Cannon Bar is just a short trip over the Causeway into Port Isabel and is a hidden gem you don't want to miss. Located right on the water at Pirate's Landing, this little pirate-themed bar gives you a great view from the opposite side of the Bay. Their menu is a mix of standard and signature drinks, but I asked the bartender to go off menu and make what she thought was one of their best drinks. I watched as she poured several different types of Malibu rum into a glass, followed by orange juice, pineapple juice and grenadine. I thought she was making a Rum Runner, but it turned out to be a Tsunami and it was delicious. It even came with a little umbrella.
Island Insider Tips: – The Black Dragon Pirate Ship sets sail from the pier at Pirate's Landing, so depending on when you go you may catch the pirate pre-show. – Krispy Krunchy Chicken is right next door and is super tasty.
501 E. Maxan St., Port Isabel, TX 78578 | (956) 943-3663 | Hours: 11am–11pm Sunday–Thursday, 11am–2am Friday & Saturday | Website