Alexandra Carreno Haines is the founder and editor of a lifestyle and style blog, Adored by Alex, from Houston, Texas. She recently traveled to South Padre Island to compile the perfect itinerary for a girl’s weekend getaway.
Looking for an island getaway that’s easy to get to, filled with delicious eats and tons of activities for a girl’s getaway? Look no further than South Padre Island! This barrier island has a little something for everyone and is a slice of beachside (or bayside) paradise for all us water lovers!
Did you know it’s easier than ever to get to the Island? Visiting South Padre is a breeze with direct flights from two airports that serve South Padre Island: Valley International Airport (Harlingen) and Brownsville/South Padre Island International Airport.
When planning your getaway, I encourage you to consider a condo or beach rental, especially if you’re visiting with a group of gals. Not only does a condo, like the Sapphire, offer ample space and amenities, but the two, three and four-bedroom offerings make traveling with a group so much easier. The Sapphire is a luxury beachfront property with spacious balconies for dining al fresco, after cooking in your condo’s top-of-the-line kitchen. Whether you like to work out in the gym, hang out by the pool or head to the spa, this property offers it all! Insider tip: If you didn’t bring your own beach chairs, check in with the front desk for beachside daily rentals, but hurry because they reserve quickly!
Day 1: Getting Your Feet Wet
Start your day on South Padre with an early morning beach walk or yoga class. Taking advantage of the slower-paced Island life is the perfect way to get into the vacation mindset. If you’re a shell collector, then morning walks are the perfect time to find plenty of treasures! The local Island yoga studio, the Laguna Madre Yoga, Meditation and Dance Center, offers daily classes. Head to breakfast at The Grapevine Cafe, but be aware of possible wait times during peak season! This local favorite dining spot features delicious Migas, fluffy omelets and their very own in-house roasted coffee. After breakfast, cross the street and head over to local boutiques Isla Coastal Clothing and Rica Women, where there’s something for everyone!
Head back to the condo and change into your swimsuits - it’s time to enjoy the afternoon by the beach! Just be sure to slather on the sunscreen — South Padre Island is home to more than 300 days of sunshine every year. If your group is more of the active type, book a group sand castle lesson with The Amazing Walter, Lucinda “Sandyfeet” Sandcastle Services, or Andy Hancock Sandcastle Lessons, and try your hand at a creative masterpiece. Come late afternoon, head North where you’ll drive past the vast and beautiful sand dunes and miles of beach where you can drive your vehicle. Make your way towards what seems like the end of the road, and you’ll come across the South Padre Island Adventure Park. Here you can enjoy a little vacation adventure, including beach horseback rides and ziplining. Group or private horseback rides are available, and at different times during the day. Might I suggest the afternoon ride - it begins at 4pm and is the perfect length of time to enjoy along the beach while still keeping the evening open for dinner.
For your evening plans, try a casual dining option that’s directly on the beach, aptly named the Cafe on the Beach. Definitely don’t bypass the tropical drink offerings, as the Pina Colada is out of this world! Enjoy the ocean breeze at this totally al fresco spot, and order some Coconut Shrimp or a piece of fresh grilled fish for your main course. After dinner, make your way to the SPI Entertainment District where you’ll find plenty of bars with live music and fun crowds. Laguna BOB is the perfect bayside casual gathering spot with laidback drink offerings,and music that’s easy on the ears. Have a sweet tooth that needs satisfying? Head across the street to Kics Ice Cream Shop for a scoop or two of the sweet stuff.
Day 2: Catching Waves and Hitting the Spa
Rise and shine! What would a visit to the beach be without heading out for a morning surf? Fuel up before heading to the beach, with a stop at Tropical Smoothie Cafe. You can grab your smoothie to go before making your way to Isla Blanca Park. Head to the southern end of the Island to enjoy this beach park — you’ll just need to pay a $12 entry fee. This is where the surf scene happens on South Padre Island, and the waves are especially perfect for beginners. Book a lesson with Gene and Rachel of South Padre Surf Co. and you’ll most definitely catch more than one wave, and you’ll most certainly have a smile on your face! You’ll also meet their Golden Retriever, Archer, who loves to surf, too! They’ll provide you with everything you need, a rash guard and boards, and if you catch the surfers’ stoke, you can rent a board after your lesson for $30/day.
I can tell you from experience that you’ll have worked up an appetite after a morning in the water. Make your way to Williedean Bagels for absolutely delicious New York style bagels and tasty sandwiches, plus the little cafe features Instagram-worthy palm front murals. And, if you need your morning caffeine fix, head to Cafe Karma for a delicious latte or cafe mocha. Before making your way back to the condo, stop by On the Beach for some cute beach and resort wear, a huge variety of swimsuits and fun SPI stickers for your car or fridge at home. They’ll definitely be a reminder of how much fun you had on the Island once your vacation is over.
Sore from catching those AM waves? Head to the Sapphire Spa on the first floor of the Sapphire Condominium for a relaxing spa treatment. This signature Aveda spa offers everything you could possibly need including hair, nails and must-have spa treatments. Let me tell you, the hour-long massage is absolute bliss! Want to do a spa day with the girls? Just be sure to call in advance to book everything your group might need.
Spend your afternoon relaxing by the water before cleaning up and heading out for the evening. Looking for a fun and lively atmosphere for your group to enjoy before dinner? Stop in for a cold beer at South Padre’s own brewpub, the second oldest in the state of Texas, Padre Island Brewing Company. All their beers are brewed in-house and there are a number of flight options, as well as happy hour offerings. Then, head on over to one of the tastiest spots on the Island, F&B SPI. You’ll be welcomed by a bright and lively atmosphere, plus experience delicious eats that will have you wanting to return as soon as possible. Come hungry — you’ll want to order a little bit of everything! I highly recommend the seasonal soup or the ceviche of the day to start your meal, one of the fresh fish offerings for your main course and the irresistible chocolate soufflé for dessert. Insider tip: Make a reservation for F&B on their website to avoid waiting on busy evenings.
Day 3: Fuel for the Trip
Before heading out of town, stop in for a delicious breakfast at a local favorite, Yummies Bistro where the pancakes are a must order. Just be aware that wait times can exceed over 45 minutes on weekends, so plan accordingly.
Itinerary, check! Now you just need to round up your gal pals, book your flights and make your way down to South Padre Island for the perfect girl’s getaway. South Padre Island has so much to offer, and this little slice of paradise is the perfect spot for a bachelorette, mother-daughter getaway, or even that best friends trip you’ve been discussing for ages. See you on the Island soon, safe travels!
If you’d like to follow Alex’s itinerary on your next trip to South Padre Island, download her trip ideas here.
This post was created in partnership with South Padre Island Convention and Visitors Bureau and Alexandra Carreno Haines of Adored by Alex. All thoughts and opinions are her own.