Date: October 30, 2017
Family Fun Lifestyle 

Top Photo Stops on the way to South Padre Island

By April Ockerman

This blog post is part of the Texas Travel Blogger take over of South Padre Island.

Sometimes it is the adventure you make on the way to a vacation spot that can really make a difference in how well your kids tolerate a long drive. While most of the drive from Houston down to South Padre Island is mostly farmland and trees, we were able to find a few places to stop to break up the miles. Here are some of the top photo stops going to South Padre Island.

Top Photo Stops Going to South Padre Island



If you are a Texan by birth or by move, you know about this gas stop that is an essential stop on any road trip. Whether you are driving down 59/69 South down to South Padre or out I-10 there seems to be a Buc-ees along every major highway. They have some of the cleanest bathrooms around, and let’s not talk about how much you can spend on road trip food. The kids love their mascot, the beaver that you can easily take a picture with outside the store.

Cotton Fields

Cotton Fields

There are cotton fields for miles and miles along the highway heading down to South Padre. As we drove along my kids kept talking about how the blooming cotton fields looked like little puffy clouds along the ground. There are a few side roads here and there that are great for stopping to take pictures as well as grab a few puffs of cotton. When you have young kids, this can turn into learning time as they explore the cotton with the seeds tangled inside and all of the various uses of cotton.

Bobz Inside World

dolphin statue

There is the crazy looking place along TX-100 as you get closer to South Padre Island that looks like an oversized fun house. It is actually a laser tag, mini golf, arcade place. The outside there are some oversized sculptures of dinosaurs, shells, and more that make a really fun picture stop.


Walmart beach hats

Now I know what you may be thinking… why stop at Walmart to take pictures? Hey you can make every stop an adventure and photo opportunity. In Port Isabel there are several grocery stores and a Walmart where you will want to stock up on all your essentials for the beach and vacation time. Carla of Mommy’s Minivan Monologues, stopped with her daughter to try on some sun hats and get other beach gear. They snapped this really cute picture to kickoff the fun of the weekend.

Famous South Padre Island Sign

South Padre Island sign

As you are coming over the Queen Isabella Causeway to enter into South Padre, there is a great photo opportunity to remember your vacation. Just behind the sign is a small park/parking area where you can stop on the way in or out for pictures.


All along the main drag of South Padre Island there are shop galore, but one in particular, Jaws, has a shark with the mouth open as the entrance to their store. You will see people just lining up to take pictures as others walk in and out of the store with their vacation trinket memories.

Sand Castles

Sand Castel

South Padre Island has one of the largest permanent sand castles(not on the beach) to take pictures in front of. This one is just a block away from The Pearl hotel.

There are so many places to stop and make memories along the way down to South Padre Island. There are plenty more places that I am sure we could add to this list. Taking pictures along your trip turns a long journey into an adventure that will not soon be forgotten.


April Ockerman is a wife and a mom to two children. A Texas Girl, she loves travel, making new recipes, running and she’s a car enthusiast. She blogs about life and does product review on Soccer Mom Life.

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