South Padre Spring Break
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South Padre Spring Break Guide
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Deep in the Heart of Texas (and a short 25 mile ride from the Mexico Border) lies the small island of South Padre. Warm ocean waters from the Gulf of Mexico, water sports galore, and an annual influx of more than 250,000 students makes South Padre Island one of the modern-day premier Spring Break Destinations.
This 25 mile stretch of beach along the southern end of Padre Island is home to one of the most active and and wildest Spring Breaks we have ever found. During late February and throughout March, you'll find plenty of fellow Spring-Breakers on hand doing everything- from relaxing on the wide white sandy beaches to rocking out with some of the hottest bands and acts from across the country.
A host of rad clubs and bars also keep the party going after the sun sets. South Padre Spring Break knows how to keep the mood light and bodies grinding! With the sheer volume of Spring Breakers flooding into this resort town, it's not uncommon for entire bars and hotels to become hubs of Spring Break activity. In fact, the entire island can feel like an exclusive Spring Break party during the high season. Choosing a South Padre Spring Break will not disappoint!
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South Padre Island technically lies in a sub-tropical climate. During the South Padre Spring Break high season you can expect warm days and cool nights. As for the water temps, well... it's still cool, though you'll see no shortage of people still wading into the ocean. This does not detract from that sought-after Spring Break tan, however.
In February, expect air temps in the 60s and mid 70s (Fahrenheit). The water temp will be in the brisk mid-50s to low 60s.
In March, things get warmer as the air temps range from the 70s to low 80s. The water starts to get more bearable with a range from the mid to uppers 60s.
Check out the conditions on South Padre Island right now:
Whether you want to fly or drive to South Padre, we've got you covered.
Lots of folks drive into their South Padre Spring Break. Especially the tons of Texas students who have helped make this island so popular. From San Antonia, take Inerstate 37 South to U.S. 77/83, which connects to Harlingen, McAllen, and Corpus Christi. Then take Tex. 100 East to Port Isabel and cross the Queen Isabella Causeway to South Padre Island.
Texas Highway 100 is infamous as a speeding trap. Folks report getting stopped along here for doing even 1 mile over the speed limit. Be aware of this road and mind your speed, there's no better way to make Spring Break suck than by getting a traffic citation.
With the increasing popularity of Spring Break in South Padre, more and more people are choosing to fly. The closest airport (approx. 23 miles) is Brownsville/South Padre International. They are serviced by Continental Airlines. Don't miss their $2 shuttle to the island!
You can also fly Southwest airlines by using Valley International Airport, in Harlingen. It's a bit farther away than Brownsville, so we suggest renting a car if arriving here.
South Padre Spring Break Insider Tip!!
While it is a little further away from the island, you may be able to save some dollars by flying into McAllen-Miller International Airport. American and Continental run flights into and out of this airport, about 80 miles away from South Padre. Some Spring Breakers report shaving more than $100.00 off their airfares by using this airport over others.
If you're driving to your Spring Break South Padre destination, don't plan on using your car much on the island. Parking and traffic congestion are major issues during peak weeks of Spring Break. (Not to mention the local police are out in the streets in major force!) You'll be able to park at your hotel or condo, as most have ample parking spaces, but don't plan or driving down to the clubs or to a friend's hotel. You could walk faster.
It is possible to get away without your car in South Padre. From the more popular Spring Break hotels, you can walk to many of the hot spots discussed below. It is also pretty easy to bum a ride from fellow Breakers when your travels take you farther.
There is also a free shuttle called The Wave. It runs daily from 7 AM to 7 PM (so don't count on it to get you home from the bar or club). If you do decide to use this transportation, check with your hotel for routes and times.
Check out our South Padre Island Rental Guide for more info on specific hotels and condos.
Perhaps the most attractive aspect of a South Padre Spring Break is the abundance of daytime activities to be experienced. With the calm waters of the Lagoon to the west and the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico to the east, there's plenty of places to play on this island. Here's our review of some of the better choices:
There's always lots of activity on the beaches of South Padre. Jet ski rentals, banana boat rides, parasailing, and more are all available for rental here. There are also plenty of beach volleyball games that are free and a fun way to meet other people. Something unique to South Padre Spring Breaks is also popular on the beach- kegs buried in the sand. You can pick one up from several different providers and share to your heart's content. You will be a popular person if you're guarding one of these! Just remember- the drinking age in South Padre is 21. It is also a crime to knowingly provide alcohol to a minor. That being said, those who are of age find multiple different ways to share the liquid pleasure! For the uninitiated, this is a keg stand...
Laguna Madre is the calm body of water that separate South Padre Island from the rest of Texas. It is also the home of world-class windsurfing. The water is relatively shallow (3-5 feet) and the wind speed averages 18 miles per hour. Best of all, Spring Break falls right into the middle of the windsurfing season, which runs September through May. If you're a pro or your curious to try this out, South Padre Spring Break is the perfect time and place to do it.
This relatively new sport also takes advantage of the ideal conditions on Laguna Madre. Calm, shallow waters with a constant wind speed offer the perfect combination to try out this sport. You'll be amazed at how fast you can go once you get the hang of the controls. Be prepared to commit most of a day to this activity if you choose to try it out. Several outfitters offer rentals and lessons.
Ride the sand dunes or cruise down the main drag in your very own beach buggy. You'll see these all over the place during your South Padre Spring Break. They can be a lot of fun, especially as you go north on the island- less development and less people leaves plenty of room for you to tear it up along the beach. Just watch the paperwork you are signing, if you break it, it coould be a costly repair.
For those of us who don't live on the beach full time, there is something awesome about dolphins coming up and swimming beside you. South Padre captures this with daily 1-2 hour cruises where there's a 90% chance of seeing dolphins.
Prefer to watch the bottom of a bottle rather than the local dolphin population? South Padre Spring Break can accommodate with almost-daily sunset cruises aboard of 60 foot catamaran. The 2 hour ride includes your seat on the boat, music, and beverages (read: beer). We recommend you do this early in the week as it is a great way to meet other people during your Spring Break week. After the cruise is over, you also get discount or VIP admission to different Spring Break venues.
The warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico provide an abundance of marine life. This means lots of opportunities for trying your hand at angling some dinner. Be it from a pier, the beach, or a deep sea fishing charter, South Padre Spring Break offers you plenty of opportunities to hook the big one. Are you the only fisherman in your group? Check with different charter companies- many will pair you up with another smaller group to give you a price break and a great day fishing out in the open ocean.
Go to Mexico
Just about 30 minutes South of the island lies this little place called the Mexican border. This is a popular activity during a South Padre Spring Break, especially for the under-21 crowd. There are several tour providers offering both guided and -un-guided trips.
Unguided trips usually include bus service to and from the border. What you do in Mexico is at your own risk and if you miss the bus departure time no one comes looking for you. You can go to the bars and clubs or shop the markets. Round trip cost is about $10-15.
Guided trips are more expensive, but include the cost of a guide who will actually go into Mexico with you and make sure you return okay (or not, depending on your consumption of tequila). You get a guided tour of the market and a couple drinks with lunch included. Souvenir shopping and pub crawling (the drinks are dirt cheap) are usually involved.
If you do cross the border, make sure you have some ID with you such as a driver's license or some other government-issued photo document. Non-Americans will have to have a passport. Everyone will go through customs before re-entering the United States. Whether you are inspected or not is based on how guilty you look (not really, but it doesn't help)!
Coca Cola Beach
This is commercialism at its best, directly on the beach. That being said, it's also where most of the national music performers come to entertain Spring Breakers for free. Located on the beach behind the Radisson, this venue has hosted some of the hottest acts of the moment and offers lots of free samples from different companies trying to sell any and everything. This place is always crowded, so if you really want to see a particular act get there early and bring a water bottle. Also, if you're from a Texas school, look for flags marking a general gathering area for other classmates, it can be a good meet-up spot in an otherwise large crowd.
The beach holds all the action during the day, but that doesn't mean the party ends with the sunset. A South Padre Spring Break includes many different venues and options for the late night hours. Here's just a few of our favorites:
Perhaps the signature club for many a South Padre Spring Break, this hot spot lives up to the hype. Having been featured on MTV, E!, The Travel Channel, and more, this party spot is always jumping for Spring Break. In addition to live music acts or DJs, you'll find crazy contests, bungee jumping, and more at this entertainment hub. Look for many national acts to play here during the Spring Break high season.
Voted the best beach party by Playboy magazine for three consecutive years, this indoor/outdoor club is home to many a Spring Break party. With wild swimsuit contests and other contests to tease the eyes, this place is always happening. In addition to the drinks, you can also grab a bite to eat here. As the picture suggests, though, eating should be the last thing on your mind at this club!
This joint is actually several different venues under one name. Daddy O’s Sport Bar, The Mojo Lounge, Ibiza Teen Club, The Habana, Hollywood Star Karaoke, The Boom-Boom, and Menny’s Bar and Grill are all thrown into the mix. There's also a VIP area for those looking to be high-rollers for their South Padre Spring Break. There's always something going on here, so it's best to get a schedule at the beginning of your break, so you don't miss any of the action here. This place is usually packed, so be prepared. And while their infamous Foam Parties are a thing of the past, you will still have a good time mixing inbetween the different venues,
Club Las Ventanas
Formerly known as Club X/S, this hip-hop club is located on the property of the Bahia Mar Resort. Despite the hotel management's best efforts, no one seems to go here. Move along. Next destination, please.
This place is more of a bar than a club, but we still had a good time. With the large palapa and Caribbean-themed menu and drink list, this place captures the feel of the islands. Great sunset views over Laguna Madre are found here. Your South Padre Spring Break can always grab an early dinner and pre-game drinks from here.
Don't miss our South Padre Island Rental and Hotel Guide for more on where to stay for your Spring Break!
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