We took grandkids Maya and Ben to South Padre Island for their first trip to the beach and the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. AJ and Erin went too; Erin had only known the cold water and rock-lined beaches of Santa Cruz, California, and AJ had not been back to Padre since he was about in the sixth grade, so those were good reasons to go. Never mind that I had just made a trip to Wyoming that traveled four states for a total of 1386 miles. This round trip turned out to be 1775 miles- and we never left Texas.
Bill and I met when we were students at Texas A&I University in Kingsville, now Texas A&M Kingsville, and since Kingsville was on the way, we took a nostalgic tour of the campus which is still lovely and quiet, and looked pretty much the same, except bigger. My dorm, Lewis Hall, was even still there, as were all the buildings we remembered.
We stayed at the Isla Grande, which used to be the Radisson. The grounds are covered in palm trees, oleanders, hibiscus, all manner of tropical plants, and has two swimming pools to enjoy before you ever make it to the beach, which is right there behind the hotel.
We ate shrimp every day we were there, spotted dolphins from a boat that had a dolphin-loving dog, watched newly-hatched Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles make their way to the surf, visited the sea turtle hospital, stood at the top of the Port Isabel lighthouse, shopped a few junk stores, but mostly spent hours floating on the waves, boogie-boarding, swimming to the second sandbar, walking the beach, and, considering all the time we spend in the sun, miraculously not getting sunburned beyond repair.
Port Isabel lighthouse.
In the distance you can see the causeway linking the island to Port Isabel.
The sea gulls are always on the lookout for a handout.
We watched for pelicans as instructed. They are in abundance during the summer.