There are three airports close to SPI: Brownsville (BRO) is 30 minutes away, Harlingen (HRL) is 45 and McAllen (MFE) is the furthest at a 90 minute drive. SPI has good local transportation, but it's recommended to hire a car as it's relatively inexpensive. The island is a destination resort so there's plenty of accommodation to choose from for all budgets, and is surprisingly cheap overall.
Hire cars can be rented for $20-25. After a day's riding, driving down Padre Blvd will take you to the island's favourite places to eat, such as Blackbeards, Padre Island Brewing Co. and Captain Roy's. Naturally's, Psycha Deli and Ted's make the best lunches, but you'll find three local grocery stores if you want to look after yourself: Blue Marlin on SPI and HEB and Super-Walmart in Port Isabel. For those looking to party, try Louie's Backyard or Wanna Wanna.
SPI is famous for its breathtaking techni-colour sunsets - for the best view and tasty cocktails visit Wahoo Saloon, the Plank Bar at Fishbones, Tequila Sunset or Palm St. Pier. High season and public holidays are generally more expensive, but the best kiting months are off season anyway, in the spring, fall and winter and it's quieter, too.
The island offers activities for all the family. The best surf in the Gulf of Mexico can be found on SPI and it's ideal for learning or to SUP. There's also a huge array of activities, including: swimming, fishing, dolphin watching, sailing, snorkelling, scuba diving, jet-skiing and windsurfing.
CURRENCY: US dollar ($) £1 = $1.5 / €1 = $1.4.
Consisting of beautiful beaches, warm Gulf waters, surfing, fishing, boating, shopping, a diversity of year-round activities and what many claim to be some of the best kiting conditions in the US, South Padre Island is a favourite vacation destination for many kiters.
South Padre Island is a world-class kiteboarding destination. The island runs almost straight north to south and is less than a mile wide, so most wind directions work well. The giant sandbar separates the South Texas mainland from the Gulf of Mexico and offers a variety of riding options, from the sand flats at the north end of the island, wave riding on the Gulf of Mexico or rugged ranch style riding on the Texas mainland. The Laguna Madre is a perfect place to learn or advance your riding skills in the waist deep, tranquil waters. Endless downwinders await advanced kiters in the Gulf of Mexico with plenty of two to six foot waves. Take a long downwinder in the surf and jump in a taxi for a ride back for just $6. Most riders find themselves on 9 - 14m kites. Groms and girls are usually on 7 - 9m, but the winds can get heavy - up to 40+mph, so bring your full quiver if you can.
The year round winds have a daily average of 18 mph with ridiculously consistent thermals in the summer. The southeast winds roll across the Laguna and hit the hot Texas mainland and create the steadiest winds on butter flat water. Spring, summer and late fall are best with plenty of solid wind, tropical weather and waves to ride. August through early October is tropical hurricane season and the wind is a little unpredictable. Winter is only occasionally 'cold', but generally not for more than a day or two and there are plenty of fronts driving howling winds out of the north and kicking up good waves.
April through November is mostly boardshorts weather and maybe a light wetsuit, but in summer the air temperatures can reach the 32°C / 90°F.