Attention, snowbirds! We've uncovered the perfect beach-y destination where you can wait out the winter: Texas’s South Padre Island. Located at the southern tip of the state in the Gulf of Mexico, the barrier island experiences mild temperatures all winter long and provides warm ocean waters perfect for swimming. Whether you're kicking back on the beach or trying every slide at the water park, there's no better place to escape the cold and snow than this slice of paradise.
With its wide variety of accommodation options, the South Padre Island KOA is the perfect place to set up camp for the winter. It offers extended stays, furnished condos, cabins, and campsites that can fit any RV, so your stay is guaranteed to be stress free no matter which you choose. Plus, the site features free Wi-Fi, a pool and hot tub, a sandy playground, a pet playground, fishing, and tons more.
The Schlitterbahn Waterpark offers something for everyone—thrilling waterslides, zip-lines, wave pools, lazy rivers, splash zones, and float-in bars. It’s a great place to spend the day, whether you have the whole family with you, or you just want to have a little fun yourself. The park even offers a helmet-diving Sea Trek—it’s as close as you can get to experiencing zero gravity here on Earth!
Head north up the island to the stretch of beach along the Padre Island National Seashore. It’s undeveloped, so you’ll find ocean views unmarred by resorts and boardwalk kitsch. You’ll see birds of all kinds, sea turtles, and rolling dunes, and find some awesome opportunities for beach combing. The sand is clean and soft, making the beach the perfect place to kick off your shoes and wade in the waves.
For another view of the ocean, head to Mustang Island State Park. The beaches here are pristine; plus, the park has awesome fishing and some really great water trails that you can explore via kayak. It’s pretty easy to find kayak rentals around here, and the park itself will loan you fishing rods, reels, and tackle boxes if you’re feeling lucky and want to catch yourself something for dinner.
If you’re looking for some peace and quiet away from the crowds that you find at many shores, you’ll find it at Malaquite Beach. Here, you’ll spy sea turtles and find tons of cool seashells to bring home as souvenirs. Pro tip: It can get a little windy here, so take advantage and bring a kite or two to fly!
It doesn't get any beach-ier than this classic lighthouse. The Port Isabel Light was built in the 1850s to guide ships through the Brazos Santiago Pass and operated until 1905—it even was occupied by soldiers from both armies during the Civil War! Today it’s been preserved as a state historic park, and features a visitor center, the keeper’s cottage, and a schedule of events all-year long—sometimes, they even project movies onto the side of the building at night!
Seriously, who needs snow and ice when you can have beaches and palm trees? Winter will be the last thing on your mind as you stroll down the beach or soak in the sun and the views from atop a historic lighthouse!