|Pearl South Padre Hotel|
When planning a summer vacation for the family, I knew we didn’t want to spend an arm and a leg. Our children are still young, and more than likely won’t remember a lot of it except from pictures, so I tried to plan something fun for them. We decided to spend a week driving down to Texas and taking our girls to the beach. We wanted to make a stop in San Antonio to visit SeaWorld and the Alamo.
I started by trying to find the best deals on hotels. I used Priceline to name my own price for our hotel in San Antonio. I named my own price for $70 a night in the area close to SeaWorld. I was given the Best Western Ingram Park in San Antonio. However, that same hotel was offered on the Priceline site for only $59 a night. I called Priceline and got the difference refunded to me ($33). They also gave me 20% off an Express Deal for my inconvenience. I used my 20% off to book our hotel for South Padre Island. The Express Deals already have a price listed and a star rating, you just pick the area you want. I picked a 3.5 star hotel for $91 a night and was given Pearl South Padre. The hotel was beautiful and located right on the beach. I spent a total of $584.65 on our hotels for a total of 7 nights.
|Sesame Street Bay of Play at SeaWorld|
I tried to pre-pay for as much as I could before taking our trip. I didn’t want to have to worry about how much we were spending while we were gone and if most of it was already paid for, we wouldn’t be spending as much. I paid for our SeaWorld tickets through the website. I purchased the 2-Park, 2-Meal, 2-Day passes for $99 each. We were able to do SeaWorld one day and Aquatica the other. With each ticket purchased we receive 1 free meal each day. Which alone saved us about $50 a day. Children 2 and under are free so I saved a some money there as I didn’t have to pay for my littlest one. While at SeaWorld, we, purchased the souvenier cup. You get free refills for the next 24hrs, and then $0.99 after that. The cups were $13.99, but it was probably the cheapest souvenier we could have bought, and our kids never asked to buy anything else. You can also use the souvenir cups at Aquatica. We spent about 8 hours at SeaWorld and 6.5 hours at Aquatica. Both parks are perfect for children of all ages. We had my mother in law with us, so my husband and I were able to go enjoy the big kid stuff at the park while the littles played.
During our vacation in San Antonio we visited the San Antonio Riverwalk, Big Lou’s Pizza, and The Alamo. The Alamo is free to tour, unless you want a guided tour of some sort. They offer electronic tours for only $7 per unit or guided tours for around $15 per person. When visiting Downtown San Antonio, you do have to pay to park in one of the many parking lots. Be sure to remember where you park also, it can get confusing if your not familiar with the area. The River Walk area has a lot of restaurants to choose from, but be prepared to wait, especially on a weekend. Our girls spotted the “princess” carriage rides. They are a 20-minute carriage ride around downtown San Antonio. They come with a hefty price tag – $25 per adult. Ours girls were to excited about it so we couldn’t say no. For dinner one night, we chose to eat somewhere unique. We chose Big Lou’s Pizza. It has been featured on the travel channels Man VS Food. They have 42in pizzas. We only had 3 adults in our party so we opted for the 20 in. pizza. The pizza and breadsticks, however were delicious.
|Prince Carriage Rides – Down Town San Antonio|
|Big Lou’s 42in. Pizza|
Please stay tuned for the second part of our trip to South Padre Island Texas.
You can also visit the Texas Travel Industry Association or TTIA for discount tickets to Texas amusement parks. Not all parks are listed.
After staying 3 nights in San Antonio, TX and going to SeaWorld and the Alamo we left and headed for South Padre Island, TX. Which is kind of crazy, 10 years ago my husband and I went to South Padre after graduating high school. We wanted this vacation to be as memorably as possible for our girls. Which 3 weeks later they are still talking about “going back to vacation and the beach”
While planning our vacation, I checked Groupon for local deals in South Padre Island, TX. I first found a Groupon deal for a Dolphin Cruise with Breakaway Cruises. You could choose from morning, afternoon or sunset cruise. We booked the sunset cruise and loved it. The tour travels in the bay area on the north and west side of the island. We saw multiple dolphins, ships, and learned a lot of information about the island and creatures we saw. My husband and I also used Breakaway Cruises when we were there 10 years ago. They also offer deep sea fishing, bay fishing, parasailing, snorkeling and many other things to do.
On the first full day we were in South Padre we headed to the beach first thing in the morning. After about 30 minutes on the beach, a very nice lady handed us free passes to Schittlerbahn Water Park. We had planned on going one of the days we were there anyways, so we packed up from the beach and went. None of us had every been to any Schittlerbahn park before so it was nice getting to experience it all for the firs time. Almost all the slides/rides they had my kids who are 2 & 4 could both ride, some of the double tubes were made especially for littler kids to sit on and not fall through which was nice. While we were their a few of the slides were closed, but it was also the end of May so they were probably still doing some maintenance on them. We spent all day at Schittlerbahn, the one big perk to Schittlerbahn was you can bring and ice chest and snacks so you don’t have to pay the outrageous amount for food or drinks.
Our hotel (Pearl South Padre) sits right on the beach, so the beach was the first place we went every morning. During our second full day, we started off at the beach, however the wind was so bad, it was like we were in the middle of a sand storm. After eating sand, having it imbedded into my skin and all inside our bag we decided to pack up and head back inside. We did make a stop at the hotel pool (which was really nice and had a swim up bar and kiddie pool). While trying to figure out what to eat for lunch, I suggested we rent a golf cart to tour around the island. Again, I checked Groupon for any deals and of course they had one! We went and had lunch and then cruised on over to Wheels On Padre. We choose the 4 seater golf cart in Black (my girls wanted pink but daddy wasn’t going to drive a pink golf cart). They have a variety of vehicles and bikes to choose from. They even have blue tooth speakers for you to use while you ride. We paid for the hour long rental, which you can rent them longer if needed. We just cruised around the island, stop at McDonalds for ice cream, visited some souvenir shops, and cruised on back.
While visiting South Padre, my husband wanted to eat crab legs. We settled on Louie’s Backyard on the bayside. Again, my husband and I ate here tens years ago and we didn’t realize it until we go there. The offer a buffet with multiple choices of meat, including crab legs for about $22. The restaurant sits right on the water and we sat on the patio both times we were there (yes we ate there twice while visiting for the week). My girls loved to throw the left over food over the railings to the fish in the water below. Louie’s is definitely worth it, even if you don’t get the buffet.
I also suggest joining South Padre Island Concierge Facebook group, I was able to ask questions and get answers from a lot of the locals.