South Padre Island, Texas
Think you’ve “been there and done that” with the Gulf of Mexico? Not if you haven’t been to South Padre Island, way down near Brownsville, Texas, on the Mexican border. The place still has the air of the Wild West to it. But thanks to those warm Gulf waters, it’s also a little sliver of paradise for some. The barrier island has some 34 miles of pristine beaches, and all the nightlife and fun for the kids you could want. The island is still relatively rustic as a cruising destination, but Sea Ranch Marina at the southern tip of South Padre by the Brazos Santiago Pass is a good bet as an anchorage. If the family gets tired of mini-golf, take them for a real adventure. Take ’em shark fishing. The waters off South Padre are excellent for catching spinner sharks, bull sharks, and blacktips. You may even see a mako or a hammerhead. And once your kid gets his or her first glimpse of one of these toothy beasts firsthand, you can bet South Padre Island will be a place they won’t soon forget.
Playin’ Hooky Fishing Charters; 956-639-6604; www.playinhookyspi.com