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Old 08-12-2010, 03:40 PM
 
Location: New Orleans, United States
4,230 posts, read 9,522,329 times
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I've been seeing the area mentioned on the City vs. City forum, specifically McAllen, Brownsville, and South Padre Island. My main question is how suitable is South Padre Island as a tourist/vacation destination. If it is, what is there to do in the Brownsville/South Padre Island area? What about Harlingen and McAllen?

Edit: title should read "What is the Rio Grande Valley area like?"
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Old 08-12-2010, 04:18 PM
 
Location: Dallas, Texas
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South Padre Island is probably the best Texas beach destination there is. Lots to do there. Also, it's been many years since I went, but the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville is very impressive. It would be a zoo I would expect to see in a much larger city. Last time I was there, we went shopping across the border in Matamoros as well. I don't know what the crime is like in the tourist areas of Matamoros now, though.
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Old 08-12-2010, 07:23 PM
 
Location: WA
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Most vacationers who visit South Padre don't venture past South Padre and Port Isabel (the town across the bridge from South Padre). My kids love South Padre as it is definitely the best beach location in Texas. You would probably have to drive all the way to the Destin/Pensacola area to find nicer beaches.

What is it that you want to do? In addition to all the beach stuff there are sport fishing charters, wildlife/dolphin boat tours, a sea turtle rescue center, a monster waterpark and various other attractions around the area. It is a pretty long drive to get to McAllen from South Padre and from my point of view (traveling with kids) there isn't much reason to do it as McAllen is a pretty generic city with the same malls and big box stores one sees everywhere else.
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Old 08-12-2010, 07:57 PM
 
Location: Austin,Tx
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There's also a few bars/clubs and restaurants on the bay that in the evenings have a beautiful view of the sunset over the bay. Also every Friday in the summer they have fireworks over the bay which is cool. You can also go windsurfing,kiteboarding,scuba diving,parasailing you can go horseback riding on the beach ect... McAllen I haven't been to in a while but i've heard it's got a growing nightlife downtown with bars/clubs with live music there's also minor league sports with the RGV Vipers NBA Development league Basketball team and the Killer Bees minor league hockey team

South Padre Island - Be Yourself

McAllen CVB | McAllen, Texas

State Farm Arena

Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings

roadrunnerball.com: Home
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Old 08-13-2010, 11:44 AM
 
Location: League City, Texas
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I also recommend the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville. They have a new exhibit where you can feed the giraffes--I haven't had a chance to go yet, but it looks pretty cool. Other places in the valley have the usual shopping, there's an outlet mall in Mercedes. I'd skip Mexico completely.
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Old 08-13-2010, 12:33 PM
 
Location: New Orleans, United States
4,230 posts, read 9,522,329 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandstorm214 View Post
South Padre Island is probably the best Texas beach destination there is. Lots to do there. Also, it's been many years since I went, but the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville is very impressive. It would be a zoo I would expect to see in a much larger city. Last time I was there, we went shopping across the border in Matamoros as well. I don't know what the crime is like in the tourist areas of Matamoros now, though.
Thanks, now I need to look up Matamoros. I'm seriously thinking about making a trip down that way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by texasdiver View Post
Most vacationers who visit South Padre don't venture past South Padre and Port Isabel (the town across the bridge from South Padre). My kids love South Padre as it is definitely the best beach location in Texas. You would probably have to drive all the way to the Destin/Pensacola area to find nicer beaches.

What is it that you want to do? In addition to all the beach stuff there are sport fishing charters, wildlife/dolphin boat tours, a sea turtle rescue center, a monster waterpark and various other attractions around the area. It is a pretty long drive to get to McAllen from South Padre and from my point of view (traveling with kids) there isn't much reason to do it as McAllen is a pretty generic city with the same malls and big box stores one sees everywhere else.
I'm just looking for a place where I can get out of the city for a little bit and relax. Some entertainment and activities would be an added bonus. I don't want to do the faced pace beach scene this time, i.e. South Beach, and I've made the 3 hr drive to Pensacola/Destin more than enough. That deep south vibe at the northern Florida beaches is just not my scene.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrn198 View Post
There's also a few bars/clubs and restaurants on the bay that in the evenings have a beautiful view of the sunset over the bay. Also every Friday in the summer they have fireworks over the bay which is cool. You can also go windsurfing,kiteboarding,scuba diving,parasailing you can go horseback riding on the beach ect... McAllen I haven't been to in a while but i've heard it's got a growing nightlife downtown with bars/clubs with live music there's also minor league sports with the RGV Vipers NBA Development league Basketball team and the Killer Bees minor league hockey team

South Padre Island - Be Yourself

McAllen CVB | McAllen, Texas

State Farm Arena

Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings

roadrunnerball.com: Home
Good looking out. What is shopping like in the area?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellpaso View Post
I also recommend the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville. They have a new exhibit where you can feed the giraffes--I haven't had a chance to go yet, but it looks pretty cool. Other places in the valley have the usual shopping, there's an outlet mall in Mercedes. I'd skip Mexico completely.
Wow, I may have to check that out. I also see that there are 2-3 airports in the area. Is anyone more convenient/better/cheaper than the other and could someone recommend hotels?
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Old 08-13-2010, 01:47 PM
 
Location: Dallas, Texas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WestbankNOLA View Post
I also see that there are 2-3 airports in the area. Is anyone more convenient/better/cheaper than the other and could someone recommend hotels?
The only one I ever fly in or out of is Harlingen. I know it's the biggest one in the Valley. I don't know what airlines fly into the other airports.
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Old 08-13-2010, 02:28 PM
 
Location: McAllen, TX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandstorm214 View Post
The only one I ever fly in or out of is Harlingen. I know it's the biggest one in the Valley. I don't know what airlines fly into the other airports.
Harlingen (Valley International) is mainly Southwest with a some flights from Continental. VIA - Valley International Airport, Harlingen, Texas

McAllen has Continental, American and Delta. Continental connects to the rest of the country through Houston and American Airlines though DFW. Delta through Memphis. I think the McAllen airport has more destination choices (more airlines). McAllen International Airport - Welcome
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Old 08-13-2010, 02:36 PM
 
Location: Dallas, Texas
687 posts, read 1,436,712 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gguerra View Post
Harlingen (Valley International) is mainly Southwest with a some flights from Continental. VIA - Valley International Airport, Harlingen, Texas

McAllen has Continental, American and Delta. Continental connects to the rest of the country through Houston and American Airlines though DFW. Delta through Memphis. I think the McAllen airport has more destination choices (more airlines). McAllen International Airport - Welcome
I almost always fly Southwest, hence the reason VIA was the only one I was familiar with personally. Thanks for the info.
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Old 08-13-2010, 11:58 PM
 
Location: Austin,Tx
1,691 posts, read 3,245,291 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WestbankNOLA View Post
Thanks, now I need to look up Matamoros. I'm seriously thinking about making a trip down that way.



I'm just looking for a place where I can get out of the city for a little bit and relax. Some entertainment and activities would be an added bonus. I don't want to do the faced pace beach scene this time, i.e. South Beach, and I've made the 3 hr drive to Pensacola/Destin more than enough. That deep south vibe at the northern Florida beaches is just not my scene.



Good looking out. What is shopping like in the area?



Wow, I may have to check that out. I also see that there are 2-3 airports in the area. Is anyone more convenient/better/cheaper than the other and could someone recommend hotels?

There's several malls in the Valley the closest one to SPI is Sunrise Mall in Brownsville Harlingen and McAllen have a mall too. What kinda shopping are you looking for? on the Island there's alot of t-shirt shops but there's several small women's boutiques and stores. The closest airport to the island is Brownsville but Harlingen isn't too far either McAllen is about an hours drive from SPI. I love South Padre my parents have a place down there so I go all the time what kinda hotel are you looking for there's alot of different ones from your motels to resorts Sheraton and Holiday Inn.

More links lol

Brownsville/South Padre Island International Airport

Shopping
Sisters Interiors

Becky's Place on Padre Island (http://spisland.com/beckys/ - broken link)

Sunrise Mall -- Home Page

Valle Vista Mall - Harlingen, TX 78552 | Simon Malls

Rio Grande Valley Premium Outlets

La Plaza Mall - McAllen, TX 78503 | Simon Malls

Activities
World Birding Center | South Padre Island

South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center > Home

http://www.seaturtleinc.org/

Horseback Riding On The Beach at South Padre Island, TX

South Padre Dolphin Watch, South Padre Activities - Eco Tours - Fireworks and Sunset Cruises
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