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"ask sandy" FAQ

Updated 10/10/10

1. Where do I find info about the gambling ship?

2. Can you recommend a good place to stay on SPI that is on or near the beach?

3. Where are the best places to eat on SPI?

4. How about clubs?

5. We're staying in condos with full kitchens. are there grocery stores on the island? if not, where are the closest?

6. I heard that a bunch of people got attacked by sharks there. Is it safe to let my kids go in the water?

7. I need internet access during my visit to South Padre. What are my options?

8. What are the golfing options in the SPI area?

9 . I want to get married on SPI. Can you provide me with some info?

10. I want to live/work on SPI - can you give me any leads?

11. We are going to be staying on the bay side of the island and I am curious about the best place to get gulf beach access. Is any or most of the gulf beach restricted to those staying in the gulfside hotels?

12. What is the story on renting umbrellas and chairs on the beach?

13. What is the best way to get around without a car?

14. Do you know of any childcare providers?

15. Why don't they rake the ugly seaweed off the beach?

16. Where is the clothing optional beach?

17. Turtle Hatchling Releases?

18. Help! My dog got lost while I was visitng South Padre Island!

1. There is currently no gambling ship sailing out of area waters - but there is a great Pirate Ship!

2. ALL the condos, hotels, motels, B&B's and beach houses on the island are on or near the beach (this is a very narrow island.) The very coolest place to stay on South Padre Island is the Sandbox Inn (not that I am biased or anything ;-) Just in case the place is already occupied, I have put a lot of time into my accommodations pages to help you find an alternative place to camp out during your stay here.

3. Personally? I like Blackbeards (casual dining, extensive menu), Palm St. Pier (on the bay, fun and funky) and Wanna Wanna (on the beach, fun and funky - are you seeing a pattern here?) But that is just me. Dirty Al's/Daddy's are very popular and the same family has recently opened The Big Donkey (site of the dearly departed Bigo's.) The new Asian place in the middle of town (Uchi) is getting rave reviews, as are Zeste (gourmet market/takeout with some seating - Tapas on the weekends!) and Wildfork for Italian. For breakfast it is still Ted's or the Grapevine Cafe. I like Sunday brunch at the Palms Cafe - right on the beach and the bloody marys are bloody wonderful.

4. The Entertainment District - located in the middle of town on the bayside... lots of places within walking distance of each other: Louie's Backyard attracts a younger crowd - they will let you in if you are 18 and older. The upstairs sports bar attracts older folks as well. Tequila Sunset offers great live music/dancing. Wahoo Saloon for ceviche and fireworks. Palm St. Pier has great music and equally great food and the spot formerly known as Club 202 has reopened as "Steamers" -- I understand they also have live music sometimes. Mooncussers (used to be Tequila Frogs) attracts a younger crowd when they are open.

Elsewhere: Kelly's has remodeled and re-opened and is smoke free! the Coral Reef attracts an older crowd (locals too); Jake's is a fun local hangout (check out "Martini Mondays"!); the Isla Gand (formerly the Rad) is good for live music and dancing. Be sure and check out Club Pelican West - owned an operated by the band of the same name that was an institution at the Rad for near on a decade. Boomerang Billy's at the Surf Motel is a popular palapa bar. Wanna Wanna is another friendly palapa bar right on the beach with frequent live entertainment - the wildly popular Bongodogs play there every Sat. this all summer long. The new Parrot Eyes offers water sports, bayside dining and live music sometimes.

5. There is a grocery store on the Island - the Blue Marlin. I shop there for quick pickups but the best prices and selection are to be found at HEB and/or Walmart -- both of which are across the bridge on the mainland in Port Isabel (right on the main road coming into town.) My suggestion would be to do the bulk of your shopping there (especially if you are feeding a big crew) on your way to the Island, then pick up the stuff you forgot at the Blue Marlin.

6. There was one "shark attack" on the other end of the Island (by Corpus) a few years ago. A surfer got nipped - the shark didn't like what it tasted and swam away. I don't know how far out the surfer was, but very likely a lot further out than you are willing to let your kids go.

Bottom line: If I were you I would not give this another thought.

7. Hi Speed wireless internet access is everywhere now. I hear lots of hotels (like the Sheraton) are offering it and even the local McDonalds is advertising that they have it. If you don't have a laptop with you, go to Internet Island (web-site is currently down but it is located on Padre Blvd. near Palmetto Inn) to surf the web or check your e-mail.

8. See my detailed list and links to area Golf Courses at http://spionline.com/golf.html

9. Take a look at my south padre island wedding page for lots of useful links and contact info.

10. Me and about 3000 other people think that living here full time is the greatest -- but it is not for everyone. First - take this simple test to see if you would really be happy here. Then, you can check out the classifieds here and find a relocater here. But the best plan is to come on down, look over the most recent want ads in the PI/SPI Press, and start making calls and knocking on doors.

11. If you don't mind walking across Padre Blvd. you should not have any problem getting to the beach (except for the stretch from the Isla Grand north to Sunchase.) If you are carrying lots of stuff and want the convenience of having your car nearby, it can be a bit trickier. There is a series of "pocket parks" along Gulf Blvd. that facilitate public beach access, but many do not offer any parking at all. Parking is not normally a problem except for Texas Week of Spring Break and peak summer weekends.

12. The umbrellas and chairs are set up for interested beach goers. They are not free - set your butt in a chair and the friendly attendent will be by directly asking for $.

13. The WAVE - SPI's free trolley - now connecting to Rio Transit which will take you to the Brownsville Airport for just $2.00. Also, we now have a brand new shuttle that can take you to Valley International Airport and back for downright reasonable.

14. I truly dread getting this question.
Because it _should be such an easy one to answer.
When I was a teenager -- baby-sitting jobs were in high demand but I have looked high and low but cannot suggest let alone recommend a child care provider in the area.

My only thought is to ask the management wherever you are renting. If you are renting. If you are a dependable and motivated childcare provider who would like some business, please e-me.

15. There was a time when South Padre Island regularly raked up the seaweed and flotsam that washed ashore on its beaches. The tide, however, appears to be turning. Seaweed plays a critical role in maintaining the beach. Beaches and dunes are controlled by waves, tides, currents, and wind. The layers of seaweed provide additional surface area to trap sand on the beach rather than allowing it to wash back to the sea. Read more about what steps SPI is taking to preserve its beautiful beaches

16. You can see if there is anything new posted on the COB forum, but here are the GPS coordinates posted by a thoughful enthusiast:

Entrance #5 (last pay entrance) N26∞09'55.1" W097∞10'22.6"
Entrance #6 (usually free but 4wd helpful) N26∞12'26.9" W097∞10'41.3"
Paved Road end N26∞14'56.4" W097∞11'08.3"
Where we got nude N26∞18'46.7" W097∞12'00.1"
Beach end (Fishing jetty) N26∞33'43.6" W097∞16'15.5"
Great shelling area: N26∞18'28.9" W097∞11'54.1"

17. Want to see a sea turtle hatchling release on South Padre Island? Sea Turtle, Inc. allows the general public to watch early morning hatchling releases. Public hatchling releases are held at 7:00am at County Beach Access 3 (approx. 1/2 mile north of the Convention Centre.) To find out if there will be an early morning release, call Sea Turtle Inc's hatchling hotline AFTER 10:00pm. This recording will tell you the likelihood of a release the next morning. Call again at 6am to confirm definite yes or no for the release. The hotline number is (956) 433-5735.

18. Lost or found an animal on the Island? The South Padre Island's Animal Control is working together with the Friends of Animals Rescue Group. Their foster based recovery center helps to reunite lost and found pets with their families. Friends of Animal Rescue will make every effort to reunite lost animals with their families. Animals that are not reunited will be vetted by Friends of Animal Rescue and placed with new families. Lost or found a pet please call (956) 761-PETS.

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