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Sun-drenched South Padre Vacations   by Caitlin Moored

South Padre Island is an ever-ready vacation destination that history has shown to be a true crowd pleaser. For a number of reasons, the foot of Texas is known for attracting spring breakers by the busload as well as families and couples all year long. No matter what your vacation goals are or what time of year you will be visiting, be sure that this hotspot will show you a good time.

If you've never been here before and don't know quite what to expect, just imagine all the elements you would seek in a beachside getaway, add a healthy dose of relaxation, and you'll start to get the picture. Find a spot of shade beneath your beach umbrella, crack open the book that's been calling your name, gaze fondly at the cold drink in your hands, and find yourself idly wondering what the office is up to in your absence. Actually, scratch this last part. Don't allow yourself to think about work; there are plenty of more important things to do.

It's probably safe to say that you're not accustomed to hearing the sound of the ocean on a daily basis, much less able to dip your toes in it, splash around with a boogie board, or rent a boat for a high-speed adventure. Wave running and parasailing are good ways to take the energy levels up a notch, and after that's tired you out the beach bars with their sparkling array of tropical drinks will call for your attention. Nothing is better than the feeling of slight fatigue mixed with golden sunshine, so reward yourself for the hard work you've completed in the past few months (or years, or decades) and take a nap.

After waking refreshed and revived you'll be ready for round two. Hit the tennis courts, the golf courses, or Laguna Madre Nature Trail. Outdoorsy types will love exploring the vibrant wildlife scene, and this excursion will certainly fill a few stress-free hours. Come nightfall, check out a different but equally colorful scene, the one on the waterfront. Even if it's not spring break, live music, dancing, and socializing will certainly be available if you're looking to add some pizzazz to your schedule.

If you're the type who likes to stay active, start your day with a jog along the beach or a dip in the salty sea. The kids will surely want to soak in enough sandcastle building to last until the next beach vacation, and you can even sign up to receive lessons from an expert in this art. As you watch the kiddies absorb themselves in this creative endeavor (and hopefully join in the fun, too) you'll start to see that this isn't just a college student's playground; it's here for everyone to enjoy.

Map lovers may notice that Mexico isn't too far away, and many tourists make crossing the border a fun day trip. Experience the atmosphere of another country as you shop for souvenirs or fill up on authentic and delicious food. This excursion should be pretty hassle free, so add it to your list of fun and exciting things to do while you're in South Padre.

Food options range from Tex-Mex to southern comfort and of course, many restaurants are all about seafood. Ask the host to seat with a view of the ocean for a romantic touch, and finish the night by taking one of those clichéd walks on the beach if the mood to stare into your lover's eyes must be satisfied. You've heard South Padre was a hit, but you probably didn't know it would be so open to your personal wants and needs.

Speaking of fulfilling your desires, to top off this vacation be sure to settle into above-average accommodations. Hotels are fine and serve their purpose, but to feel truly pampered think about renting a vacation property. Condos, beach houses and spacious apartments are all up for grabs; all it takes is an online shopping trip to discover the lodging situation of your dreams.

Peruse the pictures, read the testimonials, and then check your calendar before settling on the place that will push this trip to the next level. As you bask in the sun on your private patio and soak in your Jacuzzi tub, you'll definitely feel like a grown-up who has passed the days of partying all night and sleeping on a fold-out sofa. Your South Padre Island Vacation Rental waits for you, so don't delay another minute.

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