First, next time we'll fly to Harlingen. I enjoy driving, especially somewhere new, but there is really nothing worth seeing between SA and SPI!
SPI was cooler than normal, but that was fine for us Canadians. What an amazing stretch of beach! We rented a condo on the 8th floor of the Aquarius (Unit 804 - we have a separate review for it) with an incredible view - and the constant roar of the waves was a great way to fall asleep every night!
Sunshine every day, windy, so cool evenings where sweaters were required. We enjoyed the sunset on the top deck at Louie's Backyard a few times. The $7.99 ribs on Thursdays & Sundays are great, but I wouldn't recommend the seafood buffet.
We did some parasailing with Breakaway Cruises. That was fine, for about $65 each but not as thrilling as I expected. A bit of fear for sure, until we settled into our harness as we quickly rose above Laguna Madre. A wonderful view of the island for sure. Definitely a bucket-list type of thing, but not something I would likely do again.
The Schlitterbahn, on the other hand, was fantastic and we'd go again and again if we could. We went on the second last day of our stay. We went on a Monday on purpose so it wouldn't be as busy. There were several busloads of school kids there but except for one ride, the line ups were minimal. They have done a great job at giving it a nostalgic feel, even though it is brand new. The rides are fantastic, especially Sea Blaster and Tempest. But be warned, when you're on those uphill coasters, keep your rear end high up in the tube, otherwise you'll end up a bit battered and bruised back there LOL. Signage or a word from the attendents would be helpful.
Also, watch your sunscreen. A lot of time spent in the water removes the effects of sunscreen and it's easy to get sun burn. The indoor section is a bit of a walk, but a really fun river run with great waves to enjoy. Not much else in the indoor section unless you have young children, but the river run is worth the walk.
We visited the Port Isabel lighthouse which was good, but the area around it is very gimmicky, with pirate themed buildings that look out of place.
We visited the sea turtle farm which was interesting but the bird centre was even better since we got a great look at the resident alligator. He swam right towards us, stopped near us, got out of the water to sunbathe, but not before a great big yawn to show us his teeth. All of this about 6 feet away from us. Yes, we were standing on a boardwalk with that gator but a few feet away, but safely below us.
We took a couple of drives north on the beach and enjoyed fireworks on the beach on both Friday & Saturday nights at Claytons Beach Bar.
At least at this time of year, SPI has a nice laid-back beach feel and it was a vacation that we very much enjoyed. We are planning a return, if only to go back to the Schlitterbahn!
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.