If you're hankering for a sub-tropical climate, but want the amenities and familiarity of America, South Padre Island offers Canadian snowbirds the perfect compromise. Enjoy laid-back island vibes, 54-kilometres of uninterrupted shoreline and a vibrant local art and shopping scene. Friends and family who flock to visit the island during winter already know all about the 250 days of sunshine South Padre Island receives each year. Whether you're ready to make the big move or just want to take a trip for a week, now's the perfect time to test the warm Gulf waters of South Padre Island. Let us count the reasons So Padre should be your next nest.
First, the obvious benefit: a southern location that assures South Padre Island residents enjoy year-round moderate temperatures. In fact, the mercury rarely drops below 18 °C. December marks the start of the dry season, and winter visitors typically see less than two inches of rain per month. That's music to our ears.
Ease of access
Dollar Photo Club
One may hear 'island' but don't mistake that for 'hard to reach'. South Padre Island is connected to the Texas mainland via a 3-km causeway. That means no ferries to suffer. Visiting family members will be delighted to know that three airports service the Rio Grande Valley. Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport (BRO) is the closest, located just 30 minutes from the island. Flights from Vancouver and Toronto involve one layover, so the island can be reached in 7.5 and 5.5 hours respectively.
Small town vibe, big city amenities
Around 1,200 families are permanent residents of the island that boasts tourism as its biggest industry. Don't we all want to live in a place where visitors want to travel to? In addition to diversionary activities, South Padre Island provides excellent amenities. Some of these include world-class museums, a cinema, multiple churches, great medical services and local, boutique shopping. Plus, anything not immediately available on South Padre Island can easily be found across the causeway in Port Isabel or nearby Brownsville.
South Padre Island CVB
Enjoying the outdoors is easy to do in South Padre, which is evidenced by the number of sails on the horizon and anglers on the shoreline. Golfers will delight in the South Padre Island Golf Club, an 18-hole, par-72 championship course located 10 short minutes from the island. Anglers have the option of casting a line right off the beach or jetty, or venturing out by boat for bay or deep-sea fishing. With an abundance of fresh seafood, hobby chefs can endeavour to master coastal cuisine. Paddlers will enjoy the calmer waters of the Laguna Madre, while surfers ride the waves of South Padre Island's outer coast. Peer into the life aquatic while snorkeling with sea turtles or dive to greater depths at any number of designated dive and snorkeling spots.
A natural and pedestrian paradise
South Padre Island CVB
Home-away-from-home wouldn't feel right to Canadians without some natural splendor. The wilderness that shrouds South Padre Island is diverse, supporting wildlife reserves and coastal ecosystems. Morning walks are best enjoyed from the vantage point of the Laguna Madre Nature Trail. For visitors, it’s the perfect way to shake off jet lag and reset your internal thermostat for the warm days to come. Resident snowbirds will love this gentle and scenic walking route for keeping active. The boardwalk from the Convention Centre out to the wetlands is an easy stroll and a favorite path for bird watchers. The trail is open around the clock, and visiting at different times of the day allows for the opportunity to see a greater variety of birds and wildlife. Keep an eye out for roaming gators, which are always a novel thrill to spot, and tend to be out when the weather is warm.
Rentals with a view
The most difficult part of finding a place to stay might be choosing the spectacular view you want to wake up to each day. Many condos are available for short and long-term rentals, and hotels happily accommodate visitors staying for the season. Travelers planning to spend their time near the shore have a number of beach cottages to choose from, in addition to waterfront condos and resort areas. Even RV'ers are welcomed by the island’s two parks and a private campground that accommodates both car campers and glampers. The National Seashore Park has spots for tents only, but does provide water and a sani-station for RVs.
A permanent nest
Not surprisingly, many snowbirds ultimately choose to have a permanent or semi-permanent home on South Padre Island. Keep this in mind while perusing condos and consider whether buying a winter home would be more economical than renting each year when pursuing the sun. Consult with others who have made the same choice and consider joining the Canadian Snowbirds Association for access to in-depth information.
Canadian snowbird tip:
You could live in the US year-round, but it's common knowledge among snowbirds that you come and go with the changing seasons, and for good reason. Canadian residents can spend up to 182 days per year in the US before the IRS becomes keenly interested. Most try to take full advantage of this allowance, but don't risk staying even a day longer. The tax implications are too severe to test the limits. Demonstrating your trip details is imperative, and snowbirds are recommended to maintain precise notes often dubbed 'border binders'.
South Padre Island's snowbird community
South Padre Island CVB
Amenities, charm and scenery are important factors when deciding where to settle down, but when relocating south of the border, snowbirds will want to know they won't be lonely. The good news is that South Padre Island is home to a buzzing community of expats. Be on the lookout for networking events and socializers to connect with other snowbirds. The Winter Texans’ Snowbird Extravaganza is a great option and is held across the state.
The Canadian Snowbirds Association also works closely with Texas businesses to offer snowbirds deals and incentives. While on the island, look for “Winter Texan” promotions to take advantage of any specials offered for seasonal visitors...because whatever your starting point was, you’re a Texan when you get to Texas.
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