Hot Beach: SPI takes two spots on best list

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — SPI beaches have some nearby company when it comes to being the best in Texas.

The 34-mile sand bar many call paradise took up two spots on the top beaches in Texas by USA Today’s 10 Best lists.

South Padre Island beaches ranked number two and Isla Blanca Park came up as number seven out of a list of 20 beach destinations across the state.

“I’m just elated,” said Sophia Benavides, Cameron County Commissioner Pct 1. “I know both SPI and the county have been working diligently to upgrade amenities and the access to the beaches.”

She said this is wonderful recognition for the County and the Island.

“The ranking show our hard work and investment to make the Island great is paying off,” Benavides said.

USA TODAY’s 10 Best Reader’s Choice Award contest took place over four weeks, closing voting polls on March 28. Winners were announced late last week and were promoted across all USA TODAY media platforms.

“We are honored to be near the very top of the USA TODAY’s 10 Best Reader’s Choice Award list for the Best Texas Beach,” said Keith Arnold, South Padre Island Convention and Visitors Bureau director.

South Padre Island boasts miles of inviting beaches and ease of travel by air, land or sea that keeps visitors hooked to come back time and again for a quick getaway or vacation.

The Island’s white sand, clear emerald water and abundant activity offerings secured the destination as a spot on this prestigious, reader’s choice list.

USA Today has several lists that can be seen online as well as the best beaches in America categorized by state.

“Our city beach is 5-miles of uninterrupted, vehicle free, light and soft sandy shoreline and clear emerald blue tropical water,” Arnold said. “The county beaches to the north of the city offer the same with 4-wheel drive access to miles and miles of natural shoreline.”

The Island also offers more than 5,000 lodging options, and more than 40 local dining spots and entertainment venues.

“With moderate temperatures and an abundance of family-friendly offerings, we’re eager to host our summer and fall visitors on Texas’s only tropical island, Arnold said.”

Some of the many family fun activities include swimming, snorkeling and exploring the barrier island, or kiteboarding lessons to catch a wave.

Fishing enthusiasts come from all over the state to charter a boat, reel in a big fish, and then cook their catch at a local restaurant.

Nature tourism enthusiasts can bird watch and explore along the boardwalk at the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center. Lastly, visitors can complete their stay with an unforgettable experience of bay and beachside fireworks.

“The beaches here are way better than Galveston, way better,” said Max Millis in an earlier interview about visiting South Padre Island.

He said you can’t find boardwalks that go from the edge of a parking lot all the way to the beach like on South Padre Island.

The top 10 winners in the category Best Texas Beach are as follows:

1. Rockport Beach

2. South Padre Island Beach

3. Surfside Beach

4. Crystal Beach — Bolivar Peninsula

5. Matagorda Bay Nature Park

6. Port Aransas Beach

7. Isla Blanca Park — South Padre Island

8. South Beach — Padre Island National Seashore

9. East Beach — Galveston

10. Malaquite Beach — Corpus Christi

Other top 10 lists the Island area has made recently

>> Best place for Spring Break

>> Best place to kite board

>> Best full service book store at Paragraphs on Padre Blvd.

>> Port Isabel ranked best place to live