Travel

Spring break at Padre Island, Texas: Prepare for the annual storming of the beach

If you're planning a trip to this island for spring break during Texas Week, March 10-17, you're going to find something new this year: dueling beach parties.

The party-centric Coca-Cola beach will be where it's always been - behind the Isla Grand Resort (500 Padre Blvd., formerly the Radisson) March 7-25. There'll be the usual stage with DJs, contests and attempts by various armed services branches to recruit you. Plant your keg in the sand.

But also, during Texas Week, there will be a competing beach party at Clayton's Beach Bar, 6900 Padre Blvd. This bar opened last summer and immediately drew a crowd. It's enlarging its deck just in time for spring break. (Hilton Garden Inn nearby is enlarging its deck, too, by the way, so there should be plenty of space to hang out without getting sandy.)

The party at Clayton's will feature DJs all day, along with games with cash prizes and drink specials.

Also new on the beach near Clayton's: skydiving.

The thing to remember about these parties and beach-going in general during spring break is that it's legal to drink on the beach in South Padre, but glass on the beach is very much against the law, and enforcement of that law and the drinking-age rule fills the municipal court every day of spring break (including Sunday). Extra law enforcement types will be filling many motel rooms, and I'm told the South Padre jail is very cold. You've been warned.

But back to the fun stuff: Schlitterbahn will also sponsor some spring break events, including the Ultimate Music Experience March 15-17, with DJ Tiesto; Sweden's Tim Berg, better known as Avicii; and Skrillex. A three-day pass is $85 at www.groovetickets.com.

Another spot that's always hopping during spring break is Louie's Backyard, 2305 Laguna Blvd., where DJ Silver and DJ Blitz will be among the entertainers. There are always plenty of drink specials.

But, of course, there are drink specials all over the island, as well as across the causeway in Port Isabel, where you'll find Pirate's Landing at the base of the bridge, willing to serve your cocktail in a big ol' coconut dressed up to look like a pirate. Or not, if you prefer not. (Remember: During spring break and only during spring break, cabs will not cross the bridge, and the free Wave shuttle does so only until 9 p.m.

A few more things are new this year on the island: Denny's, which had briefly turned into something else last year, is back to being Denny's. Amberjack's is closed. U.S. Bar and Restaurant, which used to operate in Matamoros, Tamaulipas - where nobody goes because of border violence - just opened on the island in the former Dorados space (5001 Padre Blvd.). I'm hearing good things about the cabrito.

For more on South Padre Island's spring break this year, visit www.whosyourpadre.com.

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