On behalf of the City Council, I would like to welcome you to the beautiful community of South Padre Island. As you know, we have many opportunities for you to enjoy yourself during your visit and I would like to provide you with some information that you may find helpful during your stay.
Parking & Transportation
Parking on the island during peak season is at a premium. The City has a free public Transportation System called “The Wave” and it operates daily from 7 a.m.-9 p.m. along Padre and Gulf Boulevards which are primary street running north and south. We regulate our parking on residential side streets that are east of Padre and you must obtain a residential parking permit to park on these streets. To ensure that you will not receive a parking ticket, all four tires must be off of the improved roadway. Also, please avoid blocking or parking in private driveways.
By all means, enjoy a taxi ride to your destination by contacting the following licensed service providers:
A Cab/A Taxi – (956) 761-2222
Airport – (956) 761-9292
BB’s – (956) 761-7433
JJ’s Taxi – (956) 761-9292
Padre Cab – (956) 761-2525
Our Police Department is well staffed during Spring Break and we have already promised your parents to keep you safe so please do your part by following these simple safety tips:
1) Travel in groups with friends.
2) Don’t leave luggage unattended or anything of value in plain view in vehicles.
3) Don’t drink any unattended drinks or consume drinks from unknown persons.
We will have eight alcohol enforcement officers from the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission (TABC) on the island promoting responsible drinking and subsequent enforcement. TABC is working on education and additional public relation strategies, along with their enforcement efforts.
Additionally, we will have the Highway Patrol Officers from the Department of Public Safety (DPS) on the island during the latter part of Texas Week to assist us in deterring the criminal element that has become more prevalent over the past few years. DPS has developed group components known as strike teams. A single strike team consists of five marked patrol cars, each with one officer and a uniformed supervisor in an unmarked unit. For three days, March 15-17, DPS is deploying two strike teams, a total of 12 officers, to assist us in our efforts to reassure spring break visitors are safe. The hours of DPS operation will be 5 p.m.-5 a.m. DPS is also bringing a self-contained mobile command trailer that will be placed in a designated area at the SPI Post Office. The deployment of the DPS strike teams and the ability to utilize these resources during difficult times will provide us with a much needed criminal deterrent. They will be here, working with us, addressing our needs, during the hours identified as most serious.
The South Padre Island Police Department will also employ 10 jailers and 10 traffic management personnel to assist with those areas of operation. This year we have additional part-time officers on staff which reduces the number of temporary personnel needed from other agencies. The advantages with utilizing the city’s part-time police offices are they are already trained, in our uniform and ready to work.
What is the Beach Patrol?
The Fire Department operates Beach Patrol to monitor beach activities and to provide rescue services as needed on the City’s beaches. The long narrow beaches of SPI do not lend themselves to traditional stationary lifeguard stands; therefore a “mobile patrol” was developed in order to cover all of the City’s beach area. The Beach Patrol Members not only respond to calls for assistance and caution people on the beach about potentially hazardous actions, they also provide minor first aid for jelly fish stings, scrapes, and cuts, etc. The Beach Patrol members act as ambassadors for the City by providing information to our visitors on such far ranging topics as “what kind of fish is that”, to “where is a good place to watch the sunset”. The Beach Patrol is an essential part of making our visitors trip to the Beach an enjoyable and safe experience.
The City of South Padre Island wants everyone who visits our beaches to have a safe and enjoyable experience and asks anyone coming to the beach to consider the following safety guidelines:
Learn to swim and never swim alone
Don’t rely on flotation devices, such as rafts or inner-tubes. Even US Coast Guard approved lifejackets are not a substitute for swimming ability
If caught in a rip current, swim sideways until free, don’t swim against the current’s pull
Do not swim while under the influence of illicit drugs or medications that may cause impairment or alcohol
If you are swimming and need assistance – yell and wave – don’t wait
Unless you are trained, do not attempt to assist a swimmer in distress – call 911
Follow regulations and Beach Patrol directions
Swim parallel to shore if you wish to swim long distances
Report hazardous conditions to Beach Patrol
Never turn your back to the ocean – you may be swept off your feet by waves that can come without warning
Jellyfish are common in Gulf waters and sometimes wash ashore. Jellyfish stings are rarely serious, but they may require first aid treatment. If you are stung by a jellyfish, wave down the nearest Beach Patrol for assistance.
Glass containers on the beach are prohibited and could cost you a $500 fine. We check, so do yourself a favor and don’t buy beverages in glass for consumption while at the beach.
Stay hydrated – drink plenty of non-alcoholic beverages (water is the best choice). The combination of the bright sunshine overhead and the reflection of the sun on the sand and water can cause severe damage to your skin.
For maximum effectiveness, use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher and apply 30 to 60 minutes before your first exposure to the sun. This allows the sunscreen time to penetrate your skin. Always reapply sunscreen frequently during your visit to the beach. Perspiration reduces the effectiveness of sunscreen, and even waterproof products eventually are washed away by perspiration and swimming.
Enjoy your day at the beach, but remember to be a friend to your skin, too!
What if I need an Ambulance or Medical Care?
The Emergency Medical Service is operated by the South Padre Island Fire Department and our firefighters and Beach Patrol personnel are trained in first aid. If you are on the beach and need assistance, wave down the Beach Patrol. If it is an emergency or you do not see a Beach Patrol unit close by, call 911. Be prepared to give your location on the beach (the addresses are on the posts with the warning flags on them) and the nature of the emergency. We will send the closest unit to assist you.
The City will also have a first aid tent available at the Coca-Cola Beach area to treat minor medical issues that may arise.
The local medical facility and area hospitals include:
SPI Clinic (M-F, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.), 3808 Padre Blvd, SPI, (956) 433-5607
Harlingen Medical Center, 501 South Expressway 77, Harlingen, (965) 365-1000
Valley Baptist Medical Center, 1040 Jefferson, Brownsville, (956) 698-5400
Valley Regional Medical Center, 100 Alton Gloor Blvd., Brownsville, (956) 350-7000
The most important message is that we are glad you are here but please be respectful of our delicate environment. Don’t Litter… did you know that the endangered Kemp Ridley Sea Turtles believe when they see a plastic bag in the water, they think it is a jellyfish which is one of their favorite food sources and they will consume these bags which may lead to their death. Please keep South Padre Island beautiful and have a great time!
Robert N. Pinkerton, Jr.