Stay at the Right island location

We had never heard of South Padre Island (SPI) and if it werent for our solar installers (The Dry Campers), we likely wouldnt have found this great place so soon or maybe had lucked out with finding the right park. If you watched our video you saw that we moved to seven different spots while on the island. However, we not only enjoyed staying on the island but during our stay we found that Sarah’s dad was not doing well.

Here are some things we learned about places to stay for your visit or our next visit.

There are three RV parks you can stay at on the island; KOA South Padre Island , Isla Blanca County Park, and Andy Bowie County Park. Let’s cover all three.

Is the KOA a Reasonable option

We always say that the best part about a KOA on the road is we know what to expect out of them. Here is our observations about the KOA on South Padre. If you go to their website or watch any of the ads they press on Facebook – they are always about the Pier 19 and their pool and both of those are strong points of that location. There is also another strong point worth mentioning – the lack of sand spurs. If you have a pet, there are sand spurs all over the island however the KOA has asphalt drives and gravel RV parking eliminating those painful little things. There were several times our pups yelped during our first few days prior to figuring out how to avoid them.

The KOA spots are extremely tight. When driving through the park it was at times hard to maneuver due to all of the vehicles parked on the street as the spots are small and tight against the next spot. The pricing is … KOA pricing. They have a monthly pricing and we looked at booking for the 23 season and was going to cost us just over $2300 for the month. That also does not include the beach access. Since the beaches are owned by the county getting on the beach will cost you another $12.00 per day or a 30 day pass for $30.00. Some go all they way down to the end of the island though and park and walk onto the beach. Lastly, the restaurant and pier that was once located next to the KOA, Pier 19 burned down during our stay in 2021 so taking away some of that convenience of a nearby restaurant. Last we heard they were planning to rebuild.

Andie Bowie County Park

Andie Bowie is located past the main part of town and is a small park… well a parking lot. The good thing about Andie Bowie is that it is located right next to the beach for easy access. It is also an asphalt parking lot so that may help cut down on the sand spurs. In addition since it is a owned by the county the pricing is much less and during our stay you could stay at Andie Bowie for 30 days for just $600.00 a month not including your electric.

The downside to Andie Bowie?… well it is a parking lot. You are backed in next to other rigs similar to a fairground stay. The other thing to note about Andie Bowie was the entrance and the exit was a bit tight. The turns were not really big rig friendly however we did see a few large toy haulers staying there… likely the reason we also saw tire marks over their curbs and grass. Staying at Andie Bowie gives you access to all of the beach entrances including access into Isla Blanca.

Isla Blanca County Park

We stayed at Isla Blanca.. we loved it and will stay again. Now you will read some reviews about Isla Blanca and how bad the spurs are for your animals – there is some truth to this however we quickly learned how to stay away from them. We walked our pups on the main streets and on the beach. We also tried to choose spots (yes spots – we had 7 different ones) that had a concrete pad for them to be on when not in the rig. Isla blanca has hundreds of spots however is also surrounded by water; the Gulf of Mexico and Laguna Madre. It also has a large channel on the side where ships go in and out from port daily. If you hit the time of year right.. you can also have some of the best seats in the house to watch Space X launch some of their rockets…(can you tell this place is my favorite?).

For many years the same RV’ers would return to their same spots at Isla Blanca so many of the spots are personalized and all of them are a bit different. Some have concrete pads, others bricks and some just a personal touch that were left behind. Several years ago the park system placed the reservation system online making it so that it was a free for all to get a spot and those that had the same spot for many years prior were left going to the spot that was available.

Isla Blanca has several different phases to it. The first phase the spaces are large and spread out. As they continued to build those spaces became much smaller. One of our spots was large enough to park a few duallys in between us and the next space where others we had we were towering over the small Casita just feet away. During our stay in 2022 a months stay was just $600.00 plus electric (ya.. beats that KOA price by a few bucks) however the pricing for the 2023 season has gone up to $650.00.

Our Thoughts?

Andie Bowie is a small parking lot so we will likely skip out there. We typically say you know what to expect from a KOA but this one being a “resort destination” – the spots are small, the price is expensive and the location is not convenient. For a fraction of the price you can have free beach access and a large spot over in Isla Blanca and if we are in SPI – that is where you will find us!

We started our RV journey in 2019 and have traveled over 50k miles between our three fifth wheels. 2021 brought a new set of experiences for us selling our home and going full time in our Beacon and has been a bumpy road.

We are blessed to have each other and the support of our family and friends as we continue our journeys.

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