South Padre Island KOA Review & Rating
South Padre Island KOA Overview:
Wow, what a fantastic RV park with everything you would expect of a top rated park - outstanding location, good sites, a variety of cabins and lodging options, clean and well maintained, friendly service, and lots of fun amenities. South Padre Island KOA has it all and has a right to claim "RV Sites in Paradise" and is well deserving of it's 2010 KOA President's and Founders Awards.
South Padre Island KOA is a perfect location - less than a quarter mile from the causeway leading to South Padre Island, right on the bay, next to Pier 19 for food and fishing, across the street from Schlitterbahn Water Park, less than a half mile to the beach, and close to lots of great restaurants and shops plus more fun things to do.
The main streets are all paved and wide enough for big rigs to maneuver in and out of the sites. The sites and level and up to 80' feet long. Lots of good stuff to do is within walking distance.
Amenities and Fun Things To Do:
The Park has 202 full hook-up sites (5 are water and electric only) with flat and level white stone pads. Each of the sites have some type of landscaping (typically some palm trees), a picnic table, water, 30 and 50 AMP, sewer and cable hook-ups. The sites are up to 80 feet long and a combination of back in, pull through, and pull in. Some of the sites have great textured concrete patios.
The 12 Regal sites all face west looking out over Laguna Madre Bay and have stunning views of the sunset. The Premier sites are on the outer edge of the park and face north overlooking the wetlands, Laguna Madre Bay and the Causeway.
The only complaint we have about South Padre Island KOA's is that the sites are very close together (great for getting to know you neighbors), the rock pads are painful on the feet (paved or small finely crushed rock or grass would be better - at the beach you want to go barefoot!), and the hook-ups are at the rear of each site and may require sewer, cable, or water hose extensions - a minor complaint and it's hard to be perfect!
If you don't have a camper or friends and family are joining you, South Padre Island KOA has several lodging options:
- Deluxe Waterfront Cabin Lodges that are a stones throw from and overlook Laguna Madre Bay. These very clean and functional lodges have one bedroom with a queen bed, 2 bunk beds, and a sleeper sofa. The living area has a dining table and 4 chairs, the sleeper sofa, and a flat screen TV. The bedroom has a TV and its own AC. The bathroom is complete with a shower. The kitchen is fully equipped with everything you need to cook all the fish you catch - cook top range, utensils, pots and pans, dishes, etc. Plus a microwave, full refrigerator, coffee pot, and more. But best of all is the deck with a table and chairs (perfect for a cold drink and watching the sun set) and a textured concrete patio with a good sized charcoal grill. Our daughter and her 3 kids stayed here and loved it.
- Deluxe Cabin Loft Lodge - this two bedroom unit (queen bed and bunk beds) has a loft with mattresses that's perfect for kids, and a futon sleeper plus a full bathroom, kitchen (with cooktop, microwave, and full size refrigerator), and a dinette and four chairs.
- Studio Deluxe Cabin Lodge which sleeps up to four in a queen bed and two bunk beds has a microwave, mini refrigerator, and dining area with four chairs.
- Tower Condos are above the office and are renovated water tank towers with fantastic views of Laguna Madre Bay and they have one bedroom with a queen bed, a futon sleeper sofa, two full baths, and a fully equipped kitchen
- Kitchenette Condo Unit which is also in a renovated water tank tower and has a pool view, one bedroom with a queen bed, a futon, 2 full baths, and a kitchen with a microwave and small refrigerator
- An Airstream Travel Trailer is located in one of the RV sites and sleeps up to 4 people in a queen and fold down couch
One of the other reasons we rate South Padre Island KOA so high is because of the long list of amenities, some of which include: :
- sandy playground with a playscape, tether ball, and sand box
- camp store with some basic staples as well as some RV supplies
- K-9 Kamp pet playground
- fitness area with a variety of equipment
- 25 meter heated pool and hot tub
- propane sales
- restrooms, showers, and laundry
- boat ramp
- recreation room with comfortable couches and a big screen, dollar pool table, dart board, and games
- a meeting room with a full kitchen
- dump station
- free wireless internet and expanded cable options
One of the most popular spots at South Padre Island KOA seems to be the large wood deck with chairs and tables overlooking Laguna Madre Bay - each evening during our visit groups from two to ten would meet at the deck with their drinks of choice and wait for the stunning sunset!
Throughout the year you can enjoy a wide variety of South Padre Island KOA sponsored activities which range from breakfast get togethers, sunset watching parties, dances, s'mores, summer movies, pool aerobics, and more.
One of the first things we noticed was how friendly all the KOA Kampers were - very outgoing and sociable and as you stroll through the park Kampers are getting together for pot luck dinners, appetizers, or cocktails.
A Typical Texas Outsider Day:
Wow, where do I start with a typical day! We love South Padre Island because there is so much to do and it's all within 3 to four miles of South Padre Island KOA, meaning that each day is something different and may include:
- bike rides to the beach or a longer bike ride for lunch, drinks, appetizers, or the sunsets
- drive up to the end of the Island to drive the car on the beach or ride ATVs or ride horses on the beach
- enjoy an eco tour to learn about the fish and bay ecology and watch the dolphin frolicking in the Bay
- several times during our stay we had to walk over to Pier 19 to watch the sunset, sip a margarita, rent some fishing gear to catch dinner off the end of the pier, enjoy an appetizer or dinner, or watch the pirate ship attack the pirate on the pier
- go fishing on the Osprey or another fishing boat
- do all the typical beach things - make sand castles, fly kites, play football or bocce ball, toss frisbees, or play in the surf
- go parasailing, for a sunset sail on a catamaran, or ride horse on the beach
- try some of the great restaurants and enjoy drinks at the beach bars or lively night spots
- head across the causeway for golf, the pirate ship, or the fast speedboat
To lean more about each of these, read our Vacation on South Padre Island article.
Cool Nearby Activities:
As mentioned earlier, South Padre Island KOA is close to lots to see and do - within 5 minutes you can be on the beach, riding horses, parasailing over Lagnua Madre Bay, enjoying a good meal or listening to some live music, dolphin watching, or fishing.
At the west end of the Park on Pier 19 is Osprey Fishing Trips which offers a variety of fishing excursions including bay fishing, deep sea fishing, Brownsville Port trips, and more. Osprey's fishing vessels sail right from the Pier 19 Dock. You're likely to catch a variety of fish and the Pier 19 restaurant will cook your catch for you. Can't get much better than that. If you don't catch any fish, then Pier 19 has some excellent food - all with a free magnificent sunset.
Across the street from South Padre Island KOA is Schlitterbahn Waterpark which during the summer has lots of fun and thrilling rides to enjoy. And within a five minute walk you can go on a dolphin watch, rent jet skis, go fishing, or parasail.
If you don't want to drive, then the free South Padre Island "Wave" will take you anywhere on the Island and it stops every 30 minutes in front of the KOA.
Check out our Clickable South Padre Island Map to find all of the above and read our Top Ten Things To See And Do In South Padre Island. You might also check out our South Padre Island Vacation Article.
If you like to golf, you'll have to cross back to the mainland but there are several golf courses within an hour or so. Here is a Golf Course Locator Map and our list of the Best Courses in the Rio Grande Valley.
Make sure you check with the office, they typically have some coupons for discounts on food or fishing and more.
- Overall Rating:
- Scenic Beauty:
- Things To Do:
Additional Pictures of South Padre Island KOA
Texas Outside uses a tough rating scale and it’s difficult for a campground to get a “10”. Each park is rated on:
- Scenic Beauty: a campground that is flat with no trees or character gets a “1” and hills, lots of trees, beautiful lake site, and lush ground cover gets a “10”
- Park Condition: the cleaner, well kept, and maintained campgrounds receive high scores
- Amenities: we are looking for lots of amenities like restrooms, dump stations, playgrounds, boat ramps, shelters, concession stand, rental toys, and more.
- Campsites: low scores are given for sites that are right next to each other (good for getting to know your neighbors, but not what we’re looking for when we’re camping); have no lantern holder, no water or electricity, no fire pit, no grill, or no picnic table (or it’s rotten wood); have no trees and no view; the ground cover is crushed rock (my bare feet hate that stuff!); and they require a lot of work to get your rig level.
- Things To Do: Bonus points are given for campgrounds that offer lots of fun things to do at the park or very nearby – this includes: biking, hiking, climbing, boating, entertainment, golf, swimming, fishing, volleyball, horseshoes, and more