Category: United States

Burlington, Vermont

A- Overview:
Burlington, the largest population center in Vermont, is only 76 miles south of Montreal, Canada. The city was founded in 1763 and is popular destinations in New England. Outside Magazine even named the city a “Dream Town.” People come to Burlington, and Vermont, to enjoy the outdoors and the small town life.
Burlington lies the shore of Lake Champlain, which forms a beautiful backdrop to the town and its many activities. Skiing, hiking and spectacular scenery are an essential part of life in Vermont and in Burlington. The mountains and hills, the national parks, the ski areas, the lakes, and the dramatic change of seasons draw many visitors.

Indoors and out, Burlington has much to offer. The Church Street Marketplace is a pedestrian mall filled with small boutiques, cafes, and craft vendors. Burlington has a wonderfully independent culture all its own. The city is a favorite of residents of Vermont, who come to Burlington to experience the festive hospitality of the city.

Burlington’s unique small town, yet sophisticated culture, its generous and happy spirit, and its incomparable scenery all combine to inspire and to refresh.

B- City Information:
The Spirit of Ethan Allen
Burlington Boat House, College St. at Battery St.
802-862-9685
This replica of an old paddle-boat takes people on narrated cruises upon Lake Champlain. Guests can eat dinner as they drift by the Adirondacks and the Green Mountains.

Lake Champlain Basin Science Center
One College St.
802-864-1848
This center has presentations about the ecology, history, and culture of the lake region. The hands-on exhibits are a favorite with children and adults.

Ethan Allen Homestead
North Ave., off Rte. 127, north of Burlington
802-865-4556
This museum is dedicated to the life of Vermont’s famous founding father. The house is filled with colonial furniture and exhibits, and the nearby trails are beautiful.

Shelburne Museum
Rte. 7, 5 mi south of Burlington
802-985-3346.
This museum is located on 45 acres and includes 37 buildings. Its collections number more than 80,000 objects, including 18th- and 19th-century period homes and furniture, fine and folk art, farm tools, more than 200 carriages and sleighs, Audubon prints, an old-fashioned jail, and even a private railroad car from the days of steam! Kids of all ages will love the antique toy exhibit.

Shelburne Farms
West of Rte. 7 at the junction of Harbor and Bay Rds., 6 mi south of Burlington
802-985-8686
This 1,400-acre property is an educational and cultural resource center. Visitors can see a working dairy farm, get to milk a cow and get up close to many other farm animals at the Children’s Farmyard, watch the making of world-famous Vermont cheddar cheese, listen to nature lectures, or simply stroll the immaculate grounds stretching along the Lake Champlain waterfront.

Vermont Teddy Bear Company
2236 Shelburne Rd., Shelburne
802-985-3001
This teddy bear headquarters loves to talk about toys and bears of all shapes and sizes. A children’s play tent is set up outdoors in summer, and visitors are welcome to tour the beautiful 57-acre property.

Vermont Wildflower Farm
Rte. 7, 5 mi south of the Shelburne Museum
802-425-3500
This 6-acre farm features eye-popping displays of various floral arrangements throughout the year: violets in the spring, daisies and black-eyed Susans for summer, and a full palette of fall colors.

Green Mountain Audobon Nature Center
18 mi southeast of Burlington, Huntington-Richmond Rd., Richmond
802-434-3068
The center’s 300 acres of diverse habitats are a wildlife sanctuary filled with trails. Educational activities appeal to both kids and adults.

Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge
Swanton, 36 mi north of Burlington, 36 mi north of Burlington
802-868-4781
This refuge includes 6,300 acres of federally protected wetlands, meadows, and woods. Bird-watchers and other outdoor enthusiasts can walk, canoe, jog, picnic, and have a great time in this beautiful preserve.

C- Attractions/Things To Do:
Lake Champlain Basin Science Center
One College St.
802-864-1848
This center presents a variety of information about the ecology, history, and culture of the lake region. The hands-on exhibits are a favorite with children and adults.

Ethan Allen Homestead
North Ave., off Rte. 127, north of Burlington
802-865-4556
This museum is dedicated to the life of Vermont’s famous founding father. The house is filled with colonial furniture and historical exhibits. The nearby trails are beautiful in every season.

Shelburne Museum
Rte. 7, 5 mi south of Burlington
802-985-3346.
This extensive museum is located on 45 acres and includes 37 buildings. Its collections feature over 80,000 objects including 18th- and 19th-century period homes and furniture, fine and folk art, farm tools, more than 200 carriages and sleighs, Audubon prints, an old-fashioned jail, and even a private railroad car from the days of steam! Kids of all ages will love the antique toy exhibit.

Shelburne Farms
West of Rte. 7 at the junction of Harbor and Bay Rds., 6 mi south of Burlington
802-985-8686
This 1,400-acre property is an educational and cultural resource center. Visitors can see a working dairy farm, get to milk a cow and get up close to many other farm animals at the Children’s Farmyard, watch the making of world-famous Vermont cheddar cheese, listen to nature lectures, or simply stroll the immaculate grounds stretching along the Lake Champlain waterfront.

Vermont Teddy Bear Company
2236 Shelburne Rd., Shelburne
802-985-3001
This teddy bear headquarters loves to talk about toys and bears of all shapes and sizes. A children’s play tent is set up outdoors in summer, and visitors are welcome to tour the beautiful 57-acre property. It’s almost too much to “bear.”

Vermont Wildflower Farm
Rte. 7, 5 mi south of the Shelburne Museum
802-425-3500
This 6-acre farm features eye-popping displays with changing floral arrangements throughout the year: violets in the spring, daisies and black-eyed Susans for summer, and a full palette of fall colors.

Green Mountain Audobon Nature Center
18 mi southeast of Burlington, Huntington-Richmond Rd., Richmond
802-434-3068
The center’s 300 acres of diverse habitats are a wildlife sanctuary filled with walking trails. Educational activities will enthrall kids and adults alike.

Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge
Swanton, 36 mi north of Burlington, 36 mi north of Burlington
802-868-4781
This refuge includes 6,300 acres of federally protected wetlands, meadows, and woods. Bird-watchers and other outdoor enthusiasts can walk, canoe, jog, picnic, and have a great time in this beautiful preserve.

Salt Lake City, Utah

A- Overview:
Salt Lake City is an ideal place to spend a few days with the family and relax in a pleasant, small city atmosphere. Located amid the towering mountains of the Wasatch Front, Salt Lake City offers beautiful scenery and world-class sporting opportunities. Almost one million people call Salt Lake City and the surrounding areas home, a strong testament to the attractions of this special city.
Salt Lake City is probably best known as the world headquarters of the Mormon Church. A majority of the citizens of Utah are Mormons (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints), many of them descendents of original settlers of the Utah territory. The Church’s prominence has led the people of Salt Lake City to erect several stunning monuments to their faith and the to the trials of the original settlers. The Mormon Temple was erected in 1893 after 40 years of hard work by expert craftsmen. Only confirmed Mormons are allowed to enter, but the public may tour Temple Square and enjoy its many monuments. The Mormon Tabernacle was designed with acoustics that enable a listener seated in the last row to hear a nail drop from the lectern at the front. It is here that the world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir performs. Visitors interested in their families’ roots may use the facilities of the Family History Library, the largest library of genealogical information in the world.

Outside the city, Utah’s beautiful landscape and unique geological features continually amaze visitors. The Great Salt Lake is the second saltiest body of water in the world, and it has been mysteriously refilling itself in recent years, leading to an explosion of life in and around the lake. The Timpanogos Cave National Monument leads to several miles of exciting and interesting underground sights. The center of the caverns opens up to display a vast array of dazzling white crystals.

Salt Lake City’s greatest outdoor venue continues to be its mountains. The Wasatch Mountains offer some of the best skiing in the world and are one reason why Olympic officials chose Salt Lake City to host the winter Olympics in 2002. For years, travelers tended to overlook this serenely beautiful, sunlit, historic city, but this is no longer true. The whole world seems to be coming to Salt Lake City, and the city and its people are ready.

B- City Information:
Population: 181,743

Elevation: 4266 feet above sea level

Land Area: 109.1

Location: Located adjacent to the Great Salt Lake in the central section of Utah, at the intersections of Interstate 84 from the north, Interstate 15 from the south, and Interstate 80 from the east and west.

Time Zone: Salt Lake City is in the Mountain Time Zone (when it’s noon in Salt Lake City, it’s 11am in Los Angeles and 2pm in New York City). Salt Lake City observes Daylight Savings Time from April – October

Weather:

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Average temp. (°F)
31.8
36.5
44.8
51.9
60.3
70.7
78.0
77.0
66.9
55.5
42.2
33.0

High temperature (°F)
38.5
43.5
52.9
61.1
70.0
81.5
89.0
87.9
77.5
65.0
49.8
39.6

Low temperature (°F)
25.2
29.4
36.6
42.6
50.6
59.7
67.0
66.0
56.4
46.0
34.5
26.4

Precipitation (in)
1.6
1.6
2.0
2.2
2.3
0.8
0.7
0.7
1.3
1.7
1.6
1.3

Climate

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Days with precipitation
10
9
10
10
8
5
4
6
5
6
8
9

Wind speed (mph)
7.5
8.1
9.3
9.6
9.4
9.4
9.5
9.7
9.1
8.5
8.0
7.6

Morning humidity (%)
79
78
70
66
65
59
52
53
61
68
75
79

Afternoon humidity (%)
69
60
46
39
34
26
22
24
30
41
59
71

Sunshine (%)
45
54
64
68
72
80
83
82
82
72
53
42

Days clear of clouds
6
5
7
7
9
14
17
16
16
14
8
6

Partly cloudy days
6
7
8
9
10
10
10
11
8
8
7
6

Cloudy days
19
16
16
14
12
6
4
4
5
9
15
18

Snowfall (in)
13.6
9.8
9.3
5.0
0.6
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.1
1.3
7.0
11.8

Local Seasons:

As the capital city of Utah as well as being both a business city and a leisure destination, Salt Lake City sees a multitude of visitors year round. Visitors come to enjoy the nearby mountains, explore Temple Square; the worldwide headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, as well as to hear the world renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir. In the winter, temperatures in the city can reach into the 40’s F during the day, while dropping to the 20’s F at night. This is mild compared to the nearby mountains. Spring and summer are quite pleasant. In the spring, temperatures rise about 10 F each month, beginning in March, making it a great time to explore the many out of doors activities and sites available. Summers are very dry with low humidity, but temperatures can approach 90 F, making it seem much warmer. Fall is lovely with the temperatures comfortably cool in the day and just right for a warm drink by the fire at night. Whatever time of year, this remarkable city welcomes its guests with warm and friendly atmosphere.

How to Get There:

By Car

Major routes into the area are I-80 from the east and west, I-15 from the north and south, and I-84 from the northwest.

By Air:

Salt Lake City International Airport

776 North Terminal Drive

Salt Lake City, UT 84116

801-575-2400

The airport is just north of I-80 at Exit 115, on the west side of the city. It is served by many of the national airlines, certain international carriers, and a variety of regional carriers.

Ground Transportation

Most of the major car rental companies, as well as taxis and limousines, are available at the airport and throughout the city.

By Train

Amtrak

340 South 600 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84101

800-USA-RAIL

By Bus

Greyhound

160 West S Temple
Salt Lake City, UT 84101

801-355-9579

How to Get Around:

Getting around town is quite easy by car. The city has wide streets and ample parking. In the summer, from June – August, the city also operates the Pioneer Trolley (801-240-6279). It provides transportation in the Temple Square area.

National Holidays

New Year’s Day, January 1

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the third Monday in January

President’ Day, the third Monday in February

Memorial Day, the last Monday in May

Independence Day, July 4

Labor Day, the first Monday in September

Thanksgiving Day, the fourth Thursday in November

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, December 24 and 25

New Year’s Eve, December 31

C- Attractions/Things To Do:
Temple Square
North Visitors’ Center, 50 W. North Temple St.
801-240-2534
This 10-acre expanse is the center of sites related to the Mormon Church.. Two visitor centers house exhibits and art with religious themes.

Salt Lake Temple
The six-spired granite temple is open only to church members, but the public may enter the other buildings and monuments spread across the beautifully landscaped grounds.

Joseph Smith Memorial Building
801-240-1266
This Mormon community center is where visitors can learn how to conduct computerized genealogical research. Other attractions include a film on early Mormon history and the emigration of Mormons to the Salt Lake Valley in the mid-19th century.

Museum of Church History and Art
West Temple St.
801-240-3310
This museum displays Mormon artifacts, paintings, fabric art and sculptures.

Family History Library
West Temple St.
801-240-2331
This massive genealogical library provides free public access to the Mormons’ huge collection of genealogical records, one of the largest in the world.

Beehive House
South Temple St.
801-240-2671
Built in 1854, this house was the home of Brigham Young while he served as territorial governor.

Hansen Planetarium
15 S. State St.
801-538-2098
The museum exhibits include a moon rock display among its many exhibits. A domed theater hosts laser shows set to music, as well as various live stage performances.

State Capitol
300 N. State St.
801-538-1563
Completed in 1915, the State Capitol is a lovely Renaissance-style building featuring depression-era murals in the rotunda, which depict events from Utah’s past.

Pioneer Memorial Museum
300 N. Main St.
801-538-1050
This museum lies directly west of the state capitol grounds, and it holds thousands of artifacts including tools and carriages from the late 1800s and a doll and toy collection.

Marmalade District
West of the Capitol Building
This neighborhood contains many pioneer houses that are beautiful both inside and out. It’s a wonderful place to go for information on pioneer life.

Utah Museum of Natural History
University of Utah, 200 S. 1340 East
801-581-4303
This large museum presents Native American artifacts, dinosaur skeletons and hands-on science adventures. This is a great place to take the kids.

Great Salt Lake
About 17 mi west of downtown Salt Lake City via I-80
Water flows into the lake, but there is no outlet other than evaporation. This causes the lake to be the second saltiest body of water on Earth, surpassed only by the Dead Sea. There are two beaches here, each with showers.

Wasatch Mountains
Rising to more than 11,000 ft, the mountains provide an impressive backdrop and recreational escape for city dwellers. Resorts here offer hiking, biking, arts festivals and concerts in summer, and skiing in winter.

Park City
29 mi. east of Salt Lake City via I-80
Utah’s premier ski destination, Park City’s three ski areas will host much of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. The historic Main Street has a museum, galleries, shops, and restaurants.

Hogle Zoo
2600 Sunnyside Ave.
801-582-1631
This wonderful zoo has more than 1,300 animals in exhibits spread out over a large, spacious area.

D- Family Fun Attractions:
Family History Library
West Temple St.
801-240-2331
This massive genealogical library provides free public access to the Mormons’ huge collection of genealogical records, one of the largest in the world.

Beehive House
South Temple St.
801-240-2671
Built in 1854, this house was the home of Brigham Young while he served as territorial governor.

Hansen Planetarium
15 S. State St.
801-538-2098
The museum exhibits include a moon rock display among its many exhibits. A domed theater hosts laser shows set to music, as well as various live stage performances.

State Capitol
300 N. State St.
801-538-1563
Completed in 1915, the State Capitol is a lovely Renaissance-style building featuring depression-era murals in the rotunda, which depict events from Utah’s past.

Pioneer Memorial Museum
300 N. Main St.
801-538-1050
This museum lies directly west of the state capitol grounds, and it holds thousands of artifacts including tools and carriages from the late 1800s and a doll and toy collection.

Marmalade District
West of the Capitol Building
This neighborhood contains many pioneer houses that are beautiful both inside and out. It’s a wonderful place to go for information on pioneer life.

Utah Museum of Natural History
University of Utah, 200 S. 1340 East
801-581-4303
This large museum presents Native American artifacts, dinosaur skeletons and hands-on science adventures. This is a great place to take the kids.

Great Salt Lake
About 17 mi. west of downtown Salt Lake City via I-80
Water flows into the lake, but there is no outlet other than evaporation. This causes the lake to be the second saltiest body of water on Earth, surpassed only by the Dead Sea. There are two beaches here, each with showers.

Wasatch Mountains
Rising to more than 11,000 ft, the mountains provide an impressive backdrop and recreational escape for city dwellers. Resorts here offer hiking, biking, arts festivals and concerts in summer, and skiing in winter.

Park City
29 mi. east of Salt Lake City via I-80
Utah’s premier ski destination, Park City’s three ski areas will host much of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. The historic Main Street has a museum, galleries, shops, and restaurants.

Hogle Zoo
2600 Sunnyside Ave.
801-582-1631
This wonderful zoo has more than 1,300 animals in exhibits spread out over a large, spacious area.

E- Events & Entertainment:
Events

January

First Night Salt Lake City

Location: Downtown

Held December 31st from 6pm to midnight

801-359-5118

Admission Charged

First Night is a New Year’s Eve Celebration of the Arts, with music, art, theatre, dance, fireworks, and kid’s activities held in indoor and outdoor venues. There are two fireworks shows; the early bird’s Children’s Fireworks at 9:00 PM, and the classic midnight Fireworks Finale.

April

Salt Lake City Marathon & 5K- Run, Bump and Boogie

Location: Starting line is at the Olympic Legacy Bridge at the University of Utah, the site of the 2002 Winter Olympic Athlete Village

Held end of April

801-412-6060

Admission Charged for marathon and 5K run, free to watch

The Salt Lake City Marathon & 5K is certified and sanctioned through USATF, and is a qualifier for the Boston Marathon. The 26.2 mile scenic downhill course makes it an appealing run for a wide range of entrants. Entry classes will include open, masters and wheelchair divisions and will have 17 age divisions. Top runners from around the world will enjoy crisp, cool running weather in April, in a setting that surrounds them with snow-capped peaks contrasting with spring blossoms, all along a flat and slightly downhill 26.2 mile course. The gentle course skirts the base of the towering Wasatch Mountains, passes by cozy neighborhoods and elegant estates, and winds through Salt Lake’s legendary wide streets, into the city center. The music rocks and crowds of enthusiastic spectators cheer participants on, all the way to the electric finish at the Olympic Legacy Plaza at The Gateway, in downtown Salt Lake.

VegFest

Location: Plaza of the downtown public library

Usually held end of April

801-355-3320

Admission Free

Some of Utah’s best live music is featured; along with jugglers, face painting, bounce houses, some of the best vegan (meat and dairy free) food around.

May

Prehistory Week

Location: Various venues in Salt Lake City

Usually held early May

801-533-3529

Celebrate Utah’s diverse and fascinating prehistory at events statewide. During Prehistory Week you can participate in tours, demonstrations, lectures, workshops, and hands-on archaeology.

Masonic Open House

Location: Masonic Center

Usually held mid May

650 East South Temple

801-450-1421

Free & Accepted Masons cordially invites the public to attend their annual open house which includes tours of the historic Masonic Center.

Iris (flower) Show

Location: Sugarhouse Garden Center

1602 East 2100 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84106

Held on a Saturday in mid May and a Saturday at the end of May

The iris has sometimes been called the poor man’s orchid; however, people from all walks of life enjoy these beautiful flowers. The newer irises that have been developed in recent years are quite different in texture, form and color than the irises that were developed years ago. The first show features early blooming iris and the second show features later blooming iris. Both shows are judged.

June

Salute Our Military Day

Location: Hogle Zoo

Usually held the last week of June

801-584-1729

As a thank you to all who serve in the United States military, Utah’s Hogle Zoo hosts “Military Appreciation Week”. All military personnel and their immediate family (spouse and dependent children) receive free admission to Utah’s Hogle Zoo.

November

Psychic Fridays

Location: Great Salt Lake Marina

Held Friday, Saturday and Sundays in November

801-252-9336

Enjoy live music and nightly events every Friday and Saturday nights. Get a psychic reading on Friday night. Sunday Football from 10:30am-3:00pm weekly.

Special Olympics Utah Fall Sports Classic

Location: Utah State University

Held end of November

801-363-1111

More than 700 Special Olympics athletes participate in basketball, bocce, aquatics, gymnastics and power lifting.

December

Festival of Trees

Location: South Towne Expo Center

Usually held early December

801-588-3674.

The Festival of Trees is magic! With over 700 uniquely decorated Christmas trees, wreaths, playhouses, centerpieces, and gingerbread houses, the South Towne Expo center becomes a magical wonderland.

Arts & Entertainment

Dance

Ballet West
50 West 200 South
Salt Lake City, Utah 84101

801-323-6900

Call for performance schedules

Admission Charged

Ballet West ranks among the premier professional ballet companies in the United States. With 45 dancers, the company strives to bring new levels of excellence to ballet through innovative choreography, and to present balanced programs that represent a wide range of ballet styles and viewpoints.

Utah Opera

50 West 200 South
Salt Lake City, Utah 84101
801-323-6868

Season runs October – May

Call for schedule of performances

Admission Charged

Symphony

Utah Symphony

Abravanel Hall
123 W. South Temple
Salt Lake City, UT 84101

801-533-NOTE (6683)

Call for schedule of performances

Admission Charged

Founded in 1940, the Utah Symphony has become a vital presence on the American music scene through its distinctive performances worldwide and its well-known recording legacy. The orchestra became recognized as a leading ensemble largely through the efforts of Maurice Abravanel, it’s Music Director from 1947 to 1979.

Theatre

Hale Centre Theatre

3333 South Decker Lake Drive (2200 west)

West Valley City, UT 84119

801-984-9000

Call for performance schedule

Admission Charged

Hale Centre Theatre performs comedies and musicals year-round and is Utah’s highest attended live theatre.

Off Broadway Theatre

272 South Main St.

Salt Lake City, UT 84101

801-355-4628

Call for performance schedule

Admission Charged

Home of Utah’s long-running improv comedy troupe, Laughing Stock and known as Utah’s wackiest place for great parodies, comedies, and musicals.

Repertory Dance Theatre

Located in downtown Salt Lake City

801-534-1000

Call for performance schedule

Admission Charged

Founded in 1966, RDT is America’s premiere modern dance repertory company.

Broadway in Utah

610 East South Temple

Salt Lake City, Utah 84102

801-355-5502

Call for performance schedule

Admission Charged

Touring Broadway shows are presented at this theater.

Pioneer Theatre Company

300 South 1400 East

Salt Lake City, UT 84112

801-581-6961

Season runs from September to May, call for performance schedule.

Admission Charged

Utah’s professional theatre company performs Broadway-quality plays; from classic to contemporary to world premieres plus large-scale musicals.

Sports

Utah Jazz

Professional Basketball (NBA)

Games play at the Delta Center

801-355-DUNK

Season runs October – April

Sal Lake Buzz

Minor League Baseball
Games played at Franklin Covey Field

801-485-3800

Call for additional information

Utah Starzz

Professional Women’s Basketball
Games played at the Delta Center

801-355-DUNK

Season is in the fall

Utah Grizzlies

Professional Hockey
Games played at the “E” Center

801-988-8000

Season runs October – April

South Padre Island, Texas

A- Overview:
This popular seaside resort area on the Gulf Coast at the southern tip of Texas, includes the island and the neighboring mainland town of Port Isabel. Its 34 mile long stretch of white sand is bordered to the east by the Gulf of Mexico and to the west by the Laguna Madre Bay. The conveniences and attractions of a modern resort, coupled with miles of pristine island terrain are what draws thousands of visitors to the area each year and has brought many back to live.

South Padre Island is a dream come true for those that love to play in the water or soar through the sky. There are several places on the Island to rent equipment. Jet skis, wave runners, kayaks, and Hobie cats can be rented for as little as one-half hour or for longer periods of time. Windsurfing and kiteboarding are also popular water sports on the Island. There is a wide array of choices for touring the Island by land or by water. A horseback ride on the beach at sunset is one of several ways to end a perfect day in the tropics. South Padre Island is the spot to try those water sports that you have imagined yourself trying as you sat at home dreaming of a vacation in the sun.

Kiteboarding is fast becoming the hottest new water sport, and South Padre Island offers year round, world-class kiteboarding conditions. The Laguna Madre’s waist deep water and consistent winds give everyone from beginners to expert riders near perfect flat-water conditions in which to hone their skills. Advanced kiteboarders will enjoy riding the Laguna Madre and the waves of the Gulf of Mexico.

Other local activities include boating, swimming, fishing, surfing, sailboarding, beachcombing on long white beaches, birding, camping, in-line skating, parasailing, and bungee jumping.

Among the places to see in Port Isabel is the lighthouse, that was built in 1853 and is now a State Historic Site. You can climb to the top for a bird’s-eye view of the coast. Boats from Port Isabel’s fleet can be seen docked all around the harbor area, and you can watch them head out every morning.

The natural surroundings of South Padre Island and the Rio Grande Valley give birders and wildlife enthusiasts the opportunity to study and observe a wide variety of species. On South Padre Island, nature lovers will appreciate and enjoy the last 34 miles of ecologically significant, unspoiled beaches and sand dunes along the Gulf of Mexico. Due primarily to its location, South Padre Island is a feeding ground for various migrating birds. The fall months, namely October and November, bring birds headed south for the winter.

The white, sandy beaches of South Padre are well known throughout the United States. In fact, the beaches of South Padre Island are ranked among America’s top 10 beaches, with the emerald water of the Gulf of Mexico serving as the perfect backdrop for spectacular sunsets.

The island is perfect for sailing, fishing, windsurfing, dolphin watching, horseback riding, shopping, and golf. The evenings come alive with dining, dancing and music. Large selections of fine restaurants are available, and many will cook your catch! South Padre Island is the perfect place for a for a change of pace in a vacation paradise.

B- City Information:
Population: 2,422

Time Zone: Central Time. When it is noon at South Padre Island, it is 1:00 PM in New York City and 10:00 AM in Los Angeles. Daylight saving time is observed from April-October.

Elevation: At Sea Level

Area Code: 956

Land Area: 1.8 Square Miles

Location: Padre Island National Seashore is 150 miles southeast of San Antonio, Texas

Average Temperatures:

Month
High
Low

January
67F
47F

February
70F
51F

March
74F
56F

April
80F
63F

May
85F
69F

June
91F
74F

July
94F
75F

August
94F
75F

September
90F
71F

October
85F
65F

November
74F
54F

December
69F
50F

When to Visit:

Spring, early summer and fall are ideal times to visit the this area of Texas, though the climate is enjoyable year round. Breezes blow off the bay, so bring a sweater for the afternoons and evenings. From late March to mid June and from mid September through mid November, days are usually warm but not too hot and evenings are pleasant.

Holidays:
Jan. 1 New Year’s Day
January ( 3rd Monday) Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday
January 19 Confederate Heroes Day
February (3rd Monday) Presidents’ Day
March 2 Texas Independence Day
May (Last Monday) Memorial Day
June 19 Emancipation Day
July 4 Independence Day
August 27 Lyndon B. Johnson’s birthday
September (1st Monday) Labor Day
November 11 Veterans’ Day
November (4th Thursday) Thanksgiving Day
December 25 Christmas Day

Time & Temperature: 1-956-546-2481

Weather Forecast: 1-956-546-5378

Arriving

By Air: Harlingen’s Valley International Airport and Brownsville/South Padre Island International Airport in Brownsville are easily accessible.

By Car

The Queen Isabella Causeway is a 2.5-mile modern structure that links the Island to the mainland of Texas at Port Isabel. It provides easy access (and the only access by land) to South Padre Island.

From Houston: Take U.S. Highway 59 southwest to U.S. Highway 77 south (380 miles) to Texas Highway 100 east.

From San Antonio: Take Interstate 37 south to U.S. Highway 77 south (294 miles) to Texas Highway 100 east.

From Dallas: Take Interstate 35 east to San Antonio. Interstate 37 south to U.S. Highway 77 south to Texas Highway 100.

From Corpus Christi: U.S. Highway 77 south to Texas Highway 100 east. (166 miles)

C- Attractions/Things To Do:
The Laguna Madre Nature Trail

this wheelchair accessible facility can be accessed through the circle driveway leading up to the South Padre Island Convention Centre at 7355 Padre Boulevard.

The boardwalk is open at all times and is free of charge.

Known locally as the birding boardwalk, it provides access to the Laguna Madre bay for birders and other outdoor enthusiasts. From the 1,500-foot boardwalk that extends across four acres of wetland, onlookers can see egrets, herons, oystercatchers, terns, and the White-Morph Redish Egret wading in the shallow water of the Laguna Madre.

The boardwalk also takes nature lovers over wetlands and around a freshwater pond, providing them with an excellent opportunity to view a variety of rails, soras, kingfishers, moorhens, and numerous other species.

There is also a dedicated “Warbler Rest Area” adjacent to the boardwalk frigatebirds, boobies, and other pelagic birds. Whether you tour South Padre Island by car, boat, or on foot, your birding experience will be a special one.

Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge

(956) 748-3607.

The Visitor’s Center is open October 1 through April 30 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily. The Center is open only on weekends during the month of May from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and is closed June 1 through September 30. The Center is also closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

Entrance fee charged per car.

A short 20-minute drive from South Padre Island is Located east of Rio Hondo and bordering the Laguna Madre bay, this 45,000-acre federal preserve is one of the jewels of the refuge system and has a record number of 411 birds documented. It is also home to endangered species such as the ocelot and jaguarundi. Other animals found at the refuge are javelinas, deer, Texas tortoises, indigo snakes, bobcats, coyotes and occasionally, mountain lions.

Andy Bowie Park

761-3704
Located on the northern end of South Padre Island, this park provides beachfront picnic pavilions, concessions, children’s playground, shower facilities, Group rental facilities are also available with prior arrangement for beach parties.

Edwin K. Atwood Park
Located 1.5 miles north of Andy Bowie Park on Park Road 100, this park offers a beachfront picnic pavilion, a concession, and a beach access road, which provides twenty miles of beach driving. 761-3704

Isla Blanca Park

(956) 761-5493.

On the southernmost tip of South Padre Island, this park is the crown jewel of the Cameron County Park System. Over one mile of clean, white beach along the Gulf of Mexico offers abundant beachfront recreational facilities. Enjoy picnic and playground areas, the south fishing jetty, restaurants, clubs, University of Texas Pan American exhibits, and the Chapel By The Sea non-denominational church. There is also a full-marina with daily charters, a water park, retail shops and a boat ramp.

Laguna Madre Nature Trail
Cutting through the tall marsh grass are two boardwalks made of recycled material. Each boardwalk ends in a blind that allows people to become an unobtrusive observer of a host of birds, fish, turtles, dragonflies, lizards,and an alligator or two. Located just off to the side of the South Padre Island Convention Centre, the trail starts at the Warbler Rest Area, a plot of ground seeded with flowers designed to attract the winged creatures on a year-round basis. Located 4 miles north of the Queen Isabella Causeway. For more information call 800-SO-PADRE.

The Point Isabel Lighthouse Complex
421 Queen Isabella Blvd.

(956) 943-2262.

Daily, 9:00 – 5:00

Home to the newly renovated Point Isabel Lighthouse and the Keeper’s Cottage. In 1852, Congress approved the construction of a beacon in the Laguna Madre to support the growing ship industry of the South Texas Coast. The Point Isabel Lighthouse was built to protect and guide ships through Brazos Santiago and the barrier islands. During the Civil War, the light was closed and the tower was used as a lookout for both the Confederate and Union armies. The lighthouse was lit again after the war. In 1880, the lighthouse was renovated to accommodate a new light system. The lighthouse was officially closed in 1905. In 1952, the lighthouse was opened as a state park and is the only lighthouse on the Texas coast to be opened to the public. A replica of the Keeper’s Cottage houses the Port Isabel Chamber of Commerce, historic displays, and tourist information.

Port Isabel Historical Museum
317 E. Railroad Street

Port Isabel, TX

(956) 943-7602

Tuesday -Saturday, 10:00-4:00

Housed in the historic Champion Building, built in 1899 as a dry goods store and residence, it is one of the oldest structures in Port Isabel. The Museum houses numerous hands on exhibits, audio presentations and videos that commemorate the colorful history of the Port Isabel area, the stage of some of the most important chapters of Texas, Mexican and American History. The museum has two exhibit levels, a theater, gift shop and one of the largest collections of Mexican artifacts from the U.S. Mexican War. On the south end of the building is the famous “fish mural” painted in 1906 by a local fisherman.

Sea Turtle, Inc.

6617 Padre Blvd.

(956) 761-1720

Tuesday – Sunday, 10:00 – 4:00

Small admission charge

Did you know that picking a turtle up by its shell without supporting the tummy is like being lifted by our finger, toe nails or hair? Founded by Illa Loetscher, affectionately known as the “Turtle Lady”, this enviro-friendly organization is dedicated to caring for and educating the public about endangered sea turtles. If you see a sea turtle, call the Turtle Hotline (956) 380-9677.

South Padre Island Center

2 Wallace L. Reed Rd.

956-943-0051.

The Center occupies The Old Coast Guard Station, the only historic building on South Padre Island., With its New England style design and lookout tower, it is a popular local tourist attraction. It was built in 1923 and served as an active Coast Guard station until the 1970s.

It was renovated in 1987 to house the University of Texas at Brownsville/Texas Southmost College’s first extension campus. The SPI Center is home to the University’s South Padre Island Technical Education Center

South Padre Island Convention and Visitors Center Whaling Wall #53
Built in 1992, this modern, airy, and colorful building located four miles north of the Queen Isabella causeway was created to host a wide variety of events.

The Convention Center is also the site of the famous Whaling Wall #53 by acclaimed environmental artist Wyland. Wyland wanted to show homage to whales and other creatures of the sea by devoting his talent to painting 100 walls across the world. His “Whaling Walls” capture the grandeur of his subjects. Spanning 153 feet in length, covering 3 walls and 23 feet in height, it took over 111 gallons of paint, 100 volunteers, and nearly four days to complete. Wyland donated his time and artwork, while local residents, private sponsors, and public organizations donated the paint, scaffolding, air guns, and lighting.

The Treasures of the Gulf Museum
317 E. Railroad Street

(956) 943-7602 for more information and current admission prices.

Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00 – 4:00.

The museum tells the story of the three ill-fated Spanish ships wrecked off the northern end of South Padre Island in 1554 near present day Port Mansfield, 30 miles north of Port Isabel. The exhibit incorporates murals, artifacts and hands-on activities to interpret this event. Actual artifacts from the shipwreck include silver planchas, or disks, coins, and weapons.

The Children’s Discovery lab features hands-on exhibits that teach visitors about marine archeology. Visitors are allowed to try on period clothing and map out a treasure site. The children’s section has a small-scale ship in which children can imagine themselves sailing the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The museum also has a “ship” theater and a nautical-inspired gift shop

University of Texas Pan American Coastal Studies Laboratory

Located in Isla Blanca Park, near the north pavilion

956-761-2644

A satellite of the University of Texas Pan American,

Sunday -Friday, 1:30 – 4:30.

Charge per vehicle charge to enter the park
The Coastal Studies Laboratory studies and exhibits marine life such as crustaceans and marine vertebrates, and plant life.

North Padre Island National Seashore, Said to be the longest barrier island in the world, North Padre Island extends 113 miles from Corpus Christi almost to the Mexican border, with much of that part of the national

D- Family Fun Attractions:
Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark

Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark is Texas’ newest waterpark on the beautiful beaches of South Padre Island. Splash into more than a dozen family water attractions, including the world’s largest surfing ride and a five story Sand Castle.

South Padre Island Convention Centre Sand Castle

7355 Padre Blvd. on the north end of the Island.

The sand castle may be viewed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
The South Padre Island Convention Centre is the location for the largest year-round sand castle in the State of Texas. Sons of the Beach Sand Castle Wizards, who complete in sand castle building contests throughout the world, built the sand castle and restore it regularly. They use 45 tons of sand mixed with an estimated 50 pounds of clay and 200 gallons of water to build the 10 feet tall statue. Built on a 10′ X 16′ base, it is topped off with an 80% water/20% Elmer’s glue solution. In all, about half a gallon of Elmer’s glue is used to coat the castle.

The sand castle has become a year-round treat for Island guests, and at times, the foreground is changed to welcome large groups and conferences, or to mark a special event.

Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge

(956) 748-3607.

The Visitor’s Center is open October 1 through April 30 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily. The Center is open only on weekends during the month of May from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and is closed June 1 through September 30. The Center is also closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

Entrance fee charged per car.

A short 20-minute drive from South Padre Island is Located east of Rio Hondo and bordering the Laguna Madre bay, this 45,000-acre federal preserve is one of the jewels of the refuge system and has a record number of 411 birds documented. It is also home to endangered species such as the ocelot and jaguarundi. Other animals found at the refuge are javelinas, deer, Texas tortoises, indigo snakes, bobcats, coyotes and occasionally, mountain lions.

Andy Bowie Park

761-3704
Located on the northern end of South Padre Island, this park provides beachfront picnic pavilions, concessions, children’s playground, shower facilities, Group rental facilities are also available with prior arrangement for beach parties.

Edwin K. Atwood Park

761-3704
Located 1.5 miles north of Andy Bowie Park on Park Road 100, this park offers a beachfront picnic pavilion, a concession, and a beach access road, which provides twenty miles of beach driving.

Isla Blanca Park

(956) 761-5493.

On the southernmost tip of South Padre Island, this park is the crown jewel of the Cameron County Park System. Over one mile of clean, white beach along the Gulf of Mexico offers abundant beachfront recreational facilities. Enjoy picnic and playground areas, the south fishing jetty, restaurants, clubs, University of Texas Pan American exhibits, and the Chapel By The Sea non-denominational church. There is also a full-marina with daily charters, a water park, retail shops and a boat ramp.

Laguna Madre Nature Trail
Cutting through the tall marsh grass are two boardwalks made of recycled material. Each boardwalk ends in a blind that allows people to become an unobtrusive observer of a host of birds, fish, turtles, dragonflies, lizards,and an alligator or two. Located just off to the side of the South Padre Island Convention Centre, the trail starts at the Warbler Rest Area, a plot of ground seeded with flowers designed to attract the winged creatures on a year-round basis. Located 4 miles north of the Queen Isabella Causeway. For more information call 800-SO-PADRE.

The Point Isabel Lighthouse Complex
421 Queen Isabella Blvd.

(956) 943-2262.

Daily, 9:00 – 5:00

Home to the newly renovated Point Isabel Lighthouse and the Keeper’s Cottage. In 1852, Congress approved the construction of a beacon in the Laguna Madre to support the growing ship industry of the South Texas Coast. The Point Isabel Lighthouse was built to protect and guide ships through Brazos Santiago and the barrier islands. During the Civil War, the light was closed and the tower was used as a lookout for both the Confederate and Union armies. The lighthouse was lit again after the war. In 1880, the lighthouse was renovated to accommodate a new light system. The lighthouse was officially closed in 1905. In 1952, the lighthouse was opened as a state park and is the only lighthouse on the Texas coast to be opened to the public. A replica of the Keeper’s Cottage houses the Port Isabel Chamber of Commerce, historic displays, and tourist information.

E- Events & Entertainment:
Mid January

Annual Taste of the Island
The Annual Taste of the Island, one of the most looked forward to events of the year, is held at the South Padre Island Convention Centre from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Area restaurants showcase their excellent food items, and there is also be a free tradeshow and live music for your listening enjoyment.Ticket information is available at the South Padre Island Chamber of Commerce office located at 600 Pare Blvd., South Padre Island.

Early February

Annual Kite Festival

The summer blue sky will be filled with diving, darting, fluttering and hovering kites. Experts and other kite lovers are on hand to teach the fine art of hand-held sky ballet. South Padre Island is host to two kite festivals each year.

Early February

Annual South Padre Island Chili Expo (SPICE)
In good-natured competition, cooking teams vie for votes from the crowd for the coveted People’s Choice award and turn in their judging cups to be ranked by local celebrity judges. There are also awards for Showmanship, Best Vegetarian, Best Open Category and 1st through 10th Place for Best Recipe. Criteria taken into consideration for judging is aroma, consistency, red color, taste, and aftertaste. Showmanship (must have chili entered) is judged on theme, costume, booth set-up, action, and audience appeal. South Padre Island Chamber at 956-761-4412

Early May

Annual Windsurfing Blowout
This USWA (U.S. Windsurfing Association) event invites all recreational windsurfers to compete in course slalom and distance races. Finalists are sent to compete in higher divisions. Now a nationally recognized event, it has become an Island springtime tradition

Friday nights Memorial Day through Labor Day

Fireworks

Every Friday night is the Fourth of July on the Island. At 9:15 sharp, a silent barge in the center of the Bay releases it’s payload into the summer sky. With the firework light reflecting off the water, it’s a breathtaking display.

Early August

Annual Texas International Fishing Tournament
For more than 66 years, the Texas International Fishing Tournament has taken pride in creating an atmosphere of friendly fishing competition and wholesome family fun. The five day event, , offers fishing divisions that include bay, offshore and tarpon. TIFT is open to anglers of all ages and is the largest saltwater fishing tournament in Texas. (956) 943-8438

Mid August

Annual Ladies Kingfish Tournament
The Ladies Kingfish Tournament has been an Island tradition for many years. The tournament is divided into two divisions, bay and offshore. Qualifying fish include redfish, trout and flounder for bay, and backfin tuna, dolphin and bonito for offshore. Like TIFT, the tournament is open to anglers of all ages.

Grand Champion Offshore and Overall Largest Fish. Prizes are also awarded for the best Hard Luck Story in each division. (956) 761-4412

Mid October

Bikefest and Motorcycle Convention Rally
It’s a South Padre Island Hog Rally that’s billed as “The Roar by the Shore.”

Late October

Sand Castle Days
It’s art and architecture in the sand. Get down and gritty along with sandcastle wizards who will inspire you to build sky scraping turrets and mind-bending arches. At the end of the day, go splash off in the Gulf and admire what your hands and buckets hath wrought. Prizes awarded for the most exemplary effort.

Early November

Tails Over South Padre Island Fun Fly Fiesta

The clear blue sky is filled with diving, darting, fluttering and hovering kites. Experts and other kite lovers are on hand to teach the fine art of hand-held sky ballet. South Padre Island is host to two kite festivals each year.