Traveling to South Padre Island, TX



Flying to SPI is a piece of cake, most flights will connect through Houston or Dallas.  We recommend flying into Harlingen (HRL) on SOUTHWEST (kiter friendly luggage policy), and picking up a car (car rentals available at all 3 airports). Brownsville (BRO) offers a free shuttle to SPI (details below) which delivers you to one of several stops on the island. Harlingen (HRL) Shuttle (details below) is $35, one-way and per person, 24 advance reservation required, and delivers you to your door. Rental cars are recommended, however SPI, with local taxis and the free island shuttle, is do-able without one. The Island Metro (“The Wave”) is SPI’s free shuttle service, running daily from 7AM-9PM with multiple stops all over town every 30 minutes or so. Several of the Island Metro buses also include many Port Isabel stops in their daily circuit. 

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Brownsville (BRO) aka South Padre Island International Airport

Distance: 30minutes to SPI

Servicing Airlines: United,  American Airlines

It is recommended to book a rental car if flying into here. 

Shuttle Information: Free Shuttle to SPI via Island Metro. (Not door to door, many stops all over the island).

Once you’re on the island, the local free shuttle service (also via Island Metro, formerly “The Wave”) operates daily from 7AM-9PM with multiple stops all over town every 30 minutes or so. Check route and schedule here: and

Harlingen (HRL) aka Valley International Airport

Distance: 45minutes to SPI

Servicing Airlines: Southwest, United, Delta, American Airlines, Frontier (nonstop to Denver), Sun Country (nonstop to Minneapolis)

Shuttle Information: SPI SHUTTLE aka Platinum Transportation: (877) 774-0050

$35 per person, one-way. Door to door service. Reservation Required 24 hours in advance.

Once you’re on the island, the local free shuttle service (via Island Metro, formerly “The Wave”) operates daily from 7AM-9PM with multiple stops all over town every 30 minutes or so. Check route and schedule here: and

McAllen (MFE) aka Miller International Airport

This is a little further and not typically used for kite trips, but is an option. You will need to rent a car, there is no shuttle to SPI available. 

Distance: 90minutes to SPI

Servicing Airlines: United, American Airlines, Allegiant (nonstop to Pheonix, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Orlando)



Stock up on beef jerky, trail mix, veggies, fruits, and plenty of energy drinks.  Head South.  Gas up before crossing long deserted stretches of Texas (and Southern New Mexico if coming from the NW) to avoid stressing out.  Buy cowboy hats, belts, more beef jerky, and tacos along the way.  See you in a few days.

77 palms

… and when you finally see this on 77S, you know you are almost here.  Welcome to the Rio Grande Valley!!






RV CAMPING (and Car / Tent Sites)

KOA  (956) 761-5665koa sign

A great RV camping site, with the nicest facilities, a pool, and an excellent restaurant on site ‘Pier 19’.  Tent sites and cabins available also. Located on the south end of the Island, close to Isla Blanca Park (great kitesurfing spot). Although on the water, there is no easy access to either flatwater or ocean riding, a rental car or taxi ride would be best.

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Isla Blanca Park and Andy Bowie Park are 2 great oceanside RV camping options. Both are managed by Cameron County Parks Department. For day access only, vehicle passes (day, week, month, yearly) grant access to both parks. 

Isla Blanca Park:  (956) 761-5494isla blanca park

Located on the southern tip of the Island, Isla Blanca Park features an RV park, beachfront parking, public rinse stations and restrooms. The most popular and convenient kitesurfing spot.  Advanced riders can launch into flat water at Dolphin Cove as well. Tent camping sites also available.





Andy Bowie Park:  (956) 761-3704andybowiepark

Located on the northern end of town, Andy Bowie Park is a small RV park with a path to the ocean for surf riding AND within walking distance to flat water riding at the South Flats.





Off-Grid RV and Tent Camping

Please practice Leave No Trace to keep SPI sparkling!

Ocean-front and on the beach:  North of town at Beach Access 5 you can drive onto the beach and camp overnight (4WD recommended). Great stargazing on clear nights! Long term camping is discouraged, but short term is no problem.  Find a flat spot behind high tide line and before the vegetation/dune line.  Fires are ok, just keep it clean!

Roadside camping north of town:  An alternative to parking on the beach itself is simply to park roadside anywhere north of Beach Access 5 is ok (the further north the better, the northernmost end is a great spot).  Keeps the car (and everything else) cleaner than parking on the beach and is more convenient.

At the flats:  It is probably not technically ok to park and camp in the flats, so don’t. However if you were to look you would find many nice flat, quiet, private, out-of-sight spots from which you could let your dogs run and enjoy great peaceful camping.  Anywhere north of SPIW North Flats would be where you might find such a spot if said spot was ok to camp at…



 Recommended Hotels, Condos, and VRBO’s

COMING SOON: Check out our new site for deals on lodging for your SPI Kite Trip!