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"South Padre Island...Texas' best beach" South Padre Island by rsleisk

South Padre Island Travel Guide: 161 reviews and 206 photos

Recorded history begins in 1519, when Alonso Alvarez de Pineda sailed past the Isla Blanca (White Island) while charting the Gulf of Mexico for Spain. Pineda claims giants inhabited the coast, and may have been referring to the Karankawa Indians, a tall people as feisty as longhorn steers. The "Kronks", as they were nicknamed, wintered on the mainland and spent the summer on the island, living on fish and clams. Early stories portray them as cannibals who ate flesh of still-living victims or roasted their foes over campfire.

In 1804, Padre Jose Nicolas Balli, a Catholic Missionary Priest, founded a settlement on South Padre Island called Rancho Santa Cruz where he raised cattle and horses. At the eastern foot of the Queen Isabella Causeway stands a bronze statue of Padre Jose Nicolas Balli clad in a cassock and clasping a crucifix in his right hand. In 1829, the year he died, Balli was awarded title to the Island by the Mexican government. His nephew, Juan Jose Balli, lived on the Island until 1853. Rediscovered in 1931, the site of Rancho Santa Cruz is known as the Lost City of Padre Island. Numerous Balli descendants still live in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Texas' best beach, plenty to do.
  • Cons:Gets busy during Spring Break!
  • Last visit to South Padre Island: Apr 2005
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (6)

Comments (1)

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Sep 27, 2005 at 4:28 PM

    I found your South Padre Island pages to be interesting, helpful, interesting, and fun. Great info on the hotel. Thanks.


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