The sticky ocean air muffled the low growl of the engine as our 4-Runner pulled into the beachfront parking lot. The hot Texas sun beat down on the soft, billowing sand as it floated over the weathered pavement and the foamy Gulf of Mexico beat the shore, bringing in broken shells with each crashing wave. My older sister’s burgundy Ford Explorer pulled in next to us and our families piled out of the cars and locked gaze on the towering, faded-pink Holiday Inn Sunspree resort. Nine hours after leaving home, we finally arrived at our destination: Padre Island, Texas.
This was the first vacation I had been on with my older sister in my 17 years of existence, and the first time my dad had been on vacation with his three daughters together. There were nine of us in all: My father, my mother, my younger sister Grace, my much-older sister Stephanie, her husband, and their three kids. We had neighboring rooms with beachfront views, comfy beds, and beautiful bathrooms. The set-up was great; two sets of adults, two young children, and three teenagers to spend time with each other.
With the hotel sitting right on the beach, access to the ocean was easy. We left for the shore around 9:00 each morning, where we spent time sunbathing, boogie-boarding, and hunting for seashells. I sat with my 14 year old niece and 13 year old nephew right where the waves met the shore. Each day, we sank our hands into the sand and collected what my nephew dubbed “periwinkles”, small, colorful, burrowing bean clams. The beach was covered in the small creatures each time the waves thrashed the shoreline, although they disappeared into the sand in only seconds.
Wading only a few feet into the ocean water was enough to bring us face-to-fin with schools of fish. As each wave gained height, more and more fish were visible. They swam next to us and even brushed our legs as they ventured back out to sea. Being so up-close-and-personal with such a beautiful part of nature truly relaxed and renewed out spirits.
Driving along access roads to get to the beaches-less-traveled led us to some pristine shores and clear water, different from the foamy translucent Gulf outside our hotel. At these shorelines, the water was so transparent that sunken crabs, shells, and sand dollars were visible from feet away.
Around noon each day, we departed into nearby Corpus Christi where we ate lunch and spent the hottest hours of the day touring the area. Among the places we visited were the life-size replica of Christopher Columbus’s ship the Nina and the Texas State Aquarium. At the Aquarium, we watched a dolphin show, pet stingrays, and witnessed otters play in addition to the breathtaking live displays of underwater life ranging from bioluminescent jellyfish to freshwater piranhas.
At night, we would listen to the live band as we swam in the hotel’s pool and walked the beach. The proximity of the Sunspree to the pool and the beach was not only convenient but also a necessity for my father, whose back problems would have hindered us otherwise. The hotel did an excellent job of making our stay comfortable and friendly for all the demographics our family contained: children, teenagers, adults, and seniors.
Our vacation to the tag-team locations of Corpus Christi and Padre Island was absolutely unforgettable thanks to not only the company we brought but also the amenities and seaside sanctuaries the destination had to offer. For more information about booking for the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort on Padre Island, visit http://www.holidayinn.com/hotels/us/en/corpus-christi/pdino/hoteldetail
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