The best family friendly beach resort in Texas is the Hilton Garden Inn on South Padre Island. As a lover of beaches and a family of 5 now, I feel fairly qualified to bestow this designation upon the HGI on SPI. I haven’t stayed at every hotel on the Texas Gulf Coast, but if you’ve stayed at the best why do you need the rest?
I have, however, visited all of the major Texas Gulf Coast cities and have seen what they have to offer in terms of hotels and their locations and almost all of them lack one huge family friendly beach resort requirement for me – proximity. Now you may be thinking – Galveston has hotels close to the beach and so does Corpus! Close, yes. ON the beach, very very few.
The other thing about Corpus and Galveston – a beach is a beach if you have no beach I’ll take those over nothing but if you want the BEST sand and water – you GOTTA go further south. And you don’t get a better beach in Texas than South Padre Island in my opinion. I always say it’s the furthest south you can go and the closest you can get to a Mexican beach without actually having to go to Mexico.
There are plenty of hotels on SPI that are on the beach. But to me, what sets HGI and its neighbor LaQuinta (where my husband I had got married and had our wedding by the way) apart is that they are ON THE BEACH. You literally walk out the back of the hotel and there you are. The hotels further south and more “in town” on the island have pretty lengthy boardwalks to get to the beach. And that makes a big difference when you have small kids and you’re schlepping lots of beach stuff for them.
And because I can just step out the back of the Hilton Garden Inn and be on the beach in a minute, I don’t feel the need to pack like pack mule. I can pack light and if we forget something it’s a super quick trip back to the room. Also, less pressure to maximize your beach time and stay out there longer than you should. When it’s right there we go out for an hour or two then come back to the hotel and cool off, eat or nap. Or hit the pool, which brings me to my next point….
THE POOL. One of the other main reasons that this place is THE BEST beach resort for families in Texas. HUGE pool. Kiddie pool with waterfall. Two hot tubs. Plenty of shaded seating. Food and bar service. What more could you want?
Speaking of food, another perk of this hotel for me is the onsite restaurant. It’s not the best place on the island to eat by any means but it’s pretty good and they always have specials so if you’ve had a long day at the pool and beach and you just don’t feel like driving anywhere – you don’t have to!
Lastly the rooms – almost all of the rooms here are great. However my personal recommendation is to get a junior pool view suite on the 1st floor. You’ll have the patio that is right there at the pool and pool level so it’s easy to toss your stuff back and forth from the pool via your patio versus having the carry it around. Or if you need to split up and send one parent back to the room and one stays at the pool – super easy to check in. The room itself being a suite has a living-ish area with a pullout sofa, desk, and mini-fridge/microwave area and then there’s the bedroom area with 2 queens or 1 king. 1 TV in each space. These rooms are so roomy even for my decent sized family. I always select or at least try to upgrade to one.
You’d think with as much positive things as I have to say about this hotel that I work for them or I’m even being paid by them. NOPE! I just love it THAT much. The service and staff have all been great as well too by the way. And they have other on site amenities – Starbucks, game room, meeting rooms, etc.
Seriously if you haven’t been here you need to check it out. My husband gets annoyed at how much I want to go here (haha) but it’s just so perfect to me in terms of family needs on a beach vacation that it’s so hard for me to go anywhere else. I encourage you to try it and if you do – let me know what you think!