The Best Family Friendly Beach Resort in Texas – Hilton Garden Inn South Padre

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! 

Happy travels! 

What I learned about what I did and didn’t need as a new mom with a baby

As I was getting ready to become a first time mom, I scoured blogs, sites and books for a comprehensive list of what I would need as a new mom to a baby. I read lots of opinions as to what was useful and useless in terms of baby products. I found Lucie’s List¬† to be one of the most helpful. However I found opinions and recommendations elsewhere were a little off for what I ended up needing/using, so for what it’s worth here is my list of what I found useful and not, and even a few things I’d stumbled upon that I didn’t find in other lists.

Wipes Warmer: read many places that this would be useless, however my new little man was NOT a fan of cold wipes on his warm little bum so my husband was out getting one the day after he came home

Changing Table: also read many places that this would be useless, however after a couple months of our backs aching by bending over to beds and the ottoman to change him, we got the changing table

Bottle Warmer: also read this is useless by many sources, but when you’ve got a crying baby, waiting for a bottle to warm up just by placing it in warm water is not nearly fast enough, bottle warmer all the way

Receiving blankets: I have about 10 that were never used. What the hell are these for?!? Too small for swaddling and kinda warm. I don’t get it. Never used them and I’d never recommend someone get them. Muslim swaddle blankets are where it’s at.

Sleepsacks: I used the swaddleme’s and halo swaddle sacks until my son could roll over. After that I stopped using anything like that cuz if his legs are trapped in a sack, how does he move around? My son is super mobile when he sleeps that sack would’ve just pissed him off and woke him up. They’re all going back or getting sold.

Shoes: glad I didn’t buy but one or two pair and the rest were handed down because I ended up with 6-7 pair than he never wore because by the time he was going to stand and start walking, they were all way too small. He’s 9 months now and just standing and getting close to walking and he wears like a size 4-5 shoe.

Pants: this is kind of a local thing but I live in South Texas. Winter is like December thru February here. My son was born in December. Any pants bigger than 6 months did not ever get worn. Huge waste. He barely wore shorts, onesies mostly.

Jackets and sweaters: mostly when he was smaller, because even though it was colder when he was born, you normally cover them up with blankets. And because their body temp doesn’t regulate well that young a jacket or sweater is much harder to take off or put on than just putting a blanket on them.

Milk Bibs: by Tommee Tippee, have a little roll that goes up under the neck that catches the milk dribbles when they’re nursing/taking bottle. I originally bought 2, and ended up with about 8. Found them hugely useful.

Nursing Tanks: maybe I missed it somewhere til a good friend of mine pointed it out, but these are horribly convenient to sleep in when you’re nursing. No extra bra needed and ease of use for middle of the night feedings.

Zip up pajamas: I don’t believe the importance and convenience of these was stressed near enough. At 2am and 4am if you’re changing diapers on a wiggly baby snaps are a bitch. Save yourself the headache and only get zip up jams for anything 3 months plus.

Tommee Tippee Breast Pump Adapters: take your standard breast pump and be able to pump right into the Tommee Tippee bottles. Saves a lot of transferring if you’re a working pumping breast feeding mom like me. Ain’t nobody got time for all that transferring around!

Bottle Medicine Dispenser: those syringes suck at dispensing medicine in their little mouths. This works so much better.

Hopefully this can be of help to someone! I figure the more opinions and information you can get the better, at least that was my approach and I wish I would’ve seen some of this when I was researching!

Am I Doing It Right?

As I go throughout my days with my son, I always stop and wonder “am I doing it right?” I feel like I should be teaching him more, challenging him more but I don’t know how. I know we should be reading to him, but he sits still for about 1.2 seconds.

So what do I do? He’s only 9 months old there’s only so much he can do. I feel bad because he does end up watching some tv, some Disney programs, but not as a substitute for interaction with us but more to keep him occupied so we can go to the bathroom, etc because it will hold his attention.

But then I tell myself as long as we are spending time with him, that’s what’s important. And not that I’m working too much or cleaning the house like crazy because when you look back those aren’t the things you’ll remember, you’ll remember the times you spent together.

So I guess I’m doing fine, it’s just hard on me because when I look at this face I will always feel like there’s more I could do for him …