By DINA ARÉVALO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
Traditionally, Labor Day marks the end of the summer, and for those who live in the Laguna Madre, it marks the end of the summer tourist season. With fall comes the “off season.”
Aside from Winter Texans, who will soon flock to the area, few other tourists can be seen during this time. But what many tourists don’t know is that autumn is perhaps one of the best times of year to visit South Padre Island, Port Isabel and Laguna Vista.
Just because it’s the off season doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do. On the contrary, this is the perfect time of year to spend the weekend on the beach. Smaller crowds mean you can stake out a larger patch of sand and feel like you have this little slice of paradise all to yourself. Hotel rates are generally lower this time of year, too, so now’s the time to book a tropical weekend getaway.
The cooler temperatures also mark the beginning of the fall migration, where dozens of species of migratory birds fly through the Valley as they fly south for the winter. Some species will travel onward to Central and South America, but not all. Throughout the months of October, November and December, any patch of green space with a pond or resaca nearby is a sure bet for sighting unusual and often beautiful birds.
Experienced and beginner birders alike can kick off the birding season by helping the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center celebrate its 7th anniversary. The center will be hosting an anniversary open house on Saturday, Sept. 24 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. It’s a family friendly affair, and guided bird walks will be available.
The temperate climate of fall is also perfect for bringing your architectural fantasies to life via sand sculptures. Thousands of people flock to the Island for Sandcastle Days every year. This year’s event will be held Oct. 6 – 9.
The Island is also world-famous for its Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, which nest here every spring. Though this year’s turtle hatchlings have been released into the Gulf, there’s still a lot going on at Sea Turtle, Inc., which remains open year-round. The non-profit will be holding its annual fundraiser on Saturday, Sept. 17 at Louie’s Backyard.
It may be the off season, but it sure is busy!
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