Best in Texas: USA Today poll ranks Isla Blanca Park state’s No. 1 beach

0
44

Only have a minute? Listen instead

In a poll, USA Today confirmed what Rio Grande Valley residents and others have known for generations: Cameron County has the two best beaches in Texas.

USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards, an online poll backed by expert travel professionals, announced the top 10 beaches in Texas earlier this week.

To no one in the Valley’s surprise, Isla Blanca Park on South Padre Island ranks as the No. 1 beach in Texas, with nearby Boca Chica Beach coming in at No. 3.

“Isla Blanca Park enchants visitors with its soft white sands, turquoise waters, and vibrant beach culture, offering both relaxation and excitement for beachgoers of all ages. From swimming and snorkeling in the warm Gulf waters to participating in beach volleyball, Isla Blanca Park offers an abundance of opportunities for fun, with beachfront pavilions, rentals, and amenities easily accessed,” the USA Today Readers’ Choice website says.

A view of the Gulf of Mexico coastline along Isla Blanca Park on South Padre Island Thursday, June 6, 2024, as Isla Blanca Park has been voted 10 best beaches in Texas by the 2024 USA TODAY Readers’ Choice Awards. (Miguel Roberts | The Brownsville Herald)

“This achievement underscores the beauty and allure of these stunning coastal gems, drawing visitors from far and wide to experience the unparalleled splendor of Texas’ coastline,” Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño, Jr. said in a news release.

Cameron County Parks & Recreation Director Joe E. Vega said Isla Blanca’s status as Texas’ top beach destination is a direct result of Judge Treviño and the Cameron County Commissioners Court investing more than $30 million in improvements at the park.

The improvements include two beach front pavilions, beach front cabana rentals, water sport rentals, a boat ramp, and 600 RV campsites among a host of other amenities, Vega said.

“Many people from all over the Valley, Texas, the nation and the world come to fish off the jetties. We also have a full-service marina and the beach waterpark. It shows the great things that are happening in Cameron County and here at Isla Blanca Park. … These improvements are not only for our current generation but for many more generations to come. There’s been a lot of great improvements that have been done here at Isla Blanca Park,” he said.

A view of Isla Blanca Park Thursday, June 6, 2024, on South Padre Island has been voted 10 best beaches in Texas by the 2024 USA TODAY Readers’ Choice Awards. (Miguel Roberts | The Brownsville Herald)

The park is also a great place to watch SpaceX launches, including on Wednesday, the most successful to date, which thousands of visitors witnessed from Isla Blanca Park, Vega added.

Cameron County charges $12 per car to get into Isla Blanca Park, $5 for U.S. veterans.

“That pass will allow you to go visit our other coastal parks as well: Andy Bowie Park, Beach Access No. 5 and No. 6, or Adolph Thomae Park. We also have annual passes for $100, $50 for veterans, and 30-day passes for $30 and $12.50 for veterans,” Vega said.

Annual figures show at least 1 million people visit Cameron County coastal parks every year, he said.

Children play along the Gulf of Mexico coastline along Isla Blanca Park on South Padre Island Thursday, June 6, 2024, as Isla Blanca Park has been voted 10 best beaches in Texas by the 2024 USA TODAY Readers’ Choice Awards. (Miguel Roberts | The Brownsville Herald)

But Isla Blanca Park accounts for only one mile of shoreline on the Island. The previous time SpaceX launched from Boca Chica Starbase, which was during Texas Week, 2,048 cars went through the pay station, Vega said.

He and Treviño weren’t the only ones pleased with the attention from USA Today.

“I think it’s really fantastic to receive this recognition. I mean it only solidifies that we are and continue to be the best beach in Texas. We draw thousands and thousands of visitors. The summer has just begun. I’m expecting a great summer this year,” Blake Henry, director of the South Padre Island Convention and Visitors Bureau, said.

“As far as Isla Blanca Park goes, It’s actually run by the county. That’s just one mile of our pristine beach, so with that you have an additional 34 miles of pristine beach that continue, as you know, throughout South Padre Island,” Henry said.

Children play along the Gulf of Mexico coastline along Isla Blanca Park on South Padre Island Thursday, June 6, 2024, as Isla Blanca Park has been voted 10 best beaches in Texas by the 2024 USA TODAY Readers’ Choice Awards. (Miguel Roberts | The Brownsville Herald)

“It is also home to the jetties, a great, premier fishing spot as well as surf-break spot. A lot of our surf lessons take place there. It just adds to South Padre’s reputation,” he said.

The bottom line, Henry said, is that “we’re really happy” about the USA Today Readers’ Choice poll.

“Any time we get something like this, it’s great for everyone. We’re expecting a very healthy and positive summer this year. And again, with the SpaceX launches, we see a serious uptick in people on the Island waiting for it, which translates into overnights and all that indirect spending that is injected into our local economy, which certainly, helps everyone. … Tourism is our main economic driver for the Island, and we take our beaches very seriously. It’s a team effort to provide a safe and affordable family beach getaway,” he said.

A view of the Gulf of Mexico coastline along Isla Blanca Park on South Padre Island Thursday, June 6, 2024, as Isla Blanca Park has been voted 10 best beaches in Texas by the 2024 USA TODAY Readers’ Choice Awards. (Miguel Roberts | The Brownsville Herald)

Source link

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here