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South Padre Island Aspires to Become Texas Cruise Hub

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In an effort to expand on its present tourism base, South Padre Island has its sights set on becoming western Caribbean cruise lines’ newest port of call. The beautiful Texas setting in the Gulf of Mexico has recently approved, through a vote by city council, to commence planning for infrastructure development which the island would require in order to host cruise ships.

South Padre Island Mayor Dennis Stahl recently indicated, “South Padre Island has been a hidden U.S. jewel for many years.” A resort-style town situated in Cameron County, the island is accessible by the Queen Isabella Causeway. Named for José Nicolás Ballí (Padre Ballí), who was a Catholic priest and a settler of the island, it’s located approximately 260 miles from the state’s largest cruise port in Galveston. Presently a very popular family destination, South Padre Island offers various recreational activities and plenty of pleasant weather.

It’s recognized as the world’s longest undeveloped barrier island and is home to several beaches and a population of a little more than 2,800 (according to the 2010 Census). At present, visitors to the area can go dolphin-watching, horseback riding, and kiteboarding, to name a few popular activities. According to the Rio Grande Guardian, group called SPI Cruise Group (comprised of four companies with port development, maritime, and cruise industry experience) is in the process of forming the plan to develop the island into a cruise ship destination. The island is presently home to the Padre Island National Seashore as well as several multi-story resorts and hotels, making it a popular spring break destination as well.