Disclosure: I was invited by Schlitterbahn South Padre Island Beach Resort to receive a complimentary, two-night stay, two complimentary meals, and a swag bag. I was not compensated in any way. All opinions are mine.

Texas beaches and indoor and outdoor waterpark

My family and I spend a few blissful days on South Padre Island nearly every summer. In the past, we’ve enjoyed the space and comfort of condos as well as the ability to cook whenever we wanted. But now that I’ve visited Schlitterbahn’s Beach Resort, which offers everything onsite that a family would need to enjoy an island vacation, condo stays may be a thing of our past.

Schlitterbahn invited me and my family to spend a few nights at their brand new Beachfront Hotel and Indoor Waterpark, along with a group of Texas bloggers. But I had a better idea: why not invite a friend for a pre-Mother’s Day girls’ weekend getaway instead?

I know. I’m the WORST MOM EVER, right? But it had been a year since I left my family for a quick girls’ weekend to return refreshed and rejuvenated. My husband agreed that a little RnR was in my (and his!) best interest. My kids begrudgingly let me go (after I promised a billion times to take them to Schlitterbahn South Padre another time VERY soon). So, off to the beach my friend and I went, ready for a breezy weekend with no responsibilities other than lots of adult conversation, sun, sleeping in, and fun in the sun.

First impressions

When you drive up to Schlitterbahn’s South Padre Island Beach Resort and Waterpark the first thing that strikes you is how naturally it fits in to the landscape. Nestled up to the dunes of South Padre Island’s beach side, Schlitterbahn, which opened its outdoor waterpark in 2001, carefully preserved the island’s beauty. Both the outdoor waterpark and the new resort, which opened in August of 2012, are filled with lush, colorful, tropical plants and flowers that are native to the island.

Schlitterbahn South Padre Island Beach Resort

Reuse, repurpose, recycle

Owned and operated by the Henry family, the Schlitterbahn Beachfront Hotel and Indoor Waterpark was developed with a focus on repurposing and recycling materials.

In 2011, fires raced through Bastrop, Texas, destroying over 1600 homes and burning over 34,000 acres of forest. Jeff Henry, with Schlitterbahn, had an idea: why not remove the burned trees and transform them to build a unique South Padre Island resort?

Today, the Loblolly pines are the defining feature of the resort. Visitors can see them in the form of coffee tables, nightstands, dressers, headboards, dining tables, and more. Next fall, when the resort marks its first anniversary, Schlitterbahn plans to invite Bastrop residents for a special celebration to show them how their beloved pines are being enjoyed by visitors year round.

Loblolly Pines from the Bastrop fires are repurposed at Schlitterbahn South Padre

But Schlitterbahn didn’t stop there. The indoor waterpark itself used to be a greenhouse. The Henry family purchased and repurposed it to provide a spacious, indoor area of the park so visitors could enjoy water play all year long. The two large indoor slides were brought in from a now-closed waterpark in Ohio and refurbished. I rode one of them and screamed all the way down – what a thrill!

Many of the decorations located throughout the resort, including giant ropes, came from former ships. Chandeliers hanging in the beach- and bay-view Sea4Ever event patio on top of the resort were salvaged from an aging Las Vegas Hotel.

I love that Schlitterbahn is family-owned and that the Henry family was committed to recycling, reusing, and repurposing when they built the resort and indoor waterpark.

Schlitterbahn's Indoor Waterpark used to be a greenhouse

What else makes Schlitterbahn South Padre stand out

– Parking is always free.

– Life jackets and tubes are plentiful and free to use (and you can bring in your own life jacket if you prefer).

– Waterpark passes included in the “Stay and Play” package can be used throughout your stay, including the day of arrival and the day of check out.

– You can bring in your own food! While many themeparks and waterparks allow you to eat your own food in the parking lot, Schlitterbahn goes one step further by allowing guests to bring in ice chests with picnics and drinks (just no alcohol or glass containers). Leave your ice chest on a picnic table or use one of the large lockers that are available for rent.

– The award-winning Transportainment river system in the outdoor waterpark: A half-mile-long river floats guests through the park where they can relax in cool water while being transported to rides, instead of standing in long, hot lines.

– Three seaside restaurants with excellent food and drinks. Try the redfish tacos at Seaside Grill and the Midori Margarita at any of several onsite bars.

– Easy access to the beach on a wide, wooden boardwalk with a beach shop stocked with any essentials you might need. You can also book water sports there and rent beach equipment.

– Schlitterbahn South Padre Island received the highest safety rating of all of their parks. Lifeguards are constantly reviewing safety guidelines and precautions and they attend a daily morning meeting before their shift. Lifeguards must be re-certified each year and they also participate in regular, ongoing training.

– The indoor waterpark has a 1950s era carousel that was brought in from New Braunfels.

– The swim-up bar’s palapa roof is held up by four, upside down Bastrop Pines.

Safety is important at Schlitterbahn on South Padre Island


– Go to the waterparks early, at 10:00 a.m., when they open. South Padre Island is on just that: Island Time. Most people don’t arrive at the park until around 2:00 p.m. or even 3:00 p.m.

– Use sunscreen, even in the indoor park. Yes, it’s covered, but the walls can be opened (in under a minute and a half!) to provide seabreezes and ventilation. There are lots of places for sun to sneak in. Hedge your bets by slathering on the SPF no matter what.

– If you stay at the resort, each member of your family will be issued an RFID wristband which must be worn at all times. These are your room keys but they also serve as a means to charge just about anything to your room. You may (or may not!) want your kids to know about that.

– Parents: request to use a special tube for toddlers and preschoolers that has a bottom so they can’t fall through.


Should you stay at the Schlitterbahn South Padre Island Beach Resort and Waterpark?

When it comes down to it, all of these facts and features about Schlitterbahn Beach Resort sound great, but what you want to know is, “Should my family and I stay there?” I can wholeheartedly answer, “Yes!”

Schlitterbahn Beach Resort is an equally relaxing place for a girls’ weekend getaway and a family fun vacation spot. The rate for a “stay and play” package (accommodations and waterpark passes) will be higher than what you would pay for a typical hotel on the island, but it will cost less than most condo stays per night. And, so much more is included when you stay: two waterparks with trained lifeguards and indoor/outdoor rides and splash areas for kids of all ages; easy beach access and the ability to book/rent watersports equipment onsite; four restaurants and several bars all inside the resort; and comfortable accommodations close to all of the fun.

For families looking for a “one-stop shop,” where they can find everything necessary for an authentic island experience right at their fingertips, Schlitterbahn Beach Resort offers that and, therefore, total relaxation.

Visit the full set of photos from Schlitterbahn South Padre Island Beach Resort and Indoor Waterpark.

Video of Schlitterbahn Beach Resort and Indoor Waterpark

Video of Schlitterbahn Outdoor Waterpark, South Padre Island

More posts from Texas bloggers about Schlitterbahn South Padre:

Schlitterbahn South Padre, by Geekette Bits

5 Reasons to Stay at Schlitterbahn Beach Resort, by RWeThereYetMom.com

Schlitterbahn South Padre Island Beach Resort, by FunLivingFrugal.com

Travel Tuesday: Schlitterbahn South Padre Island Beach Resort, by independentmami.net

Five Things I Love About the New Schlitterbahn Beach Resort in South Padre, by suitcasesandsippycups.com

Our Fav Features at Schlitterbahn SPI Beach Resort, by Family Love in My City

The Best Little Vacation Spot in Texas, by Maker Mama

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