See SpaceX While Staying at Kinpadre on South Padre Island

spacex near south padre island

SpaceX is just 40 miles from South Padre Island, within sight and sound of the actual launches. Our island, is the closest venue to the launch site. Kinpadre, our beachfront vacation rental is a perfect place for your family to enjoy  the many DELIGHTS that the island offers. More about viewing SpaceX follows.

What is SpaceX.

SpaceX stand for Space Exploration Technologies Corporation. Its founder is Eon Musk. In addition to SpaceX, his inventions include PayPal and Tesla Motors (electric cars). As a kid, he taught himself how to program, and when he was 12 he sold his first software: a game he created. Musk became a multimillionaire in his late 20s when he sold his start-up company, Zip2.

SpaceX is a private company that would like to provide space transportation for people and goods to the moon, mars, and beyond, for private citizens as well as the government. As part of this they need testing and launch sites, such as the one in Boca Chica Village near Brownsville, Texas (approximately 40 miles from South Padre Island).

What is happening at the SpaceX site near South Padre Island?

According to a SpaceX spokesperson, “Every single SpaceX rocket and spacecraft is tested in Texas before flying to space and back again.” “South Texas will play an increasingly important role in our efforts.” SpaceX is building Starship at the site.

Starship is the fully reusable second stage and has an integrated payload section. Starship serves as a large, long-duration spacecraft capable of carrying passengers or cargo to Earth orbit, planetary destinations, and between destinations on Earth. Musk said he wanted to test this new vehicle, the Starship, at the company’s location in South Texas.

Where is the SpaceX site? Can I visit it? Are there tours?

They don’t have any tours as of now. At this writing, people are still permitted to drive to the very little town of Boca Chica. (Google Map location) According to Google maps, the drive from South Padre Island is about 55 minutes, 43 miles.  You can watch their activities through the fence. But when there are launches or dangerous tests scheduled, they stop folks from getting close. They block access to the roads and surrounding beaches and waters. SpaceX is now in the process of buying out the town and will likely restrict access to the town and the site in the future.

What are other options for seeing SpaceX?

There are websites for SpaceX enthusiasts.  Here you can see photos, videos, and view information. Or… you can stay at South Padre Island. Padre is only 40 miles from the launch site. You can see the rocket lit up on the assembly pad on a clear night when you cross the Queen Isabella Causeway to and from the island.

What is the best place on South Padre Island for viewing launches?

An amphitheater in Isla Blanca Park on Padre is the perfect place, and seems to have been built especially for this purpose.

Isla Blanca Park Amphitheater
Isla Blanca Park Amphitheater

What is the launch schedule for rockets at the Boca Chica site?

It depends on assembly and testing progress as well as weather. At this time no firm launch windows have been announced. According to an unnamed source, if all goes well, a static fire of the vehicle’s three Raptor engines could occur in early March, potentially setting a 20 kilometer flight within a few weeks of the static fire. The first commercial spaceflight for SpaceX Starship is scheduled for 2021.

Fishing on South Padre Island

Fishing on South Padre Island

Guests at Kinpadre beachfront vacation rental on South Padre Island, often ask for information about fishing.

Group charter boats are available for the Laguna Madre bay, as well as deep sea fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf can be very rough, so if you get at all queasy, I recommend fishing from the shore, or on the bay.

What about group charters for fishing in South Padre?

Fishing on South Padre Island

Osprey Cruises located at Pier 19 offers day trip bay fishing 8-12 noon, 2-5, 7-11 for $25 fisherman and $15 spectator. If the fish are running, action can be lively with a strikes and fish. But no or few fish is possible anywhere on the island, from surf, jetties, or charters. There are other fishing charter services as well.

What about private charters with a fishing guide?

Private charters can run $450 for 2 people, plus tip.

Will I need a fishing license?

The first answer is yes. Fishing licenses are available from Walmart in Port Isabel, and the Quick Stop bait shop, also in Port Isabel about 1/2 mile from the causeway, on the south side of highway 100. Resident: $40, $17 senior $11 one day.  Non-resident $68, 1 day $16.

Will I have to clean the fish? What do I do with them after I catch them?

After fishing, the charter crew will fillet the fish for a small tip, and Pier 19 and other restaurants offer “you hook it, we cook it” service. If you don’t like fish, or don’t want the bother, the crew or other fishermen will be thrilled to take them from you.

Can I fish on the beach? What kind of bait and rig?

fish finder rig
fish finder rig with sliding pyramid weight

If the water is warm, wade into the surf on the beach with hook and line. Ask other fishermen for technique. They fish for whiting, using shrimp or a product called Fishbites, colored strips that look like chewing gum. The Texas Parks and Wildlife  warns against using frozen shrimp from Mexico, as it can carry a virus deadly to the native Gulf shrimp and ecosystem. So know the source, frozen boxed bait shrimp are monitored by Texas conservation officers.

Fresh, never frozen shimp are more expensive, but also much more effective as bait. Fresh shrimp (live or dead) are usually available at the Quick Stop bait shop in Post Isabel.

Where is a good place for fishing supplies and expert advice?

The Quick Stop (again) has equipment and advice. Walmart also has a good selection of fishing equipment. The associate in the hunting department may also be able to answer some questions.

Here is a video with it all: South Padre Island surf fishing, a group charter, and how to cook it after!

Clayton’s Beach Bar on the Gulf in South Padre Island

Your stay at Kinpadre.

What’s the biggest bar on South Padre Island… and in all of Texas? Clayton’s.

Clayton’s is the largest beach bar on South Padre Island, and they claim largest in all of Texas, a Texas-sized 50 foot bar to watch your favorite game or enjoy the nightly entertainment with the sound of waves crashing in the background, a 300+ car parking lot and over 15,000 sq. ft. of beachfront deck area to host special events.


Clayton’s is located at 6900 Padre Blvd., on the Gulf beach at the north end of South Padre Island’s commercial strip. It’s about 2 miles north of Kinpadre, our South Padre Island beachfront vacation rental. 

They advertise from sunrise to midnight dancing. During winter Texan season you’ll find the senior set in bright, comfy attire rocking to their beat. Spring break brings the youth with their own party agenda and musical tastes. They host special events such as Sand Castle Days


Sandcastle Days brings you 5 full days in the beginning of October of family-friendly activities and art on the beach. It includes competition of nationally recognized sand sculptors, with patrons able to relax, refresh, view art creation, and take part themselves if they wish.

Clayton’s Spring Break Beach Stage has evolved into the biggest FREE daytime event on SPI during the month of March. CLAYTON’S BEACH STAGE IS THE LARGEST FREE SPRING BREAK MUSIC FESTIVAL IN THE COUNTRY. With its Unprecedented Stage Performances, Contests, Celebrity Appearances, Huge Prize Packs.

The Jailbreak Beach Escape has become a South Padre Island tradition! Each May, thousands of runners conquer the 5k course, covering 20 challenging obstacles, on the sun-drenched beaches of South Padre before heading to Clayton’s Beach Bar for a Texas sized beach party!

Live music and fireworks every Friday and Saturday starting in April and going through the summer.


Friends of RGV Reef in South Padre Island, Red Snapper Boon

Good news for South Padre Island fishing. Good news for our Kinpadre beachfront condo rental guests. Friends of RGV have created a new 400-acre artificial reef nursery 12 miles north of the South Padre Island jetties. This reef is by far the largest reef off the Texas coast, and it could be the largest in the world. Creating habitat on a flat seafloor offers young fish with places to escape predators, so more survive. More baby fish means more adults and great fishing. 

Composed of a specially designed shape, materials, and size, the reef attracted tens of thousands of juvenile snapper almost immediately, not to mention boats and anglers. It was estimated that the reef carried 240,000 snapper from juvenile stage to adults from 2017 to 2019. These are young unsophisticated fish, easy to catch. 

South Padre Fishing Reef

Fishermen have known for years that a shipwreck offers prime space for finding fish. Not only fish, but coral, sponges, and other sea life.

Most shipwrecks are the result of accidents or warfare, but ocean resource agencies have used purposeful sinking. Ships are prepared to be diver and ocean safe and purposely sunk for the creation of an artificial reef. However, it takes years for the growth of coral and sponges and the establishment of colonies of small fish. Large fish predators like barracuda follow.

Here is the, Duane, sunk 120 feet beneath the surface several miles out from Key Largo, Florida. It’s 25 years old, and although still obviously ship-shaped, the mother ocean, and large amounts of her life forms are beginning to take it over and make it home.

The Duane, a 327 foot cutter, had an impressive war and peace-time record. She was donated to the Keys Association of Dive Operators for use as an artificial reef. On November 27, 1987, she was towed to Molasses Reef, her hatches opened, her holds pumped full of water, and she went down to begin her final assignment.But it took 25 years to develop this far.

Costs of constructed reefs like the RGV have often run into large sums of money, but many donations of labor, equipment, and material have kept the cost of the project low. The RGV reef was supposed to take decades to finish and $20 million. But Friends of RGV secured donated deep-water port facilities, professional services, equipment, and management. That and more has helped to keep costs low.

South Padre Fishing Reef
South Padre Fishing Reef

These artificial reefs are made of environmentally safe materials, anything from concrete, retired oil platforms, sunken barges or ships. They are sunk from inches to 150 feet below the surface.  They bring increased area for coral formation, habitat for fish colonies, and opportunities for sport diving and fishing. Thanks to the Friends of RGV reef, increased colonies of sport enthusiasts, diners, and lodgers at South Padre Island hotels and vacation rentals should be the happy result.

What to do? Get Blown Away by the Annual South Padre Island Kite Festival

SPI KiteFest

Come and enjoy the annual SPI Kitefest on the first weekend in February. This usually features the Indoor Kite Performance on Thursday at the South Padre Island Convention Centre with advance tickets and limited seating. The Outdoor Kite Festival follows on Friday & Saturday at the SPI Convention Centre flats.

What will you see? At the outdoor festival: A cloud of kites. Truly an amazing variety, so skillfully flown they seem alive. Some as big as a house, others with dozens of colorful streamers as long as one. In the performance area, an announcer calls the competitors. The kites like troupes of acrobatic dancers, wheeling, diving, marching in the sky. Some are not performers, but so large and elaborate. Just hanging from the clouds a feat of magic in itself. Giant whales, squid, golden gods peer down from above.

The audience, in a party mood, bring chairs, coolers, kids, dogs, and cameras.

Here is a video from a kite festival in Wildwoods, NJ. It’s not Padre, but you’ll get the idea: