Room rates vary widely in South Padre Island over the course of the year, with the lowest rates usually in winter. There are more condo units on this island than there are regular hotel rooms. These will work for you if your plan is to stay here more than a few days. Most, but not all, rent by the week. Often there's a one-time cleaning fee when you lease a condo, so it's a better deal the longer you stay. A complete list of condos is on the South Padre Island website: Among the national chain motels in South Padre Island are Days Inn, 3913 Padre Blvd. (tel. 800/329-7466 or 956/761-7831); Comfort Suites, 912 Padre Blvd. (tel. 800/424-6423 or 956/772-9020); and Super 8, 4205 Padre Blvd. (tel. 800/800-8000 or 956/761-6300). Room tax adds about 13%.

Camping -- Isla Blanca Park (tel. 956/761-5493), on the southern tip of South Padre Island, is our choice for a developed campground on the island, with easy beach access. Part of the Cameron County Park System (P.O. Box 2106, South Padre Island, TX 78597), this well-maintained facility has 600 paved sites, many of which are pull-through, and more than half have full RV hookups. The park also offers restrooms with showers, a dump station, a sandy beach, a fishing jetty, a boat ramp and marina, a playground, a bike trail, and beach pavilions with concessions. There is a primitive tent area right on the Laguna Madre. Rates are $25 to $30.

Those looking for a developed resort should head to Destination South Padre RV Resort (tel. 800/867-2373 or 956/761-5665;, just south of the Queen Isabella Causeway on Padre Boulevard. It offers 190 gravel sites with full hookups, restrooms with showers, guest laundry, and security. There's a large heated pool, spa, boat dock, rec hall and game room, and numerous planned activities. Rates are $30 to $39. There are pet restrictions, and tents are not allowed.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.