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South Padre Island, Texas
Kicking back on the beach is this island’s specialty. The waters are notoriously calm and, since the island is essentially one long strip of beach, there is plenty of room to spread out. The beautiful beaches are also home to a host of animal life. The South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center and Sea Turtle Inc. both offer unique opportunities for families to view the wildlife on the island, and they are extremely affordable.

If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, Schlitterbahn Waterpark is also on the island. This water park has both outdoor and indoor attractions with something that will appeal to everyone (I’m looking at you, swim-up cocktail bar). Prices for the waterpark come in between $40-$50 for a day, but if you buy ahead of time you can save. There are often discounts offered in the off-season that you can search out online, too.