Originally Posted by Greg2
IIRC Harlingen is near Brownsville, almost at the southern tip of Texas, Way farther than an hour away.
If you have a military ID the base at Corpus Christi has a wonderful RV park.
You're thinking of Padre Island, while the OP was asking about South
Padre Island. Harlingen is indeed about an hour from SPI.
We stayed at the small park wimberleyman
mentioned that's on the other end of SPI from Isla Blanca and the KOA. It's called Andy Bowie County Park and it's pretty grim--an asphalt parking lot with lines drawn to indicate the RV spaces. Our 40-foot motorhome just fit lengthwise, and we parked our small car alongside and it barely fit.
Obviously there's not much landscaping or scenery anywhere in that area, but this one stands out for unattractiveness even there.
FWIW, in the winter of 2010-2011, Isla Blanca was fully booked after Christmas. Andy Bowie doesn't take reservations and was pretty much full after Christmas, too. Quite a few long-term people, so there might not be much turnover of spaces if you're waiting for one to open up.
There are a few RV parks in Port Isabel, just across the bridge from SPI. They are cheaper than on the island but they're generally not big-rig friendly--seemed kind of cramped (if that matters). And they tend to have a lot of permanent residents, and the salt air down there is not kind to RVs and they look it. Those places also stay pretty booked up in the winter.
Before going to SPI, we stayed for a few days at Snow to Sun RV Park in Weslaco. We picked it because it was cheap (Passport America) and close to the dentists across the border. Seemed like a typical gigantic snowbird park. We didn't have a problem getting a space, but it was in early December, before the big influx.
That general area, the Rio Grande Valley (RGV), has a ton of RV parks. Most are age-restricted (if that matters). If you're willing to do day trips to the coast, as you indicated, that would probably be your best bet, and a snowbird forum would likely have a lot of information about the parks there.
However, be aware that distances get kind of long pretty fast down there. Harlingen is about 40 miles from SPI, while McAllen is about twice that, and both are in RGV.