Way down at Texas’s far southern tip, there’s a Schlitterbahn Beach Resort, awash with water rides. Or you could opt for nature’s version: South Padre Island where the surf creates old-school water slides and splashy rides. This casual, tropical resort lies between placid Laguna Madre Bay and the choppy Gulf of Mexico
. With the best surfing in Texas, it draws eco-vacationers who love to kayak its backwaters, paddleboard the bay, and fly through the air on kiteboards—in competition with the ubiquitous pelicans. College kids have made this a spring break favorite, but families rule the rest of the year, when sandcastle competitions involve the entire clan. Brides, this makes a perfect venue for a tropical wedding, too.