The Ups and Downs of Living on an Island



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What comes to mind when you think of living on an island? Sipping piña coladas watching the sunset over the ocean? Beach days with the kids as they play freely in the sand? What if this could be your every day? Yes please. This was our exact thinking when we chose to move to North Padre Island- we wanted to slow down and enjoy the peaceful beach while providing a wonderful outdoor world for our children to explore.

We are now three months into living on the island. As much as I’d like to say that island life is all piña coladas and beach days, life on an island can have its challenges. 

The Ups

  1. 80% of Our Days Start with a Walk on the Beach. It’s hard to start your day in a bad mood with the sound of waves breaking on the beach.
  2. Every Day is a Treasure Hunt. I am not from a coastal region so I am daily amazed by ocean life (animals, plants, shells, etc.,) and I love going home to research everything I’ve seen. It’s been a wonderful activity to share with my children as well. Every day is an opportunity to learn about nature and God’s creation. 
  3. The Potential to Live Perpetually on Vacation. With the intensity of my husband’s ER schedule, we love the potential for total relaxation right outside our front door. Sometimes a walk to the ocean after a long day is the activity that saves the day. It helps that the Padre Island National Seashore is actually closer to my home than Target.
  4. Living Where People Want to Visit! It is easy to convince friends and family to come stay with you when you live at the beach surrounded by yummy seafood restaurants. We’ve already had several family members and friends from out of town come stay with us on the island. 
  5. Everything Wonderful that Comes with Life on the Water. Fresh seafood. Kayaking. Running on the beach. Undeveloped beach for miles. Flip flops in December.

The Downs

  1. Nonstop Baths. Our bathing ritual has gone through the roof. The boys are playing in the sand and ocean one or two times a day leaving them a filthy mess. I cannot give them enough baths.
  2. Which Leads Me to the Sand. Oh the Sand. We have sand LITERALLY everywhere all the time. I cannot sweep the house enough. Sand is in every room in my house, every bathtub, strollers, the car, and even in my ears most days (thanks to the crazy wind.)
  3. Going OTB (Over the Bridge.) The commute over the bridge is a minimum of fifteen minutes to get to “city” life. Some days I dread going to the grocery store because I don’t want to drive over the bridge one more time. With young children, a 20-30 minute car ride to go anywhere leads to screaming and/or sleeping, both of which are less than ideal. 
  4. Sticker Burrs. This down may be unique to North Padre Island, but sticker burrs are beyond frustrating to me. My poor wobbly toddler and golden retriever can’t enjoy a single park on the island because they will be covered in sticker burrs. My 4 year old is able to avoid them, but he is so terrified of them that he spends the entire time screaming if one even gets on the bottom of his shoe.

But all in all, the challenges with living on an island cannot compare with the benefits. Nothing beats the sunrises and sunsets over the ocean, or the feeling of the sand between my toes and the ocean breeze on my face. Life on an island is an opportunity to slow down, enjoy nature, and focus on creating special moments with my family. 

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  1. Girl, unfortunately sticker burrs are a South Texas thing in general. You get good at spotting them and knowing what areas of the park you can play in. But as for the grocery issue, give the HEB delivery service or curb side pick up a try!

  2. This brings back memories! We lived on the island when my daughter was born. (She’s now 8 and we are in Houston.) Oh that bridge… and the sand! Ugh. My daily commute m-f was dreadful. Would drive from the island to calallen to drop my baby off at a relatives… then back into corpus for school… back to the island for community service… then calallen to get my daughter… and finally back home. Another thing i loathed… all the white rock! Hard pressed to find any decent grass out there. Home after home of white rock!!!

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