A Christmas Season visit to South Padre Island isn’t complete until you visit the sand castle village.

Sand sculptors from all over the world contribute to the display and their talent is mind boggling. Each time I stretch a photo to take a closer look, I find more details in a sculpture. I’m happy I took photos of each one, because the camera captures what my eye misses when I’m all agog with amazement as I stand in front of them.

I deliberately caught hubs in the photo above to show the size of the sculptures. Also in this photo, to the right of the Christmas Tree is a crèche in progress. This one is a mini sculpture and the details the artist has achieved are beyond amazing. The photo below better shows those details.

Baby Jesus hadn’t been added yet when we visited

Re-carving is another interesting aspect of the display. When a piece deteriorates or needs repair, the artists will often do a re-carve to create a whole new piece but retain some elements of the original. So, a Santa may become a pirate.

I also learned on this visit that it’s illegal to remove sand from the beaches at South Padre Island (imagine that – it’s not like there would ever be a shortage), so the sand for the sculptures is brought in from the Rio Grande River. I believe there are around 30 sculptures under the tent.

In addition, SPI has Sandcastle Trail, which is a mapped tour of the many sand sculptures scattered through the townsite. We didn’t do the trail on this visit, but plan to when we return at the end of January for a “special occasion” weekend at our favourite beach hotel.

“I have decided that I no longer want to be an adult … If anyone needs me, I’ll be at the beach, building sandcastles… ”

Penny Brandt