This summer, it’s likely that you will want to live it up and soak up the sun even more than in previous summers. After the COVID-19 pandemic shut down much of the festivities you may have been looking forward to in the summer season last year; many feel the pressure to maximize their season. If you’re looking for fun things to do this year that will make up for last year but still safe, here are some great ideas.
Have a Pool or Beach Day
Being on the shore or chilling poolside is an essential part of making the most of your summer. However, it’s also essential that you keep both you and your family and friends safe. Ensure that young children are not swimming without a chaperone and that all who choose to swim are sufficient swimmers. Additionally, try not to load up on too many poolside margaritas before you take a dip—being under the influence can affect your swimming abilities.
Grill With Friends
Barbecues and backyard cookouts scream summertime fun. Getting all your friends that you’ve missed over the last year together in your yard for burgers and hotdogs will bring joy to your whole crew. As you grill, remember proper form: that means never grilling indoors, putting out your hot coals safely, and protecting yourself with mitts and long-handled grill tools.
Attend the Large Gatherings You Missed
Summer’s return means the comeback of large group gatherings like concerts, carnivals, music festivals, summer camps, and more. Ensure that you have a plan with your friends or family of how you will all stay safe at these activities. Designate a sober driver if you will be drinking, make sure everyone is hydrated, sun screened up, and mark a meeting place nearby if something goes wrong and you all need to meet back up or if someone is lost.
Head Out on Scenic Road Trips
Road trips are a great way to bond with people and to see the country. Make a few stops along the way to an ultimate destination and make memories the whole time. When you’re taking a long trip, it’s important to know how to stay safe. That means you should buckle up, use proper car seats for infants and toddlers, reduce distraction by staying off your phone while behind the wheel, and always practice defensive driving.
South Padre Island’s Top Summer Activities
As the warm weather months draw near, many from around the country are already looking forward to exciting summer vacations at a variety of exotic locales. For many people, that search invariably leads to one of the most popular resort locations in Texas: South Padre Island. While college students may be familiar with the island for the warm welcome it provides to Spring Breakers every March, it is also a premiere family travel destination throughout the entire year. The area offers a wide range of enticing attractions and activities sure to pique any traveler’s interest.
South Padre at a Glance
South Padre Island is a hotbed of tourist activity all contained on a small 30-mile long barrier island located along the coast of Texas. The town of South Padre Island lies along the southern part of the island and enjoys the type of subtropical climate prized by many vacation-goers. At the last Census, its population was recorded at 2,816 residents whose median household income is slightly above $41,000 a year.
Some might wonder how such a small area could entice so many vacationers and winter snowbirds to come and spend time in this part of Texas. Suffice it to say, there is simply no shortage of exciting and interesting things to do on the island and within the resort community. From surfing to fishing and horseback riding, every day on South Padre Island can be an adventure. Here are just a few of the top activities available to residents and visitors alike:
Go Kiteboarding. At Air Padre Kiteboarding, you can learn to kiteboard – a watersport activity that combines the best elements of skateboarding with a wind-propelled kite that carries you effortlessly across the water. Also known as kitesurfing, this watersport can be quickly learned at Air Padre, empowering you to get out on the open water and enjoy all that this wind-driven water activity has to offer.
Try a cruise with Breakaway Cruises. This cruise outfit has received the award for Best Activities on South Padre Island for each of the last eight years, in no small measure due to the wide variety of different activities you can enjoy on their boats. They have cruises that focus on everything from simple tours or sightseeing to fishing and snorkeling outings – and even parasailing. These boat rides are considered by many to be among the best ways to experience this scenic part of the Lone Star State.
Watch the Dolphins. If you’re traveling to the region, no adventure can be considered a real success unless you take time to watch the dolphins. The fact that certain groups of dolphins call south Texas home might be one of the best-kept secrets in the United States! The good news is that you can catch sight of these majestic creatures by taking the Original Dolphin Watch boat tour and enjoying the unique chance to watch them in their natural habitat.
Spend a day at Island Adventure Park. With zip-line adventures, horseback riding, beach parties, and even a petting barn for the children, this family-owned park provides forty acres of enjoyment for couples, families, and groups. Both children and adults alike will enjoy the various birds and animals in the Petting Barn and can have an opportunity to learn about nature by interacting one-on-one with a variety of donated and rescued creatures. For the adults, there’s also a massage center where you can end a day of excitement with some good old-fashioned natural healing therapies.
Learn to build sandcastles! Yes, that might sound a little strange, but bear with us for a moment and all will be made clear. Sandcastles might seem to be the easiest things in the world to construct on the beach, but on South Padre Island they’re more than the plastic shovel and bucket castles you remember from your childhood. There are several unique and creative places where true sand art masters can teach you how to truly express your inner artist and produce sand sculptures that are anything but childish. Just check out any of these three masters’ websites to see what we mean!
Enjoy the fishing. There’s a reason this island is the focal point for a number of fishing tournaments throughout the year: it offers something for everyone. Whether you’re into pier fishing of the casual variety or adventurous enough to take sail in a fishing boat, there are few better places on earth to enjoy this ancient pastime.
If you have kids or grandkids, do not miss the Black Dragon – especially if you love pirates. This pirate-themed cruise is an interactive activity in which Captain Andy and his pirate crew take you and your family on the adventure of a lifetime. There’s non-stop pirate lingo, and the crew will teach your family how to think and act like the seafaring brigands we all secretly wish we could be. Even better, the ship almost always provides opportunities for dolphin-gazing as well.
Be Careful Though…
Obviously, there’s a lot going on in South Padre Island. Visitors to the island should be aware, however, that there are things to be cautious about as well. Because so much of the island is a true natural wonder, there are certain native risks that travelers should understand. Visitors should try to keep up with the surf advisory provided by the island’s Flag Advisory System, and be alert to the presence of dangerous marine animals like the Portuguese man-of-war and jellyfish that wash up on the beach. In addition, the area has a crime rate that is significantly higher than the rest of the nation – so caution is always warranted when traveling alone or in unfamiliar locales.
For cautious vacationers who exercise care, however, the island is a true summer paradise that offers the full range of warm weather activities. As the summer months loom large on the calendar, and your family once again begins to make its all-important vacation plans, a trip to South Padre Island can be an ideal way to make the most of your time away from home.
Summer Travel Safety Tips
Many of us take to the highways during the summer months. The pleasure of seeing new places is fun and educational. South Texas has many interesting historical sites that can ignite the spark of interest in history that can last a lifetime. One thing to keep in mind is that staying safe should be your priority, no matter where you plan to travel. Below are important summer travel safety tips to help you can enjoy your travels and avoid risk.
- Get your vehicle fully serviced before you hit the road.
It is well worth getting all safety systems fully checked by a qualified auto technician before you leave. The last thing you need are brakes that fail, a breakdown or other mechanical problem. Your tires must be properly inflated, and all lights working correctly. Now is the time to check every system thoroughly – before you hit the road.
- Plot your route carefully.
Plan ahead and look over the various routes to your destination. Heavily traveled highways have a higher potential for traffic delays. Search county road information to see if you can avoid road construction zones.
- Always program a GPS system before hitting the road.
Never adjust a GPS while behind the wheel. If you need to change your destination, pull over rather than attempting to do so if you are operating the vehicle.
- Stop for meals.
Rather than eating behind the wheel, make a stop. Eating while driving is a distraction that could lead to an accident with tragic results. A 15-minute stop to eat your food is better than taking a risk with your family.
- Always drive with sufficient sleep.
Drowsy driving is one of the most dangerous of all driving behaviors and can be worse than driving drunk. If you are tired, pull over and take a short nap, rather than attempting to continue. You could save a life – including your own.
- Stay alert.
Many of the drivers out there sharing the road may not be as careful as you are, and defensive driving is more important than ever. Always be alert for other drivers –they could be dangerous to you and your family.
- Maintain a safe distance.
Tailgating is never safe. You need adequate distance to come to a stop. If you see a driver who appears to be taking risks or driving dangerously, get out of the way. Pull over and let that driver pass.
Summer Danger: Heat Stroke in Texas and How to Avoid it
While most people think of Texas as a place where warm weather is a constant fact of life, residents and visitors to the state can actually experience a fairly wide range of temperatures throughout the year. Like many other places across the United States and around the world, the winter months are relatively mild and provide average high temperatures in the 50 to 60-degree range. It is during the summer months that the common Texas weather stereotype actually matches reality. Between the months of June and August, average high temperatures exceed 90-degrees Fahrenheit, and with that heat comes the risk of heat stroke. That summer danger is an ever-present concern in Texas and something that everyone who lives in or visits the state needs to better understand.
Heatstroke versus Heat Exhaustion
Many people fail to grasp just how dangerous heat stroke can be. In fact, there are many who confuse this condition with common heat exhaustion, and that can cause them to ignore many of the most obvious signs of danger. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heat exhaustion is typified by weakness, profuse sweating, erratic pulse, dizziness and nausea, and cooler than normal skin. Heat stroke is a direr condition that involves more severe symptoms such as body temperature that rises above 103 degrees, very rapid pulse, hot and often reddened skin, and potential loss of consciousness. Heat exhaustion can make you ill and uncomfortable and may require medical help. Heat stroke, on the other hand, can quickly turn fatal.
How Prevalent is this Danger?
Despite widespread efforts to educate the public, heat-related illnesses and deaths still occur across the state each year. A look at just one county in Texas offers a snapshot of just how dangerous this phenomenon can be. In the September 12, 2015 Dallas County Health and Human Services Heat-Related Illness Surveillance Report, the county documented the following heat-related statistics in that county alone:
100 reported cases of heat cramps
164 reported incidents of heat exhaustion
31 reports of heat stroke
2 heat-related fatalities
On a national scale, heat-related illness is a major problem. According to the CDC, the decade from 1999 to 2009 saw 7,233 people lose their lives due to heat-related illness – an average of 54 people each month. In 2011, a total of 46 people died from heat-related illness in Texas, which was the highest total fatality rate for any state recorded in the United States that year.
Even when death does not occur, the impact of high temperatures is felt in other areas of life as well. For example, there were a total of 3,100 American workers who missed time from work in 2006 due to illnesses related to heat stress and exhaustion. Those illnesses and time away from work come with a cost that can total many millions of dollars in lost wages and productivity.
Groups Most at Risk
The Texas Heart Institute notes that heat exhaustion is a phenomenon that typically afflicts those who fail to drink enough liquid while they are exposed to high temperatures. The condition most commonly affects children, older people, patients suffering from hypertension, and athletes and workers in high-temperature environments.
Heat stroke also affects smaller children and elderly people, as well as those who are chronically ill and taking various medications to control disease or other medical conditions. It can also impact athletes, though most experienced athletes typically know how to remain properly hydrated and rested. Even pets can suffer from heat stroke and require immediate medical attention when symptoms first appear.
For some time, football players were considered to be among the most dangerous sports where high temperatures are concerned. In fact, between the years 1995 and 2009, a total of 31 football players died from heat stroke. Since that time, greater awareness and renewed emphasis on player safety have given some a false sense of security about the issue, but most experts remain concerned about the increased risk fully-uniformed players face when competing in warm temperature environments.
Public Efforts to Address the Problem
The Texas Department of Insurance is just one agency in the state of Texas attempting to deal with the ongoing epidemic of heat-related illnesses and death. As part of its campaign to help employers reduce the rate of heat exhaustion and stroke in the workplace, the agency’s Division of Workers’ Compensation provides companies with information designed to raise awareness of the issue and help better protect employees. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) offers similar guidance at the national level, with a variety of educational resources and training that employers and employees can use to guard against the health dangers posed by high temperatures.
What You Can Do
The good news is that most heat stroke and exhaustion is preventable if the proper precautions are taken. Treatment varies depending upon the severity of the illness, of course:
Heat cramps are the first sign that heat exhaustion is imminent and usually involve the leg and stomach muscles. Rest and hydration are usually all that is needed to recover.
With heat exhaustion, immediate treatment is necessary to avoid further complications. The victim should be moved to a cool location and provided with water. If vomiting occurs, or the patient loses consciousness, medical treatment should be administered as well.
Heat stroke involves an effective shutdown of the body’s ability to regulate heat. When it occurs, medical help should be called in immediately. While waiting for help to arrive, it is important to remove the victim to a cool location and take steps to reduce core body temperature by applying water-soaked towels to the body. Conscious victims should consume water in small amounts to being rehydration.
The good news for patients suffering from heat-related trauma is that the worst effects of heat exhaustion and stroke can usually be avoided through a combination of increased awareness of temperature and avoidance of overexertion in high heat environments. When the heat gets the better of you, however, never hesitate to seek the medical attention you need.
No one plans on being injured, but we’re here for you if you. Contact Herrman & Herrman today or give our firm a call at (361) 882-4357 to speak to one of our knowledgeable Car Accident injury attorneys. Our law firm has extensive experience in personal injury law, having handled more than 20,000 cases. We have office locations in Ft. Worth, Brownsville, McAllen, Corpus Christi, Corpus Christi South Side, San Antonio, and Houston. Herrman & Herrman has Spanish-speaking and English-speaking staff so you can discuss your legal matter in the language that you feel most comfortable speaking.