Coastal Treasures shares three hidden gems that are perfect places to ease your holiday stress.

By: Sylvia Slezak

Summer is gone, and won’t be back ‘til next year. Autumn is here, and so is the holiday season along with all its adjectives: happy, hectic, stressful, sad, memorable, etc. But we have a few suggestions for you to consider doing either before or after the holiday season. Make time for yourself to be with those who matter the most to you. Here are three hidden treasures to discover and explore.

A villa by the bay
Villa La Casita is a hidden coastal treasure that provides an intimate and refreshing retreat in the Coastal Bend. It is perfect for celebrating a honeymoon, anniversary, birthday or weekend getaway with that very special someone. Lush tropical gardens on the rear patio and side party lawn provide the perfect setting for such celebrations.

A weekend in your own villa can be a great way to unwind after the holidays or prepare for the busy holiday season. Bask in the sun, sit in the shade or enjoy your breakfast while surrounded by the smell of the flowers and the sound of the trickling fountain in the beautiful courtyard. After an active day outdoors, return to the courtyard to relax and collect yourself before dinner. It’s like being transported to another place and time.

You can get some local sightseeing in at the nearby attractions or soak up some sun at the downtown beaches. Visit the museums, the USS Lexington, Texas State Aquarium or the Harbor Playhouse. Enjoy a variety of outdoor activities like windsurfing, kayaking, sailing, rollerblading or bicycling along Shoreline Drive. Take a short stroll to Cole Park to watch a beautiful sunset and the sailboats returning to port each evening. One weekend of this may cure most of what ails you.

A fun way to celebrate
If you prefer to connect with the artistic side of you, there is an adventure awaiting you at an art studio offering a great night of painting without the commitment of a regular art class. That place is The Tipsy Canvas. Even if you’ve never touched a paintbrush in your life, you’ll be able to follow along with local artists as they take you step-by-step through the painless process of creating a beautiful painting. Go ahead, paint a masterpiece and hang it on your wall. You could be the next Picasso.

Here you take your own refreshments, your favorite food or snack and any wine, beer or pre-bottled alcoholic beverage to sip on during the adult classes. The Tipsy Canvas is also great for a team-building event, family bonding, bachelorette parties, a girls’ night out or any occasion. They will even tailor your group’s painting specifically for you.

A tasteful ending
After a beach trip, take the load off your feet, have a burger, have a drink and watch the sunset. The laidback atmosphere at Padre Island Burger Company is a place for tourists and locals to have fun and fellowship.

Their “Dr. Padre Burger” is a culinary masterpiece created by Jason Johnson, a classically French-trained culinary chef who takes burger bliss to a whole new level. The Dr. Pepper barbecue sauce burger is said to blow your mind once you pair it with their tasty garlic fries. You can smell the garlic fries as you walk through the restaurant.

Johnson cooks up the barbecue sauce from scratch. The beef, the buns and the ingredients for the barbecue sauce are all from Texas, and the bacon is corn-cob-smoked. Some say it is the best bacon ever on a burger, and that the sauces are what make a good burger. The barbecue sauce and Dr. Pepper syrup combination gives it just enough sweetness with a great deal of deliciousness.

While the famous “Dr. Padre Burger” is still the burger that stands out, there are a variety of savory options on their menu, as well. To start with appetizers, order up some deep-fried pickle slices, their famous Dr. Padre sauce or honey cholula wings, famous green chili fries topped with melted cheese, onion rings, quesadillas or regular or sweet potato fries.

Build your burger with your choice of beef, chicken, portobello mushroom cap or chicken strips, nestled on a bun and topped with your choice of cheese, fried egg, Dr. Padre barbecue sauce, garlic aioli, sliced avocado, corn-smoked bacon, caramelized onions, green chile, sauteed mushrooms, guacamole and/or jalapenos.

Safe and happy holiday wishes
Though our coastal journey together has ended, your holiday adventures await you. May you be safe, happy and blessed during this holiday season.

Sylvia Slezak is the director of marketing and social media at For more information on where to relax, have fun and enjoy the hidden treasures of the Coastal Bend, visit us online at to explore the featured premier restaurants, attractions and local events.


Posted in Uncategorized