The sound-blasting golf carts seen along the streets of South Padre Island are as popular as they can be. The half dozen or so businesses that have the “rent me” signs have been adding newer and fancier rental vehicles to their fleet.
Some of these vehicles look like fancy racing cars, called slingshots. Others resemble the smart cars seen on some roads these days.
The demand for such vehicles decrease after the end of the tourist season, traditionally Labor Day weekend. Yet, even now, visitors (and even a few locals) are strolling up and down the Island streets in rental vehicles on any day.
The prices for a golf cart rentals are essentially the same from business to business, though some a little higher than others. But tourists love them, regardless of the cost.
Golf carts offer fun, alternative transportation
Take the Lafayette and Sanford families from Houston, for instance. The Houston clans made a recent trip to the Island this summer and rented several golf carts to get around. They could be seen strolling up and down on South Padre Boulevard on as many as four carts all packed to the max.
“We have about forty family members altogether,“ Trenton Lafayette said. “We rented these golf carts to go up and down and they are for road, not beach driving.”
The Lafayettes said they paid $125 for three hours for a multiple seat cart.
“Riding on these buggies is a lot of fun,” Latora Sanford said. “We just go up and down and from one place to another.”
Rental prices for a golf cart averages $40 an hour for four and $60 an hour for six passengers. For a slingshot vehicle, it’s $100 an hour plus a deposit of several hundred dollars.
To be legal on a city street, a golf cart has to have brakes, lights and a horn, which is pretty much the same as a regular size car or truck. Each vehicle is also assessed a tax.
“I don’t mind them,” a local resident said. “They are fun to drive and a convenient way to get around.”