The Kia Stinger GT is a Lot More Than Just a Pretty Fascia – It’s Fearless. #StingerIsHere

kia Stinger highway

The Kia Stinger is a lot more than just a Pretty Fascia

No one will disagree that the all new Stinger is a remarkably appealing vehicle. Even at its lowest trim level without custom add ons now available at time of purchase or upgrades, it is undeniably striking. Cars are built for a lot more than sitting still and looking pretty though. The 2018 Kia Stinger GT is so much more than its exterior. It’s precise and powerful and at a price accessible to everyone. What I love most about this addition to the Kia line up is that they aren’t attempting to create a new story but additional chapters to the existing one. The thing is where you’ve been ALWAYS plays a part in who you are today. For many of us that means we’re stronger, wiser, and more capable than in previous years. It gives us confidence. It makes us fearless. The Kia Stinger doesn’t negate the road that Kia traveled in the years preceding. It just offers a new layer of depth and makes the miles ahead a lot more exciting.

2018 Kia Stinger

What happens on the inside is just as important, if not more so, than what is shown on the outside. During the course of a few days in California, hosted by Kia Motors North America, I had the opportunity to really get to know the Stinger and put its capabilities to the test. After being thoroughly impressed getting to drift at SEMA a few weeks ago, I kinda already knew what I was getting into but this time I would get to drive distance as well.


We were hosted at The Garland hotel which if you have the opportunity to visit, you’ll find bathed in hues of orange, warm woods, and plenty of retro vibes. If you are looking to do a little Hollywood sightseeing, you definitely don’t have to go far from property. Located only a couple blocks away is the exterior of the famed Brady Bunch house. I took a short walk with friends before dinner to catch a quick glimpse myself and of course, take a selfie or 7.

Brady Bunch House

That evening we dined under the stars in the courtyard at The Garland with a menu theme based on the movies and stars of yesteryear. The Godfather offered an Italian selection while Jaws encircled the seafood, The French Connection… well you get the idea. After dinner, we played a few groovy games in the hospitality suite and listened to vinyls on record players courtesy of Harmon Kardon.

From the moment of its unveiling in Detroit, early this January, the Kia Stinger has been turning heads. All over the internet and in print people have commented on how well designed it is. Those within the company have held an air of confidence from the very beginning knowing how well it would perform. The thing is, Kia has been designing more than just “pretty cars” for quite some time now. The K900, the Cadenza, and the Optima all hold their own in the line up and in recognition. J.D Power has ranked Kia #1 in initial quality for two straight years. Consumer Reports lists them as top 3 in reliability and in the top 6 best car brands in the market. They have been the ONLY non-premium brand to earn three APEAL awards( J.D.Power).

What’s wrong with being “pretty”?

Nothing is wrong with being “pretty”, “hot”, or “sexy”. To me, it’s just not the most meaningful part about well, anything or anyone. Reducing something to mere aesthetics alone will always initially overlook the more powerful capabilities, potential, and personal story. Looking beyond the surface will ensure you get the whole picture and Kia is no exception. Their story has been one with plenty of ups and downs. It has been thrilling one to follow and personally be part of for the past several years. The way the Stinger GT plays into their story is perhaps the most intriguing part of all for me.

So, what’s the story?

Kia Stinger GT Magic Mountain

In a few sentences or less, The Kia Motors story holds all the elements of a classic heroic story-line. A brand underdog that with time and determination has risen to the top, quite literally. Knowing it takes a team to win, they carefully curated a dynamic team, leading in design, performance, and engineering. From concept to showroom, they were able to develop something that nobody could say no to.

The Kia Stinger GT doesn’t negate the road that Kia traveled in the years preceding. It just offers a new layer of depth and makes the miles ahead a lot more exciting.

Kia Stinger GT

It’s Fearless

There was once a time in my life where I cared what other people said. I carefully considered who was watching and behaved according to what I though their perceptions might be. The problem with this is that you limit yourself and your potential to your past accomplishments or mistakes. One day all that faded away. I began to move forward not even thinking about who may be watching. I don’t know that there was this defining moment that shifted things either. Shifts like that typically happen in a series of events or over time. It didn’t mean I behaved in ways that were reckless or less than thoughtful- I was just finally free to be who I was. I’ve never considered “fearless” an attribute I posses but actually that’s exactly what I’m describing here and I think it’s the place Kia has arrived at too.

During our last laps on the auto-cross course Kia had set up, JB, Eden and I took the Stinger out for a little “Confidence Training”. There was a smoke, squealing tires and a lot of laughter after holding our breath for 30-40 seconds at a time while we trusted the driving abilities of each other behind the wheel. This is something I would never have attempted without permission but I am so glad we did it! In those moments, it wasn’t about showing off, as most of the group had already left for the rest of the scenic drive portion. It wasn’t about proving anything. It was just a drive experience where you could be confident in the skills and capabilities you already have access to in a vehicle that was equally as capable. It was about experiencing life without holding back and living to your fullest potential.

It was about living life fearlessly.

What’s next? Where do we go from here?

As exciting as it was to experience the Stinger in this way, the majority of us don’t have time for drifting and smoking tires during our daily commute. Most of us just want to escape the daily grind. This is the beauty of the gran turismo. An authentic gran turismo means long distance, high-speed, safe driving, and high-speed stability. The Stinger is designed for all of that and more.

2018 Stinger

“A true gran turismo, a car for spirited long-distance driving, is not about outright power, hard-edged dynamics and brutal styling, all at the expense of luxury, comfort and grace,” notes Gregory Guillaume, chief designer, Kia Motors Europe. “The Stinger has nothing to do with being the first to arrive at the destination – this car is all about the journey.  It’s about passion.”

Have you ever wanted to just pack a bag, get in the car and drive? This is the car for that. It’s designed for miles and miles of road and scenery. We’ve all said “one day I’d like to go…..” Don’t wait for one day. Make one day today. Find that place and take in something new. Find the places that feel right and once you get there consider staying an extra day or two. Bring a friend. There is plenty of room for their luggage too (or drone equipment depending on who you bring…. looking at you Yarby).

But wait…. what will this cost?

If I’ve sold you on performance, design and dreams, you’ve probably still got questions. I mean, we’ve all got day jobs and grocery runs after all. What exactly is this going to cost? Probably a lot less than you may be thinking.

This is where the Kia Stinger still shines and makes the most sense. An area where Kia has always excelled: affordability. Offered in five trim levels – Stinger, Stinger Premium, GT, GT1, and GT2:

  • Stinger starts at $31,900
  • Stinger Premium starts at $37,100
  • GT starts at $38,350
  • GT1 starts at $43,250
  • GT2 starts at $49,200
  • All-wheel drive:  $2,200
  • Destination: $900

“The Stinger is a prime example of Kia’s commitment to surpassing consumers’ expectations in everything we do,” said Orth Hedrick, vice president of product planning, KMA. “Although the Stinger is unlike any other Kia that has come before it in terms of pure driving enjoyment, it is still very much a traditional Kia in that it offers consumers a very compelling value proposition, providing excellent performance and handling, premium features and functionality when compared to its much higher-priced competitors.”

All in all this is definitely a car worth taking a look at and taking a long drive in. Stop into your local dealership and see for yourself. Fair warning, you are going to want to take this one home.

 

SEMA 2017 : Kia Stinger Style

SEMA 2017 Kia Stinger StyleYou know the reaction that most people have if you ask them about going to Disneyland? That’s the same reaction I had when Kia asked me to attend SEMA with them for the unveiling of TWO custom designed Stingers. Not only would I have the opportunity to see them I would have the opportunity to actually get behind the wheel myself AND do a little drifting with a professional driver. This is what automotive dreams are made of y’all. I was 100% all in.

SEMA IS my Disneyland. Growing up in the Midwest, our small family of four took a lot of day trips and even more long Sunday drives than I could ever count but we took only one true family vacation together. A single day at Disneyland and a single day at Knott’s Berry Farm, saddled next to an automotive conference for my father’s business. To this day I can still recall how the excitement over what would be revealed at the show was built up with slightly more enthusiasm than the visit to Sleeping Beauty’s castle.

Curiosity Keeps Leading Us Down New Paths

Whether your heart dreams of magic castles or the magic that can be found in a paint booth, the common ground these two venues, companies, creators, and attendees all have is best summed up by this quote from Walt Disney himself:

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

It’s this curiosity that binds us together. The curiosity to build something better. Something faster. Something more compelling that connects the story of creator and consumer. Each year the companies and creatives work around the clock, creating something spectacular to reveal. Each year SEMA draws a crowd bigger than the last curious to see whats been done whats been created.  In this world it is where the artists and dreamers really shine and since there’s simply no city that shines brighter than Las Vegas, here we are.

SEMA Kia Stinger Style

Kia  has been working relentlessly to elevate their design and product for years. In a sense the Stinger is the embodiment of that vision before us. It’s a monumental offering to add to the brand’s line up. So they weren’t playing when they partnered with West Coast Customs to bring an amazing amount of style to this years SEMA show.

SEMA Kia Stinger GT wide body rear plate

 

Kia Stinger GT Federation

SEMA Kia Stinger GT Federation

SEMA Kia Stinger GT Federation front view

SEMA Kia Stinger GT Federation front

SEMA Kia Stinger GT Federation rear

Kia unveiled the Stinger GT Federation in a color aptly coined “Performance Orange”. It is a uniquely modified Stinger outfitted with parts and accessories from leading aftermarket suppliers. The Stinger GT Federation reveal followed the announcement celebrating the offering of high-performance aftermarket parts available for purchase in conjunction with the Stinger launch. The exterior body accent kits include a rear spoiler, rear diffuser and redesigned hood vent. A K&N cold-air intake and a low-restriction quad-tipped Borla exhaust help the Stinger breathe more freely and are designed to pump an additional 15 horsepower through the twin-turbo 3.3-liter engine, bringing the vehicle’s horsepower to an estimated 3806. Eibach springs, thicker antiroll bars and a reduced ride height aim to offer a more spirited driving experience, while aggressive staggered 20-inch TSW wheels shod with Falken tires round out the Stinger GT Federation’s visual and technical achievements.

Kia Stinger GT Wide Body

SEMA Kia Stinger GT wide body West Coast customs

SEMA Kia Stinger GT Wide Body interior

The Stinger GT Wide Body is a specially modified work of art by legendary West Coast Customs. Unveiled in beautiful pearl metallic blue took the Stinger GT to a whole new level of stunning. “Taking inspiration from the racing GT cars of the 1970s, this modern interpretation seamlessly blends tire accommodating wide fenders with the Stinger’s already narrow waist. Riding on a suspension that’s been lowered 1.4-inches up front and 1.2-inches in the rear, the Stinger GT Wide Body rides on 21-inch Keen forged wheels wrapped with high-performance tires. A lightweight carbon fiber aero kit and rear diffuser will keep the Stinger firmly planted at high-speed, while the quad-port exhaust tips proclaim that this is no typical sports machine. Inside the driver-centric cockpit, the Stinger GT Wide Body includes custom blue leather seat piping, a distinct hand-stitched gray leather dash panel, alcantara-wrapped steering wheel as well as gloss black center console trim.”

Drifting in the Kia Stinger

SEMA 2017 Kia Stinger Style

At this point, no one could deny that this is a pretty car. It’s designed and crafted to be more than just looks though. Honestly, to comment on the aesthetics alone would be slightly insulting but if we’re really being honest there are those who are still trying to reconcile the name badge with the performance level that this car is touting. Maybe that’s fair… we all have to prove ourselves from time to time and when you are confident in your abilities it’s fun to show off a little too.

The opportunity for Kia to show what the Stinger is capable of came just outside the convention center floor. In the Gold Lot outside, Kia provided an exclusive opportunity for us to get behind the wheel for ourselves and do a little drifting with a professional driver in the all-new Kia Stinger. Words alone just cant do it justice. Here’s a few video clips of our experience:

It was truly an incredible Vegas experience and my ride in the Stinger was definitely faster than the Dumbo ride at Disneyland. I had a few more foodie adventures and an evening with Sir Elton while I was in Vegas that I want to share with you soon. Before that I’ll be heading out to Hollywood to spend a little more quality time with the Stinger and see how it handles on the streets of California. Stay Tuned I have so many stories to share with you.

Disclosure: As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with accommodations, meals, and other compensation. My host for this adventure was Kia Motors America as part of the #StingerExperience #KiaSEMA

 

Taking New Turns & Turning Heads : The Honda Civic Type R

Honda Civic Type R

Everyone has a way of marking the timeline of their life. Your grandparents may have dated theirs with “Well, when Eisenhower was president…” Some will calculate seasons by who they were romantically involved with. Mothers and fathers measure timelines with dates of pregnancies or children’s birthdays. Growing up in an automotive family, the stories I heard always included memories categorized by the cars that were driven. Cars were always a significant part of the story. Just like this one.
At a time when most of my friends were still in college finding themselves, I found myself in a driveway restarting my life in a sporty red Honda Civic. This was a pivotal point on my timeline. Looking back, this place in my past was one of the most uncertain times of my entire life. As a recently separated single mother, this was literally the key to making this new life work. Staring down the hood, I came to a powerful revelation. I was doing more than taking ownership of a car that day. I was also taking ownership of my life. I held the keys in my hand and took a deep breath as if the oxygen filling my lungs would replace the trepidation inside. The next steps would require a monumental amount of endurance, resiliency, determination and confidence.
It was a fun car to drive and great fit for my personality but it meant so much more to me than that. Owning that Civic was the security I needed to arrive on time to the 55-65 hours a week required to make this new life possible. It provided a place of solace when my two babies were incessantly crying and my arms were too tired to hold or rock them a minute longer. Secure in their car seats, we drove until tiny eyelids could finally be seen blinking in slow motion in the rear view mirror. I’d drive a bit longer to make sure that sleep was certain and then find a spot overlooking a lake or park that had gone quiet for the evening.

At the end of long days like this, inside this car was where I shed tears, sorted through my thoughts and worries, and reassured myself “we really were doing a good job getting there ” (even if I didn’t quite know where “there” was yet). Through every curve, tight corner, and rough patch I got there.
Several years later, I found myself handing over the keys to a new owner. It very much felt like the end of a journey. I was both relieved and sentimental thinking about the feat it was to purchase that car at that point in my life. It was the proof I needed to refute echos of “you’ll never make it on your own. You are going to fail”.  But I hadn’t failed. I had persevered and proven to the world I could.

seaplane Honda Civic Type R

Years went by without another Honda in my driveway but late this summer, I received an invitation to sit in the driver’s seat of a 2017 Honda Civic Type R as it makes its entrance into the US market. We would arrive by seaplane to stay at the beautiful Alderbrook Resort & Spa, driving the winding roads of Washington State, and have the opportunity to fully test the Civic Type R with a few fast laps on the track at the Ridge Motorsports Park. Beautiful scenery, luxury accommodations, and fast driving who could say no to that?

Yet, I hesitated for 3 days before sending back my reply of acceptance. It wasn’t due to lack of excitement about the invitation. Ties to emotional memories are powerful in that way, friends. Somewhere deep inside hid a small part of myself wondering if the smallness I felt in years past would come rushing back when once again I positioned myself in the drivers seat of another Honda Civic.

This certainly wouldn’t be the same Civic from my past- FAR from it. In a respectful parallel, I was also now far from the young 22-year-old woman who once stood alone trying to regain her confidence. Was I really as strong and confident as I imagined myself to be? Was I trying to prove something to myself? This invitation offered an opportunity to find out. I knew there was definitely a story to be told here. If nothing else I’d have the opportunity to prove my driving skills as the limited production Type R is manufactured in manual-transmission only.

On the track Honda Civic Type R

The Honda Civic Type R

The Honda Civic Type R has been sold in Japan, Europe, and Australia for decades now. Enthusiasts in the US have been anxiously awaiting its release here in the states. The mere mention of the front-wheel-drive lap-time record at Nürburgring of 7 minutes 43.8 seconds, delivering 306 horsepower and 296 pounds of torque seemed to be all thats needed to create an inner desire to get behind the wheel.

On the track in the Honda Civic Type R

Taking New Turns and Turning Heads in the Civic Type R

Bell Helmets Honda Civic Type R

My drive opportunity during this trip in the Type R offered the full range to experience every capability this car is equipped for. It allowed us driving speeds of 122+ mph on the track at The Ridge Motorsports Park. You’ll never find out how truly capable you are until you position yourself in a place to challenge yourself and your limits. This seemed like the ideal place to test limits.
On the track Honda Civic Type R

Even at increasing speeds the Type R enters every turn with precision, simultaneously keeping its passengers firmly embraced in its red and black sport seats.

The D-shaped steering wheel, sport pedals and aluminum shifting knob are a consistent reminder of what this car is engineered for. The distinctive design of the Type-R is as functional as it is head turning.

Honda Civic Type R rear view
Side angle of the Honda Civic Type R

Checkered flag Honda Civic Type R
It’s so head turning in fact that my drive partner Scotty ( you can read her take on the Type R here) and I were flagged down along our route by a local and his wife, to discuss how he could purchase a Honda Civic Type R of his very own that very day. Obviously, we couldn’t sell him ours but we assured him we’d connect him with someone who could.

Fans of the Honda Civic Type R We continued the transition from track to road finding the only difficulty was making the mental shift to drive lower local speed limits, shifting gears was always smooth. It was fun to drive fast but it just as comfortable for long drives on the road. Outfitted with comforts of a 7 inch display, 12 speaker sound system, and climate control you’ll find yourself wanting to spend more time in this car. If your day to day life is like mine seeming to always move along at record speeds, well, this car can certainly keep up with that too.

The three drive modes in the sporty Civic Type R (Comfort, Sport, and +R) offer ideal driving dynamics adjusting things like steering and throttle response, transmission, and rev matching which made transitioning from a speedy track drive into a comfortable road trip nothing but smooth sailing.

Honda Civic Type R drive modes

Honda Civic Type R alderbrook resort

As we completed our drive and pulled back into the property at Alderbrook Resort & Spa, I had a few minutes to reflect in my suite before our group would be actually setting sail for an evening dinner cruise on the Hood Canal.

Alderbrook resort and spa

 

I noted that not once had my concerns of the past hindered my day or drive. My day had been filled with meaningful conversations, new experiences, beautiful scenery, and a feeling of truly being present. Isn’t the ability to appreciate every beautiful person, live fully in the moment, and just find ourselves with the ability to be present the goal we all have for our lives? I’m pretty certain that’s the only KPI that truly matters. Achieving a life we are proud to live. Well done, Honda.

Although reassessing a journey of where we’ve been and how we got there can make us all feel vulnerable, ultimately it helps us arrive at a place of authenticity. It helps us to reaffirm the confidence in ourselves at every stage of our life.

Alderbrook resort and spa room

Many Thanks & Appreciation to Honda
It was an honor to be a guest of Honda experiencing the Type R drive in such a thoughtful and authentic way. As is typical, all accommodations and travel were provided. Additionally all experiences, opinions and storytelling are authentically my own.

Where to Stay and Play on South Padre Island

South Padre Island Texas WelcomeBeautiful South Padre Island has a known reputation for the influx it receives during a couple busy Spring Break weeks in March. If that’s the only thing that comes to mind when you hear South Padre, I’d suggest you think again! It is a WONDERFUL getaway for families too! During the rest of the year, South Padre Island is a relaxing oasis that rivals the best beach towns in America. This summer our family was invited to experience this Texas island as a family and we’ve got the best recommendations for a getaway you’ll never forget.

*We believe in full disclosure and wanted to let you know that this trip was provided by the South Padre Island CVB in partnership with Texas Travel Talk. As is common in the travel industry, our family was provided with accommodations, meals, and other compensation. As always we only provide opinions, recommendations, and experiences that are 100% authentic and our own.  

Where to Stay on South Padre Island

Pool at the Sapphire South Padre Island

One of the things I love most about staying on South Padre Island is that there are a wide range of available properties to fit every accommodation preference and budget. I can assure you that there is not a bad view anywhere on the island but if luxury accommodations are what you are looking for (you KNOW this is what our family enjoys most!), I highly recommend booking at the Sapphire through Coastal Lifestyles Luxury Rentals. The Sapphire has two private pools and rows of private cabanas to enjoy a beautiful day poolside.

Sapphire pools South Padre island

Beautiful lush landscape leads you to the beach boardwalk and the beautiful Gulf of Mexico just steps away from the pool cabanas. If you like to pool hop, staying at the Sapphire also allows you access to the neighboring Pearl pools and facilities as well. After spending a little time in the sun you can indulge yourself in luxury with amazing massages, refreshing facials, relaxing manicures and pedicures at the Sapphire Spa.

Sapphire Spa South padre island

Your teens can enjoy a space all to themselves in the Teen Game Room to enjoy some shuffleboard, pinball, pool and foosball! All fun and games here at Sapphire South Padre! At the end of the night, when you want to wind down as a family there is a private movie theater that let’s YOU choose the movie from a lonnnnng list of new releases. Just schedule the movie of your choosing with the front desk and it’s all yours!! This was one of our family’s favorite amenities.

Private Movie Room Sapphire South Padre island

Where To Play on South Padre Island

There is so much to do on the island you might have a tough time choosing exactly what to do first. We spent a very full weekend here and STILL didn’t have enough time to fit every thing in that we wanted to do. That gives us plenty of reason to plan a second (and third) trip back! Give yourself plenty of time to enjoy everything that the island has to offer.

-Get up early and watch the sunrise on the beach. 

Sunrise Sapphire South Padre Island

Build Sandcastles with the Experts!  Who else is fascinated with the elaborate sandcastles you’ve seen on the beach? I am always enamored with them. As it turns out, the experts are available and willing to teach you and your crew a few simple techniques to make you a master architect of sand as well. Several members of our group had the opportunity to meet on the sand to get an in-person lesson. This will be one of our “bucket list” items for our next beach trip!

Sandcastle building South padre island

-Get out on the water in a kayak, jetski, water bike or stand up paddle board!

If your body is a little water logged from being IN the water, you can still have fun ON the water. Even if your family has never kayaked before South Padre Island truly is the perfect place to learn. Of course you’ll all be wearing life-vests but the water surrounding the island in most places is only four feet deep. This means even if you are a little apprehensive about your stability on the water, and worst case scenario you do tip, all you need to do is stand up.

ProTip: Be prepared for the hyper-salinity (extra salty) of the water here. If it gets in your eyes it may be a bit more noticeable than average salt water.

Kayaking on South padre island

-Take a Eco-Sea life cruise while Dolphin watching or go on a pirate adventure on the Black Dragon with Osprey cruises

Pirates Pier Port Isabel

We arrived on a Friday night just in time for the evening pirate show and cruise on the Black Dragon. Drinks and snacks are available on the deck and aboard the ship. This cruise is IDEAL for families with young children.

Black Dragon Sign

The Black Dragon cruise is super interactive and the crew is just incredible with families! You’ll be on board to catch a beautiful sunset over the water and if you are there on a Friday or Saturday you’ll also get to watch the fireworks!

On Saturday, we took the 2 pm Dolphin watch cruise and we saw one of the most active dolphin pods I’ve ever seen!  This was a perfect time of day to be out on the ship too.

Osprey Cruises Chase Family South Padre Island

The ocean breezes kept us cool and there was plenty of shade on the deck to ensure we wouldn’t get too much direct sun. While sightseeing, you’ll also learn about the local wildlife and ecology of the Laguna Madre. The crew will use a trawling net to bring sea life directly to you onboard the ship and return it safely back into the eco-system.

Eco Tour Osprey Cruises Starfish South Padre Island

-Go Birdwatching at the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center. The birding center is fascinating and people come from all over the world just to see the birds that migrate here.

Swim the Day Away Remember the two awesome pools I mentioned at Sapphire? AND at the Pearl? Almost every resort or condo has great pool access to enjoy splashing the day away. Be sure to take enjoy some pool time while you are here!

Swimming at Sapphire South Padre Island

-Enjoy a fun filled day at Schlitterbahn South Padre

“Experience the best the Gulf Coast has to offer… a 25-acre paradise and the most popular waterpark in the Rio Grande Valley. Enjoy nearly two dozen world-class attractions, roar down 13 amazing indoor and outdoor water slides, or float one of the multiple river systems. The resort includes lodging, great Gulf beaches, fantastic dining location options, and unlimited use of both the indoor and outdoor waterparks.”

Where To Eat on South Padre Island

Vegetarian foods at the Painted Marlin grille

Whether it’s prepping for the day or coming in from a full day of island activities, South Padre has you set for dining options for breakfast lunch or dinner. Two of our best recommendations are WindJammers Beachfront Cafe ( located inside the IslaGrand Beach Resort) and The Painted Marlin Grille. Both have spectacular views and casual attire is acceptable at either location. Remember to be laid back enjoying the views and atmosphere, even though you are in Texas this is island life!

Painted Marlin Grille

Painted marlin South Padre dining

 

Fish and Chips at the painted Marlin Grille South Padre Island

For more family fun and ways to explore South Padre Island head over to Visit South Padre for all the latest activities and fun on the island! Be sure to check out our Instagram for more photos of our trip to South Padre Island and for the latest in Texas travel follow @TXTravelTalk on twitter.

Have you visited South Padre Island? What was your favorite activity, accommodation, or memory? Share in the comments below!  

iFLY Austin : Our Indoor Skydiving Experience

Thanks to iFly Austin for inviting us out to participate in one of the coolest family activities in the Austin area- INDOOR SKYDIVING!! Read on to find out about our first family skydiving experience, our initial thoughts, and what surprised us most!

iFLY indoor skydiving Austin TX

iFLY is an indoor skydiving experience that creates true free fall conditions, just like skydiving, without having to jump out of an airplane. iFLY’s vertical wind tunnel generates 1600 horse power from 4 powerful fans, creating a wall-to-wall cushion of air on which you can safely float. There’s no parachute, no jumping, and nothing attaching you to planet Earth. It’s just you and the air, AND it’s the most incredible adrenaline rush.

Our daughters have always been the extreme thrill seekers in our family so I knew immediately that Kaitlyn would want to come along to experience this for herself. Sebastian had recently gone with his class on a field trip here just a couple of weeks before so I was prepared to have to sit on the bench this time, thinking he would be ready to go again. To my surprise he INSISTED I go in his place because as he put it “Everyone should try this at least once in their lifetime.” It looked like this would be my day to try indoor skydiving. I’m so glad I did!!

austin iFLY indoor skydiving building

First time Indoor Skydiving? What you can to expect at iFly Austin

When we arrived at the facility, check in was a breeze because we already had completed our forms online. We just provided our names and they were able to locate everything easily. We did have participate in a quick (very discreet) weigh in so that the air pressure in the flight tube could be calculated correctly for our flight.

After that we went upstairs to watch a quick safety video with the instructor and got fitted in our flight gear. The gear consisted of a helmet, goggles, earplugs, and flight suit. The flight suit is basically just a jump suit that goes on over your clothes. I recommend wearing athletic clothing that fit close to your body, athletic shoes and pulling your hair back. You’ll also want to remove any jewelry that could come loose as well.

iFly indoor skydiving flight suits

All suited up and putting on our best game faces as first time flyers. We looked brave but eek! We were a little nervous.

The biggest surprise was finding out what a workout this could be. You might not initially consider indoor skydiving as part of your fitness routine but during your one to four minute flight session you are engaging a series of isometric contractions to keep your entire body suspended and stabilized as you encounter the high-speed wind resistance in the tunnel. iFLY offers several flight packages that could be a really fun way add some new energy to your fitness routine.

ifly indoor skydiving tunnel

Not really knowing what to expect and not entirely sure I could remember the instructions from the safety video, I was relieved to see our instructor would be in the tunnel with us to help us remember what to while we were in there. Kaitlyn and I positioned ourselves somewhere in the middle of our group so we could watch a few other attendees go first and see how it’s done. There were people of all ages, sizes, and athletic ability in our group. I wouldn’t let any of those be a factor in holding you back from this super fun experience.

Here’s a video of what the iFLY experience was like:

We were able to experience 2 full flights in the tunnel each with our instructor. Kaitlyn had such a great time that we upgraded her experience and she took an advanced flight going higher and learning a few more techniques. At the end we both received a certificate for our indoor skydiving experience. We both agreed we would love to come back!!

iFLY Austin Certificate

Ready to take an iFly indoor Skydiving adventure of your own?

Have we convinced you to in check out iFly for yourself? You’ll find the Austin location at 13265 North US 183, Suite A Austin, TX. (Outside of the Austin area? No Problem! iFly has several location in Texas and throughout the nation. Just check the website for the location nearest you here)

Give them a call now to set up a visit (512) 774-4359

Hours of Operation:

Monday-Thursday: 10am – 9pm
Friday: 10am-11pm
Saturday: 9am – 11pm
Sunday: 9am – 9pm

Be sure to check out their website here for more information and follow them on Facebook and Instagram for all the latest offers and events!

Have you been indoor skydiving? I’d love to hear about it!! For other fun activities in the Austin area check out this post