Texas' Rio Grande Valley extends north and west from the mouth of the Rio Grande River and includes Texas' four southernmost counties - Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr and Willacy. Thanks to its subtropical climate, the Rio Grande Valley is a true year-around vacation destination. Here are few suggestions for attractions, events and towns to visit while on a Rio Grande Valley vacation.
A celebration of "two nation cooperation," Brownsville's annual Charro Days festival has been around in its current format since 1938, it is rumored that the first “unofficial” Charro Days took place in the early to mid-1800s, when citizens of Brownsville and Matamoros, just across the Rio Grande River in Mexico, came together to celebrate a cooperative climate between the two nations. In addition to numerous dances, there will be a flour tortilla eating contest, folkloric dancing, a golf tournament, parades, pageants and more.
Due to its mild year around climate, South Texas is an ideal location for golfing. There are a number of quality courses throughout the South Texas region. The Rio Grande Valley is especially noted for its golfing opportunities, with good courses found from Harlingen to Mission.
Birding has become of the nation's most popular outdoor recreational activities in recent years. Due to its warm weather and myriad of avian species, South Texas has become of the most popular birding destinations. South Texas is also home to some of the nation's best birding facilities, such as the Rio Grande Valley's World Birding Center, the Great Coastal Birding Trail, and numerous state parks and national wildlife refuges.
Held during March each year in the South Texas border town of Hidalgo, Borderfest is the oldest cultural art and music festival in the Rio Grande Valley. Each year Borderfest is themed to celebrate a different culture and features performances from some of the country's top musical performers.
Few people realize the role the Rio Grande Valley has played in Texas and US history. Several important battles were fought in this border region during the Texas Revolution, the US/Mexican War, and the Civil War. One of the most significant of these sites was the Palo Alto Battlefield, located just north of Brownsville and a short drive from South Padre Island.
Located a short distance above the US/Mexico border in Brownsville, the Gladys Porter Zoo is one of the most renown zoos in Texas and the United States. First opened in 1971, Gladys Porter Zoo covers 26 acres, includes over 1,300 animals, and attracts close to 400,000 visitors annually.
South Padre Island is perhaps the best known Texas beach resort. South Padre’s primary claim to fame, of course, is Spring Break. And, plenty of people know about the bounty of summer activities on the Island. However, not everyone realizes South Padre is truly a beach destination for all seasons and all types of activities. In fact, SPI was recently named as one of the nation's Top 10 destinations for water sport activities by Good Morning America and it's Laguna Madre Nature Trail was named as one of the state's Top 10 nature trails by Texas Parks and Wildlife.
Brownsville is Texas' southernmost city. Located right at the tip of Texas, Brownsville is situated on the banks of the famous Rio Grande River, directly across from Matamoros, Mexico. It is also just a short distance upriver from the Gulf of Mexico. In short, this location adds up to make Brownsville an ideal year around vacation destination.