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Things to Do in South Texas

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South Texas has a variety of attractions and activities to fill out a full vacation itinerary. From historical sites to unique festivals and celebrations, there is always something to see and do in South Texas.

1. See Where the Mexican War Began

Located just north of Brownsville, Palo Alto Battlefield is the site of the first battle of the Mexican War, which was fought on May 8, 1846. The site was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1960 and a National Historic Site in 1978. Today, the 3,400-acre battlefield is the only unit of the National Park Service that has a primary focus on the US/Mexican War.

2. Spend a Day at the Gladys Porter Zoo

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.

3. Go Bass Fishing

Although it is one of the driest regions in Texas, South Texas boasts some of the best freshwater fishing in the Lone Star State. This is particularly true concerning bass fishing, as two of the best big bass lakes in the nation -- Falcon Lake in Zapata and Choke Canyon Reservoir near Three Rivers -- are located in South Texas.

4. Celebrate Culture Along the Border

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.

5. Hear Tall Tales

During the first weekend of November each year, the tiny South Texas town of George West hears some of the tallest tales in Texas. For more than two decades, the state's best story tellers have gathered here during that weekend for George West's annual Storyfest, one of the most unique festivals in Texas. In addition to live performances by the various story tellers, Storyfest features live music, a car show, street dance, “Little Red Wagon” parade, quilt show and more.

6. Celebrate Charro Days

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.

7. Play a Round of Golf

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.

8. Watch Birds

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.

9. Visit the 'Cradle of Texas Independence'

The small South Texas town of Gonzales played a big role in the Texas Revolution. In fact, Gonzales was the site of the first battle of the Texas Revolution, which earned the town the nickname of the "Cradle of Texas Independence."

10. Attend the Peanut Festival

Held each year in Floresville, the Peanut Festival celebrates this South Texas town's claim as the Peanut Capitol of Texas. Held the second week of October each year, the Peanut Festival is generally greeted with pleasant autumn weather and features a wide variety of fun family activities and events.

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