McAllen is not just near the Mexican border, it is also near a natural border. To the east are the lush green lands of the Rio Grande Valley, with its farms, palm trees and fast-growing population. To the west is the beginning of the Chihuahuan Desert, where the land becomes more barren due to the increasingly arid climate.
McAllen is the center of two Texas industries: grapefruits and Winter Texans. The former are picked when ripe and juicy, the latter are, well, ripe. Highlight of the season for many is the huge Texas Square Dance Jamboree held each February.
Although McAllen may be short on attractions, its many hotels and restaurants and central location make it a good base for exploring the natural delights of the surrounding area, including the sites of the World Birding Center (www.theworldbirdingcenter.com).