Rio Grande Valley attractions

Top Choice Nature Reserve in Brownsville

Sabal Palm Sanctuary

The only palm tree native to Texas grows at this 557-acre sanctuary, operated by a foundation for the National Audubon Society. It sits in a bend of the Rio Grande River with one of the few groves never to have been…
Nature Reserve in Around McAllen

Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge

A self-proclaimed birder’s paradise, this 2088-acre refuge is one of the valley’s most beautiful spots. Lakes, wetlands and subtropical thorny forest combine for a peaceful setting where the only noises come from bi…
Historic Site in Around Brownsville

Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Site

On May 8, 1846, General Zachary Taylor and his troops defeated a larger Mexican army on this site in the first major battle of the Mexican-American War. The visitor center does an excellent job of putting the battle…
Lake in The Upper Valley

Falcon International Reservoir

This 136-sq-mile lake was formed by the Falcon Dam (1953) on the Rio Grande. Although seemingly tranquil, the lake has also suffered from the border tensions: fishing boats have been beset by pirates as recently as …
Historic Site in Brownsville

Fort Brown

This former US army outpost, dating from 1846, is named for Jacob Brown, who died here that year fighting the Mexicans. Flooding forced an 1868 relocation to the site, where several buildings still stand. They have …
Beach in Around Brownsville

Boca Chica Beach

Hugging the border just above where the Rio Grande empties into the gulf, Boca Chica is a rarely visited 10,680-acre wilderness very literally at the end of the road. SpaceX's proposed launch site nearby may change …
Nature Reserve in Around McAllen

La Sal del Rey Reserve

The 530-acre La Sal del Rey (Salt of the King) derives its name from a colonial Spanish law that awarded 20% of all harvest to the Crown. At this hypersaline lake, atop an estimated 4 million tons of salt, that amou…
State Park in Around Brownsville

Resaca de la Palma State Park

Part of the World Birding Center, this new 1200-acre park surrounds 4 miles of resaca (oxbow lakes), which are ideal for birds and their spotters. Trails wander through this semitropical landscape making this a love…
Chapel in Around McAllen

La Lomita Chapel

While the current structure is believed to date back to 1920, chapels have stood on this lomita (hilltop) since at least 1899, when the area was made the headquarters of a mission of the Order of the Oblates of Mary…
Nature Reserve in Harlingen

Arroyo Colorado

Merging two separately owned tracts of conservation land into a single 95-acre expanse, this reserve surrounding the namesake arroyo is part of the World Birding Center network. It provides breeding grounds and rest…