Must-see attractions in Rio Grande Valley

  • Sabal Palm Sanctuary

    Rio Grande Valley

    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…

  • Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge

    Rio Grande Valley

    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…

  • Falcon International Reservoir

    Rio Grande Valley

    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…

  • Fort Brown

    Rio Grande Valley

    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…

  • Boca Chica Beach

    Rio Grande Valley

    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…

  • La Sal del Rey Reserve

    Rio Grande Valley

    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…

  • Resaca de la Palma State Park

    Rio Grande Valley

    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…

  • La Lomita Chapel

    Rio Grande Valley

    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…

  • Arroyo Colorado

    Rio Grande Valley

    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…

  • Brownsville City Cemetery

    Rio Grande Valley

    Though only officially the city's cemetery since 1868, graves here date back as far as the 1850s. A walk through the well-kept grounds is a virtual tour…

  • Brownsville Heritage Complex

    Rio Grande Valley

    The 1851 home of Brownsville founder Charles Stillman, and later the Mexican Consulate in Brownsville, is part of the Brownsville Heritage Complex. Next…

  • Galeria 409

    Rio Grande Valley

    Founded by artist Mark Clark to showcase local talent, this small gallery hosts rotating exhibits on important local issues (border communities,…

  • Museum of South Texas History

    Rio Grande Valley

    The Museum of South Texas History covers transborder history with interactive multimedia exhibits that take visitors through frontier ranch houses and on…

  • Historic Brownsville Museum

    Rio Grande Valley

    Housed in the grand Spanish Colonial–style 1928 Southern Pacific Railroad Depot, this small museum houses historical artifacts and photography. In the…

  • Republic of the Rio Grande Museum

    Rio Grande Valley

    Housed in an 1830s home that served in 1840 as the capitol of the short-lived Republic of the Rio Grande, this excellent museum brings that turbulent era…

  • Border Heritage Museum

    Rio Grande Valley

    Operated by the Webb County Heritage Foundation, the Border Heritage Museum may be open with a special exhibition. It’s housed in the restored Villa…

  • Frontera Audubon

    Rio Grande Valley

    Despite the fact that it's only 15 acres and surrounded by the city, wandering the mile or so of nature trails through this well-conceived nature center…

  • Zapata Museum of History

    Rio Grande Valley

    Off US 83 between Laredo and McAllen in the small town of Zapata, this museum has historical artifacts and archival photographs of the former town of…

  • Aztec Theater

    Rio Grande Valley

    The 1915 Aztec Theater, the first Mayan Revival–style movie theater in the US, was a center of Eagle Pass community life until it closed in 1983. It's…

  • Quinta Mazatlan

    Rio Grande Valley

    This 1930s Spanish Revival adobe hacienda is one of McAllen's best-preserved historic buildings. It also happens to be part of the World Birding Center,…

  • Estero Llano Grande State Park

    Rio Grande Valley

    The geographic center of the World Birding Center properties in Texas, the 230 acres of reserve here are mostly wetlands and contain over 5 miles of…

  • Ruins of Fort Duncan

    Rio Grande Valley

    Though Fort Duncan Museum is long since shuttered, you can still wander through the ruins of the 1868 barracks and imagine what life might have been like…

  • San Agustín Plaza

    Rio Grande Valley

    Parts of this downtown plaza, the oldest in Laredo, date from 1767. Surrounded by cobblestoned streets, lined with ancient oaks, it's a great spot to…

  • Fort McIntosh Historic Site

    Rio Grande Valley

    Established in 1849 to protect the region from raiding bandits and hostile local tribes, Fort McIntosh remained active through the Mexican Revolution and…

  • Harlingen Arts & Heritage Museum

    Rio Grande Valley

    Return to the days of Six-Shooter Junction at this modern facility, which combines several museums in one. An 1870s stagecoach inn recalls the hot, dusty…

  • Palmito Ranch Battlefield

    Rio Grande Valley

    From May 12 to 13, 1865, this remote stretch of marshy prairie was the scene of the final land battle of the US Civil War, more than a month after the…

  • Roma Bluffs

    Rio Grande Valley

    Three acres of lush nature preserve along the banks of the Rio Grande are one of the World Birding Center properties that dot the border. A lookout on the…

  • Weslaco Museum

    Rio Grande Valley

    Informational displays and authentic artifacts help bring to life the long history of Weslaco and the Rio Grande Valley from the Native American and…

  • Gladys Porter Zoo

    Rio Grande Valley

    This 28-acre zoo displays more than 1500 animals in large areas that replicate their natural habitats. Among the kid-pleasing exhibits are a free-flight…

  • Alonso Building

    Rio Grande Valley

    This two-story 1877 structure was home to the popular Los Dos Cañones mercantile store, and the cast-iron balcony upstairs is one of several around…

  • Gem

    Rio Grande Valley

    The Gem, between E Levee St and E Elizabeth St, was one of the city's first brick commercial structures when it was built in 1848. Its projecting…

  • San Agustín Cathedral

    Rio Grande Valley

    Standing proud at the eastern end of the plaza, Laredo’s sturdy, whitewashed Gothic Revival cathedral was erected in 1872 as the third church on this site…

  • Villa de Cortez

    Rio Grande Valley

    Opened on New Year's Eve in 1928 as the Cortez Hotel, this four-story beauty was the first of what would becomes many Spanish Mediterranean–themed…

  • Falcon State Park

    Rio Grande Valley

    The 500-acre Falcon State Park, 3 miles west of US 83 off FM 2098, lines the US side of the lake. The land is mostly covered by cacti and shrubs, but the…

  • Laredo Center for the Arts

    Rio Grande Valley

    Rotating collections featuring work from local artists young and old can be hit or miss, but it's worth stopping in just for a look at the 1884 'El…

  • Russell-Cocke House

    Rio Grande Valley

    An 1877 Victorian house that shows the wealth of the local traders. Like many downtown buildings, it has an interesting historical marker, but the…

  • Immaculate Conception Cathedral

    Rio Grande Valley

    An 1859 Gothic Revival example of the artistry of local brick masons, this was the first Texas seminary of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

  • National Butterfly Center

    Rio Grande Valley

    Who isn't enchanted by butterflies? This park is both a learning center and a sanctuary for butterflies and endangered plants. More than 300 species of…

  • V Fernandez Complex

    Rio Grande Valley

    The old trade links to New Orleans are clearly visible in this dilapidated 1877 building.

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