Gulf Coast & South Texas

America's 'Third Coast,' as it calls itself, varies enormously from place to place. Thus the beach-town scene of Port Aransas is a sea of calm compared with the frenetic hedonism of South Padre Island. There are plenty of reminders of Texas’ dramatic history, too, from the Palo Alto Battlefield, site of the first shots of the Mexican–American War, to the long and bumpy history of the port city of Galveston.

Along the Rio Grande, border politics affect all aspects of life. In many ways the area has a different cultural identity to both Mexico and Texas, a unique multicultural and bilingual region that for a short time was even an independent state. The Republic of the Rio Grande may not have survived as a political entity, but its unique history still accents the towns and remote stretches from Brownsville to Laredo and beyond.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Gulf Coast & South Texas.