There are few places more tropical in the continental United States than the lush Lower Rio Grande Valley of deep South Texas. The call of the tropics are almost too much to resist. And why would you want to resist?
With abundant culture, warm climate, tropical beauty and delicious Rio Grande Valley fruit (oranges and grapefruit to die for!), the region is spotted with a myriad assortment of small towns and cities full of South Texas charm and down-home hospitality.
The hub communities of McAllen, Brownsville, South Padre Island and Harlingen provide ample shopping, the opportunity to enjoy art, culture and history, and many attractions that can be enjoyed year-round. With warm summers and mild winters, the area plays host to thousands of Winter Texans who have made the region their "home away from home" - or their second home - for several months each year.
Dotted across the region (bordered by Mexico to the West and the Gulf of Mexico to the East) are hundreds of RV parks, resorts and campgrounds, each providing varying levels of service for recreational travelers and Winter Texans.
While many types of wildlife are abundant in the region, bird watching, or birding, is one of the most popular and easiest in which to participate. Birders from around the world flock to the region annually to enjoy such events as the Brownsville International Birding Festival, or to enjoy the State-designated Texas Birding Trail. Literally thousands of species of birds frequent the area, or nest in the near perfect subtropical climate of the Lower Valley.
Lying just above the same latitude as the Florida Keys, winter temperatures are mild with an average low of 51 degrees. The 330 day growing period makes the area a major producer of truck crops, particularly citrus products. Orange and Grapefruit orchards line the highways of the Valley.
ESCAPE TO SOUTH PADRE ISLAND / PORT ISABEL
Along the eastern boundary of what is known as the Lower Rio Grande Valley is South Padre Island, a resort community located on the tip of Texas' great barrier islands - South Padre, the southernmost tip of the United States. Five miles long on a 35-mile long stretch of sand dunes and palm trees, the island is situated about two miles offshore, separated from the mainline by the great Laguna Madre - a natural bay formed by the far-reaching island that skirts up the coast to Port Mansfield.
Port Isabel, a historic Texas port on the lower Texas coast, is connected to the island by causeway, and offers the perfect coastal setting for mainlanders who still want to be on the water.
Full of great restaurants and an attractive museum collection of artifacts from a sunk Spanish galleon, the city provides a great spot to spend a day, a week or an entire winter season.
Enjoy regular events around the historic lighthouse including art festivals and seasonal and holiday activities. And take a walk down the longest fishing pier in Texas, or a stroll down the walk of history downtown. And don't forget to check out cruises on the bay aboard the pirate ship the Red Dragon, and event enjoyed by all ages.
Not far away is historic Brownsville, the southernmost city in the state, has the designation of the shrimp capital of the world, and offers plenty of opportunity to visit the Mexican city of Matamoras a short walk over the international bridge.
Connect below to Valley-wide Resources below: