Historic roots run deep in South Texas Plains, from the San Antonio River to the borderlands of the Rio Grande Valley. Experience this cultural hotspot’s rich heritage while admiring its breathtaking scenery and endangered wildlife.
An astonishing place to visit, not only does this region have a lush, nearly tropical climate, rugged natural beauty and one of the most dynamic urban centers, it’s also rich with wildlife, history and cultural attractions. The South Texas Plains will open your eyes, provoke thoughts, awaken your senses and possibly even make your taste buds scream for more.
The majority of Texas’s southern region is a desolate desert. It is a borderland with nearby Mexico that serves as a gateway for those traveling north and south. It’s also very warm, even in the winter, so people come from all over to warm up.
The South Texas Plains are home to a diverse range of species. The region stretches south from the Texas Hill Country to the border with Mexico. Much of the land is dry and overgrown with grasses and thorny brush like mesquite and prickly pear cactus. Palms, subtropical woodlands, and even citrus trees thrive in this environment.
The South Texas Plains region offers a taste of the rich southern heritage shared with neighboring Mexico just across the Rio Grande River. Winter Texans who want to escape the cold weather of the northern states flock to the Rio Grande Valley. San Antonio, home of the Alamo, has become one of America’s top five tourism destinations, with first-rate hotels and attractions for couples, senior citizens, and families.
In addition to its fascinating culture, the South Texas Plains region is known for its pleasant year-round weather, which is ideal for golfers and those looking to escape the winter chill. Hundreds of bird species visit the Rio Grande Valley throughout the year, making it a world-class birding destination. There’s plenty to do in the South Texas Plains, whether you’re interested in the region’s diverse culture or its inviting scenery.
Here, you can walk in the footsteps of Spanish conquistadors and visit missions built for Franciscan monks. Then get an up-close and personal look at some of America’s finest Spanish architecture like Goliad‘s graceful Mission Espiritu Santo or the Mission District of San Antonio. Oh, and if you don’t remember the Alamo, you’ll want to head to San Antonio pronto. Early Texan and American adventurers like Davy Crockett died defending this mission, sparking Texas independence and eventually ushering Texas into the United States.
Rio Grande Valley
Want to tee off the day after Christmas or go fishing in February – without cutting a hole in a frozen lake? The Rio Grande Valley attracts many visitors because of its mild winter weather. Yep, all kinds of outdoor fun is a green light year-round here. The beauty and hospitality of the Mexican culture is well known in cities like Eagle Pass, Laredo, Roma, Rio Grande City and McAllen.
This incredibly diverse, rapidly-growing city has much more than the Alamo to brag about. The famous River Walk is a must-see, overflowing with shops, restaurants and late-night revelry. Just a few of the many family attractions here include SeaWorld San Antonio, Six Flags Fiesta Texas, the San Antonio Zoo and the San Antonio Children’s Museum. This is also a city that values the arts. The McNay Art Museum, Mexican Cultural Institute and San Antonio Museum of Art are among the highlights.
Goliad State Park and Historic Site
Mission Espiritu Santo, established more than 250 years ago by Spanish missionaries and soldiers, is an icon of the Spanish Colonial Era. Today, visitors camp under massive oaks along the river, explore the museum, and, in summer months, swim in a Junior Olympic-sized pool. Admission and camping fees. One mile south of Goliad off U.S. 183 . 361/645-3405 .
For nature lovers, the semi-tropical Rio Grande Valley is one of the best birding and butterfly-watching spots in North America. Several major migratory routes converge here, which is why this is the home of the World Birding Center. Of course, there’s no shortage of scenic spots here to hike, camp, picnic or just relax and enjoy the natural world around you, like at Three Rivers and the Choke Canyon State Park. Choke Canyon’s vast reservoir is one of the area’s real havens for fishing and boating.