What’s in a name? Well, if you’re talking about the Rio Grande Valley in southern Texas, which is also called “RGV” or simply, “The Valley,” it implies plenty of activity and entertainment for Winter Texans. What is a Winter Texan, you might ask? That is the name given to the people who spend a fair portion of the winter months in this area that offers not only a variety of things to see and do but also wonderful weather.
The Rio Grande Valley is located at the southernmost tip of Texas and offers an average year-round temperature of 74 degrees. In the winter months, the average hovers between 70 and 80 degrees. Plus, there’s very little rainfall, which makes it super easy to explore on any day and makes this place such a popular winter destination.
A big draw to the area is nearby South Padre Island which is a favorite spot for beach-lovers. Isla Blanca Park is a great place to explore the beach and get up close and personal with one of South Padre’s top attractions: the statue of El Cristo de Los Pescadores, or Christ of the Fisherman, a tribute to lost fisherman. South Padre Island is one of the best places to enjoy the opportunities the warm gulf waters bring which include fishing, parasailing, beachcombing, scuba-diving, and soaking up the sun. For more details on what to see and do here, visit sopadre.com.
The Rio Grande Valley is rich in history and there are several museums that offer the opportunity to learn all about the area. Check out The Museum of South Texas History, located in Edinburg. The architecture of the museum alone is worth the visit, but the exhibits and collections help detail the history of the land from the prehistoric age to the cattle ranches of modern day. Museum details can be found at mosthistory.org.
Another history museum, housed in an equally-spectacular architectural setting, is the Historic Brownsville Museum, in Brownsville. The museum is in the former Southern Pacific Railroad Depot, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. For a glimpse into life in Brownsville circa 1850, visit the Stillman House Museum, also in Brownsville, which has period furnishings and exhibits about the history of the area. One more historic stop of note in Brownsville is the Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park which is located on the site of the first conflict of the Mexican-American War. Living history programs provide visitors with the history of the battle of Palo Alto as well as live musket demonstrations.
Quinta Mazatlan in McAllen offers a twofer if you’re interested in both the architecture and wildlife of the area. Quinta Mazatlan is a historical Adobe mansion that has grounds containing species of birds and butterflies as well as an abundance of plants and flowers.
More fun in the area includes the numerous flea markets and farmer’s markets, shopping at the Rio Grande Valley Premium Outlets in Mercedes, music festivals, and the Gladys Porter Zoo that has interactive exhibits and more than 1,500 animals including kookaburras, pythons, giraffes, and sea lions.
If you plan on calling yourself a Winter Texan this winter, mark your calendar for these fun events:
February 28-March 3: Hidalgo Border Fest – celebrating 43 years, this festival celebrates the culture and heritage of South Texas.
February 23-March 3: Charro Days Fiesta – Brownsville’s Charro Days features music, dances, and parades in this weeklong event that celebrates the heritage of the area.
March 7-17: 80th Annual Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show: This event features live music, a parade, a rodeo, a citrus and vegetable show and of course, plenty of livestock shows.
Visit rvonthego.com to make your reservations today!