Winter Texans flock to the Rio Grande Valley

“The Valley,” as it is affectionately called, is an area near the Mexican border that stretches from Brownsville and Harlingen in the east to Mission in the west—a distance of about 65 miles. Starting in the east and heading west, there’s Brownsville, Los Fresco, Rio Honda, San Benito, Harlingen, La Feria, Mercedes, Weslaco, Donna, Alamo, San Juan, Pharr, Edinburg, McAllen, and Mission.

The Rio Grande Valley is a birders' delight. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Technically not part of The Valley, nearby Rio Hondo, Port Isabel, and South Padre Island are also favorite roosts for Winter Texans. The South Padre Island beaches are never crowded, except during Spring Break, when no Winter Texan in their right mind would venture there.

In trying to define what makes the Winter Texans different from their Snowbird cousins in Florida, Arizona, and Southern California, it seems to us it has to with their roots and the reasons they spend their winters here.

Winter Texans come primarily from a Mid-West, small-town, or rural roots—not that much unlike those that winter in Yuma, Arizona.

Well-represented states include Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Missouri. The majority of Canadians who winter in Texas are from Manitoba and Ontario.

Long known to Midwesterners as a great winter spot, many other Northerners have in recent years discovered it, too. New Winter Texans continue to arrive each year and many, like us, become repeat visitors.

The Great Kiskadee is a South Texas favorite. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Most of the larger parks have highly organized activities to make sure you don’t get bored.

Winter Texans have created a culture of their own. And they tend to do what they do back home. They are crazy for dancing!

Numerous activities center around dancing, dance classes, and dance workshops (from pre-beginners to Advance II to Phase VI)—square dance, line dance, round dance, ball room dance, mainstream dance, pattern dance, tap dance, 2-step, waltz, cha-cha, Latin dance, Country Western dance, West Coast swing, clogging—and Bible study.

Even though they spend considerable time participating in the activities and scheduled events at their RV resorts, Winter Texans still have time to get out and explore the Rio Grande Valley.

The Valley offers a wide variety of activities and attractions that you won’t find elsewhere in the American Sunbelt. The area’s many outdoor attractions range from beaches to battlefields, lighthouses to bird and butterfly sanctuaries. The Civil War Battlefield at Palmito Ranch and the Palo Alto Battlefield are both National Historic sites located near Brownsville.

Nuevo Progreso

Shopping is an adventure in the Mexican border towns. The recommended place to shop is Progreso, officially Nuevo Progreso. Park your car for a small fee on the U.S. side and walk across the Rio Grande Bridge. This little town seems to have been built just for Winter Texans. Every block has dentists and pharmacies, where you can have your dental work completed and save money on prescription medication. Mexican produced liquors, such as tequila and Kahlua are also a bargain. There are many fine restaurants in Progreso and shops sell handmade Mexican craft items, souvenirs, linens, blankets, and toys. Haircuts are also a bargain.

The Killer Bee was first sighted in the U.S. near Hidalgo in South Texas. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Texas Spoken Friendly

Did You Know?

The brush land of south Texas is home of some of the richest biodiversity in North America.

Little known and interesting fact about Texas

The name Texas comes from the Hasini Indian word “tejas” meaning friends. Tejas is not Spanish for Texas

Worth Pondering…
Winter Texan is Better Than No Texan

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