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Home > Area Guide > Hidden Treasures of the RGV

Hidden Treasures of the RGV

Throughout the season, we will be traveling around the RGV to introduce you to some of our favorite hidden treasures. From historical sites to delicious regional food, we hope to inspire you to visit the places that make South Texas a unique and welcoming area to visit. Whether you’re a local or new to the area, we want you to get to know our region and its colorful history.


Here’s a sneak peak of some of the places we’ve picked for you!

Port Isabel

This town may be small, but its history will really surprise you. Climb to the top of the Port Isabel Lighthouse to see one of the most beautiful views of the Laguna Madre or visit the local museums to see the remnants of shipwrecks and Spanish exploration missions. If you’re in the mood to shop, visit Port Isabel the first Sunday of each month for their Antique and Flea Market.

South Padre Island

When you need a tropical escape, South Padre Island will do the trick. Locals and tourists alike love the white-sand beaches of our very own barrier island. Whether you’re a fisherman (or woman) or a beach bum, you’ll find something to love at SPI, Just don’t forget the sunscreen!

Brownsville

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Arguably the city with the most eventful history in the region, Brownsville has things for your whole family to see and do. The city is bursting with museums, historical sites, and delicious food and is home to the Gladys Porter Zoo. If you’re more of the adventurous type, be sure to visit Brownsville’s extensive network of bike trails that will take you to the site of the first battle of the Mexican-American War at Palo Alto.

San Benito

What better way to celebrate the culture of the RGV than to pay homage to one of the Valley’s favorite sons, Freddy Fender? Visit the San Benito Museum to learn more about the artists who inspired him, his contribution to Tejano music, and the legacy he leaves behind. After the museum, you can take a walk around the famous resaca that spans most of the city.

Harlingen

Downtown Harlingen is unlike most downtown areas you will find in our region. The streets are lined with antique shops, art galleries, restaurants, and the kind of places you won’t find anywhere else. Visit the area on the last Friday of each month, and you’ll find a lively Downtown scene at Harlingen Art Night. The rest of the city is just as inviting and diverse with nature trails along the Arroyo Colorado, the Harlingen Arts and Heritage Museum, and the original Iwo Jima Memorial on the Marine Military Academy campus.

Raymondville

The rural town of Raymondville and the surrounding area of Willacy County are a perfect way to escape to the country of the Northern RGV. One place you can’t miss is Hilltop Gardens in Lyford. It has a unique garden, complete with Aloe Vera plants, their signature crop, from all over the world. Stay the night in their inn or visit the garden paths during the day.

Mercedes

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The Rios of Mercedes Boot Company has a long history of making high-quality boots for cowboys and socialites alike. This artisan boot company produces some of the finest custom boots in Texas and employs craftsmen who take great pride in their work. Mercedes has larger than life boots on display at various locations.

Weslaco

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The best thing about Weslaco? There seems to be a park on every corner. The Frontera Audubon Society, with its historic Skaggs House, is an urban park and butterfly garden that is sure to surprise you in the heart of this community. The Valley Nature Center, Estero Llano Grande State Park are just a few more examples!

Pharr-San Juan-Alamo

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This tri-city area is where the deep cultural roots of the region and its industrial present meet. While the Pharr International Bridge is one of the largest land ports in the nation, the Basilica of San Juan attracts visitors who seek to worship in a uniquely bicultural setting. Enjoy a beautiful Catholic mass with mariachi on Saturdays and Sundays. And we can’t leave Alamo out. Alamo is home to the precious Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge, right along the Rio Grande.

McAllen

McAllen has long been known as the retail capital of the RGV. La Plaza Mall and 10th Street are great examples of why locals and visitors love to shop in the city. However, this community is also home to one of the most picturesque nature centers, Quinta Mazatlan. You will find this oasis and its gorgeous Spanish-style home in the southwestern corner of the city, where you can look for rare birds passing through or engage in some nature journaling.

Edinburg

If you’re itching to learn more about the history of Texas and the RGV, drive over to Edinburg and visit the Museum of South Texas History (known locally as MOSTHistory). Its exhibits span from prehistoric times up to the mid-twentieth century and tell the story of a borderland region that has experienced incredible growth and progress. The museum also hosts plenty of events for all ages throughout the year highlighting the history and culture of the Valley.

Roma

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Serving as the last stop on the Rio Bravo for steamboats, Roma has a history older than this country. The Roma Bluffs overlook this beautiful section of the river and are at the edge of the historic Downtown. Although Roma may be a sleepy little town, it takes you back in time to the roots of our region.
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