Boca Chica: Where the Rio Grande meets the Gulf of Mexico is also where Kemp's ridley sea turtles nest, Aplomado falcons soar, piping plovers scurry along the shore and brown pelicans glide just within reach of the waves. The 17,000 acre tract within the Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV) National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is an important link of the wildlife corridor because it makes the connection to the Laguna Atascosa NWR, allowing wildlife to travel unimpeded. Under the management of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Boca Chica tract highlights the unique wind blown clay dunes known as ‘lomas'. Here you can also enjoy wildlife found on miles of beach, shallow bays, mangroves and saline flats. Relax on the beach, fish in the surf or the Rio Grande, or just enjoy the wildlife!
On your way to Boca Chica, stop off at the Palmito Hill Battlefield, site of the last land battle of the civil war which was fought and won by the Confederacy one month after the surrender of General Robert E. Lee. This National Historic Landmark looks much like it did during the Civil War era.
Boca Chica is open to foot traffic from sunrise to sunset all year. Motorized vehicles are only allowed on the beach. For more information, please visit the information kiosk located approximately 11.5 miles east of Brownsville on Highway 4 (next to the Palmito Hill Battlefield National Historic Site). You can also tune into AM 530 for more information. Always bring water, insect repellent and protection from the sun. Please remember to leave no trace and take your trash with you!
Directions: From Brownsville, take Highway 4 East until it ends at the beach. Click here for a map.
Roma Bluffs World Birding Center: A thriving steamboat port of the past, today's city of Roma is a birdwatcher's paradise! Muscovy ducks, red-billed pigeons, white-collared seedeaters and Audubon's Orioles are four of the many species that cause birding enthusiasts to flock to this area. As if the centuries-old architecture and outstanding views of the Rio Grande weren't enough, the biological richness of this area is breathtaking. Staff and volunteers can give you information and directions for wildlife watching at various points along the river, including Salineño, Chapeño, Frontón and more. Stop by the WBC and find out where the birds are being seen!
Directions: The WBC is located in the historic district of downtown Roma, Texas at 610 North Portschellar Street. It is across from City Hall. Click here for a map. Phone: (956)849-4930
La Sal del Rey: Wildlife watchers, history buffs and photographers will all enjoy visiting this 5,400 acre tract. La Sal del Rey, the King's Salt, includes three hypersaline lakes that sit on top of an estimated four million tons of salt. Throughout history, Native Americans, Spanish explorers and settlers would come to this area to harvest the important mineral and, to this day, you can still see signs of their ox cart tracks. The trails of today lead you through the Tamaulipan thornscrub habitat where you might see long-billed curlews, sandhill cranes, crested caracaras, black-bellied whistling-ducks, white-tailed deer, javelina, nilgai and many more wildlife species.
Please remember to leave no trace (and leave the salt, even if there are four million tons). This is South Texas so watch for rattlesnakes. Stay on the trails and remember to bring water, insect repellent and protection from the sun. Remember to take your trash with you!
Directions: From McAllen, go North on Hwy 281 for approx 18 miles. Exit 186 East for about three and a half miles to the kiosk on the north side of the road. From Harlingen, go North on Hwy 77 for nearly 22 miles. Exit 186 West and travel 20 miles to the kiosk. Click here for a map.