As far as records go, the Rio Grande Valley area was first inhabited by nomadic Karankawa Indians. In the mid-1770s, expeditions led by Jose de Escandon, 1st Count of Sierra Gorda, founder and first governor of the colony of Nuevo Santander which extended from the Panuco River in the current Mexican state of Veracruz, to the Guadalupe River in the U.S. State of Texas. The early 1900s brought an influx of farmers from the Mid-West who joined Mexican settlers in developing the land for agriculture.
The Rio Grande Valley or “Valley” region spans the area from South Padre Island to Rio Grande City. It is a floodplain, where temperate semi-desert lands, brush lands, and grassy plains meet and mingle with sub-tropic vegetation and riparian forest, river, ocean and ox-bow lakes- known here as resacas. It is the richest, most diverse area in the United States. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has defined 11 distinct biotic communities, over 500 bird species and 300 butterfly species in addition to a rich and unique collection of flora and fauna.
For more than 40 years, retirees from the northern parts of the United States and Canada have traveled to the Rio Grande Valley and South Texas to spend their winters in its temperate climate. The Valley offers visitors of all ages a wide variety of activities throughout the year. The combination of warm winter weather, numerous outdoor activities, more than 300 RV and mobile home parks, friendly people, and a low cost of living serves as a powerful incentive for retirees. These winter visitors known as Winter Texans typically stay anywhere from 3 weeks to 6 months.
Among the favored outdoor activities there is Golf. A National Golf Foundation poll concluded that the Valley and South Texas has more playable days of golf per year than anywhere else in the United States. The summers may be a bit warmer, but not enough to deter avid golfers. Yet, spring, fall and winter is a perfect time to spend time golfing in South Texas when moderate temperatures average in the high 60s and 70s.
Fresh and Salt Water fishing are among the best in the country. Falcon International Reservoir, Lake Casa Blanca, Lake Findley and Choke Canyon Reservoir are the choice for Freshwater fishing. The Open Beaches of South Texas are ideal for Salt Water fishing and home of major fishing tournaments such as the Texas International Fishing Tournament. Sunset Cruises and Dolphin and Bird Watching Cruises are also among the top reasons to visit South Texas and the Rio Grande Valley.
Cultural festivals, local music and a unique culinary tradition of Tex- Mex cuisine is what keeps retirees coming back each year. The proximity to Mexico provides fun and exciting getaways, not to mention the affordability of prescription medicine and medical services. Contrary to media reports, Nuevo Progreso, Mexico is a safe and tourist friendly town full of live music, affordable all day Happy Hour atmosphere, and English speaking customer service.
The Valley’s outstanding healthcare and first rate hospitals are at the top of the list of every retiree’s requirements when choosing a destination, and they find the best treatments available here in South Texas. Staying healthy is not hard here in the Valley, for most cities have bicycle and walking trails, health seminars, yoga studios, salsa dancing and numerous activities to keep visitors in top shape.
History, culture and nature thrive in South Texas. From battlefields and a premier zoo, to wildlife habitats, spectacular sunsets and beautiful beaches, there is something for everyone here in the Rio Grande Valley. Come and experience it all.