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Old 12-20-2015, 08:27 AM   #1
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Rio Grande Valley Information

We are leaving 12/31 for our first post retirement winter trip and pondering where we will visit while moving through Texas. Other than the San Antonio area and Hill Country, we have no particular preferences at this point.

Other than warmer (I guess) what makes the Mission/McAllen/Harlingen area so popular? Obviously it is close to Mexican border (we have no desire/intention to visit MX) and the Gulf. There are tons of RV parks in that area so it must have some allure for snowbirds. We're not much for just sitting and generally like to sightsee and see great scenery. I do love to fish and would be interesting in both fresh and salt water opportunities (with a guide).

So, since we plan to keep heading west and eventually get to AZ, is the RGV worth a swing down to the southern end of the state?
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Old 12-20-2015, 12:52 PM   #2
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We are leaving 12/31 for our first post retirement winter trip and pondering where we will visit while moving through Texas. Other than the San Antonio area and Hill Country, we have no particular preferences at this point.

Other than warmer (I guess) what makes the Mission/McAllen/Harlingen area so popular? Obviously it is close to Mexican border (we have no desire/intention to visit MX) and the Gulf. There are tons of RV parks in that area so it must have some allure for snowbirds. We're not much for just sitting and generally like to sightsee and see great scenery. I do love to fish and would be interesting in both fresh and salt water opportunities (with a guide).

So, since we plan to keep heading west and eventually get to AZ, is the RGV worth a swing down to the southern end of the state?

We normally winter is south Florida but last year we took a trip around the gulf coast from Florida to Texas. We enjoyed the Texas coast and the RGV very much. There is a small campground, right on the Rio Grande called Chimney Park, that we liked very much. We have discussed going back there for a season sometime in the future. The border patrol has an observation post right at the campground, the river is no more than 30 yards wide at that point.

The RGV is interesting in its own right but we enjoyed the local residents most of all. The area is probably 80% Hispanic and very friendly. Many areas where tourists and particularly snowbirds frequent, the locals are a little unfriendly. It's not the case here. We loved the variety of food. seafood, Tex-Mex and world class BBQ.

On your way west, be sure to stop just east of El Paso at Cattleman's Steakhouse. It's on a working ranch & you can over night in the parking lot.
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Old 12-20-2015, 01:57 PM   #3
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We are going to try the RGV 12/31 to 3/1. Last winter spent February in Tucson, loved it. DW wants to try RGV this year, Florida next year, then decide which we like best for following years. My only input was....got to be warm enough for palm trees.
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Old 12-20-2015, 03:37 PM   #4
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We tried RGV a few times and just couldn't see the appeal. Of course, everyone is different. It is very crowded - roads and RV parks and gets windy and quite often cool. There's not a lot of siteseeing for natural wonders except if you go to So. Padre Island. If you're a birder, it's good for that.

Even if, right now, you have no plans for Mexico, it would definitely be worth your while to go to Progresso. Thousands cross the border daily and it's just a fun few hours of browsing the stores, bargaining for deals, a nice meal and a big margarita! It's perfectly safe. You don't have to drive. You park on the U.S. side and walk across the border - very easy and you'll be with lots of company. It's 'the thing' to do down there.

For that area we'd choose the Rockport, TX area.

Overall, we fell in love with Arizona for the winter. We enjoy hiking and exploring backroads and mountain areas. We like to see vistas in the distance. Birding is also good. For Dec-Feb you typically won't have high temperatures - usually up to the 70's which is perfect for us. During Feb and onward the temperatures gradually rise to the 80's and 90's. Feb/March/April are ideal times for the Southwest - flowers, new birds flying through and just beautiful weather.
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Old 12-20-2015, 04:14 PM   #5
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A Hundred Thousand plus Winter Texans can't ALL be wrong, come on down the waters fine!
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Old 12-20-2015, 04:46 PM   #6
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A Hundred Thousand plus Winter Texans can't ALL be wrong, come on down the waters fine!
The 9 inches of rain in 1Q15 (3 x's the annual average) was not so fine last year. Couldn't wait to leave. Many left early. Regulars told us it was the worst winter since last year. Hopefully the wet/cold weather pattern is temporary because it is nice down there when the weather cooperates. so far AZ has been great this year. Cool to even cold at night but great days!
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Old 12-20-2015, 05:20 PM   #7
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In my humble opinion

Twogypsies pretty well nailed it on the head. The Progreso comment is right on and if one wants the best fishing with decent (two hours) access to the Valley, I suggest Port Aransas, which is the Rockport area twogypsies mentioned. I haven't been there in a couple of seasons but I've always been treated very well at the Ransom Road RV Park in Aransas Pass. A short drive puts you in Rockport and a short (very short) free ferry ride puts you in Port Aransas. I've heard stories of folks catching trophys within sight of land at Port A. I spent all my summers as a youth in Harlingen and still have family in the Valley but the Aransas Pass/Rockport area really has a lot to offer. And no, I'm not a member of their Chamber of Commerce. I've just spent a lot of time there as a fulltimer enjoying retirement.
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Old 12-28-2015, 11:11 PM   #8
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Old 12-29-2015, 05:38 AM   #9
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Very good informational link. Thank you as the dw will be retiring next April 30 we are starting the search for a place to winter Nov-Feb,March.
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Old 12-30-2015, 05:54 AM   #10
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Go for it You have south padre island to visit. The RGV is a lot cheaper than Fla. Nothing else you can mark it off your bucket list
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Old 12-30-2015, 10:18 AM   #11
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I am headed to Bentsen Grove in Mission TX around the 12th. Never been there before but their site shows a lot of activities and an indoor heated pool. Will post more about it after I have been there for awhile.

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Old 12-30-2015, 01:20 PM   #12
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Very good informational link. Thank you as the dw will be retiring next April 30 we are starting the search for a place to winter Nov-Feb,March.
Personally, since you're new at snowbirding, I'd recommend testing out different areas first before committing to one place for three months. They all offer something different and the parks are different as is the weather. Spend a month in Florida, head to Gulf Shores, Alabama, on to Texas, Arizona and perhaps even southern California. Good luck finding your ideal spot!
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