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Old 02-14-2020, 06:36 AM   #1
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Travel in South Texas near the border?

We would kind of like to explore the southernmost part of the Southwest. We would be close to the border. Are there places to camp? Is boondocking safe? Can we expect run ins with the Border Patrol? Smugglers? Places to avoid? Are people friendly? We hope to pass through Texas as far south as possible to avoid I10. We are too warm blooded for the Panhandle in February
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Old 02-14-2020, 07:06 AM   #2
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I-10 doesn't go near the panhandle. We have taken US90 down very close to the border west of Del Rio. Nice drive but not that much farther south than I-10 goes unless you plan to drop down near Brownsville. That area will be packed with snowbirders and looking at Free Camping there are very few boondocking sites. There are a surprising number on the coast which will also be filled with snowbirders. That part of the state is known as the RGV (Rio GRand Valley) and is one of the three major snowbird areas in the country.



You will have encounters with the Border Patrol if you stay down there, but they've always been polite when we've run into them. I doubt you'll be in danger from border crossers unless you run into a gang of drug runners. The people we've met have always been friendly.
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Old 02-14-2020, 07:46 AM   #3
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I-10 doesn't go near the panhandle. We have taken US90 down very close to the border west of Del Rio. Nice drive but not that much farther south than I-10 goes unless you plan to drop down near Brownsville. That area will be packed with snowbirders and looking at Free Camping there are very few boondocking sites. There are a surprising number on the coast which will also be filled with snowbirders. That part of the state is known as the RGV (Rio GRand Valley) and is one of the three major snowbird areas in the country.



You will have encounters with the Border Patrol if you stay down there, but they've always been polite when we've run into them. I doubt you'll be in danger from border crossers unless you run into a gang of drug runners. The people we've met have always been friendly.
Thank you for this information. I was not clear about cold and I10. Cold is the Panhandle and I10, the Southernmost big highway is an insanely tangled and nerve-wracking mess in the cities. We really just wanted to see the southern part of Texas and avoid the highways. I appreciate the info on snowbird congestion. I didn't know that. I was looking for sleepy towns where Spanish is spoken and food is good. I might be 20 years too late! We might just go anyway. Wonder how the Walleys are.
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Old 02-14-2020, 08:19 AM   #4
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Sleepy towns? Head to the Big Bend area. Marathon, Marfa, Terlingua, and of course, the Park. Take hwy 90 out of San Antonio. You can take the smaller roads in that area like 90A South of Houston. It is much more laid back out there than the RGV (McAllen/Brownsville area). I donít think you will have a problem boondocking on occasion, but the RV parks and state parks are pretty cheap in that area. Let me know if you want more info.
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Old 02-14-2020, 10:36 AM   #5
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No problems driving along the border. Illegals don't hang around the borders. They hightail away from it. They are not looking for trouble after all they've gone through to get there. You'll probably drive through some border patrol checkpoints but it's not a big deal. Just answer their questions simply and don't volunteer conversation.

Big Bend National Park would be a wonderful place to visit. Stay IN the park for the best overall experience. Also, from the Rio Grande campground in the park you can cross the river in a boat and then take a mule or walk to the tiny town of Boquillas. It's perfectly safe and a fun outing. Many do it. We have. The town has a very special relationship with the national park.

Farther down Texas you can walk across the border to Progresso for a fun day of shopping and lunch to get a taste of Mexico. You won't be alone. You'll have hundreds of Americans surrounding you. It's 'the' thing to do down there. Visit a pharmacy for cheap meds; get a teeth cleaning very reasonably and safe.

Have a good trip!
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Old 02-14-2020, 11:13 AM   #6
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A couple we know just left Brownsville because it is so windy.

They had paid for 6 weeks, but decided to leave after less than 2 weeks.

Farther inland should be much nicer.

Big Bend is on our list for some day.

Happy Glamping.
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Old 02-14-2020, 12:39 PM   #7
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Sleepy towns? Head to the Big Bend area. Marathon, Marfa, Terlingua, and of course, the Park. Take hwy 90 out of San Antonio. You can take the smaller roads in that area like 90A South of Houston. It is much more laid back out there than the RGV (McAllen/Brownsville area). I donít think you will have a problem boondocking on occasion, but the RV parks and state parks are pretty cheap in that area. Let me know if you want more info.
I'd love more info please.
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Old 02-14-2020, 02:53 PM   #8
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I would recommend this: Out of Houston heading West pick up Hwy 90. This will take you through Hallettsville. Small central Tx town with a Walmart and several rv parks. Then on to Shiner. Might want to tour the brewery or at least stop for a beer. At Gonzales, go North and stay at Palmetto State park if it fits your schedule. Real quiet. Jump on I-10 and get through SA and back on Hwy 90. Work your way to Del Rio. Might want to check out the mexican food (i will get a recommendation from my friend that lives there. He would also take you out on the reservoir if you want. Beautiful water. After Del Rio it gets pretty far a few between places. Stop at the Pecos river crossing. Good history out there. Marathon is the next town. There is a small park there. If you want to indulge, the Gage Hotel is awesome and the restaurant and bar should not be missed. At this point, you could go South into Big Bend national park. If you can get a spot at Rio Grand Village, there are hot springs nearby. Also, you can pay a few dollars to get taken across the river and then rent mules to take you to Boquillas for some cheap food and beer.

On the West side of the park is Terlingua. Laid back, a few bars and restaurants. Kind of a place 60s and 70s hippies go to get away from everything. I love it out there. La Kiva, Starlight Theater, the general store. Just sit on the porch of the store, drinking beer, talking to the locals and watching the sunset. Man what a slow pace.

One of my favorite places is LaJitas west of there. There is a high end golf resort out in the middle of nowhere. Also, there is a RV park across the street. Cheap, full hook ups, paved (rare for out there). Lights out at dark to keep the stars bright. So quiet your ears strain to hear a noise. Great hiking at the state park a mile away.

Also, you may want to check out Marfa and Ft Davis.
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Old 02-14-2020, 04:32 PM   #9
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While looking for Texas things to do, also consider the second National Park in that state ... Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Tallest point in Texas, fascinating and VERY unusual geology! Some of the best hiking ever.

It is east of El Paso maybe 100 miles or so, south of Carlsbad Caverns National Park maybe 50 miles or so. There are two small campgrounds (one significantly remote and very small ... Dog Canyon). Pine Springs Campground is by the park headquarters, for RV’s is essentially a parking lot with no hookups, not even a dump station.

Super place. Worth a couple of days. Watch the weather, though ... VERY high straight line winds sometimes, like 80, 90, 100 mph or more.

https://www.nps.gov/gumo/index.htm
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Old 02-14-2020, 04:40 PM   #10
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Travel in South Texas near the border?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jake21 View Post
I would recommend this: Out of Houston heading West pick up Hwy 90. This will take you through Hallettsville. Small central Tx town with a Walmart and several rv parks. Then on to Shiner. Might want to tour the brewery or at least stop for a beer. At Gonzales, go North and stay at Palmetto State park if it fits your schedule. Real quiet. Jump on I-10 and get through SA and back on Hwy 90. Work your way to Del Rio. Might want to check out the mexican food (i will get a recommendation from my friend that lives there. He would also take you out on the reservoir if you want. Beautiful water. After Del Rio it gets pretty far a few between places. Stop at the Pecos river crossing. Good history out there. Marathon is the next town. There is a small park there. If you want to indulge, the Gage Hotel is awesome and the restaurant and bar should not be missed. At this point, you could go South into Big Bend national park. If you can get a spot at Rio Grand Village, there are hot springs nearby. Also, you can pay a few dollars to get taken across the river and then rent mules to take you to Boquillas for some cheap food and beer.

On the West side of the park is Terlingua. Laid back, a few bars and restaurants. Kind of a place 60s and 70s hippies go to get away from everything. I love it out there. La Kiva, Starlight Theater, the general store. Just sit on the porch of the store, drinking beer, talking to the locals and watching the sunset. Man what a slow pace.

One of my favorite places is LaJitas west of there. There is a high end golf resort out in the middle of nowhere. Also, there is a RV park across the street. Cheap, full hook ups, paved (rare for out there). Lights out at dark to keep the stars bright. So quiet your ears strain to hear a noise. Great hiking at the state park a mile away.

Also, you may want to check out Marfa and Ft Davis.


What he said! Only thing he left out was a stop in Langtry just west of the Pecos river to visit the Judge Roy Bean museum.
We also love spending time in the Terlingua Ghost Town... though not as ghostly as it was a few years back. Great place to stay and get to know the locals. Donít forget your passports!Click image for larger version

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Old 02-14-2020, 05:05 PM   #11
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We are currently exploring the Big Bend area (been here for a week and a week to go). No problems at all and wow what an amazing area. The natural beauty is off the wall.

We did run into a border petrol check point on I-10 just over the NM/TX line. Not a big deal and added about 5 min to our trip.
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Old 02-14-2020, 06:56 PM   #12
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Travel in South Texas near the border?

How in the heck did I forget Judge Beanís place. THE LAW west of the Pecos.

To get an idea of the area, watch ďNo Country for Old MenĒ. That movie nails the feel of being down there. I went mountain biking in the Big Bend State Park. Over 3 hours and did not see anyone else. I am pretty sure a New Yorker would suffer from agoraphobia in West Texas. Thatís a big piece of the charm of it to me. It is so far out of the way that you really want to go there to get there. That makes the vibe.
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Old 02-14-2020, 07:06 PM   #13
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We would kind of like to explore the southernmost part of the Southwest. We would be close to the border. Are there places to camp? Is boondocking safe? Can we expect run ins with the Border Patrol? Smugglers? Places to avoid? Are people friendly? We hope to pass through Texas as far south as possible to avoid I10. We are too warm blooded for the Panhandle in February
We've been spending time in winter months in South Tx at Snow To Sun Resort.It's about 7 miles to border & we make frequent trips into Mexico with no problem.The Resort is on International Blvd.in Weslaco,Tx.The town in Mexico when you enter is Nuevo Progreso.We park on US side & walk across International Bridge but you can drive across if you wish.I've had Dental work done there,bought medicine,etc,,, all you need crossing back into US is Passport.Very friendly people,eager to please & always very safe.

Aletta Hargis
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Old 02-14-2020, 07:59 PM   #14
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Travel in South Texas near the border?

You WILL see border patrol and go through check points but that shouldnít bother anyone who is not breaking the law. They are there to protect us... just like the police.
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