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The Lower Rio Grande Valley rolls out the red carpet for
snowbirds. This is Shangri-La, a subtropical paradise, where the
average annual T-shirt and shorts temperature is 74 degrees
with an average rainfall of only 23.2 inches.
This area of extreme deep-south Texas is actually more of a
delta than a valley. There are no hills and mountains to defne it
and its southern border forms the present-day wide, sweeping
fatlands of the once-mighty Rio Grande River.
It is rich agricultural land, on which the fertile alluvial soils
foster a diverse variety of crops, including 56 types of fruits
and vegetables. Most visitors are astonished at this diversity of
valley farm products. Fields of peas, cabbage, spinach, onions
and carrots are easily recognized, but there are less-common
vegetables too – daikon, kohlrabi, and aloe vera. This is the
original area of aloe vera, whose marvellous natural cream has
become popular in sunburn and beauty lotions.
It has been said that there are two kinds of ground cover:
perfect rows of irrigated citrus groves and winter vegetables,
and semi-organized rows of recreational vehicles.
Lying at nearly the same latitude as Miami, Florida, the Rio
Grande Valley (RGV) is arguably the best bargain in the U.S. for
wintering in a warm climate. While the area ofers everything
you’ll fnd in other places, living costs are lower, with the added
advantage of being right next door to Mexico.
Dining comes in all shapes and sizes beginning with Texas
slow-cooked barbecues – where the pork, chicken and beef fall
of the bone – to Tex-Mex specialties, Mexican cuisine that’s as
good as you’ll fnd in Mexico, fast foods and bufets. Eating out
here does not break the bank, and seniors’ specials are available
daily. The Las Vegas Café in Harlingen is a favourite of ours.
Winters tend to be mild and a bit breezy; however, the weather
can be unpredictable.
It can be windy and some visitors dislike the wind. But those
of us who enjoy the RGV will tell you that when the wind is
blowing, the humidity is down and skeeters are grounded.
Unlike parts of Florida, bugs are not an issue during the winter
snowbird season.
And, unlike Arizona, most evenings are warm enough to wear
shorts and a T-shirt.
As a result, this is big-time RV country, and focks of snowbirds
return year after year.
In other southern states such as Arizona and Florida, we’re
known as snowbirds but, in the Lone Star State, there are NO
Winter Texans are a major part of the economy and are treated
as such. Newspaper headlines and signs welcomeWinter
Texans back home. You will fnd none of the snowbird prejudice
that occurs in Florida, Arizona and Southern California.
Winter Texans fock to the Rio Grande Valley
“The Valley,” as it is afectionately called, is an area near the
Mexican border that stretches from Brownsville and Harlingen
in the east to Mission in the west – a distance of about 65 miles.
Starting in the east and heading west, there’s Brownsville, Los
Fresco, Rio Hondo, San Benito, Harlingen, La Feria, Mercedes,
Weslaco, Donna, Alamo, San Juan, Pharr, Edinburg, McAllen and
Technically not part of The Valley, nearby Rio Hondo, Port Isabel
and South Padre Island are also favourite roosts for Winter
Texans. The South Padre Island beaches are never crowded,
except during spring break, when noWinter Texans in their
right mind would venture there.
In trying to defne what makes Winter Texans diferent from
their snowbird cousins in Florida, Arizona and Southern
California, it seems to us that it has to do with their roots and
the reasons they spend their winters here.
Winter Texans come primarily from U.S. Midwest, small-town or
rural roots – not that much unlike those who winter in Yuma,
Arizona. The majority of Canadians who winter in Texas are
Tip of Texas
Little-known and interesting facts about Texas
The name Texas comes from the Hasini Indian word “tejas”
meaning friends. Tejas is not Spanish for Texas
Beaumont to El Paso: 742 miles
Beaumont to Chicago: 770 miles
El Paso is closer to California than to Dallas
King Ranch in South Texas is larger than Rhode Island.
World's largest killer bee at Hidalgo