If you're short on time but want to sample a bit of the great outdoors, we've created a suggested two-day itinerary to give you a broad taste of the amazing diversity the McAllen area has to offer.
Start your morning with a refreshing, enlivening cup of tea or coffee & some nourishment to support your day of adventure ahead. McAllen offers an array of choices.
Just 10 miles southwest of McAllen in Alamo, Texas, is one of the country’s most important and pristine nature reserves- Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge.
You can hike, cycle or ride a tram through assigned routes in the park. There is something to view year round but routinely spotted are javelinas, bobcats, & multitudes of interesting birds-most namely the amusing chacalacas. Don’t miss the astonishing views from the duel observation towers & rope suspension bridge. This park is truly one of the crown jewels of the Rio Grande Valley.
After working up a robust appetite, grab a to-go lunch & pack on out to Fireman's Park at Town Lake. Post lunch, rent a pedal boat, paddle board, kayak, or fishing pole onsite and explore the lake. Bicycle Rentals via BCycle are available here as well as at 7 other station across McAllen. Click here for BCycle facebook page. Check the park’s Facebook page for special events- classes, programs, and festivals. McAllen has 25 parks citywide..
Take an early evening walk or exercise session at McAllen Nature Center or book a late afternoon tee time or hit a bucket of balls at McAllen’s public par 72 championship course Palm View Golf Course. the well-lit and inexpensively priced driving range is open until 10pm.
Start your communion with nature at one of 3 marvelous locations, all wings of the World Birding Center-Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, Hidalgo Pumphouse & Museum, or Quinta Mazatlan-a beautiful historical adobe mansion and nature center. All of these are a birder or butterfly watchers’ paradise.
As you cross the city northward, stop and enjoy a delicious lunch at McAllen's Food Truck Park centered in the heart of downtown McAllen. A multitude of food vendors offer diverse global menus, drinks & desserts.
Then take off north to enjoy the esteemed Museum of South Texas History. In addition to learning about how our area was settled, you will also learn about the formation of the Rio Grande Valley’s ecosystems from prehistoric times to the present. Check the website for special programs-a local favorite is the Guest Speaker Series on Sunday afternoons twice a month.
A don’t-miss attraction in the area is the Edinburg Scenic Wetlands. It was the 1st of 9 World Birding Center wings established in the Rio Grande Valley to open. Nestled on 40 acres featuring 2 large wetlands ponds, it features 3.5 acres of native butterfly habitat and 2.5 miles of walking trails offering stellar views of the grounds.