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home | Locations | FACTS & FIGURES FOR RIO GRANDE VALLE . . .

Ivan Gillis
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Rio Grande Valley


The Rio Grande Valley is an area located in the southernmost tip of Texas. It lies along the northern bank of the Rio Grande, which separates Mexico from the United States.


The Rio Grande Valley is not a valley, but a delta or floodplain. Early settlers from Mexico felt that the term "Valley" sounded more inviting to tourists and northern investors than did "Delta." The Rio Grande Valley is also called "El Valle", the Spanish translation of "the valley", by those who live there.


The region is made up of four counties: Starr County, Hidalgo County, Willacy County, and Cameron County. As of January 1, 2007, the Texas State Data Center estimated the population of the Rio Grande Valley at 1,139,581.


The largest city is Brownsville (Cameron County), followed by McAllen (Hidalgo County). Other major cities include Harlingen, Mission, Edinburg, and Pharr.


Cameron County, Texas


Hidalgo County, Texas


Willacy County, Texas

Starr County, Texas

The Valley encompasses several landmarks that attract tourists, and is primarily known for South Padre Island. Other popular destinations in include Point Isabel Lighthouse, Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, and Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park. The Valley is a popular waypoint for tourists seeking to visit Mexico. Popular destinations across the border include: Matamoros, Nuevo Progreso, Rio Bravo, and Reynosa, all located in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. The Valley also attracts large quantities of lucrative tourists from the Mexican states of Nuevo Leon, Districto Federal, and Tamaulipas.


Places of Historical Interest


  • Rancho de Carricitos

The last battle of The Civil War, the Brownsville Raid and the construction of the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle all took place in The Rio Grande Valley.



The Valley is reliant on Agribusiness and Tourism. Cotton, various sorghums, Maize, and sugarcane are its leading crops, and the region is the center of citrus production and the most important area of vegetable production in the State of Texas. Over the last several decades, the emergence of maquiladoras (factories or fabrication plants) has caused a surge of industrial development along the border, while International bridges have allowed Mexican nationals to shop, sell and do business in the border cities along the Rio Grande River. The geographic inclusion of South Padre Island also drives tourism, particularly during the Spring Break season, during which South Padre Island becomes reminiscent of New Orleans during Mardi Gras.


According to the 1990 census, just under 82 percent of Cameron County, over 85 percent of Hidalgo County, over 97 percent of Starr County, and over 84 percent of Willacy County were Hispanic.


The Valley is a popular Winter tourist destination for residents from the Midwest United States and Canada (called Winter Texans). Along with Mexican nationals and thousands of college students who visit South Padre Island throughout March and April, Winter Texans are the bulk of the Valley's tourism. Winter Texans typically arrive in October-November and stay until February-March, causing a seasonal swell for local businesses.


The Valley is also the only region in the United States where birders can observe certain varieties of endangered and migratory birds. It is also along the path taken by the migratory Monarch Butterfly as it transits to and from the Mexican state of Michoacan.


Other Data:


See individual Cities


Wikipedia Information Link:

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