Welcome to Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley
South Texas is home to one of top birdwatching destinations in the country, Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park and World Birding Center. Birders across the nation know Bentsen as a treasure trove of “Valley Specialties” or tropical birds found nowhere else in the United States. The 797-acre Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, together with over 1,200 acres of adjoining U.S. Fish and Wildlife refuge tracts, promises year-round nature adventures in the richest birding area north of the Mexican border.
Constructed of layer upon layer of sediments by centuries of Rio Grande flooding, the land at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park is a rich and fertile alluvial plain. Native shrubs and forbs are shaded by Cedar Elm, Sugar Hackberry, Texas Ebony and Anacua trees. The habitat at Bentsen is especially valuable as very few riparian woodlands remain intact along the Rio Grande.
As a large remnant tract of Rio Grande floodplain forest, Bentsen is a magnet for the many regional bird species that make south Texas famous. Green Jays & Plain Chachalacas congregate regularly at our bird feeding stations from November to March. Other birds to look for include Gray Hawk, White-tipped Dove, Groove-billed Ani, Ringed Kingfisher, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Clay-colored Thrush, Long-billed Thrasher and Altamira Oriole. Virtual clouds of migrating Broad-winged and Swainson’s Hawks are a popular spring and fall spectacle.
Learn and Discover
Bentsen is a great place to begin a south Texas nature adventure. Guided tours offer our visitors a chance to see wildlife in their natural habitats. Special programs for teachers, students and young naturalists are available as well as citizen science projects such as Hawk Watch and the Christmas Bird Count. Make sure to check our program calendar for special events and workshops scheduled throughout the year.
Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park
2800 S. Bentsen Palm Drive (FM 2062)
Mission, TX 78572
Reserve by phone: (512) 389-8900
- Adult: $5 Daily
- Group (10+ people): $3 Daily
- Child 12 Years and Under : Free
- Full Parklands Passport* – Free
- Partial Parklands Passport** – $3.00
- Texas State Park Pass holders – Free
*Eligibility for Full Parklands Passport: 65 years of age before September 1, 1995 (there is no residency restriction)
**Eligibility for Partial Parklands Passport: Texas Residents (only) over the age of 65
7 a.m. – 10 p.m.
The Visitor’s Center has a bilingual (English/ Spanish) exhibit hall, park store, meeting room and administrative offices – all of which are surrounded by butterfly gardens and hummingbird feeders. Visitors can take our transportation shuttle, ride bikes or walk through the park. A two-story observation tower gives visitors a bird’s-eye view of the canopy as well as a peek into Mexico. Two enclosed bird blinds, a birding wall and several water features allow visitors to see birds up close and watch their behaviors. Ten bird feeding stations are stocked from November through March and over seven miles of trails offer a variety of opportunities to encounter wildlife inside the park.
Your experience include:
- Daily shuttle service into park (call for schedule)
- Headquarters Park Store & Visitors Center
- Bird Exhibit Hall (bilingual)
- 2-story Hawk Observation Tower with access ramp
- Group Pavilion inside park
- Meeting Room (available for rental)
- Nature Center and Pavilion
- Picnic sites with tables
- Primitive tent camping sites (by reservation)
- Boat Ramp (no motorboats – canoes/kayaks only)
- Rest areas
- 2 Observation Decks
- 2 accessible bird blinds
- Ten bird feeding stations (Nov-Mar)
- Butterfly Gardens
- 3.0 miles of nature/hiking trails
- 5.0 miles of paved roads
- School Programs
- Guided nature tours
- Bike rentals
- Binocular rentals
Access within the park is by foot, bike and shuttle only.