Bentsen Rio Grande Valley State Park Visit Recap

Bentsen Rio Grande Valley State Park is the headquarters for the World Birding Center. Learn about this park and its features.

On any given day, the wind blowing through the mesquite trees is only interrupted by the whispers of those sitting in a bird blind waiting for their next bird to add to the “life list”. Bentsen Rio Grande Valley State Park is one of nine sites that make up the World Birding Center, and its combination of woody areas, scenic overlooks, and water make this a top destination for your next birding adventure.

Bentsen Rio Grande State Park is a beautiful destination for nature enthusiasts, especially for bird watchers. The park is located in the southernmost part of Texas and provides a habitat for various birds, butterflies, and other wildlife. Definitely recommend visiting the other parks in the area.

Hawk tower observation deck at Bensten Rio Grande SP

Visitors can explore the park by walking or biking along the trails and taking guided tours. The park offers birding walks, tram tours, and butterfly tours. The park also has a visitor center where you can learn about the flora and fauna of the area.

One of the main attractions of Bentsen Rio Grande Valley State Park is the World Birding Center, which is a collaboration between several parks in the Rio Grande Valley. The center has an observation tower where you can spot rare birds and enjoy the panoramic view of the surrounding area.

Overall, visiting Bentsen Rio Grande State Park is a great way to connect with nature and witness the beauty of the natural world. It’s a must-visit for anyone who loves the great outdoors, especially for those who are interested in bird watching.


What to expect at the park

Drive the back roads past the hustle and bustle of Mission, then through citrus orchards, and there you’ll find the palm tree-lined roads that lead into the state park parking lot. The huge RV park will be your giveaway.

The visitor’s center to check in is down a small sidewalk, but there are plenty of signs that tell you where to go. Somewhat confusing for first-timers used to a booth or a building at the entrance.

Bentsen Rio Grande Valley state park is the headquarters for the World Birding Center, so its visitor’s center is filled with fun souvenirs, books, videos about the park, and even a cafe.

Biking the park is a great way to see it, so if you didn’t bring your own you can rent one here to explore.

Outside of the main building is a lovely corridor filled with more information about the park, restrooms, and shade trees, and eventually, you’ll get to the learning center of the park.

Here you’ll be delighted with plenty of information about this important area for birds. Great brightly colored displays, sounds of familiar birds, and plenty of interactivity the entire family will enjoy.

The Park Itself

From the main portion of the visitor’s center, you’ll trek down a paved road toward the main portion of the park. No cars are allowed to drive around, only the trams that will take you to the different stops around the park.

You’ll also notice some construction at the edge of the park’s perimeter. The sounds of trucks beeping as a lengthy wall is being built. Great place for some bird murals perhaps. Ahem.

Once you’ve passed that eyesore you’ll be immersed once again in the natural aspects of this park, and you’ll start at the La Familia Nature Center. Here you can learn a little more about the bird species you can find, the history of the park, and even take a load off while you wait for the tram either under the pergola or at the chairs by the nearby bird feeder. Great place to see Green Jays as pictured below.

There is one main loop to the park that will take you from the wooded areas back around to the Parido Banco water, and plenty of bird feeders and bird blinds to sit and wait for your next new bird.

Hiking and Camping at Bentsen Rio Grande SP

If you choose not to take the tram you can walk on the paved loop all around the park. There’s no elevation here with the exception of the observation deck and hawk tower.

Otherwise, the sole trail is the 1.8-mile Rio Grande trail which is a wooded loop that is a light gravel trail. On paper, this looks like it’s near the river, but you don’t have any access to view the water.

Once you exit the trail turn left back onto the main pathway to see a really unique geological survey marker. It shares a marker across the river in Mexico with the river being the central location for the Mexico-U.S. border.

Bentsen Rio Grande Valley SP is the only state park of the three WBC parks that has a camping area. It is a small primitive camping loop within the trees that has five camping spaces available. These are $15/ night.

Directions to park:

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