There are lots of top travel destinations in Texas, but one lesser-known area worth checking out is Del Rio. West of San Antonio by about 150 miles, Del Rio is a border town on the U.S./Mexico border that offers outdoor recreation, lessons in local history, and some really tasty food. Just outside the city and within easy driving distances, you’ll find some excellent parks and natural areas too. Here are some top things to do in and around Del Rio, Texas.
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Visit Whitehead Memorial Museum
If you want to get a sense of what the Del Rio region is all about, start your journey at the Whitehead Memorial Museum. This is an impressive nonprofit history museum for a town of Del Rio’s size and actually a small pioneer village in the middle of town. There are indoor and outdoor displays here that tell the story about who has lived here, local arts, and the relevant natural and social sciences. The museum is open from Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10am to 6pm and on Sundays from 1-5pm. Depending on when you visit, you may also get to check out a local event, such as Oktoberfest, Día de los Muertos celebrations, and Christmas festivities.
Hike the Rio Grande and Canyon Rim Trail System
One of the best places to go for a scenic hike from Del Rio is Seminole Canyon State Park and Historic Site. This Texas parks destination is in nearby Comstock and has about 10 miles of trails. You can hike or bike along the rim next to the Rio Grande and also camp at one of the 46 campsites. There is ancient rock art to see and ranger-led programs that take you to the Fate Bell Shelter, Presa canyons, and upper canyons. The moderate Rio Grande Grail is about six miles long, and the challenging Canyon Rim Trail is about 7.5 miles long. There is also a shorter ADA-accessible trail here with a bird viewing area and a short nature hike trail that’s great for kids.
Drink at the Oldest Winery in Texas
Dating back to 1883, Val Verde Winery is the oldest continuously running winery in Texas. Visit this Del Rio winery for a tour and tasting to learn about the four generations of winemakers who have kept Del Rio on the winemaking map. When you visit, you can try the Blanc du Bois, Tempranillo, Rose, Merlot, and other popular varietals. Val Verde offers a wine club for members, a nice tasting room to enjoy a glass, and even space for weddings. Stop by on Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11am to 6pm or Sundays from 1-5pm.
Go Mountain Biking
It’s also fun to go mountain biking in the Del Rio area because of the rugged Texas terrain that surrounds you here. Devils River State Natural Area, Pista Amistad, and Parque Los Novillos are mountain biking destinations. You can also simply take a ride on dirt roads to explore the area at your own pace.
Explore Kickapoo Caverns State Park
Within less than an hour from Del Rio, you can reach Kickapoo Caverns State Park, which is a beautiful Texas state park with caves and trails to explore. You’ll need to join a guided tour to see Kickapoo Cavern because the entrance is prohibited in order to preserve the caves. The wild cave tours start every Saturday at 1pm and last about three hours. It’s a moderately strenuous hike and definitely worth it to see the cave formations. Bring two light sources and hiking boots. After your tour, you can take a hike on the Armadillo Lookout Trail for panoramic views of the park.
Kayak at Amistad National Recreation Area
Amistad National Recreation Area is also very close to Del Rio and a great place to get out on the water on a kayak or stand-up paddleboard. From the water, you can see steep canyons and wide-open water. Just be mindful that winds of 20 to 30 mph aren’t uncommon here. Other activities to do are swimming, viewing ancient rock art, hiking in the Diablo East area, birdwatching, and primitive camping. There’s a visitor’s center here with a movie theater and exhibits to explore too.
Enjoy Delicious Mexican Food
Being so close to the Mexican border, it’s no surprise that Del Rio is home to some excellent authentic Mexican food. You can stop by a local food truck for some tacos if you’re looking for casual fare or visit one of the town’s restaurants to treat your taste buds. Top Mexican spots here include Chinto’s Mexican Restaurant, Julio’s Seasoning and Corn Chips, and El Palenque Restaurant.
Backpack at Devils River State Natural Area
To take your hiking skills to the next level, it’s also fun to plan an overnight backpacking trip at Devils River State Natural Area. This park has a loop road that’s great for hiking over the course of two days with your tent in tow to set up at one of the primitive sites along the way. This area is rugged and remote, and it’s also a nice spot for experienced kayakers to go paddling.
Set Up Camp for the Night
The Del Rio area has many great spots to pitch a tent or pull up your RV, including Devils River State Natural Area and private campground options if you’re looking for a few more amenities. The private Broke Mill RV Park in Del Rio is accommodating, and other RV park options to consider include Hidden Valley RV Park and Lonesome Dove RV Ranch.
Road Trip to Big Bend National Park
If you have a little more time to spend in this part of Texas, Big Bend National Park isn’t terribly far away either. This is a very remote national park, so staying in Del Rio might be the closest you get to it unless you plan to camp at Big Bend! The drive will take you about 3.5 hours, but once you arrive, you’ll be rewarded with lots of vast wilderness with opportunities for outdoor adventures, scenic solitude, dark night skies and cactus blooming in the southwestern sunshine.