Welcome to Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley
One of top birding destinations in the country, Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park in deep, South Texas well deserves its status as headquarters of the World Birding Center. Birders across the nation know Bentsen as a treasure trove of "Valley specialties", tropical birds found nowhere else in the United States. The 760-acre Bentsen - Rio Grande Valley State Park, together with over 1,700 acres of adjoining U.S. Fish and Wildlife refuge tracts, promises a year-round nature adventure 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 Bensten- Rio Grande Valley State Park is a rich and fertile alluvial plain. Native shrubs and forbs are shaded by Cedar Elm, Sugar Hackberry, Rio Grande Ash, Texas Ebony and Anacua trees. The habitat at Bentsen is especially valuable as very few riparian woodlands remain intact along the Rio Grande.
As one of the larger tracts of Rio Grande floodplain forest remaining in this area, Bentsen is a magnet for the "Valley specialties" that make this park famous. Green Jays & Plain Chachalacas congregate regularly at feeding stations within the park. Other neo-tropical varieties such as Ferruginous Pygmy-owl, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Clay-colored Thrush, Hook-billed Kite, and Gray Hawk are also likely. Virtual clouds of migrating Swainson's and Broad-winged Hawks are a popular spring and fall spectacle.
Learn and Discover
Bentsen is a great place to begin a south Texas birding adventure. Bird walks offer our visitors a chance to see wildlife in their natural habitats. Other guided tours at Bentsen feature butterflies, dragonflies and night tours as well as programs for teachers, students and young naturalists. Make sure to check the program calendar for special events and workshops scheduled throughout the year.
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 tram, 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 and a birding wall allow visitors to see birds up close and watch their behaviors. Over seven miles of trails with bird feeding stations and water features offer a variety of opportunities to encounter wildlife inside the park.
Click on Bird Icon above to navigate to desired flyway destination!
1. Head southeast on US-83 S/N Grant St toward Bravo Blvd/TX-200 Spur
Continue to follow US-83 S
2.Turn right at US-83 BUS E
3.Turn right at Bentsen State Park Rd 43/Farm-To-Market Rd 2062 S
Continue to follow Farm-To-Market Rd 2062 S
4. Continue onto Bentsen State Park Rd 43/Park Rd 43
Continue to follow Park Rd 43
5. Keep left at the fork
6. Bentsen Rio Grande Valley
Mission, Texas 78572
1. Take US-77 N/US-83 N (Continue to follow US-83 N) Approx. 50 mi.
2. Take the US-83 BUS exit toward Inspiration Rd.
3. Merge onto W Expy 83
4. Slight left at US-83 BUS W
5. Turn left at Bentsen State Park Rd 43/Farm-To-Market Rd 2062 S
Continue to follow Farm-To-Market Rd 2062 S
6. Continue onto Bentsen State Park Rd 43/Park Rd 43
(Continue to follow Park Rd 43)
7. Keep left at the fork
8. Bentsen Rio Grande Valley
Mission, Texas 78572
The park is under a burn ban. No ash producing fires, of any kind, are allowed. Containerized fuel stoves are currently allowed for cooking only.
March 2014 Interpretive Programs
Fun and informative programs for all ages! Scheduled programs are free with park admission. School Field Trips & Special Programs are available upon request (fees apply), please contact the park for details.
Hawk Watch 8:30am - 12:00pm Daily - Weather Permitting
Hawk Watch will be held March 1 through April 30 at the Hawk Tower. Using keen eyesight, binoculars and spotting scopes, volunteer birders and naturalists will help keep count of the number of raptors migrating north to their breeding grounds.
Bird Walk 8:30am - 10:30am Sundays
Bentsen is a top destination for birders. Park Naturalists will lead you on a guided walk showing off some of the South Texas specialty birds such as the Altamira Oriole, Green Jay, Couch’s Kingbird, Chachalaca, Ringed Kingfisher, and Great Kiskadee.
Nature Walk 2:00pm - 3:00pm Mondays
Join one of our Park Naturalists for a closer look at nature’s most beautiful winged jewels while exploring the gardens surrounding the headquarters. Learn more about the captivating habitat that was developed in order to attract the diversity of native species found in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.
Dragonfly Walk 2:00pm - 4:00pm Thursdays
Join one of our Park Naturalists as we discover nature’s most fearsome and exquisite creatures, the dragonfly. Our naturalist will lead you on a walk to visit some of the aquatic habitats in search of a variety of dragonflies and damselflies. Learn what makes these insects a feared predator underwater and in the air.
Creatures of the Night 7:00pm - 9:00pm Saturdays
Explore Bentsen State Park after dark as Naturalists guide you through a unique nighttime nature walk in search of Common Pauraques, owls, bobcats, coyotes, glowing scorpions, Giant Toads and more, all while being serenaded by the creatures of the night!
Limit 20 participants.
Birds & Butterflies of the Rio Grande Valley on Saturday, March 15th 2:00pm - 3:15pm
Rio Grande Meeting Room
Bentsen State Park Volunteers, Ron & Mary Renk, will be presenting a special program featuring the numerous specialty and rare birds that they have observed over the past five years here in the Rio Grande Valley. Also included will be the South Padre migration fallout that occurred during the Spring of 2013.
Program is free with park admission.
Scheduled programs are free with park admission
School Field Trips & Special Programs available upon request (fees apply), please call Program Staff for details
Park Open 7:00 am - 10 pm Daily
Park Store open 8:00 am - 5:00 pm Daily
Tram Service 8:30 am - 4:30 pm Daily
When the visitor center is closed, please pay at self-pay station beside the main gate into the park.
Nine Unique Locations
Calendar of EventsVisit our Calendar of Events Page!
Join UsVolunteer opportunities available here!
State Park Map
Download Adobe Acrobat Reader here.
Find your Way
Your Experience Includes:
Butterfly Watching Links:
Dragonfly Watching Links: