Brownsville

The southernmost city in the state, Brownsville offers the history, culture, traditions, language and people of two countries. Matamoros, Mexico, is just across the Rio Grande from Brownsville. The city was founded in 1846 after Gen. Zachary Taylor established Fort Brown to claim the Rio Grande as the official U.S./Mexico border. It was this border dispute that touched off the Mexican War of 1846–48.

Brownsville's inviting atmosphere tempts visitors to enjoy tennis, fishing, nature viewing, swimming and going to the beach. Boca Chica Beach offers the natural beauty of a pristine, undeveloped 7.5-mile stretch of beach.

This city also is a bird watcher's paradise with more than 500 counted bird species in the refuges and around the area. At the convergence of two major flyways, the city hosts many species during spring and fall migrations.

Open by appointment only, Los Ebanos Preserve offers opportunities to view birds and butterflies in an 82-acre private nature park. 956/399-9097. www.losebanospreserve.com.

Charro Days, the last week of February, is a spectacular fiesta. Other festivals include the Air Fiesta in March and the Latin Jazz Festival in October.

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