100. Visit the Sabal Palm Audubon Center and Sanctuary
- Long paths lead deep into the forest
Editor’s note: This is the first installment in a series designed to expose rare gems of the area so that the discriminating guest can get the complete experience of this tropical paradise. We begin our journey at the Sabal Palm Grove in nearby Brownsville, TX.
VERY FEW PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT THIS GEM ONLY A HALF-HOUR’S DRIVE AWAY
The Sabal Palm Audubon Center and Sanctuary is one of the most hidden gems in Brownsville, Texas, a city approx. 25 miles from South Padre Island. Here, long winding paths lead down into the cool depths of age-old forests of yesteryear that take you back in time before any of this area was populated by man. This is such a pristine area that no visit to South Texas is complete without coming here. Birding and nature lovers can spend all day catching rare peeks at species they will find nowhere else in the United States but in this tropical paradise.
Your trip here is bound to be educational.
This haven is nestled in a bend of the Rio Grande River along the US/Mexico border. Sabal Palms once grew profusely along the edge of the Rio Grande for about 80 miles upstream but today, only a small portion of that forest remains, protected by 557 acres of this Audubon Sanctuary. You can take a self-guided tour along the nature trails or take a guided tour with one of the helpful and knowledgeable staff.
Taking a tour at your own pace is a nice option.
At the wildlife viewing areas, you may catch a glimpse of migrating warblers, green jays, olive sparrows, long-billed thrashers and buff-bellied hummingbirds.
You can watch for bobcats, armadillos,
jaguarundis, or an ocelot as you quietly explore the wilderness.
There are many places to sit, rest and wait for a rare glimpse of wildlife in its natural environment.
No matter which way you choose each step you take leads you on an incredible journey.You can even learn interesting facts about indigenous trees that you never thought would be interesting but are.
The long bridges can be used to view all kinds of wildlife in the water or in the air.
Directions from South Padre Island/Port Isabel
Take Hwy 48 towards Brownsville.
Where Hwy 48 intersects with Southmost, take a left onto Southmost Road (FM 1419).
Keep going for 6 miles until you see the entry signs on the right.