Bentsen Hawk Tower
Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park SsyviewWelcome to Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley
South Texas is home to one of top birdwatching destinations in the country, Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park and World Birding Center. Birders across the nation know Bentsen as a treasure trove of "Valley Specialties" or tropical birds found nowhere else in the United States. The 797-acre Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, together with over 1,200 acres of adjoining U.S. Fish and Wildlife refuge tracts, promises year-round nature adventures in the richest birding area north of the Mexican border.

The Land
Constructed of layer upon layer of sediments by centuries of Rio Grande flooding, the land at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park is a rich and fertile alluvial plain. Native shrubs and forbs are shaded by Cedar Elm, Sugar Hackberry, Texas Ebony and Anacua trees. The habitat at Bentsen is especially valuable as very few riparian woodlands remain intact along the Rio Grande.
Bentsen Our Birds
Our Birds

As a large remnant tract of Rio Grande floodplain forest, Bentsen is a magnet for the many regional bird species that make south Texas famous. Green Jays & Plain Chachalacas congregate regularly at our bird feeding stations from November to March.  Other birds to look for include Gray Hawk, White-tipped Dove, Groove-billed Ani, Ringed Kingfisher, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Clay-colored Thrush, Long-billed Thrasher and Altamira Oriole. Virtual clouds of migrating Broad-winged and Swainson’s Hawks are a popular spring and fall spectacle.
Learn and Discover
Bentsen is a great place to begin a south Texas nature adventure. Guided tours offer our visitors a chance to see wildlife in their natural habitats. Special programs for teachers, students and young naturalists are available as well as citizen science projects such as Hawk Watch and the Christmas Bird Count. Make sure to check our program calendar for special events and workshops scheduled throughout the year.
Bentsen kids, Bird walk

What's Here
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 shuttle, 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, a birding wall and several water features allow visitors to see birds up close and watch their behaviors. Ten bird feeding stations are stocked from November through March and over seven miles of trails 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

Google map.

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

Vist Us

Physical Address
Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park
2800 S. Bentsen Palm Drive (FM 2062) Mission, TX 78572

Events and Tours
See our program listings and call the park for updates and additions to our schedule.

Phone Icon Reservations and Phone Information:
Phone: 956-584-2858
Fax: 956-584-9126


Park Operation Hours 
Park Open 7 a.m. - 10 p.m. seven days a week
Park Store open 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Daily
Tram Service 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Daily


When the Park Store is closed, please pay at self-pay station located next to the park entrance gate.

Adult (13 years and over) – $5.00
Children (12 years and under) – Free
Group (ten or more) – $3.00
Full Parklands Passport* – Free
Partial Parklands Passport** – $3.00
Texas State Park Pass holders – Free

*Eligibility for Full Parklands Passport: 65 years of age before September 1, 1995 (there is no residency restriction)
**Eligibility for Partial Parklands Passport: Texas Residents (only) over the age of 65

School Programs:

Contact our school groups program for more information!

Staff Contact List
Click here
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Bulletin Board


April 2019 Interpretive Programs


Fun and informative programs for all ages! Scheduled programs are FREE with park admission. Special programs are available upon request. Please call ahead to confirm program schedule during your visit.



Tram Tours: 3:00pm

Fridays Apr 5, 19, 26

Saturdays, Apr 20, 27

RSVP. Call ahead for schedule confirmation


Bentsen Birds: 8:30am

Sundays & Mondays

Except Monday Apr 22 


Rise and Hike!: 9:30am

Saturday Apr 20 & 27 

Incredible Plants of South Texas: 9:00am



Special Programs and Events


Hawk Watch 8:30am

All month long, weather permitting

Take shuttle to Hawk Tower

Creatures of the Night 7:30pm

Saturday, April 26th

RSVP. Limited seating.




Park Operation Hours

Park Open 7:00am-10pm Daily.
Park Store Open from 8:00am–5:00pm.
Daily Tram Service – 8:30am-4:30pm.
When the Visitor Center is closed, please pay at self-pay station beside main gate into the park. 




Bird Feeding November through March at Bentsen


Our bird feeding practices are geared towards the health and benefit of the birds themselves.

Each year, resident birds begin to vacate bird feeding stations around the 2nd week of March.

There is a considerable drop in feeder activity as soon as local birds enter their breeding cycle.


  • Local songbirds start nesting in March.
  • Nesting birds need insects and other natural foods for egg production and nestlings.
  • Birds defending nests & territories rarely leave nesting site/territory.
  • Migrating Red-winged Blackbirds arrive in March, taking over feeding stations.
  • Bronzed Cowbirds arrive early April.
  • Bronzed Cowbirds and Brown-headed Cowbirds are brood parasites – laying eggs in the nests of other birds, which become unsuspecting surrogates to a baby cowbird.
  • Cowbirds have caused a major decline in threatened and endangered species of North American birds.
  • Bird feeding between April & September encourages Bronzed Cowbirds to the detriment of local nesting species at Bentsen-RGV State Park.





Nine Unique Locations
eBird-Tracker Link

Get Involved

Calendar of Events

Visit our Calendar of Events Page!

Join Us

Volunteer opportunities available here!

Bird Checklist

Estero Llano Bird Checklist

State Park Map

Texas State Parks Geocache Challenge

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Find your Way

Your Experience Includes:
  • Daily shuttle service into park (call for schedule)
  • Headquarters Park Store & Visitors Center
  • Bird Exhibit Hall (bilingual)
  • 2-story Hawk Observation Tower with access ramp
  • Group Pavilion inside park
  • Meeting Room (available for rental)
  • Nature Center and Pavilion
  • Picnic sites with tables
  • Primitive tent camping sites (by reservation)
  • Boat Ramp (no motorboats - canoes/kayaks only)
  • Rest areas
  • 2 Observation Decks
  • 2 accessible bird blinds
  • Ten bird feeding stations (Nov-Mar)
  • Butterfly Gardens
  • 3.0 miles of nature/hiking trails
  • 5.0 miles of paved roads
  • School Programs
  • Guided nature tours
  • Bike rentals
  • Binocular rentals
Access within the park is by foot, bike and shuttle only.

  • Bicycles: regular, children's tandems and trikes - $5.00- $12.00 / Day
  • Binoculars: $3.00 / Day
  • Meeting Room: $300.00 / Day
Butterfly Watching Links:
Birdwatching Links:
Dragonfly Watching Links:
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