Del Rio

Overview

Introduction

Founded on the banks of San Felipe Springs (which churns out 90 million gal/340 million L of water a day) and 140 mi/225 km west of San Antonio, Del Rio is a Mexican border town that's primarily an agricultural center and jumping-off point to Amistad National Recreational Area. The park, which is less than an hour's drive away, offers mostly watersports—boating, skiing, fishing and swimming. http://www.nps.gov/amis

While in Del Rio, take the walking tour of historic buildings (most built in the late 1800s), swim in the springs and tour the Val Verde Winery (http://www.valverdewinery.com). If you have time, cross the Rio Grande into Ciudad Acuna, Mexico. There's really not a whole lot to do there except see young gringos in cowboy hats guzzle beer and tequila, but the differences between the cities—between the two countries—are striking and well worth a look.

Just west of the Amistad National Recreation Area is Seminole Canyon State Historical Park, which preserves a collection of Native American pictographs, some dating back eight millennia. Rangers lead guided tours to see the pictures, the best of which are on the Pecos River. There is a nice museum about the pictographs and other elements of the tribe's lifestyle at the visitors center. There are also a campground and hiking trails (http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/findadest/parks/seminole_canyon).

Just down the road, in Langtry, the state operates the Judge Roy Bean Visitor Center, which preserves the billiard hall, saloon and courtroom of the colorful judge. While driving between Seminole Canyon and Langtry, you'll cross the breathtaking Pecos High Bridge over the Pecos River.

About 30 mi/50 km east of Del Rio is Bracketville, where you'll find Alamo Village, a full-scale reproduction of the Alamo. Why build the Alamo all over again? To make a movie, of course. John Wayne had this replica built as the set for The Alamo, which was shot there in 1959 (filming at the original Alamo—now surrounded by the skyscrapers of downtown San Antonio—was not feasible). A reconstructed frontier town was later added as a set for other film and TV productions. Live entertainment, mock gunfights and other events take place during the summer (http://thealamovillage.homestead.com/alamovillage.html). Fort Clark Springs U.S. Cavalry Post, also in Bracketville, was a camp for German prisoners of war during World War II.

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