South Texas has a warm climate, with the highest temperatures around July and August, when the weather can become quite energy sapping. For the best conditions for outdoor activities, visit the region in April or May, or try the autumn months, when temperatures will be ideal for fishing or hunting and the beach will also be an attractive proposition. These periods also tend to see smaller crowds and lower prices as a result.
With gorgeous countryside on its doorstep, plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy and the urban delights of fine dining and great shopping, Harlingen is a superb Texan holiday destination.
This South Texan town is renowned for its laid-back, artistic lifestyle and the city centre area is filled with murals beautifully painted by local artists. Pop into a restaurant to sample some Tex-Mex cuisine or some of the seafood bounty provided by the Gulf of Mexico, and dance the night away at one of Harlingen’s lively bars.
Outside the city, South Texas is the perfect place to get away from it all. Lie back with rod in hand, adrift on a placid lake, and try to hook the area’s famous bass. Hike in the brushlands, head to the beach for a spot of surfing, take a dolphin watching tour or try your hand at hunting. It’s all easy to arrange by using Harlingen as a base.
The area also boasts plenty of leisure facilities, including some fantastic golf courses – with all difficulty levels catered for. And the city also has a range of shopping options, from city boutiques to out of town discount malls.
Families are well provided for in Harlingen too. Head to the bowling alley in the evening or meet the 1600 exotic animals at Gladys Porter Zoo. See a production at the Performing Arts Centre or learn about history at the Iwo Jima Memorial.
Nature lovers can easily reach the Laguna Atascosa, a huge natural lagoon on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico which is one of America’s greatest spots for bird watching and also a great place to get away from the crowds.
And, for those with a rental car, Harlingen provides easy access to cultural hot spots like Austin, and even the attractions of northern Mexico.
Texas is a big place, to visitors should really rent a car if they want to make the most out of their stay. Reaching the Gulf Coast and towns like Austin will be much easier with a rental car. However, if you want to stay in town, then the malls and downtown can be accessed on foot or by bike, and Harlingen is a pretty cycle-friendly destination.
There are no scheduled public bus services from Valley International Airport (HRL), but getting into town or to resort hotels will not be a problem. There are a number of shuttle bus providers, and book a place in advance to eliminate any stress when you arrive. Alternatively, cabs will meet most arrivals and the major car rental outlets are all represented at the arrivals terminal.