Del Rio Texas (History, Places, People)

Del Rio didn’t come off as a very homey place in the Coen brothers’ No Country for Old Men. Yet the town has its charms, and its popularity as a retirement destination is rising. It has the climate people seek when they go to Arizona, but Del Rio has an advantage: water.

Del Rio, Texas, is the county seat of Val Verde County. Located in southwest Texas, it was a failed 17th-century Spanish colony. It wasn’t until the mid-19th century that it began attracting permeant residents. Now it is a town with a vibrant arts scene and home to the 3rd largest lake in Texas.

Terrain Of The Edwards Plateau North Of Del Rio Tx. - Texas View
Terrain of the Edwards Plateau north of Del Rio, TX. – Photo by Billy Hathorn

About Del Rio Texas

Del Rio, Texas, is a border town in Southwest Texas, only a few hours away from San Antonio. People enjoy the warm, dry weather, the abundance of water, and the quiet life. The town is surrounded by ranchers, farmers, and vineyards, creating oasis-like tranquility in what should be a desert.

Facts About Texas 1 - Sports teams
Facts About Texas 1 - Sports teams

Folks come to live in Del Rio looking for a slower pace of life. They enjoy the arts, the natural landscape, and being part of a community where people smile and greet each other.

Facts About Del Rio Texas

  • Location: Southwestern Texas, on the Rio Grande
  • County: Val Verde
  • Land Area: 20.2 square miles
  • Zip Codes: 78840
  • Population: 35,828 (main town), 52,804 (including greater area)
  • Crime Rate: 33% safer than other US cities
  • Average Temperature June: 97F high, 73F low
  • Average Temperature January: 66F high, 40F low
  • Universities: Sul Ross State University, Del Rio Campus; Southwest Texas Junior College
  • Airports: Del Rio International
  • Best Hotels: Hampton Inn & Suites, Whispering Palms Inn
  • Best Restaurants: Cripple Creek Steakhouse and Saloon, Rudy’s
  • Museums: Whitehead Museum

What’s Del Rio Texas Known For?

Del Rio is home to the third-largest lake in Texas and arguably has the best bass fishing in the entire state. Thus, despite the town having a hot semi-arid climate, folks flock to this area for outdoor recreation thanks to the abundance of water. In addition to fishing, it is a great place to hike, kayak, and swim.  

  • Amistad National Recreation Area
  • Seminole Canyon State Park & Historic Site
  • San Felipe Springs

People From Del Rio Texas

  • Jessica Alba
  • Radney Foster
  • Jack Mayfield
  • Patrice Fisher

Where Is Del Rio Texas

Del Rio is in southwestern Texas, 152 miles west of San Antonio. It sits on the Mexican/US border, with the Rio Grande running past on the Southwest side.

Nearby Del Rio Texas

  • Acuna, Mexico
  • Comstock, Texas
  • Brackettville, Texas
  • Uvalde, Texas
  • Sonora, Texas

Del Rio is 152 miles west of San Antonio. Locals head out there when they want to shop at larger stores or have a taste of city life. Between Del Rio and the city are primarily tiny towns and ranching country. But Uvalde sits about in the middle between the two and is around Del Rio’s size.

Layout of Del Rio Texas

Del Rio, Texas, is a quiet town that has succumbed to the Walmart effect. The downtown is mostly boarded up, and people shop at the Walmart north of the city center and the mall. The Rio Grande creates its Southwestern border, and Mexico sits on the other side.

The Laughlin Air Force Base sits east, past Val Verde Park. Northwest has the Amistad National Recreation Area. Its reservoir is the third-largest lake in Texas.

Areas In Del Rio Texas

  • North
  • Central
  • Southwest

Central Del Rio has desirable homes due to being closer to the schools. Pricy homes are also found in Northern Del Rio, especially as you head up toward Lake Amistad.

However, the southwestern areas near border patrol have much more affordable housing.

Jessica Alba - Texas View
Jessica Alba - Texas View

Getting About Del Rio Texas

Del Rio likes trucks, even if they don’t need one for practical purposes. They enjoy driving them and rarely carpool. Thus, all other modes of transportation are pretty unpopular.

Types of TransportationPercentage Number of Households
On Foot1.86%281
Public Transport0.64%26
Driving92.1%13.95K
Cycling0.714%108
Transportation Use in Del Rio, Texas

On Foot

While folks in Del Rio enjoy all the outdoors has to offer, they prefer to drive to the parks or recreation areas and then use their feet.

Public Transport

Some buses come in and out of Del Rio. But options are sparse for getting around town.

Driving

Most households in Del Rio have two cars, and they love to use them.

Cycling

Cycling is more of recreational activity in Del Rio than a means of transport. However, some go against the norm and take their bikes to work.

What To Do In Del Rio Texas

Del Rio is not a town known for its nightlife. Instead, people love it for its outdoor recreational opportunities. But there is a local winery and plenty of arts and culture to enjoy.

  • Amistad National Recreation Area
  • Val Verde Winery
  • Art Galleries
  • Paul Poag Theatre
  • Seminole Canyon State Park & Historic Site
  • Devils River State Natural Area
  • San Felipe Springs
  • White Head Memorial Museum

Amistad National Recreation Area

Amistad National Recreation Area is home to Texas’ third largest lake and some of the best bass fishing. In addition, there is kayaking, hiking, scuba diving, hunting, bird watching, and camping. Just make sure you have the right permits for fishing or hunting.

Val Verde Winery

Val Verde is proud to be the oldest winery in Texas. It’s been operating since 1883, established by Italian immigrant Frank Qualia. Visitors are welcome to come by for tours and tastings.

Art Galleries

Art lovers will adore seeing the creativity and talent on display at Del Rio’s galleries and art centers. They mostly focus on artists from Texas, including those living in the town. Recommended places to check out include:

  • Firehouse Gallery
  • Case de La Cultural
  • San Felipe Springs
  • Lee Bunch Studio Gallery
  • Falcon Art Gallery of Texas

Paul Poag Theatre

Paul Poag Theatre is one of the few remaining treasures of Del Rio’s downtown. Comedy and music performances from around the country are featured, in addition to local theater productions.

Seminole Canyon State Park & Historic Site

Seminole Canyon State Park & Historic Site is only 40miles northwest of Del Rio. The park’s treasures are some of the oldest pre-historic dwellings and cave paintings in the entire North America. The park also has astounding views as you explore the limestone canyons.

Devils River State Natural Area

Devils River Station Natural Area is 66 miles north of Del Rio. The 37,000 acres host three distinct ecosystems: the Chihuahuan Desert, the Tamaulpan Mezquital, and the Edwards Plateau. It is sights are unforgettable, and the area is perfect for hiking, camping, fishing, mountain biking, and swimming.

Devils River also hosts an experienced kayaker’s temptation: doing the 47 miles from the river to Lake Amistad.

San Felipe Springs

Swimming in San Felipe Springs is one of the best parts of being in Del Rio. Its cool and clear water creates some fantastic swimming holes found in Lions Park, Horseshoe Park, and Blue Lake.

White Head Memorial Museum

White Head Memorial Museum is a can’t-miss stop. The museum delves into the history and cultures of the area. The interactive learning area has a blacksmith shop, chapel, log cabin, and storytelling room.

Where To Eat In Del Rio Texas

  • Cripple Creek Steakhouse and Saloon
  • Rudy’s
  • Lou’s Woodfire Pizza
  • La Hacienda

 Where To Stay In Del Rio Texas

  • Hampton Inn & Suites Del Rio
  • Whispering Palms Inn
  • Best Western Inn Of Del Rio
  • Holiday Inn Express & Suites Del Rio

Del Rio FAQs

Is Del Rio Texas A Good Place To Live?

Del Rio has a relaxed, secluded, small-town feel. People making a home in this town need to be able to handle the quiet life for longer than just a vacation. For some, that sounds like heaven; for others, it leaves them crawling the walls.  

Is Del Rio Texas Safe?

Del Rio has a lower crime rate than the Texas average but higher than the national. It is a border town. Thus, southwest Del Rio has a much higher crime rate than the northern part, which is in line with the national average. Folks in the main town talk about leaving their keys in the car unlocked without worry.

Is Del Rio Texas Worth Visiting?

Del Rio is full of art, culture, and natural beauty. If you enjoy exploring the great outdoors and admiring the work of creative people, then it is an enjoyable vacation destination.

References: