The tour I give visitors to Brownsville always includes the Sabal Palms Sanctuary .
Sabal Palms is a magnificent spot for bird watching because it’s in the middle of two of the
most significant aviary fly-ways in North America. Hundreds of species migrate through this
region every year.
It’s the last of the Sabal palm forests and the only natural palm preserve in the state.
Enthusiasts still have an opportunity to experience this rare subtropical ecosystem.
Guests have access to over 3-miles of walking trails, bird viewing blinds, feeding stations,
butterfly gardens, and a river observation deck.
In the center of the 557-acre wildlife refuge sits the Rabb Plantation house.
Crafted in 1892, the magnificent mansion is fully restored with Victorian-era chandeliers,
couches, original fireplaces, doorknobs, and stairs. Guests can enjoy this one-of-a-kind
experience first hand and stay overnight at the plantation’s bed and breakfast.
Before building the dams, the Rio Grande was wide and deep, and steamships traveled
from New Orleans to Mexico to Brownsville. The Rabb house gives us a glimpse into how
people lived along the Rio Grande delta back in the day. You can visualize a lost time when
riverboat trade was just a few steps off the house porch. It has a real impact on you.