Community > History of San Benito > San Benito Today
San Benito Today
Sam Houston Blvd.
The City of San Benito, is known as the Resaca City because of the picturesque 400-foot wide river-like waterway that meanders through this historic South Texas community. The resaca, formally referred to as Resaca de los Fresnos, was an old river bed that now functions as the city’s main source of water. Fed from the Rio Grande, it is the primary canal of a large irrigation system that also services the residential and commercial needs of the city.
The resaca runs through the heart of the city and serves as the water source for both municipal and agricultural interests.
Situated in deep South Texas near the center of the lower Rio Grande Valley, San Benito is flanked by Mexico to its west, while the Gulf of Mexico lies to its east. The city is just minutes from the Free Trade International Bridge at Los Indios, which it partially owns, along with Cameron County and the neighboring city of Harlingen. The bridge is one of the most modern ports of entry in South Texas. It provides a quick route to the Mexican border cities of Matamoros, Reynosa and Valle Hermoso, as well as the industrial city of Monterrey.
San Benito Today
Fun -n-Sun RV Park--the largest in the State of Texas--caters to Winter Visitors
Previously a solid agricultural community, San Benito is emerging as an area that enthusiastically supports growing tourist, retail and light industrial industries.
Again, climate and the city’s geographic location are factors in the city’s success. Its mild winters and proximity to Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico attract visitors who are eager to share the area’s culture and natural environmental beauty. Winter Texans, primarily retirees from the Midwest, annually flock to the Valley to escape the cold northern temperatures. San Benito has the distinction of having the state’s largest recreational vehicle park, heavily populated by winter visitors. Because of its success, plans are in the works now to expand the park by another 600 to 800 slots to accommodate RVs.
A scenic walking/jogging trail has been built around the resaca that winds through this charming community. It features a 2.76-mile long path and is dotted with such amenities as a butterfly and bird viewing area, exercise stations, lighted basketball court, volleyball court, three fishing piers and horseshoe pit.
Rich in culltural heritage, San Benito recently opened the Museums of San Benito, located at 210 E. Heywood: The San Benito Historical Museum, the Texas Conjunto Music Hall of Fame and Museum and the Freddy Fender Museum. Call 956-361-3804 Ex. 303 for more information.
The expansion of ecotourism is also being seen, with the area attracting people from across the world in search native wildlife species such as birds and butterflies. The Rio Grande Valley is one of the top 12 birding hot spots in the nation and every year, thousands of naturalists converge upon the Rio Grande Valley in search of some of the 484 species which have been sighted locally. These species include numerous exotics and neo-tropicals. As a result, the area is realizing a positive financial benefit from a growing ecotourism industry.
Demonstrating an interest in eco-tourism, the City is working on a constructed wetlands project that will purify water, provide an area for recreational bird watching and attract visitors to the community. Additionally, San Benito is home to a solar panel energy project that will provide power to a new water treatment plant that is under construction.
The city’s economy is also impacted by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the growth of manufacturing plants and the shipping industry of fruits and vegetables via the Free Trade International Bridge at Los Indios. The maquiladora (twin manufacturing plant) industry sprung from NAFTA. It operates on the concept of manufacturing with labor-intensive work performed in Mexico, where labor costs less, coupled with support facilities on the U.S. side.
Lying just outside San Benito’s city limits is an industrial park that houses several giant warehouses that store goods for shipment to and from Mexico’s maquiladoras. The warehouses at Los Indios employ a significant number of San Benito area residents. The Los Indios Free Trade Bridge, located about ten miles south of San Benito on F.M. 509 at Los Indios on the U.S. / Mexican border, is utilized in transporting the goods across the border. This year-to-date the bridge has seen more than 1.7 million vehicles and pedestrians cross the international span, with the numbers expected to increase as time goes by. For more business and economic development information, please call the San Benito Chamber of Commerce at 956-399-5321.