Sabal Palm Sanctuary
Sabal Palm Sanctuary
4.5
7:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
7:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
7:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
7:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
7:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
7:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
7:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
Cradled in a bend of the Rio Grande, this 527-acre preserve is home to one of the last stands of old-growth Sabal Palm forest in the United States as well as one of the few remaining historic river plantations in the region. Over 4 miles of hiking trails lead visitors through the palm forest, wetland board walks, river observation deck, and multiple bird blinds. Green Jays and Chachalacas frequent our feeders, Armadillos rummage our trails, Least Grebes and Green Kingfishers hunt the wetlands, and Great Horned Owl calls haunt the forest. The recently restored 4,000 sq ft 1892 Rabb Plantation home now serves as our new Sabal Palm Sanctuary visitor center. Take a stroll through the grove, a short walk down to the Rio Grande, or join us for one of our guided birding walks or history tours (seasonal, typically November thru March - please call for schedule).
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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles153 reviews
Excellent
98
Very good
40
Average
7
Poor
8
Terrible
0

fadokv
Lafayette, CO140 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2021
I love birding in the Lower Rio Grande Valley and this is one of my favorite places. I first visited in 2014, before the house was restored. The Rabb Mansion was an aged old lady, so the visitors center was the building close to the feeding station. Now, the mansion is beautifully restored and is the current visitors center. Rabb Mansion is a bed and breakfast now. I will have to stay here some day when I come back, as it would be wonderful to wake up in the Sanctuary. The birds here are spectacular, you get a beautiful view of the river, and my first visit gifted me with a gorgeous view of bobcats. I highly recommend this choice site for anyone who loves birds.
Written January 14, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

DebRussell49
Carman, Canada124 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2023 • Solo
The road into this area is narrow and rutted. That should have been my first clue to turn around and leave.
Lovely old plantation home but little signage or invitation to explore.
$5.00 entry fee and not even a map, except one on the counter you could take a picture of on your phone.
Pathway signs are adequate but the paths themselves and viewing areas are not in great shape.
Compared to the other birding areas in the valley, I would suggest you skip this one!
Written March 10, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lindsay S
2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
I ended up here alone early on a Tuesday morning. After crossing through the border wall and loosing phone signal I was a bit nervous about what I was getting into. After a briefing from the lovely attendant in the house, I set out along the trails. It felt very isolated and so cool! I saw several birds and heard lots of rustling of other animals along the trails. This is a must see if you're in the area. A nice balance of adventure and nature. The trails are easy to walk. But even in January I was batting away mosquitoes. Loved it and hope to come back!
Written January 11, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Loneostrich
Miami Beach, FL165 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2023
I quite enjoyed my time here. It was a bit bizarre driving by the military presence since the sanctuary, while firmly still in the US, is on the other side of the border fencing since the fencing isn't on the border itself. In any event, the plantation manor house is charming, and I enjoyed walking around the trails. As of February 2023, the resaca (oxbow lake) was not very full, but the view of the Rio Grande was inviting, and I did see some birdlife. I'm pretty sure I spotted a green jay, which was a cool bird to see.
Written February 11, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ForfeitBoy
4 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Couples
We were hesitant at first to book our stay here during a short vacation. We're glad we did. The staff was wonderful, especially Carla, who checked us in and who helped with a work-related matter than came up during our stay, going beyond what I would have expected. The room was good, but not luxurious (it IS, after all, a Fairfield Inn). But the hotel itself is relatively new, and it showed. We never waited more than 15 seconds for the elevator. There is plenty of parking. The breakfast was okay -- the usual cereals, oatmeal, eggs and meats. But it was hot and fresh. The one downside was that we were not told that housekeeping cleaned the room only every other day. But they replenished the towels immediately when we called the front desk. And, although not cheap, it was the least expensive of the hotels in the area. Overall, very nice experience. Would stay again.
Written February 18, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kelly D
13 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2022
Sabal Palms is a great place but it has gone downhill with the current management.

They currently allow dogs, both time I have gone there it was a like giant dog park. People bring their untrained dogs that bark at each other chase wildlife and leave feces all over the place. Almost every 5min I would see a pile of dog feces in the trail or on the side of the trail. This is the only wildlife sanctuary I have been to that allows dogs.

The guy working the front desk is very unfriendly, he seems like he is just “doing time” at the desk.

All the wooden benches and walkways are getting rotten due to lack of care and stain application.

They have a massive invasive hog problem on the backside of the property. I am sure any native ground dwelling or nesting animals are devastated. I haven seen the amount of hog tracks anywhere.

The land is a spectacular gem, it is very sad to see it in the current neglected mismanaged state.
Written February 6, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

OntarioCanuck1
Georgetown, Canada4,135 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2023 • Couples
Wonderful that this acreage has been saved, great the habitat is there for wildlife. Trails has some signage but could use an update, similarly blinds are handy but need work. Staff member in house totally not interested in helping or answering questions, I am told morning best to see birds. Water levels low when i was there so limited viewing. Great potential for this property with more support.
Written December 6, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ms Travel
Austin, TX82 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2022
The house looks fabulous from the outside, but visitors are only allowed to see a few rooms on the first floor. And those rooms are furnished for current use such as the conference table and chairs in the lovely dining room. The fellow at the desk was a bit rude and unhelpful. If we didn't ask the right question, we didn't get information. The garden needs attention, but has some charm. Some of our group walked down to the Rio Grande, but it must've been the wrong time of year or time of day to see birds. Be aware that this is right on the border. Got to see the wall.
Written November 21, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Siobhan M
20 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2023 • Family
Fantastic walk with the family checking out birds, critters, and the local Rio Grande habitat. We started by checking in at the house and the person working was polite and very helpful. We walked for 2-3 hours around all the trails. I could have spent more time just watching birds, if I had been by myself. The highlight for us was seeing an armadillo which was by me and great time spent with the whole family. I I’ll definitely go back and highly recommend this place. It’s my top 2 spots in the Brownsville area!
Written January 19, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Gmichaelsimo
Menasha, WI23 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2023
Lots of potential but needs some TLC to make it a must see location. The house was nice but the guy at the desk was just a ticket taker and didn’t offer any historical information about the house or about the ecology of the area. The site needs some TLC.
Written January 13, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Sabal Palm Sanctuary - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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