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Del Rio, Texas: Border Town Offers Natural Beauty, Art and Texas' Oldest Winery

Jan 19, 2017 03:30PM, Published by Melanie Heisinger, Categories: In Print, Life+Leisure

With the hectic holidays behind us, why not take a long and relaxing road trip way out west? Del Rio is a quaint border town about 150 miles west of San Antonio on Highway 90. It features a wonderful mix of southwestern diversity ranging from unique art galleries to stunning natural beauty and is home to Texas’ oldest winery. Del Rio can make a great cross-state excursion.

The town of Del Rio is just south of beautiful Lake Amistad, which straddles Texas and Mexico. The deep, crystal clear waters of the lake offer a paradise for fishing, swimming, boating, kayaking, scuba diving and a variety of other water sports. But there’s even more natural beauty to behold in the area. About 40 miles northwest of town you’ll discover the limestone canyons and arid grasslands of Seminole Canyon State Park & Historic Site. Breathtaking views give way to some of the oldest pre-historic cave paintings, and one of the oldest cave dwellings, in North America.

Back in town you can enjoy Del Rio’s flourishing arts community. There are numerous art galleries to explore filled with unique paintings, sculptures and photography. Visit the galleries on your own or during Del Rio’s Artwalk, which takes place the first Friday of every month. Of course, there are plenty of other shopping opportunities in downtown Del Rio that you’ll want to experience.

No visit to Del Rio would be complete without a stop at the Val Verde Winery, the oldest winery in Texas. It was established in 1883 when Frank Qualia, an Italian immigrant, started using local Lenoir grapes to make wine. Today, the winery crafts 10 Italian-style wines, including the award-winning Don Luis Tawny Port. The winery features a charming tasting room with red brick archways and wine cask tables. Tours and tastings are offered Monday through Saturday.

A great place to stay in Del Rio is the Amistad Lake Resort ( The resort prides itself as being a “four-season desert playground with year-round activities” and it offers 40 rooms, some with lake view, and full amenities. It’s owner and president is Byron Velvick, fans of ABC’s “The Bachelor” may remember him from season 6. He’s also a professional fisherman and host of numerous TV fishing programs.

While you’re in town, be sure to check out the Cripple Creek Steakhouse & Saloon. You can’t go wrong with the mesquite-grilled steaks, but if you want something a little different, go for the fish tacos, a mango and chamoy margarita and vanilla flan for dessert. It’s open for dinner Monday through Saturday.

For more information on Del Rio, visit

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