TRIP IDEA

Mexican War Sites Driving Tour

Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park

Looking up towards the sky along the barrel of a replica cannon.
Duration Full Day
Topic(s) Military, Battlefields, Monuments and Memorials, Mexican War, Forts, US Army, Maritime, Lighthouses, Westward Expansion
Activities Self-Guided Tours - Walking
Type Road Trip
Parks Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park

View down barrel of iron cannon
The Lower Rio Grande Valley is home to several key sites of the U.S.-Mexican War.

NPS (public domain)

The story of the U.S.-Mexican War is complex. However, if you have a full day to spend, visit the sites below in combination with any of our Half Day suggestions for a fuller picture of the conflict.
Full Day Driving Destinations
  • Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park

    Visiting Fort Polk

    • Activity Fee: Yes
    • Reservations: Yes
    • Activity: Self-Guided Tours - Walking
    • Pets: Yes
    • Location: Fort Polk
    • Duration: 30 Minutes
    • Season: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
    • Time of Day: Day
    White lighthouse with State of Texas historical marker in the foreground.

    When the U.S. army arrived in the Rio Grande delta in March 1846, General Taylor’s first stop was to establish a base that would allow him to receive reinforcements and materiel. He selected the Mexican settlement known as El Frontón de Santa Isabel.

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  • Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park

    See Where it All Started - Rancho de Carricitos

    • Activity Fee: No (Entrance fees may apply)
    • Reservations: No
    • Activity: Self-Guided Tours - Walking
    • Pets: Yes
    • Duration: 10–20 Minutes
    • Season: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
    • Time of Day: Day
    Stone historical marker and replica cannon by the roadside.

    Visit the site of the first official combat between of the U.S. - Mexican War. On April 24, 1846 Captain Seth Thornton and his 80 dragoons were ambushed by General Anastasio Torrejón and his 1,600 cavalry and infantry troops at Rancho de Carricitos. News of the skirmish was forwarded to President James K. Polk leading him to declare Mexico "has invaded our territory, and shed American blood upon the American soil."

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    • Activity Fee: No (Entrance fees may apply)
    • Reservations: Yes
    • Activity: Self-Guided Tours - Walking
    • Pets: Yes
    • Duration: 15–30 Minutes
    • Season: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
    • Time of Day: Any Time
    Metal historical marker for Fort Brown

    Visit the site of the earthen fortification that became known as Fort Brown. While visiting this site you can see historical markers and even what is left of one of the fort’s bastions. The campus of UTRGV near the Mexican War era Fort Brown site is also home to several post-Mexican War buildings.

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Last updated: June 22, 2018