On the border and by the sea. Few cities can boast of a better geographic location for trade and tourism than Brownsville, Texas.
Priding itself on being America's "front door to free trade," the city is situated at the southernmost tip of Texas, straddling both the U.S.-Mexican border and the Gulf of Mexico.
In conjunction with its neighbor city of Matamoros, just across the Rio Grande, Brownsville is gearing up to reap the benefits of unrestricted cross-border trade allowed by the recently passed North American Free Trade Agreement.
Already bearing the brunt of the area's growth is the natural park land on nearby South Padre Island. Host to varied animal and plant life, the island which stretches halfway up the coast of Texas is losing much of its luster to tourism and land development. Bird watchers, campers and nature lovers still flock to the island to enjoy what's left of the 200 miles of coastline.
One more distinction: Brownsville is the birthplace of musician-cum-actor Kris Kristofferson.