History

Concan, not Cancun!

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Concan, not Cancun!

Photo: Flickr / Knowsphotos

Unlike Cancun, where a passport is needed, Concan is an unincorporated resort community just north of Uvalde, nestled along the Frio River in the southern Texas hill country.  It doesn’t have white, sandy beaches, palm trees, or Margaritaville, but what it does have is a clear, rock bottomed river , lined with hundred year old Cypress trees that you can either float down on a tube, paddle in a kayak or canoe or better yet, unfold your favorite lawn chair, plop it down in the cool water, reach into the Yeti and crack open an ice-cold beverage ~  passport needed!

Concan, not Cancun!

Photo: Daniel Gillaspia/UponArriving.com

Concan was settled somewhere in the early 1840’s and according to local lore, was named after a Mexican card game, “coon can.”  The peaceful settlement was inhabited by fur traders, the postmaster and sheep and cattle ranchers; growing to an estimated 150 residents by 1884, but by the turn of the century, the community had dwindled down to about twenty folks.  Two of those folks were rancher, Tom Neal and his wife, Vida.  In 1926, Tom and Vida founded Neal’s Lodges and Dining Room, paving the way for the former ranching community to become one of the most beloved and visited tourist spots in the state.   Today the population is close to 200 residents but when the summer peak season begins, the community is busting at the seams with close to 4000 people, who just like the early settlers, are still enjoying the cool waters of the Frio and mild weather.

Concan, not Cancun!

Photo: Neal’s Lodges

Concan is still home to Neal’s Lodges, but now has literally hundreds of homes, condos, duplexes, and various other camping facilities that are filled to capacity from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Tourist flock to this area to tube the river, dance the night away at Joe Jimmys or the House Pasture, take in a chicken-fried steak and rolls at Neal’s Dining Room, shop at Andy’s on River Road and the Dry Fifty, or pick up last minute items at the Neal’s store, Frio Country store or Concan General Store.   Concan is also nine miles south of Garner State Park; another Texas iconic destination.

Concan, not Cancun!

Photo: tpwd.texas.gov

Concan is also home to numerous birds that attract birders from all over the world.  The area is one of the best places to see the Golden-cheeked Warbler, Black-capped Vireo and all three King-fisher species.  The Painted Bunting and several species of Hummers (Hummingbirds) can also be spotted in the area.   Just a few miles south of Concan on Hwy. 127, is the Frio Bat Flight tours; a privately owned bat cave that houses millions, 12 million to be exact, Mexican free-tailed bats that emerge each evening on their quest for a nightly meal, but they aren’t the only hungry critters in the sky.  Hawks and Falcon await the emergence of the bats for their nightly meal as well.  The Frio Bat Flight Tour usually runs from March through September when the maternity colony gives birth to their pups.

Concan, not Cancun!

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

For those who like to swing a golf club, there is a par 72, 18 holes, 7,333 yards championship course located at the Concan Country Club.  The course meanders through the hills, with majestic views and challenging holes.  The club also has a patio grill serving local favorites and cold beverages.

Concan, not Cancun!

Photo: The Club at Concan

Concan is no Cancun, but then who would want it to be?  With the cool waters of the Frio, abundant wildlife and “wild” life, camping, shopping, and some of the most beautiful scenic views in Texas, why go anywhere else?!  Below are links to some of the many activities available in the Concan area.  It’s just a short drive from San Antonio, west on Hwy. 90, hang a left in Sabinal at the only stoplight in town, then follow Hwy. 127 till you cross the Frio River – you have arrived!  And remember, no passport needed at this oasis!

Lodging – friocanyonchamber.com
Restaurants – nealsdiningroom.com
Shopping –    andysonriverroad.com ,  friosdryfifty.com  , frioriveroutfitter.com
Golf – clubatconcan.com
Nightlife – housepasture.com, nealslodges.com
An Awesome Experience of a Lifetime! Bat Flights  –  Schedule & Map
See a Video of the Bats in Concan – Concan Bat Cave [VIDEO]