Calling the Rio Grande Valley: All About the 956 Area Code

May 14, 2024
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Ever received a call with a 956 area code? Or maybe you’re planning a trip to southern Texas and want to know the local numbers? If so, this article is for you! We’ll delve into the world of the 956 area code, exploring its history, coverage area, and interesting facts.

What is an Area Code?

An area code is the first set of digits (usually three) in a phone number that identifies a specific geographic region. It helps route calls to the appropriate location within a country that uses a numbering plan, like the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) in the United States.

Where Does the 956 Area Code Cover?

This area code is the calling code for the southern tip of Texas, encompassing the vibrant Lower and Middle Rio Grande Valley region. This region is known for its rich culture, stunning natural beauty, and bustling border towns.

Here are some of the major cities and towns served by the 956 area code:

  • Laredo
  • Brownsville
  • McAllen
  • Edinburg
  • Harlingen
  • Mission
  • Pharr
  • Rio Grande City
  • South Padre Island


County Location
Cameron Southern Tip
Hidalgo Southern Tip
Jim Hogg South-Central
La Salle South-Central
Starr Southern Tip
Webb South-Central
Willacy Southern Tip
Zapata Southern Tip


Fun Fact: This code is the sole area code serving the Rio Grande Valley region.

A Brief History of the 956 Area Code

The 956 area code is a relatively young one, coming into service on July 7, 1997. Prior to that, the entire region belonged to area code 210, which covered a much larger part of Texas.

With the population and phone usage growing in the Rio Grande Valley, the need for a dedicated area code arose. Thus, this code was created in a process called a split, carving out its own territory from the larger 210 area.

Making Calls with the 956 Area Code

If you’re calling someone with area code phone number from within the same area code region, you only need to dial the seven-digit local phone number. However, for calls originating outside this code, you must dial the complete ten-digit number, including the area code and the seven-digit local number.

For example, if you’re calling a business in McAllen, Texas, with a 956-555-1234 phone number from within the 956 area code, you would simply dial 555-1234. But if you’re calling the same number from another state, like California, you would need to dial the full ten digits: 956-555-1234.

Interesting Facts About the 956 Area Code

  • Border Culture: The Rio Grande Valley boasts a unique blend of Mexican and American influences, reflected in its food, music, and language. This vibrant cultural mix is a defining characteristic of the region served by the code.
  • Nature’s Paradise: From the pristine beaches of South Padre Island to the sprawling Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, this code covers a region rich in natural beauty.
  • Winter Texan Haven: The Rio Grande Valley enjoys warm winters, making it a popular destination for retirees from colder regions. This seasonal influx adds to the area’s diverse population.


Q: Is the 956 area code a landline or mobile code?

A: The 956 area code can be assigned to both landline phones and mobile phones registered within the region.

Q: Will I get charged extra for calling this area code number?

A: This depends on your phone plan. Long-distance charges may apply if you’re calling this code from outside your calling area. Consult your phone service provider for specific details.

Q: Can I get this area code phone number even if I don’t live in the Rio Grande Valley?

A: In some cases, yes. Virtual phone number services allow you to obtain a phone number with a specific area code, regardless of your location.


The 956 area code serves as the calling code for the vibrant Rio Grande Valley in southern Texas. It encompasses a region rich in culture, natural beauty, and history. From bustling border towns to pristine beaches, this area code connects you to a unique and dynamic part of the United States. Whether you’re planning a visit, calling a friend, or simply curious about area codes, understanding this code opens a door to this fascinating corner of Texas. So next time you see a  number, remember the warmth, culture, and natural wonders that lie within its reach.

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