The Coastal Bend is one of the top tourism destinations in the State of Texas. This is in great part due to our region’s many historical, cultural and coastal attractions. I would like to spend some time discussing the different components of the tourism industry in our region. The coastline and beaches of Texas are important to our great state as these areas are home to wildlife unique to the region. Texas beaches are also popular tourist destinations so preserving these natural areas is essential to our state’s wellbeing. Today, I would like to share with your information about this important type of tourism as well as several unique nature-based attractions and activities found in our area.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department defines nature tourism as tourism based on the natural attractions in the area and may include such activities as birdwatching, stargazing, camping, hiking, hunting, fishing and visiting parks or wildlife habitats. The beauty of the Coastal Bend lies in the waterscapes and beaches that line the Gulf of Mexico and Corpus Christi Bay. Spring break draws both tourists and residents flocking to the coastline to soak up the sun, but these destinations have so much more to offer than a good tan.

Fishing the bays and surf around Corpus Christi and Port Aransas is a year-round pursuit, by boat, kayak and on foot. Plus, we have acres and acres of shallow flats for wade-fishing. And many of these opportunities are free. When the heat of summer begins to fade away, little feels as good as an autumn ocean breeze along the Gulf Coast. Enjoy a change of pace with a visit to Hazel Bazemore Park, where more than one million hawks migrate over Corpus Christi each fall.

On the southern coast, Corpus Christi and Port Aransas have several beach locations to visit. These include the Padre Island National Seashore, Mustang Island State Park, J.P. Luby Surf Park/North Packery Beach, Whitecap Beach, Padre Balli Park/Bob Hall Pier, I.B. McGee Beach Park/Horace Caldwell Pier, North Beach, South Packery Channel Beach, and San Jose Island. Each of these locations offer outstanding views and recreational activities. Some of these include fishing, hiking trails, RV access/camping, swimming, windsurfing/kiteboarding, kayaking/canoeing, and birding/wildlife viewing sights. Links to each of these beaches can be found at Beaches of Corpus Christi, Beaches of North Padre and Mustang Island, and The Island Life of Port Aransas & Mustang Island.

Other great sources for coastal and tourism information is the United Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce and the Port Aransas Chamber of Commerce.

If you have questions regarding any of the information mentioned in this week’s article, please do not hesitate to call my Capitol or District Office. Please always feel free to contact my office if you have any questions or issues regarding a Texas state agency, or if you would like to contact my office regarding constituent services. As always, my offices are available at any time to assist with questions, concerns or comments (Capitol Office, 512-463-0672; District Office, 361-949-4603).

– State Representative Todd Hunter, District 32

Rep. Hunter represents Nueces County (Part). He can be contacted at todd.hunter@house.texas.gov or at 512-463-0672