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, starting with nature‐based tourism. While Texas beaches are popular tourist destinations, nature tourism is one of the fastest- growing market segments in tourism activities in our area. 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 Coastal Bend is home to several parks and preserves that serve as a refuge for migratory birds and other wildlife. These habitats contribute to one of the best examples of nature‐based activities driving visitors to our area: bird watching. With over 215 species of birds spotted in the area, the Audubon Society has routinely named Nueces County as one of the premier destinations for bird watching in the country.  The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail is an online resource providing information about the best locations to spot birds and other wildlife. For more information about the different wildlife habitats, parks, and nature preserves in our area, visit Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail.

If you enjoy nature and birds, then be sure to visit the 31st Annual HummerBird Celebration this month. The Celebration will be held on September 19-22 in Rockport. This year the event will feature 75 vendors, more than 12 speakers, and a variety of nature inspired field trips. While the Celebration is designed for bird watchers and those who follow migration patterns, it can be educational, inspiring, and fun for all. For more information about tickets or the Celebration in general, visit HummerBird Celebration Sept 19-22.

Also, Beachtoberfest will be held between September 13- October 30. For eight weeks this festival will have different events each week, including runs, movie nights, a pumpkin patch, an art walk, and much more. However, the event will feature events like Fishing for the Fallen Veterans Benefit Tournament, which will be held from September 13-14. The Texas Super chef Throwdown Series will be held from September 18-21. Also, the Port A Music Fest, with acts that will perform at venues throughout the town, will be held October 4-5. Beachtoberfest will be a great opportunity to enjoy the music, food, and the culture of the Coastal Bend. For more information, visit Beachtoberfest.

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