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. With the summer travel season well underway, I would like to spend some time discussing the different components of the tourism industry in our region. Today, I want to share with you 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 which may include activities such as birdwatching, stargazing, camping, hiking, hunting, fishing, and visiting parks or wildlife habitats. As a coastal community, our area is home to a number of beaches, bays, and estuaries that are popular destinations for visitors to our area, including the Padre Island National Seashore, Mustang Island State Park, and Goose Island State Park. According to the National Park Service, the Padre Island National Seashore is the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier in the world and contains seventy miles of protected coastline, dunes, prairies, and wind tidal flats. The park’s diverse ecosystem makes it a haven for different marine and wildlife, including the Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle, which is an endangered species. The Amos Rehabilitation Keep, also known as ARK, is a program at the University of Texas-Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas that works to help care for and rehabilitate our wildlife to ensure the successful release of as many animals as possible. Meanwhile, Mustang Island State Park offers access to five miles of coastline along the Gulf of Mexico where visitors of all ages participate in activities such as swimming, kayaking, camping, and fishing. Additionally, Goose Island State Park in Rockport-Fulton provides camping, fishing, hiking, geocaching, boating, along with observing and taking photos of wildlife.
The Coastal Bend is also 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: birdwatching. With over 215 species of birds spotted in the area, the Audubon Society has routinely named Nueces County and Aransas County as premier destinations for birdwatching in the country. Corpus Christi, Port Aransas, and Rockport-Fulton are part of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail, an online resource providing information about the best locations to spot birds and other wildlife.
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 Aransas County and Nueces County (Part). He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 512-463-0672.