HUNTER: Visit the Coastal Bend, One of the Top Tourism Destinations in Texas

I would like to spend some time discussing the different components of the tourism industry in our region, and share with you a number of unique nature-based attractions and activities found in our area.

According to a study conducted by Texas A&M Corpus Christi, nature tourism is one of the fastest-growing market segments in tourism activities in our area. In fact, it accounts for around 47% of all visitor trips.

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.

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 and Mustang 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 70 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.

Just last month, the Amos Rehabilitation Keep (ARK) released about 15 sea turtles into the ocean along the beaches of Port Aransas. 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.

The Coastal Bend is also home to a number of 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 as one of the premier destinations for birdwatching in the country.

Both Corpus Christi and Port Aransas are part of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department’s Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail, 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 the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail. To learn more about ARK, visit the Amos Rehabilitation Keep.

If you have questions regarding any of the information mentioned in this article, please do not hesitate to call my Capitol or District Office. (Capitol Office, 512-463-0672; District Office, 361-949-4603). And 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.

Texas State Representative Todd Hunter represents Texas House District 32, covering Aransas, Calhoun, Nueces (Part) and San Patricio Counties. He can be contacted at todd.hunter@house.texas.gov

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Source: Texas Politics

HUNTER: Visit the Coastal Bend, One of the Top Tourism Destinations in Texas

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