We Texans are so fortunate that it is hard for me to understand sometimes how anyone could consider living anywhere else. I was born and raised about a hundred miles up the coast, been around a long time, and still find new fascinating facts and places almost daily.
For the outdoors-oriented person we have something for almost everyone except those that necessitate snow, and as I do not consider temperatures below freezing to be acceptable I have an extreme bias against sports that require frozen water.
It is impossible to cover all of the sporting activities or locations we have available to us, so I would like to concentrate on a couple areas in our state that do not get a lot of trumpeting as do some of the artificial man-made creations like water parks.
We all know about south Padre Island and the nearby coast at Galveston and most of us know about the attractions of the major urban areas, but the two locations I have in mind are unique and both exemplify the epitome of Texas hospitality. One is 90 miles east of Houston and the other about 90 miles west of San Antonio. They are the areas of Beaumont and Uvalde, Texas.
On the eastern side of the state, the Beaumont area has a restored historic downtown for the nostalgic shopper and museum aficionados, two miles away is the great Spindletop Oil Well Museum. More nearby activities are freshwater fishing as well as saltwater fishing in nearby Port Arthur, and boating or whatever other aquatic sports takes your fancy. I once took a nine-mile canoe trip down Village Creek through one of the most beautiful wilderness areas in the state and it is located just north of Beaumont.
There is the coastal marsh that runs from Port Arthur down the coat and down to the Bolivar peninsula. The McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge has everything a coastal marsh could offer including alligators, many varieties of birds, and all sort of wildlife. There is freshwater fishing with large and small mouth bass, crappie and bream as well as garfish that are not unusually seen to a length of four or five feet as they are there.
If one should tire of freshwater activities you can hit Sabine Lake or the Gulf and fish for redfish, speckle trout, or any other saltwater variety normally found in shallow salt water.
In the winter time, morning doves abound in that area. Duck hunting and goose hunting in this area is as good as it gets anywhere in the state and it seldom gets cold enough to hinder the angler. Being raised in that area I have often gone fishing in the morning and dove hunting or duck hunting in the afternoon or vice versa.
The food available in the local restaurants ranges from Cajun, Mexican, Seafood, or good old steak and potatoes. The point is they have more good eating in that town than the law should allow, especially for people like me that have a problem pushing away from the table.
Now let’s go the other direction out to Frio County and the Uvalde area.
Like the people in Beaumont and the Golden Triangle our western neighbors are some of the best people in the world. You will meet many folks you have not met before, but you will never meet a stranger.
They have in the summer the most beautiful west Texas scenery man can lay and eye on. There is fishing in the rivers and creeks as well as the water sports in the famous Frio River.
Downtown Uvalde is enjoyable and the square is unforgettable. There are some of the best hunting and fishing offered at the many game ranches in the area as can be found in the state. The nearby Covered Gate Ranch is one of the finest facilities in the area and has everything for the outdoor sportsman at any time of year.
All year around white-tailed deer and turkey are everywhere just waiting to be photographed, observed, or just admired. If you are a meat hunter or trophy hunter this is the area that can fill the bill for you deer. There are also exotics on many of the game ranches. Feral hogs are available to hunt whenever you get the urge and the quail hunter and dove hunter will get all of the action they can handle and the list continues on.
So as you consider where you would like to go for fishing, hunting, or just good old pack up the family and see the sights I can strongly recommend both of these areas. I have hunted, fished, canoed, ridden in airboats, seen beautiful wild birds, and animals, and eaten too much in both areas and go back anytime I can.
Do not get in a rut by packing up and heading for the nearest lake this summer to water-ski with the thousands of other boaters that you see every weekend. Take a look at the map and you will find it is not really that far to one or both of these two locations and you can get a new challenge for your angling skills and a different insight into the beauty of our great state.