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Land and Sea

Southeast Texas offers a rich mix of plants, animals and coastline.


With marshes, beaches, prairies and pine forests, Southeast Texas provides countless natural excursions. While the region contains some of the most urbanized parts of the state, it also claims some of the most biodiverse. Here are six things to do in Southeast Texas.

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 Timi Fitzharris

Lance Rosier Unit, Big Thicket

If you’re feeling especially adventurous, venture deep into the heart of the Big Thicket National Preserve in the Lance Rosier Unit, the largest, wildest area of the preserve. There are no trails, just unpaved roads and plenty of Southeast Texas backcountry available to hunt, hike and camp. Make sure you bring a GPS! Highlights include the Teel Cemetery and the Bridge to Nowhere.

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 TPWD

Sea Center Texas

It’s an aquarium, a fish hatchery and an education center. Sea Center Texas in Lake Jackson gives visitors a chance to see the world’s largest redfish hatchery and get hands-on experience with marine life through touch tanks in the visitor center. Aquariums showcase the incredible variety of marine life. A wetlands boardwalk and youth fishing pond invite outdoor exploration.

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 Will Van Overbeek | TxDOT

Galveston Historic Seaport

See one of the oldest ships sailing today at the Galveston Historic Seaport. A three-masted barque with a long and storied history, the tall ship Elissa was launched in 1877 and sailed the world’s oceans before finding a home in Galveston, where visitors can relive her adventures on the high seas. In addition, the seaport’s “Ship to Shore” exhibit explores Galveston’s 19th century European immigrant experience.

National Wildlife Refuges at the Tip of Texas

Visit one of the corners of Texas with a trip to the southeasternmost tip: Texas Point National Wildlife Refuge. Texas Point and the adjacent McFaddin National Wildlife Reserve make up more than 67,000 acres of wildlife habitat, including marsh, prairie and tidal flats. Visitors can experience protected Gulf landscapes by hunting, fishing, crabbing, birding and hiking.

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 Sonja Sommerfeld | TPWD

Lone Star Hiking Trail

At 96 miles long (plus 32 miles of side trails), the Lone Star Hiking Trail is the longest footpath in Texas. The trail wanders through parts of the Big Thicket and Sam Houston National Forest as well as some private property. You can “through-hike” the whole thing, or if that’s too much to tackle, 15 trailheads allow you to sample portions of this piney woods adventure.

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 Courtesy ABNC

Armand Bayou Nature Center

Just north of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Armand Bayou Nature Center shows that city life and wildlife don’t have to be mutually exclusive. As one of the largest urban wilderness preserves in the U.S., it protects prairie, forest and marsh. You’ll find avian life aplenty. If birds aren’t your thing, take a nighttime firefly hike or sit back and cruise on a pontoon tour boat.



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