Discover the Landscape, Activities and Culture of SE Texas
Given that it holds title as America’s second-largest state both in terms of land area and population, it’s no surprise Texas has an extremely diverse landscape. There are the rugged high plains of the Panhandle; the western deserts and mountains; and the rolling forests, lakes, rivers and caves of Central Texas Hill Country. And that’s just a sample.
Here in Lumberton in Hardin County – the place United Country Real Estate | JW Realty & Auction Services calls home – we’re surrounded by the lower Piney Woods of Southeast Texas. It’s a region of woodlands and prairies divided by rivers, lakes and marshes. If you love activities outdoors like fishing, hunting, hiking or riding horseback you’ll likely enjoy this part of Texas.
Much of Southeast and Deep East Texas has a small-town feel, with cities and communities offering their own unique and charming takes on area history and culture. Lumberton for example, is a laid-back, but close-knit place where you can rely on your neighbors for help. It has great schools and of course, all that natural beauty we mentioned. But let’s dig a little deeper into why so many people choose to live in the area.
Outdoor Recreation in Southeast Texas: Parks, Preserves and Waters
The opportunities for a variety of outdoor recreation in Southeast Texas are plentiful. It’s a region where state parks, wildlife preserves and wetlands abound. And the dozens of lakes, streams and rivers here allow for ample adventures on the water.
Village Creek State Park in the Piney Woods of Lumberton contains more than 1,000 acres of forest, trails and cypress swamps. You can camp here, picnic, paddle the waters and more … but watch for alligators! Martin Dies, Jr. State Park in Jasper is popular for swimming, birding and biking. Then there’s The Big Thicket National Preserve, an area of 15 different sections north of Beaumont comprised of dense woods where many habitats converge. Hunters like the preserve for its white-tail deer, feral hogs and waterfowl.
Hardcore anglers will most certainly want to head to a few different spots in Southeast Texas. The 90,000-acre Sabine Lake formed by the meeting of the Neches and Sabine Rivers is actually a salt water estuary near Beaumont. Speckled trout, amberjack, shark and other species thrive here. Sam Rayburn Reservoir (A.K.A. Lake Sam Rayburn) along the Angelina National Forest is Texas’ largest lake and one of the nation’s best for salt water fishing. Try Keith Lake (really a chain of lakes) for all the redfish in spring or fall at Port Arthur. Crabbing around Pleasure Island is a lot of fun.
Explore the Shops, History, Festivals and Sights of SE Texas
If you’re wondering where to go to explore quaint downtown shops, interesting restaurants and to learn about the culture and history of Southeast Texas, there are plenty of options. For good homestyle eats, stop by Boutte’s Cajun Market or Tia Juanita’s Fish Camp in Lumberton. Beaumont has made-from-scratch favorites at J. Wilson’s, and classic Italian fare at Frankie’s Italian Grill.
Beaumont also has cool antique stores, clothing boutiques and cafes on Calder Avenue — things you’ll also find about an hour north in Jasper. Known as “The Jewel of the Forest,” Jasper has a historic 1880s downtown area where it hosts several annual events. Speaking of events, Lumberton hosts the popular Village Creek Festival with rides, food, entertainment and more. Nearby Orange, Texas, holds an Orangetober Festival each fall that includes a tasty gumbo cookoff.
Want some historical insight into Southeast and Deep East Texas? Start in Beaumont, the “Museum Capital of Texas.” Highlights include the Babe Didrikson Zaharias Museum, devoted to a great American athlete; the Art Museum of Southeast Texas; and the Spindletop/Gladys City Boomtown Museum where you can learn about Texas’ oil industry and see replica gusher spewing water. The Ice House Museum in Silsbee is also worth a visit.
Two of the more unique attractions in the region are the Shangri La Botanical Gardens & Nature Center and Gator Country Adventure Park. The former sight is a 250-acre wonderland of flowers and nature, while the gator park houses hundreds of alligators, crocodiles and other reptiles … and you can interact with them. There’s a whole lot more we don’t have space to cover on this page, including music and performing arts venues and other things to do. So come discover for yourself, and welcome to Southeast Texas!
Sources: east-texas.com tpwd.texas.gov texasalmanac.com en.wikipedia.org nps.gov tshaonline.org tourtexas.com beaumontcvb.com