If asked to think of the best destination for eco friendly tourism, the Lone Star State probably wouldn’t be the first place to spring to mind. Texas is the home of America’s oil industry, and what’s more, across the whole of the United States, few Americans love their gas-guzzling trucks quite as much as Texans.
All this is true, but like the rest of the USA and the world, change is afoot in Texas. Away from the noise and fumes of I-69 and the refineries of Port Arthur and Texas City, there are some fabulous opportunities to get down with nature and to witness some impressive green initiatives, sometimes in the most unlikely places.
Texas Pineywoods Experience
Known locally as the Cradle of Texas, Pineywoods is an area of breathtaking natural beauty in Angelina County not far from the Louisiana state line. The Conservation Fund has ploughed significant investment into preserving this unique area, and the Pineywoods Experience provides an opportunity for lovers of nature and history to learn about the heritage of East Texas and to support this important initiative.
As well as historic sites such as battlefields and a rebuilt fort, there is the natural beauty of the Big Thicket National Preserve and the Naches River. You’ll also find plenty of fun, educational and interactive things to do for visitors of all ages.
WinStar World Casino
We told you there was a surprise or two to come. You wouldn’t expect to find the words Texas, casino and eco-friendly in the same sentence – especially when we are talking about the opportunity to see the largest casino in the world. OK, so strictly speaking WinStar is in Oklahoma, but it is literally a few steps from the Texas border, so we can include it in our Texas adventure. Casinos are not famous for their green credentials, with their trademark neon lights and acres of electronic equipment. But WinStar is a little different.
Owned and operated by the Chickasaw Nation, WinStar is a casino resort with sustainability at its heart. The Chickasaw Nation has a well-publicized mission to “improve the lives of Chickasaw people by conserving natural resources for future generations.” There are a number of ongoing energy conservation projects. For example, the casino recently reduced energy consumption by 30 percent by upgrading the lighting across the entire facility. If you love casino gaming but are turned off by the excesses of Las Vegas or Atlantic city, here’s the perfect place to lay down some guilt free wagers on your favorite casino games.
Canyon of the Eagles
This nature park and resort is nestled at the north eastern shore of Buchanan Lake. American bald eagles nest in the area every year, and there are numerous other opportunities to see and learn about Texan indigenous wildlife in its natural surroundings.
With nature trails, guided excursions canyon cruises and even an observatory, you won’t run out of things to do. There’s also ample opportunity for luxury and pampering courtesy of the health spa and the critically acclaimed Overlook restaurant.