Texas Gulf Coast a magnet for retirees

This sliver of land stretches along the Gulf of Mexico like the boot of Italy from the Louisiana border near Beaumont at the north to the furtherest Southern point south at Brownsville/Matamoros, Mexico at the southern tip. The gulf coast region has become a magnet for retirees and snowbirds, because of the beautiful beaches and ports, great attractions, boating and outstanding recreational opportunities.

In between Beaumont (pop. 114,000) and Brownville (pop. 140,000) are names you’ll recognize: Houston, Corpus Christi (pop. 277,000), South Padre Island (2,400), Galveston (pop. 57,000) and Harligen (pop. 58,000). Many prospective retirees target areas along the coast to spend their summers, joining with the college crowd and weekend vacationers to stimulate local economies.

Along with Fort Lauderdale, FL, South Pardre Island is considered a top “Spring Break” destination, but the coast as a whole cannot be button-holed. Up around Port Arthur to the north, you can feast on shrimp etoufee and Louisiana Cajun gumbo. Down south, there is a more pronounced Mexican influence. Along the way, there are sandy beaches, great saltwater fishing, incredible bird-watching and other surf, sand and sea opportunities.

With almost 2 million residents, Houston is the fourth largest U.S. city. Named after Sam Houston, general of the Texas army that won independence from Mexico, Houston has growth by leaps and bounds and become the headquarters of the worldwide oil business. The city also has professional baseball, football and basketball, Rice University and the University of Texas Health Science Center.

Along the coast, Port Arthur (pop. 58,000) is a year-around fishing destination. Average temperature varies from 55 degrees in winter to 82 in the summer. The city is also an important refinery and shipping port for the oil industry. Port Aransas (pop. 3,400) is situated on Mustang Island State Park with its 3,474 acres of sand dunes, sea oats and beach morning glory. Harligen may be the top retirement destination of the region, however, as the blend of Tex-Mex and beach cultures creates an interesting environment. Retirees find close proximity to Old Mexico, but a strong quality of life in this smaller metropolitan area. Just south of Harligen, the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission MSA (pop. 570,000) was one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the United States over the past 10 years.