Port Lavaca is located near the center of the 275-mile Gulf Coast region between Galveston and Corpus Christi, just south of Victoria, Texas. Port Lavaca and Calhoun County are surrounded by Lavaca and Matagorda Bay on the east, San Antonio Bay on the west, and Espiritu Santo Bay in the South; a total area of 912 miles (583,680 acres) and an impressive 246,720 acres of water. Calhoun County is a migratory flyway for 400 species of birds including the endangered whooping crane. For seven consecutive years, more bird species have been recorded in Calhoun County than in any other county in the nation during the North American Migration Count.
Port Lavaca is on the same subtropical latitude as Tampa Bay and Orlando, Fla. The Texas Gulf climate is slightly less humid than Florida’s. Spring and fall temperatures are ideal. Summer temperatures are usually in the 90s with sunny skies that encourage hikers to venture out early in the morning or late afternoon. Winters are generally mild, ranging from the 30s to 70s. It’s not unusual for the temperature to change quickly from 30 or 40 degrees one day to 70 or 80 the next! Hiking and boating are generally year-round activities. Most of The Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail is open and accessible year-round.
Texas is the only state in the nation that has an Open Beaches Act, allowing photographers free and unrestricted access to beaches. Coastal residents and tourists seek out beaches, bays, rivers, parks and wildlife refuges for fishing, swimming, camping, wildlife viewing, etc. We recommend taking all of your photo gear with you because of the diversity of things to see and photograph. We use a Canon EF 24-70mm ƒ/2.8L wide-angle telephoto zoom with a circular polarizer on a sturdy tripod for landscapes. Our Canon EF 70-200mm ƒ/2.8L IS zoom telephoto with a 2x teleconverter is great for catching wildlife. Sunrise, sunset, clouds or fog over the bay waters turn spectacular colors, especially with thunderstorms, which also bring out the local fauna. Subtropical weather ensures an abundance of insects, butterflies and flowers for macro shots. Be sure to have ample memory cards and spare batteries as you can easily find interesting subjects all day long. On windy days it’s a must to carry sandbags to weigh down your tripod.
During the winter, the endangered whooping crane and the peregrine falcon call the Aransas Wildlife Refuge (70,504 acres) their winter nesting ground. Spring is wonderful with all the tropical plants and flowers blooming. Roaming thunderstorms or morning and evening light enhance all the colors of the bay waters and skies. During the summer, you can fish, swim and boat while looking for photo ops. Keep your distance from some of the aggressive animals like alligators, wild hogs and male deer, though. And be sure to bring a wide-brimmed hat, sunscreen and insect repellant!
Contact: Port Lavaca/Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce, (800) 556-7678 or (361) 552-2959, www.portlavaca.org.
Lightweight and lightning-fast adjustments are essential features for field-ready tripods. One of Manfrotto’s newest carbon-fiber models, the 190CXPRO4, features Manfrotto’s Q90º Quick Center Column System that lets you rotate the center column from vertical to horizontal in one smooth motion. Estimated Street Price: $325. Contact: Manfrotto (Bogen Imaging), www.bogenimaging.us.