Southeast Texas

From Academic Kids

Southeast Texas is a region in the southeast corner of the U.S. state of Texas. It is geographically centered around two metropolitan areas strung along coast of the Gulf of Mexico the Houston Metropolitan Area in the west and the Beaumont-Port Arthur metropolitan area to the east near the state border with Louisiana. Houston, Sugar Land and Baytown in the Houston Metropolitan Area, the Huntsville area and Jasper are also major cities within the region. Parts of Southeast Texas overlap with Central Texas and the region borders Acadiana and the Sabine River.

Its culture is similar to that of Northeast Texas, but has more of a Cajun influence. Many of the largest cities in East Texas, outside of Houston, still follow a rural Southern way of life, especially in dialect, mannerisms, religion, and cuisine.

The South Texas State Fair is held annually in Beaumont.


Golden Triangle

The Golden Triangle is an area of extreme Southeast Texas near the Louisiana border. The "triangle" is formed by Beaumont, Port Arthur, and Orange, the largest cities in the area. The "golden" refers to the wealth that came from the Spindletop oil strike near Beaumont in 1901.

In an attempt to distance the area from the petrochemical industry, some area interests attempted to rename the Golden Triangle the "Triplex". This name change did not catch on, and area residents still refer to it as the Golden Triangle.

Residents of the Golden Triangle do not refer to the Houston Metropolitan Area as being part of Southeast Texas, and place the western boundary of the region roughly at the Trinity River.

Big Thicket

The Big Thicket is an area of dense forest located in the area just north and northwest of the city of Beaumont, Texas. Many small towns make up the area, including Woodville and Kountze.

The Big Thicket National Preserve protects part of the old thicket, highlighting the area's biological resources. The 97,000 acre (390 kmē) preserve boasts a varied ecology of southwestern desert, piney woods, swamps, and coastal prairies. It includes extremely diverse plant species including orchids, cactus, cypress, and pine in close proximity to each other. 65,000 people visit it each year.


Southeast Texas includes part of the coast of the Gulf Of Mexico, and most of the Texas portion of the Intracoastal Waterway. The area is also crossed by numerous rivers and streams, the largest being the Sabine River, the Neches River, and the Trinity River. The only large bodies of water in Southeast Texas are Galveston Bay and Sabine Lake, but the large reservoirs of East Texas are just to the north.

Near the coast, the land is low and extremely flat, and often marshy. The Piney Woods extend into the northern parts of Southeast Texas, reaching as far south as the rice paddies and marshlands that lie between Houston and Beaumont. The highest point on the coast is at High Island, where a salt dome raises the elevation to around 40 feet (12 meters).

Away from the coast, the terrain begins exhibiting the rolling hills of East and Central Texas. Toward Central Texas, the mixed pine and hardwood forests give way to forests of post oak and grasslands.


Compared to the rest of the state, Southeast Texas' climate is warmer in the winter, and cooler in the summer. On average, the region is the wettest part of the state. The relatively mild and wet climate is largely due to the influence of the Gulf of Mexico. Average annual rainfall in the Golden Triangle is 60 inches (1500 mm). Rainfall totals in other parts of Southeast Texas are lower, but still in excess of 40 inches (1000 mm) per year. During Tropical Storm Claudette in 1979, the city of Alvin recorded an official 24-hour rainfall total of 40 inches (1020 mm), the highest one-day rainfall total ever measured in the United States.

Houston has been called the "Lightning Capital of Texas", as it has a higher density of lightning strikes than the rest of the state. This area of unusually high lightning activity stretches from Houston eastward into Southwest Louisiana. Much of this can be explained by the natural occurrence of thunderstorms in the region, which form almost daily during the summer months. However, the unusual clustering of lightning around the developed areas of Houston, the Golden Triangle, and Lake Charles, Louisiana have led many researchers to believe that some combination of urban heat islands and air pollution are responsible for increasing the number of lightning strikes beyond their already high natural levels.

The region is vulnerable to hurricanes, but has not been struck by a major hurricane since Hurricane Alicia passed over Houston in 1983. Weaker storms strike the area routinely, and some, like Tropical Storm Allison and Tropical Storm Claudette, have caused considerable damage.

Flag of Texas
Regions: Arklatex | Big Bend | Central Texas | Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex | East Texas | Edwards Plateau | Houston Metropolitan Area | North Texas | Northeast Texas | Piney Woods | Rio Grande Valley | Texas Hill Country | Texas Panhandle | Llano Estacado | Southeast Texas | South Texas | West Texas
Metropolitan Areas: Abilene | Amarillo | Austin-Round Rock | Beaumont-Port Arthur | Brownsville-Harlingen | College Station-Bryan | Corpus Christi | Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington | El Paso | Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown | Killeen-Temple | Laredo | Longview-Marshall | Lubbock | McAllen-Edinburg-Mission | Midland | Odessa | San Angelo | San Antonio | Sherman-Denison | Texarkana | Tyler | Victoria | Waco | Wichita Falls
See also: List of Texas counties


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