If your favorite color is bright green then you are going to enjoy this post. Disclaimer: You may have to shield your eyes from all the bright green colors of nature 💚🌳✅🐸
While I was still living in the pine filled region of southeast Texas I discovered a hidden gem that not many people know about. The Roy E. Larsen Sandyland Sanctuary is right on a Texas highway in the small town of Kountze, but it’s easy to miss the entrance. I remember driving along the highway, thinking I had the wrong address because I was totally not seeing an entrance to any kind of park or sanctuary. Finally, I noticed a small wooden sign that blended in perfectly with the tree trunks surrounding it. Found it!
With over 5500 acres and multiple trails to explore, the Roy E. Larsen Sandyland Sanctuary is a quiet retreat for nature lovers who want to hike, bike, photograph, or simply enjoy the great outdoors. Here’s some of my fav photos from one of my visits there 📷
I love Spanish moss! And there’s plenty of it to greet you upon first entering the park. There’s a little self sign-in station with maps and brochures, plus a covered area with picnic tables and grand old trees to provide shade.
The interesting thing about this sanctuary is that it’s a unique and rare combination of pinelands, open-floor forest, and swamp. I ended up visiting just a couple of days after some intense rainfall, so the swamp was a little more…swampy than usual, and part of the trail was underwater. Did that stop me? Of course not. I managed my way through the swamp, camera and all.
Being in the pinelands, there were obviously lots of unique pine cones to be found! There weren’t too many flowers, but the ones I spotted were quite beautiful. Lots of mushrooms thanks to the rain and humidity, and animal tracks 🐾
You definitely notice a difference in biodiversity when the floor switches from sand to pine needles to dirt. There’s lots of birds chirping and bugs crawling. And since it’s off a slow highway, you don’t hear a lot of cars whizzing past, especially the deeper into the forest you go.
I didn’t come across another person while I was on the main part of the trails. However, I was chased by a very persistent bumblebee on my way back to the car, which was slightly terrifying 🐝
After slopping through swamps and maybe, definitely slipping and falling on my backside at least once, my Converses made it through the ordeal in much better condition than I expected.
I realize Kountze, Texas may not be on most people’s list of Places to Visit, but if you live in southeast Texas or ever find yourself in the area, check out Roy E. Larsen Sandyland Sanctuary. It’s beautiful and diverse and peaceful. And green 🌲