In our series of Must Do Things Around Greater Houston, we take a look at Houston’s vast array of communities and neighborhoods to bring you five fun, tasty, and enticing reasons you should give each a visit. Originally published in 2016, we are now refreshing, updating, and adding to this series, including new neighborhoods and destinations.
About 85 miles east of Houston on the Neches River, you’ll find the city of Beaumont, an 1835 pioneer settlement turned Spindletop town that has developed into one of the major industrial players along the Texas Gulf Coast.
But there’s way more to the area than that, as the storied city on the border of Louisiana and Texas offers a mosaic of arts and culture, natural beauty and biodiversity, and real deal Cajun and Creole food.
We’ve whittled it down to 5 must do things around Beaumont, but you can click here for even more ways to explore the area.
5 Must Do Things Around Beaumont
- Take a hike, paddle the Neches River and see natural beauty – Head to the expansive Tyrrell Park, where you’ll find the 900-acre Cattail Marsh Scenic Wetlands, perfect for hiking, biking, and wildlife watching; the Beaumont Botanical Gardens, offering 23 acres of picturesque gardens and native plants; and fun outdoorsy amenities like horse stables and an archery range. You can also get out on the Neches River, aka “the last wild river in East Texas,” which flows through the massive Big Thicket National Preserve and into downtown Beaumont. The river can be accessed via Collier’s Ferry Park and Riverfront Park, and river boat tours and canoe/kayak rentals are available.
- Hold a baby gator at Gator Country – The largest alligator adventure park and sanctuary in Southeast Texas, Gator Country houses over 450 American alligators, crocodiles, and reptiles, plus a variety of mammals received through rescues, donations, other institutions or abandonment (over 90% of its inhabitants have been rescued, surrendered, or given up). Two of its most famous residents are Big Tex, the largest alligator ever caught alive now measuring 13-feet, 11-inches, and the Legendary Big AL, who is 88 years old and 13-feet, four-inches. Visit to interact with the glorious creatures, take a swamp tour, and to hold a baby gator, of course.
- Fill up on real deal Cajun and Creole food and more – Beaumont’s proximity to Louisiana means it boasts a deep affection for crawfish, Cajun, and Creole food. At Suga’s Deep South Cuisine & Jazz Bar, you can get broiled oysters, blackened catfish, and French martinis with a side of live jazz. Floyd’s Cajun Seafood & Steak House is another local favorite, with seasonal crawfish boils and Cajun eats from classic boudin and seafood gumbo to shrimp and crawfish etouffee. Crazy Cajun rocks voodoo shrimp, duck po’ boys, and specialties from bbq crab to its house Crazy Cajun pistolettes, stuffed with boudin, fried, and smothered in etouffee. Want Cajun with a twist? Check out Mexican Cajun haunt, Tia Juanita’s Fish Camp, where you’ll find Mex-Cajun mashups like blackened seafood nachos, charro beans & rice, and grilled boudin quesadillas.
- Get a taste of history, arts and culture – Art enthusiasts can pop into galleries and museums like the Art Museum of Southeast Texas, Beaumont Art League, and Dishman Art Museum at Lamar University; local performing arts companies to check out include the Beaumont Community Players, Beaumont Ballet Theatre, and Symphony of Southeast Texas; and those looking for an Instagram-worthy shot can snap a selfie in front of the murals in the alley at Montgomery Street and Port Neches Avenue or over on Fannin Street. History buffs can delve into the city’s storied past by touring its grand mansions and historic homes, or heading to the Texas Energy Museum and Spindletop Gladys City/Boomtown Museum to discover more about its rich oil heritage.
- Sip suds and check out the local craft brewery scene – Embark on a local beer crawl, starting with crisp Beaumont Bocks at spacious taproom and beer garden Pour Brothers Brewery in downtown, then popping into the nearby Struggle Street Brewery, which rocks juicy suds, frozen drinks, hazy IPAs, ample patio space, and food trucks on weekends. A little ways down the river in downtown Port Neches, Buckstin Brewing Company (a great spot for pizza and beer) and Neches Brewing Company (featuring a 70+ beer lineup including its own brews) are two more you’ll want to hit.
Social Distancing & COVID-19
As we enter into the vaccination phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, medical experts still advise that we have a way to go before we achieve herd immunity and can safely resume pre-pandemic activities. In the meantime, you can remain vigilant in protecting yourself against the coronavirus by continuing to wear face masks when in public spaces, practice social distancing of at least six feet, limit your touching of surfaces, and frequently use hand sanitizer or soap and water to keep your hands clean.
While the Governor of Texas has lifted mandatory mask orders and capacity limits, most businesses are still requiring face masks to enter and enforcing reduced capacity. Familiarize with your destination’s policies ahead of time and please respect their public safety precautions.
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