5 Must Do Things in La Porte

A beach scene with a child playing and people sitting under an umbrella
Sylvan Beach offers a great drop-in to the waters of Galveston bay | Courtesy of Sylvan Beach Park

In our Must Do Things Around Greater Houston series, we take a look at Houston’s vast array of communities, neighborhoods and destinations to bring you five fun, tasty, surprising and enticing reasons you should give each one a visit.

A hidden gem located just south of where the Houston Ship Channel meets Galveston Bay, La Porte boasts plenty of small-town charm. It’s also rich in history, as it plays home to the grounds of the Battle of San Jacinto, the battle which ended the Texas Revolution in 1836 (more on that later).

In the 1920s and ‘30s, the Sylvan Beach Amusement Park was a popular tourist destination, with beauty contests and performances from the era’s well-known musicians.

Today, it maintains a sleepy, escape-from-the-city feel, despite drawing in visitors year-round.

Here are just five unique experiences in this small Bay Area town:

5 Must Do Things in La Porte

Patrons stop by the front door of a store to shop
Main Street Trade Days in La Porte | Courtesy of the market

Take a stroll along historic Main

Enjoy a day or night on the town on this quaint street, which offers a mix of eclectic, charming shops and restaurants. Get unique finds in stores like Shop Therapy and Vicki’s Antiques on Main; then hit the breakfast buffet at Main Street Cafe, pop in for fajitas and margs at El Toro, or dine on bistro steaks and crab cakes at Main 101.

And be sure to look out for fun events, including Main Street Trade Days (the first Saturday of every month) and the fun-for-all Mardi Gras on Main.

An aerial view of the Sylvan Beach fishing pier and grounds
Sylvan Beach Park offers fishing and beachside amenities with playgound facilities | Courtesy of City of La Porte

Go fishing and play in the sand at Sylvan Beach Park

The only beach in Harris County, Sylvan Beach offers refreshing breezes, picturesque views of the bay, a pristine, white sand beachfront, and a 31.4-acre park.

Hit the boat launch, bring a picnic lunch, let the kids loose on the playground and skate park, or spend a quiet, relaxing day fishing at the 1,234-foot pay-to-fish pier.

An aerial view of the top of the San Jacinto Monument with a sprawling bay below it
The San Jacinto Monument peers out over the Ship Channel | Courtesy of City of La Porte

Discover Texas history at the San Jacinto Monument & Museum

Soaring 570 feet into the air and topped with a 34-foot, 220-ton star, the San Jacinto Monument is the tallest stone column memorial structure in the world.

While it’s certainly a sight to be seen, even cooler is the history. The monument commemorates the decisive battle of the Texas Revolution, the Battle of San Jacinto. Delve deeper into more than 400 years of early Texas history at the San Jacinto Museum of History, located at the base of the monument.

Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for ages 11 and under, and offers access to the Texas Forever! Interactive Experience, Observation Floor, and other exhibits. The museum is open daily from 9am to 6pm.

A plate of fried seafood
Courtesy of Monument Inn

Enjoy a seafood feast on the waterfront at Monument Inn

In business since 1974 (reviving itself after both hurricane and fire damage), iconic waterfront restaurant Monument Inn serves about 80,000 pounds of shrimp and 25,000 pounds of catfish, crawfish, and fresh catches every year.

Start with peel-and-eat shrimp, Gulf oysters, and crawfish bisque before diving into catfish, salmon and redfish, blackened, grilled or broiled and smothered with sauces like “Orleans” crawfish etouffee and the “Monumental,” a decadent sauce of shrimp, oysters, and crawfish in a creamy beurre blanc.

For those that want a taste of everything, the Fisherman’s Platter comes packed with fried shrimp, oysters and catfish, stuffed shrimp and stuffed crab; and the hefty All-You-Can-Eat option offers cold boiled shrimp, oysters on-the-half-shell, fried catfish, shrimp, oysters, stuffed crab, french fries, dinner rolls, and cinnamon rolls. There are plenty of non-seafood options including steak, pasta, chicken, and a children’s menu as well.

A family play carnival games for prizes
Courtesy of Visit La Porte

Catch a small-town festival in downtown La Porte

Time your visit right to the coastal town of La Porte, and you’ll be able to take full advantage of the community’s frequent celebrations and concerts that take place each season, often at Five Points Town Plaza in downtown.

These events are typically free and open to the public, and include entertainment like live music, vendor markets, kids activities and more.

Some of the city’s signature community events include the zydeco-fueled Mardi Gras on Main, a holiday bazaar in Christmas on Main, and the annual Sylvan Beach Festival, which kicks off the summer season.

Find More Things to Do in Houston All Year Long

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Brooke Viggiano
Brooke Viggiano is a food and lifestyle writer residing in Houston. When she's not contributing to publications like 365 Things to Do in Houston, Thrillist Houston and the Houston Press, she's on the hunt for the coolest happenings in the city. You can follow her musings on Twitter @BrookeViggiano .