Texas is a proud, lone star state where Southern hospitality and opportunities abound. Beaumont and Port Arthur Texas are known for oil, The Neches River, Cajun cuisine, and Texas style fun. Surprising to many, the two cities serve as natural gems filled with history, Zydeco music, and culture galore. Located within a 24-mile driving range along US-287, there is so much to do at Beaumont and Port Arthur; you’ll have to juggle time to make your selections.
Described as “Texas with a little something extra,” Beaumont is a booming city where the economy is strong and the city has more to offer than oil, music, shopping, and Cajun cuisine. Interstate 10 serves as a major highway for the area, but if you exit, you will discover Beaumont is the proud home to many famous country music celebrities, including George Jones, Tracy Byrd, and Mark Chesnutt. Sports enthusiasts might catch a glimpse of Duriel L. Harris of the Miami Dolphins and Dallas Cowboys fame at Rao’s Bakery. Cajun culture and cuisine is everywhere. Start your morning off by stopping by one of the five locations of Rao’s Bakery where you are certain to meet locals and celebrities enjoying a great cup of coffee, fellowship, and fresh desserts. Established in 1941, Rao’s Bakery prides itself in cakes, especially the infamous King Cake. Cakes are baked on site, and shipped internationally. My favorite delicacy was the Red Velvet Crumb Cake. In the summer Rao’s Bakery offers a Kid’s Bakery Camp. This is the perfect opportunity for children to step into the kitchen to bake cookies or decorate a cake.
Downtown Beaumont provides city sidewalks where you can enjoy a variety of activities, including the Fire Museum of Texas, located on Walnut Street, where you can see (and photograph) the world’s largest Dalmatian spotted fire hydrant. Standing 24 feet tall, the hydrant leads to the entrance of the Fire Museum of Texas. The building was formerly the Beaumont Fire Department Headquarters and it has an amazing collection of fire engines and equipment.
If arts and history are something you love, visit the Jefferson Theatre while walking around the renovated downtown district. The Jefferson Theatre is located on Fannin Street and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It opened in 1927 and for decades served as the stunning showplace for entertainment in the community. Built with Old Spanish architecture with sculptures, rich fabrics and eloquence, the setting was romantic. The theatre included a stunning Robert Morton Wonder Organ, complete with 778 pipes, built on a platform that rose from the orchestra pit to stage level. In 1972, the theater closed. Today, the restored Jefferson Theatre serves as a cultural and performing arts center, providing opportunities for artists to perform on a graceful, preserved professional stage that surpasses modern concert halls.
When Spindletop gushes 120 feet into the air, it is a sight not to be missed. Spindletop contains authentic clapboard buildings and artifacts. Located at Highway 69 at University Drive, Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum and the Texas Energy Museum enlighten everyone to the amazing world of petroleum, energy, and science, and discoveries made in the beginning of the twentieth century. Texas Energy Museum is located on Main Street, 4.7 miles from Spindletop. Beaumont is known as “The Museum Capital of Texas,” including the Art Museum of Southeast Texas, State Fire Museum of Texas, The Edison Museum, and Texas Energy Museum.
The Art Museum of Southeast Texas has an interesting exhibit of the Voodoo Man of Beaumont. Felix Fox Harris created totem pole artwork, collecting junk and sculpting it into his expressions of art. An amazing man who communicated best by ‘making something out of nothing,’ he created inspirations from life, fashioned from the ideas in his mind. His sculptures speak volumes about the creativity of self-expression. Described as a ‘visionary’ Felix Fox Harris is considered a legend in Beaumont.
If gourmet or Cajun cuisine is more your style, Texas is famous for barbeque and Beaumont has Fat Mac’s Smokehouse. Located on Calder Avenue, this award winning barbecue is slow cooked and melts in your mouth. If fine dining is more your style, Suga’s is located downtown in a historic and renovated building with fine dining ambience, culinary cuisine at its finest, atmosphere galore, and a jazz bar. Suga’s is a great place to unwind after a busy day. If dancing and mouth watering Cajun cuisine tempts your taste buds, you’ve got to shake your booty at Larry’s French Market located on Atlantic Highway.
Described as a city where ‘oil and water mix beautifully,’ Port Arthur is filled with family attractions and festivals galore. Museum of the Gulf Coast is located on Procter Street and offers something for everyone. If you are interested in learning about Zydeco music, sports, and the culture of the Gulf Coast, you might spend the entire day. A great way to get a taste of the flavors in Port Arthur is to visit Golden Triangle Veterans Memorial Park, Queen of Peace Shrine, Buu Mon Buddhist Temple, Pleasure Island, Gator Country. Port Arthur has an abundance of restaurants including Cajun, Mexican, Vietnamese, Chinese, family and home style cafeterias. Regardless what you are looking for, Beaumont and Port Arthur Texas define Cajun Texas, at its best.