There’s no question that Southeast Texas is more than a little weird. Everything is intentionally larger than it needs to be, we love complaining about the humidity as much as the hurricanes, and driving an hour to a gas station (Buc-ee’s) is often the highlight of a week. High school football games are like playoff games to the rest of the country, our cuisine should be its own food group, and we take great pride in telling anyone that’ll listen that Jason’s Deli was born in Beaumont. But there’s more than a few other local oddities, too. Because to know us is to love it and if we can’t laugh at ourselves, what are we doing?
Some cities have 5ks. Some have street fairs. We do both too, but we also have year-round zombie scavenger hunts. A unique group attraction, you’ll scour the town for relics to help you survive the undead at the time of an apocalypse. Totally typical Saturday afternoon.
Good Old-fashioned Catholic Guilt
Religion is generally a topic that’s off-limits to joke about, especially since we actively promote our Faith Trail (and have one of the most gorgeous churches in the South -- St. Anthony Cathedral Basilica – check it out). But one place you probably wouldn’t expect to find biblical principles is at your hotel. And yet, right outside the MCM Elegante is a life-sized tablet of the 10 commandments. Just in case you were thinking about committing adultery, you need to know it’s not that kind of establishment.
Mudbugs. Enough Said.
We go fanatical for crawfish season. Those delicious little head-sucking bottom feeders with bodies filled with poop. It’s savage if you think about it. Beyond that, we order them by the pound (again, everything’s bigger down here) and cook them a gazillion different ways. Rodair Roadhouse even went as far as to create a crawfish and goat cheese pie for dessert that tasted as good as you imagine.
Texas is unbearably hot in the summer so it’s nice to have a variety of sweet treats around to cool off. At first glance, Quenchies is just your typical shaved ice stand with an excessive variety of flavors. Boasting everything from King Cake to Marshmallow, they even have dill pickle syrup, but the weirder menu option is the Eskimo Pickle. A pickle with a straw through it surrounded by ice in a cup, it truly takes the phrase, “cool as a cucumber” to a whole other level.
Everything About Gator Country
While most people run the other direction when they see a gator, in Beaumont, they’re our spirit animal. Visitors pay to swim with them, hold them, and watch two goofy grown men train them like pets. Home to two of the largest alligators in Texas, Big Tex and Big Al each weigh over 1,000 pounds making it all the harder not to gawk at their sweet puppy dog demeanor.
A Giant Muffler Man Guards a Muffler Store
Called a “happy half-wit,” this larger-than-life sculpture is one of a few around the country based on that famous MAD TV character from your childhood. While this version has a muffler in hand, most are seen carrying items such as axes, hot dogs or baseball bats because mufflers would make too much sense.
We’re Proud of a Giant Fire Hydrant
In 1999, Walt Disney donated a giant fire hydrant to the City of Beaumont for the re-release of the animated movie “101 Dalmatians.” Ten years later, our giant spotted fire hydrant is still one of the area’s most prominent roadside attractions, even though it’s no longer the world’s largest and the movie came out a decade ago. But that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t stand proudly guarding the Fire Museum of Texas because it makes us unique, damnit.