Beaumont was first put on the map for oil, but that’s not why you’d visit today. A celebrated city oozing with Southern charm thanks to a strategic position on the Texas-Louisiana border, there are dozens of historic homes, temples and synagogues, and natural wonders reflective of decades gone. It’s a shining example of the past, present, and future of the Lonestar State. Here are some of the highlights:
When you think Texas, you probably think oil and gas and the heart of the industry is right in Beaumont. Originally settled as a farming and lumber town, Beaumont was home to the largest and most important oil boom in U.S. history. Known as black gold, Spindletop was the craziest gusher the country had ever seen with oil shooting upwards of 150 feet in the air. Surprised and caught off guard, miners hoped it would produce 50 barrels a day. They ended up getting closer to 100,000 barrels a day, forever changing the country’s economy. If the industry fascinates you, you can learn more about Beaumont’s role in the oil industry at the Spindletop Gladys City Boomtown Museum where they hold weekly reenactments of the gusher. The Texas Energy Museum also explains every aspect of petroleum science from geology to chemistry.
Beaumont’s southern roots run deep and while a number of restaurants feature Cajun and Creole cuisine year-round, crawfish season (February – May) is the major town to-do. Neighboring Port Arthur is the Mardi Gras capital of Southeast Texas, hosting the area’s carnival, parade, concerts, and pageant. The night of Fat Tuesday, The Texas Restaurant Association hosts its annual Taste of the Triangle in downtown Beaumont which is always full of fun and revelry with festive bites and sips.
Since the oil boom of the early 1900s, many pioneers set roots in Beaumont before migrating west and centuries-old homes and buildings still dot the city, many listed on the National Register of Historic Places. For a contrasting look at early American wealth and lifestyles, you can tour both the McFaddin-Ward House and the Chambers House to experience families in different socio-economic classes of the time.
The Faith Trail
The early settlers brought a hodge-podge of religions with them, and many of the temples and churches still hold services today. From Christian to Jewish and even a Buddhist temple, these places of worship are as beautiful on the outside as they are spiritual inside. Pay a visit to St. Anthony Cathedral Basilica and Temple Emanuel for two of the shining examples of gorgeous architecture.
When most people think snow birding, they generally think Florida or Arizona, but quite a few actual birds set their sights on Beaumont when they flock to warmer weather. Set on two migratory flyway paths, there is access to 28 of Texas’s Coastal Birding Trails within a few miles of the city limits and a variety of feathered friends can be seen year-round thanks to the mild climate. Grab your binoculars and field notebook and head to Cattail Marsh and The Big Thicket to see what you can find.