As the largest city in Southeast Texas, we generally share Beaumont’s attractions and events but our territory also includes the entire Golden Triangle. A region of Southeast Texas with the cities of Beaumont, Port Arthur, and Orange as borders, each is roughly 20-miles from one another forming the shape of a triangle. Other cities included within the boundaries are Nederland, Groves, Port Neches, Vidor, Lumberton, and a handful of other small towns with less than 10,000 residents. “Golden” refers to the wealth of the area that resulted from the Spindletop oil boom in 1901 (although black-gold would be more accurate). Due to its strategic location near the state border, it can be argued the Cajun/Creole culture is more similar to that of Louisiana than Texas.
Here’s a bit about the history and attractions of each area:
Beaumont – With over 100,000 residents, Beaumont is the largest city in the Golden Triangle and a hub of commerce and community. It was where the Spindletop gusher was discovered, which would go on to become one of the largest oil fields in American history and more than triple their population in the span of just a few months. You can tour the site and catch a reenactment of life in an early 1900s boomtown. Oil is still a major industry but Beaumont is also home to Lamar University and the original Jason’s Deli. Other standout attractions include the McFaddin-Ward and the Chambers period homes, the Crockett Street entertainment district, Gator Country, Cattail Marsh natural area, and a number of free museums like AMSET (Art Museum of Southeast Texas).
Port Arthur – The area’s second-largest city, Port Arthur was originally imagined to be a waterfront resort town for railroad goers. However, the discovery of oil upended that plan, bringing an entirely different crowd to the area. Home to Motiva, the largest oil refinery in the United States along with several other major plants and players, you can’t go more than a stone’s throw without seeing some sign of petroleum. Despite the wealth of the companies that call Port Arthur Home, the area has undergone a fairly severe recession and sustained quite a bit of hurricane damage. A bit of a patchwork community today, the Museum of the Gulf Coast still celebrates famous folks hailing from the area which includes everyone from professional athletes to Janis Joplin. Where the Gulf meets the marsh, Sea Rim State Park is also one of the area’s pride and joys and one of Texas’s most unique habitats. A prime spot for birding, it’s a good reminder that despite commercialization, nature is always just around the corner.
Orange – The easternmost city in Texas, Orange is the gateway to Louisiana, once under Mexico’s control. It’s gone through several name changes from Green’s Bluff for one of the first settlers to Madison, in honor of President James Madison. They eventually settled on Orange after the area’s native orange groves. With a population of less than 20,000, their primary industries were lumber and shipbuilding more than oil, especially during the period of WWI and WWII. Small town charm, get to know the area by exploring the W. H. Stark House and the Stark Museum of Art, one of the nation's most significant collections of Western American works.