Beaumont, Texas, is a city best known for the big oil boom in the early 1900s. It is around 80 miles from Houston on the eastern side of the state. Beaumont shares the Gulf Coast with Louisiana and has a flavor much the same as the low country does.
My daughter, Taylor, and I visited Beaumont and were exceptionally pleased with the level of attractions and great food we found there. From shopping to ecotourism, Cajun cuisine to world-class birding, let us share our weekend guide for visiting Beaumont.
Day One: Food and Attractions
Visit Rao’s Bakery for breakfast, a long-running institution for Beaumont’s foodies and coffee lovers. Try the delicious selection of gourmet muffins (super moist and flavorful!), donuts, cinnamon rolls, or pastries and your favorite java, tea, juice, or soda to go with it. If you are more for traditional breakfast items, they have wraps, croissant sandwiches, and paninis. You may also want to take a few iced sugar cookie cutouts with you to enjoy later.
Eating at Tia Juanita’s Fish Camp is a must! After sinking my teeth into the tasty Mexican, Cajun, and seafood cuisine, it is no wonder that this is the eclectic restaurant is continuously ranked as TripAdvisor’s #1 choice for dining in Beaumont.
Tia Juanita’s has live music on the porch and outdoor dining, as well. They certainly have a way with nachos, so if you are craving them, be prepared to have some of the best. The Spicy Beef Nachos were drenched in ground beef, refried beans, queso, melted cheddar-jack cheese, and jalapeños. However, Taylor’s Creamy Shrimp and Crab Bread Bowl was covered in a velvety, luscious pepper-jack cream sauce with plenty of blackened lump crab. Oh, heavenly day, it was spectacular!
Floyd’s Cajun Seafood & Texas Steakhouse is another tasty option and was our favorite meal in Beaumont. Try the palate-pleasing Gulf Coast-style cajun/creole specialties such as Fried Alligator and Red Beans & Rice.
Make sure to order Floyd’s Bar Trash appetizer. This tasty plate of blackened shrimp and lump crab meat is served with garlic toast and lemon butter and is so addicting! Floyd’s sweet tea is on point, too.
Neches River Adventures
Start your day with the Neches River Adventure Tour, a relaxing open-air boat ride along the Big Thicket National Preserve. Be on the lookout for gators, world-class birds, and beautiful nature as you cruise through this unique ecosystem adorned with hardwoods and pine trees.
The boat, perfectly comfortable and spacious, leaves from Collier Ferry and is well worth the drive and ticket price. Seasoned guides were filled with information about the area and can sight a good bird from miles away! They kept the entertainment level strong throughout our journey.
You may bring your own drinks and snacks with you for the boat ride. Keep in mind, the water conditions and temperature control what you will see during your adventure.
Are you traveling with children? You may want to participate in the Beaumont Birdies Official Passport program offered by the Beaumont Convention and Visitors Bureau. Beaumont is a hot birding location, offering 28 birding trails and opportunities for spotting rare bird species.
Collect stamps for your passport by visiting the locations mentioned in the guide. Once you collect eight stamps, redeem your passport for an adorable Beaumont Birdie plush toy.
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McFaddin Ward House
One of the best historic home tours we’ve ever been on was to visit the McFaddin Ward House. The circa 1906 home is beautiful and one of 12 Beaumont homes built in the same era of the same style. McFaddin Ward House opened to the public in 1992.
The house is in mint condition and filled with original furniture and decor. Included with your ticket is a chance to visit the Carriage House. Here, you will learn about the connections with those who lived there (Louis Lemon and Cecelia Smith) and the part they played in the McFaddin’s lives. The many china collections are fascinating!
If adventure is more your speed, consider trading out the river or home tour with a mind-blowing visit to Gator Country. This is an attraction you have to see to believe! Walk through the grounds of this intriguing animal sanctuary property that is filled with gators of all shapes and sizes, reptiles, and a few other animals. Don’t miss the animal encounters and feedings!
When the owner Arlie Hammonds (pictured here) and Gary Saurge of TV fame, and one of his helpers entered the river to hand-feed Big Al, the celebrity gator, I held my breath the entire time. Big Al is an 84-year-old gator that weighs more than 1,000 pounds. This attraction is not for the faint of heart.
Day Two: Food and Attractions
If you aren’t from Texas, you may not be familiar with Kolaches. These delicious Czech pastries are amazeballs…like music to your mouth! My favorite place for them is the Kolache Factory, a counter-serve place serving the best in the whole state of Texas.
The Kolaches are made fresh each morning and sell out quickly; if you want a more extensive selection, arrive early. My favorite savory choices are the Jalapeño Popper, Sausage & Gravy, and Cream Spinach. For sweet kolaches, try the Cherry, Chocolate Cream Cheese, or Peach. Yum!
Head to Daddio’s Burger for gourmet burgers, chicken sandwiches, and exceptional side items. The restaurant is small, but the tables turn pretty quickly. If weather permits, enjoy the roomy patio. Pair your delicious burger with a creamy, thick milkshake or malt and hand-cut fries.
I can vouch for how tasty the juicy Avocado/Swiss burger and Parmesan Truffle Fries are. Tremendous! Other great choices are the Diablo (jalapeños and a jalapeño cheese bun), Groovy Green Chile (chilies, devil sauce, pepper jack cheese), and the Chili Burger (homemade chili, purple onions, cheddar).
Another really tasty lunch (or dinner) spot is Bruno’s Italian Kitchen. Sophisticated, but not stuffy, this restaurant has excellent, reasonably priced Italian food. The complimentary bread is highly recommended, and the Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo is a must-order.
The Spindletop Gladys City Boomtown, a living history museum of sorts, is great fun for all ages and dedicated to preserving the history of the famous gusher era in Beaumont. Learn about the Lucas Gusher, the largest oil discovery in the world, and how that changed the country as we know and catapulted the United States into becoming the world’s largest oil producer.
A monument to the gusher is located on the property. Let your kids participate in the Spindletop scavenger hunt, available when you purchase tickets and wander through the historic reconstructed Gladys City buildings with authentic artifacts.
Beaumont Murals & Museums
The Beaumont murals are great displays of public art downtown. Make sure you add the awesome Frida Kahlo tri-mural to your list, my personal favorite. You can find a list of the murals to visit on the Beaumont CVB website.
While you are downtown, stop by the Fire Museum of Texas for a quick tour and take a picture with the larger-than-life 24 foot Dalmatian and fire hydrant selfie.
Across the street is Crockett Street, Beaumont’s historic district that is full of bars and restaurants with a vibrant nightlife scene. We didn’t get to visit this area since it was an early weekday, but we hear they fill up quickly and super fun!
Fancy some shopping? We found some cool shops in at Beaumont to spruce up our wardrobe and homes. If you have a little one, you’ll love the kid’s specialty clothing stores in the area. A few of the stores we enjoyed were Bungalo Boutique, Pink Chandelier, Ashton House, and the Yaya Club Clothing.
Where to Stay in Beaumont
The MCM Hotel Elegante was our home-away-from-home during our time in Beaumont. Known for stellar customer service, the Hotel Elegante has been voted the best hotel in Beaumont for over a dozen years. It is conveniently located and has several nice restaurants to choose from, including a grab & go eatery that serves Starbucks beverages. The swimming pool is not to be missed!
Beaumont: A City with Epic Historical Proportions
Taylor and I were both happy with our visit to Beaumont, Texas. We visited a wide array of different attractions, ate delicious food, and learned several new things along the way.
I’m still blown away by the history of how vital Beaumont was to the oil boom in our country, which I’ve shared a bit of below.
What would you like to do in Beaumont?
A special thanks to the Beaumont, Texas CVB for hosting our stay. As always, opinions and reviews are 100% mine and unbiased.
A Bit of Beaumont History
The Gusher Age was a period of major economic growth in the state of Texas during the early 20th century. It began with the discovery of a huge petroleum reserve near Beaumont, Texas. The Lucas No. 1 well blew at Spindletop near Beaumont, spewing 100,000 barrels of oil a day, 100 feet into the air until it was capped nine days later. The impact of this fantastic event catapulted Texas in terms of corporate development, wealth, and the overall economy of the state and politics. It became THE place to come for work, wealth, and living the American dream.
Though oil is no longer the predominant factor behind Texas’ economy, it is still an essential commodity and provides a major job market in Beaumont. Unbeknownst to most of us, nearly everything we use in our day-to-day lives contains petroleum in some form.
FYI: One barrel of oil equates to 42 US liquid gallons
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