12 Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Beaumont, TX

Written by Anietra Hamper
Mar 18, 2019

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The southeastern Texas city of Beaumont has deep roots in the oil industry. Beaumont made its mark in 1901 after a massive explosion at Spindletop, when the Gladys City Company drilled into an oil well that could not be capped. That's when the population boomed, as people poured into Beaumont as fast as the oil and wealth. The Beaumont of today is surrounded by oil refineries, but the city maintains a strong commitment to also preserving its natural resources, like the Cattail Marsh and the Big Thicket National Preserve.

Beaumont has a reputation of being the museum capital of Texas, with more than a dozen to enjoy, like the Texas Fire Museum, where you can take a selfie in front of the world's largest working fire hydrant.

Beaumont is just 90 miles from Houston and 25 miles from the Louisiana border. The city is an exploration into the origins of oil discovery, southern history, the natural environment, and delicious Texas eats. Two of the culinary staples of Beaumont are Rao's Bakery, located at the same downtown corner since 1941, which is famous for its King Cakes during Mardi Gras, and Floyd's Seafood Restaurant, which serves up authentic Cajun cuisine and seafood.

Discover the best places to visit in the city with our list of the top things to do in Beaumont, Texas.

Note: Some businesses may be temporarily closed due to recent global health and safety issues.

1. Gator Country Adventure Park

Alligators at the Gator Country Adventure Park
Alligators at the Gator Country Adventure Park | Photo Copyright: Anietra Hamper

Gator Country Adventure Park is one of the top things to do in Beaumont. It is home to more than 600 alligators including Big Al, the oldest alligator in Texas at 86, and Big Tex, the biggest alligator ever caught in captivity at 13 foot, 11 inches long and weighing more than 1,000 pounds.

The park was once an alligator farm that was abandoned in the mid-90s before the current owners turned it into a sanctuary for unwanted, injured, and nuisance alligators and an educational venue for visitors. Enjoy some of the daily shows at the park that demonstrate the life and feeding habits of Texas gators.

Address: 21159 FM 365 Beaumont, Texas
Official site: www.gatorrescue.com

2. Texas Energy Museum

The Texas Energy Museum
The Texas Energy Museum | Photo Copyright: Anietra Hamper

One of the most fascinating stops in Beaumont is the Texas Energy Museum, which examines the history of oil discovery in Texas. There are two floors of interactive exhibits, which explain the process and history of drilling for oil and the refinery process, and videos show how oil is responsible for so many everyday products like plastics and gasoline. Experience what it is like to pilot an oil tanker, see photographs and relics from the 1901 oil blow at Spindletop, and gain an appreciation of Beaumont's history.

For a local snack on the way to your next location, plan a stop at Tacos La Bamba, where you can find authentic Mexican food and probably a spontaneous social event in the parking lot so you can hang out like a local.

Address: 600 Main Street Beaumont, Texas
Official site: www.texasenergymuseum.org

3. Fire Museum of Texas

The Fire Museum of Texas
The Fire Museum of Texas | Photo Copyright: Anietra Hamper

The Fire Museum of Texas comes with an education about the history of firefighting techniques and equipment. Explore fire equipment through the decades dating back to the early 1800s. Be sure to take a selfie in front of the world's largest working fire hydrant on the front lawn of the museum. Donated by the Disney company after the movie 101 Dalmatians, the hydrant is one of the most recognized landmarks in the city. Kids who visit the museum will love trying on firefighter uniforms and test driving the fire truck simulator.

Address: 400 Walnut Beaumont, Texas
Official site: www.firemuseumoftexas.org

4. McFaddin-Ward Museum

The McFaddin-Ward Museum
The McFaddin-Ward Museum | Photo Copyright: Beaumont CVB

The McFaddin-Ward Museum is one of three historic homes in Beaumont that are open for public tours. The home was built in 1906 and gives visitors a glimpse into how upper middle-class families lived in the 1900s. The home is impeccably restored, with much of the original furniture and decorations. You can take a guided tour through the home, outdoor gardens, and the carriage house or you can do a self-guided tour.

Address: 725 Third Street, Beaumont, Texas
Official site: https://mcfaddin-ward.org

5. Spindletop Gladys City Boomtown Museum

Spindletop Gladys City Boomtown Museum
Spindletop Gladys City Boomtown Museum | Photo Copyright: Beaumont CVB

Once you visit Beaumont, you cannot help but be intrigued by its history of oil discovery, and no attraction demonstrates that more than the Spindletop Gladys City Boomtown Museum. The area is set up like a small village in the late 1800s and chronicles the many unsuccessful attempts by the Gladys City Company to find oil while drilling on Spindletop Hill.

The museum dives deep into what happened when oil was finally tapped in 1901, resulting in an explosion that sprayed oil 100 feet into the air for nine days. The museum has a replica of the oil well, which actually sprays water to demonstrate what the gusher was like.

Address: 5550 Jimmy Simmons Blvd Beaumont, Texas
Official site: www.spindletop.org

6. Beaumont Botanical Gardens & Warren Loose Conservatory

Beaumont Botanical Gardens
Beaumont Botanical Gardens | Photo Copyright: Beaumont CVB

At the entrance of Tyrell Park is a 23.5-acre garden that changes throughout the year. Take a morning stroll in the park and discover the artistic collection of themed gardens that have been cultivated for decades. Paved paths are suitable for strollers and wheelchairs and perfect for a tranquil, fragrant escape from the city. Take some time to visit the Loose Conservatory, featuring tropical plants, waterfalls, and Koi fish ponds.

Address: 6088 Babe Zaharias Drive, Tyrrell Park, Beaumont, Texas
Official site: http://www.beaumontbotanicalgardens.org

7. Cattail Marsh Wetlands

Cattail Marsh Wetlands
Cattail Marsh Wetlands | Photo Copyright: Anietra Hamper

Also within Tyrrell Park is another natural must-see during your visit to Beaumont. The Cattail Marsh Wetlands is a 900-acre preserved wetlands with more than 350 species of birds, as well as alligators, and other native animals.

The wetlands are located on two migration paths, so there are ample opportunities to see rare species and photograph the birds as they pass through. Catch a glimpse of the Wood Duck, King Rail, and Barred Owl. Take a walk along the boardwalk over the marsh or along the trail around the wetlands for exercise. There are even yoga classes in the overlook building on some weekends.

Address: 6088 Babe Zaharias Drive, Beaumont, Texas

8. Art Museum of Southeast Texas

Exhibit at the Art Museum of Southeast Texas
Exhibit at the Art Museum of Southeast Texas | Photo Copyright: Anietra Hamper

The Art Museum of Southeast Texas features exhibits that rotate every three months, so no two visits are ever the same. The museum's permanent collection includes various mediums that concentrate on the southeast Texas region with contemporary and modern artwork and folk art. The collection started in the 1950s with a few pieces of art from local donors, and the curators still place an emphasis on showcasing work from local artists. The museum is the backdrop for many public events throughout the year.

Address: 500 Main Street Beaumont, Texas
Official site: www.amset.org

9. Antique Shopping

Antique stores in Beaumont
Antique stores in Beaumont | Photo Copyright: Anietra Hamper

Beaumont is a walkable city, so it is easy to park in a public lot and stroll to the stores and museums on foot. You can spend a full day antiquing and shopping on Calder Avenue with a variety of boutiques and businesses. Visit Finders Fayre Quality Antiques, Burns Antik Haus, FM409, Ella + Scott boutique, and Down to Earth. Several of these stores will lead you to the historic Mildred Building, where you can stop for lunch at the corner café of Katharine & Company.

10. Clifton Steamboat Museum

A steamboat at the Clifton Steamboat Museum
A steamboat at the Clifton Steamboat Museum | Photo Copyright: Beaumont CVB

If you are a history or military buff, the Clifton Steamboat Museum should be on the top of your Beaumont itinerary. The two-story museum features exhibits that showcase the battles in WWI, WWII, the Korean War, and Vietnam War, as well as major conflicts in Texas and Louisiana. The second floor has extensive tributes dedicated to the Boy Scouts of America, including scouting memorabilia dating back to the 1960s. The highlight of the museum is outside, where you can take a tour on the 92-foot-long 1938 "Hercules" tugboat.

Address: 8727 Highway 124 Beaumont, Texas
Official site: https://www.cliftonsteamboatmuseum.com/

11. St. Anthony Cathedral Basilica

The beautiful interior of the St. Anthony Cathedral Basilica
The beautiful interior of the St. Anthony Cathedral Basilica | Photo Copyright: Anietra Hamper

The St. Anthony Cathedral Basilica is one of the most visually stunning places to visit in Beaumont. When there are no church services, guests are allowed to step inside the 1907 cathedral and see the stained-glass windows, mosaic floor tiles, and gilded interior. The cathedral is known for its detailed religious symbolism in the artwork throughout the building. Take a look at the back of the cathedral to see the more than 3,000 pipes of the working pipe organ stretching across the wall.

Address: 700 Jefferson Street, Beaumont, Texas
Official site:https://stanthonycathedral.org

12. Neches River Adventures

River cruise on the Neches River
River cruise on the Neches River | Photo Copyright: Beaumont CVB

Climb aboard the Ivory Bill for a trip down the Neches River. Learn about the ecosystem and the abundant nature preserved in this area that is mostly known for its oil discovery. Catch a glimpse of one of the 47 mammals that live along the river system during a guided tour as you cruise in a pontoon boat along the Neches channels lined with cypress trees. The Big Thicket Association runs tours throughout the week from March through November.

Official site: http://www.nechesriveradventures.org

Where to Stay in Beaumont for Sightseeing

  • Mid-Range Hotels: For a Beaumont base with all the conveniences beyond just a comfortable room, the MCM Elegante Hotel has a complex full of amenities, like a spa, Starbucks, and VIP floor with its own lounge and snacks available in the morning and afternoon.

    If location is important, the Residence Inn is right off the I-10 highway and only a few minutes away from all the downtown attractions. It's also close to U.S. 69, which takes you to the Spindletop Gladys City Boomtown Museum.

    The Homewood Suites hotel is near the beautiful Cattail Marsh and the Beaumont Botanical Gardens, where you can enjoy a morning stroll before a busy day of exploring the area.

  • Budget Hotels: The EconoLodge Inn & Suites is close to shopping, restaurants, and both the I-10 and Highway 69, so you can get to attractions easily. Located in Beaumont's business district is the Hilton Garden Inn Beaumont, with a full-service restaurant, so you can have dinner at the hotel after a long day of sightseeing.

    The centrally located WoodSpring Suites Beaumont is just across the highway from Floyd's Cajun Seafood and Texas Steakhouse, one of the must-try locally recommended restaurants in Beaumont.

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imagePlaces to Visit & Things to Do near Beaumont: Just an hour away is the beautiful city of Houston and nearby Space Center Houston, one of the state's most famous attractions. For a little time at the beach, head to Galveston, less than two hours away from Beaumont. If you are looking to explore further afield, have a look at our article on the top attractions in Texas.

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