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Beaumont, the unofficial Cajun Capital of Texas, is crawling with outdoor adventure, a delicious food scene, and a Cajun spirit that befits this bayou-filled region. The city is unmistakably Texan, but there’s also no denying the Cajun influence that started growing in the 1840s when early French settlers migrated from neighboring Louisiana to the area, bringing with them their traditions and cuisine.

© Jacob Rhoades / Lonely Planet

Located in Southeast Texas, Beaumont is flush with bayous and wetlands. Take a pontoon boat out on the nearby Neches River, Sabine Lake, or the Gulf of Mexico, and you’ll spot a wide variety of critters from alligators to birds, with waterways full of crawfish and fresh seafood.

But you don’t have to be a nature lover or a connoisseur of Cajun cooking to enjoy Beaumont. City dwellers love it for its numerous museums, restaurants, city parks, and downtown arts scene. Pull up your boots and dive in for our favorite ways to enjoy this Southeast Texas gem.

Many spots along the Cajun Food Trail and throughout Beaumont crank out top-notch mudbugs © Courtesy of Visit Beaumont, TX


Beaumont has incredible food, thanks to its location near the Gulf of Mexico and Louisiana. There’s even a local Cajun Food Trail, full of all the etouffee, seafood gumbo, boudin, and crawfish you can handle. The Trail is a mobile passport program, where you earn prizes for dining at participating venues. Don’t miss Floyd’s Cajun Seafood and Steakhouse, which has more than 70 years of combined Cajun cooking expertise, or stop by the Crazy Cajun for its crawfish etouffee and red beans and rice.

If you’re here during crawfish season, many spots along the Cajun Food Trail and throughout town will be cranking out top-notch mudbugs ­– just ask a local and they’ll lead you in the right direction. Don’t leave town without breakfast pastries at Rao’s Bakery, a Beaumont institution open since 1941. For brunch or a new-American dinner, try J. Wilson’s crab cake benedict or shrimp and grits.

Beaumont has plenty of south-of-the-border flavor to offer © Courtesy of Visit Beaumont, TX

Don't forget to try some true Tex-Mex staples too, as Beaumont has plenty of south-of-the-border flavor to offer. Carmela’s Mexican Restaurant is known for its queso and fajitas, and Tacos La Bamba offers authentic Mexican street tacos, tortas, and more.

For a truly Southeast Texas mashup, check out Tia Juanita’s Fish Camp for “Mexicajun” items such as boudin quesadillas, seafood nachos, and shrimp tacos. Elena’s Mexican Restaurant is another gem serving authentic Mexican cuisine and Tex-Mex dishes. Choose from a variety of tacos or an enchilada plate, grab a cold beer, and enjoy your meal on the patio.

For a sweet treat, La Real Michoacana serves homemade ice cream and photo-worthy Mexican desserts. Try the mangonada (mango sorbet with chamoy, red sauce, and chili powder), or a banana split with your choice of ice cream flavors.

Texas Tidbit: In Texas, crawfish season is generally from January to May or June, so if you’re in Beaumont during those months, load up at a crawfish boil or local restaurant.

Natural adventures abound among the cypress trees, swamps, and coastal wetlands of Beaumont © Courtesy of Visit Beaumont, TX


Natural adventures abound among the cypress trees, swamps, and coastal wetlands of Beaumont, which also has the largest alligator population in Texas. At Gator Country, see an alligator feeding show, feed the Sulcata tortoises, or take a swamp boat tour – your guide will discuss the ecological importance of the bayou while pointing out wildlife.

Beaumont is home more than 285 bird species each year, including pink Roseate Spoonbills © Courtesy of Visit Beaumont, TX

If birding interests you, you’re in the right place ­– Beaumont is home more than 285 bird species each year, including pink Roseate Spoonbills, Red-winged Blackbirds, pelicans, egrets, ducks, doves, and more. At Cattail Marsh Scenic Wetlands and Boardwalk, try spotting as many bird species as you can, or head to the gravel levee trails for hiking, biking, jogging, horseback riding, or wildlife photography. Cattail Marsh is a wildlife refuge with around 900 acres of wetlands. Walk the boardwalk for stellar views of the marsh and visit the excellent education center to learn about this important ecosystem.

Texas Tidbit: If you have kids, download the Beaumont Birdie Passport and have fun finding feathered friends at special birdhouses around town. Once there are at least 10 stamps in the Birdie Passport, take it to the Beaumont Convention and Visitors Bureau to receive a plush Beaumont Birdie.

Cattail Marsh is a wildlife refuge with around 900 acres of wetlands © Courtesy of Visit Beaumont, TX


Back in town, history buffs will love the McFaddin-Ward House Museum, a Beaux-Arts Colonial style home built in 1906 featuring original furnishings, a carriage house, and gardens. The McFaddins built their wealth from cattle, milling, rice farming, real estate, trapping, and oil, and the family lived in the home for 75 years, frequently entertaining guests with elegant parties. Today you can take guided tours of the home and its three furnished floors, as well as the grounds –  and learn about this slice of local history along the way.

Download the Beaumont Mural Guide and see incredible works of art across building facades © Courtesy of Visit Beaumont, TX

Looking for some fun outdoor art? Walk, bike, or scooter your way through Beaumont with the Beaumont Mural Guide and see incredible works of art across building facades – see if you can find Janis Joplin, Frida Kahlo, and the scales of justice. For a bit of relaxation, head to the Beaumont Botanical Gardens and wind your way through acres of vibrant flowers and garden pathways.

Above all, take the time to soak in that good-old Cajun culture. From the cuisine to the music and spirit, you’ll want to ‘laissez les bon temps roulée!’ 

Texas Tidbit: On your mural tour, check out “Beaumont Betty,” which is a colorful and retro take on every woman. Within the mural, see if you can find the hidden easter egg and the oil derrick – an ode to Beaumont’s oil boom past.

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