The cities of Beaumont, Port Arthur and Orange – each roughly 20 miles apart – make up the points of the Golden Triangle in the southeasternmost corner of the state. The area has more in common culturally and environmentally with neighboring Louisiana than with the rest of Texas. Among the cypress trees, swamps and coastal wetlands, you can find natural adventures, but the rest of the area's attractions are tied to the oil-and-gas industry.
When oil gushed skyward from a site called Spindletop in 1901, it set the stage for the region's development. Some of the largest petrochemical companies in the world were founded near Port Arthur and Beaumont. The area is not always the world's prettiest, though there's a certain dystopian visual quality that appeals to some.
Spend a day or two exploring the Golden Triangle’s good museums and interesting oil-related sights, plus a few more for nature-lovers and birders.