Restore that “threadbare Gypsy soul” Texas singer Pat Green wrote about, and head out to Beaumont—yep, Beaumont. This perfect pearl of a city has breathtaking natural world sights, sophisticated entertainment and plenty of Southern charm just waiting to be discovered by the savvy Texas traveler.
Beaumont is home to the proudly gleaming Spindletop, still standing, after the first oil discovery January 10, 1901. As you walk around the weathered wooden Gladys City outpost that surrounds the famous rig, you’ll feel that American can-do spirit in this birthplace of the petroleum industry—which turned Texas from just another Southern state to a real player on the world stage overnight.
Bring your bike, kayak or hand-scraped wooden pirogue to Beaumont’s Big Thicket Natural Preserve and conquer its miles of paths, creeks and bayous. Paddlers glide along Village Creek onto a white sandy beach for a picnic and wet a line. Plan your next trip to this world-class natural habitat by visiting nps.gov/bith.
Beaumont has the best selection of Cajun-inspired cuisine found anywhere outside The Big Easy. The first week of January begins King Cake season, a gastronomic prelude to Mardi Gras celebrations. If you can’t be in New Orleans for Mardi Gras, Rao’s bakery can bring a little “bon temps” to you. Don’t miss the dizzying array of kolaches, pastry and cakes for breakfast—but if you do, the lunch portion of crawfish étouffée at Katharine and Company’s downtown cafe will tide you over until dinner.