The good times roll in Port Arthur, where the Upper Texas Coast calls anglers, birders, beach lovers and fans of spicy Cajun flavors.
We’ve got a brilliant mix of experiences taking visitors from the edge of Texas – where the Gulf of Mexico crashes into 5 miles of natural beach at Sea Rim State Park – to quiet serenity gardens at Buu Mon Buddhist Temple. Join the quest for colorful birds during migration seasons.
Shore birds enjoy our seafood all year long and blue and yellow warbler migrants draw master and novice birders into Sabine Woods during spring and fall migration. Our position on both the Central and Mississippi flyways puts us in the middle of fluttery action that could attract your life birds. Set your sites on roseate spoonbills, indigo and painted buntings, terns, warblers and hundreds of thriving species, including sunning alligators. Sabine Woods is down the road from Sea Rim State Park, and also near McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge. Families will have enough space to hike and paddle these natural landscapes.
Sea Rim State Park is stretch of shore with boardwalks and bird viewing platforms. Bring the family for nature walks, shell collecting and getting really, really up close with nature. Rent a kayak or bring your own to the marsh unit to experience paddling trails built for three levels of expertise. The marsh is as still and peaceful as the gulf side is in constant motion. The park offers plenty of camping and overnight space, a marsh side cabin and even a raft where you can float for the night. Sea Rim is known for family activities including Crabbing 101, shore fishing lessons and KidFish.
Fishing for fun? Trout, flounder and redfish seem to be always biting in 14-mile Sabine Lake. Charter a boat or launch into more than 60,000 acres no deeper than 8 feet, set in two states. It’s actually a bay on the Texas-Louisiana border that is tournament-worthy. Anglers call Port Arthur the Flounder Capital of Texas.
Pleasure Island awaits on the other side of the Martin Luther King Bridge. From there, soak up Intercoastal Canal Waterway views and check out tankers headed to the port, disc golf and Pleasure Island Marina’s 300 floating slips. Fish from kayaks and the boardwalk, levees, lighted piers, boat launches and the Walter Umphrey State Park. The S.A.L.T. Club and Port Arthur Yacht Club are authorities on our coastal flair. Spot pelicans and feel sea breezes on Pleasure Island’s boardwalk as you view marshy grasses as the waters of Sabine Lake.
Enjoy Port Arthur for a couple of days so you can also hit highlights including Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine, J.D. Murphree Wildlife Management area and the lotus, fruit and bamboo gardens at Buu Mon Buddhist Temple. Lakeshore Drive offers views of historic homes including Rose Hill, the A.J.M. Vuylsteke Home and Pompeiian Villa. The Villa was once owned by a barbed-wire king and is available for touring. Take a seawall drive to scope giant tankers and barges that keep the Port of Port Arthur flowing with commerce.
Port Arthur is home to rock queen Janis Joplin, whose story can easily take a little piece of your heart. She owned a Porsche as colorful as her personality an a replica is on view at Museum of the Gulf Coast. Take a driving tour that includes her childhood home.
Work up an appetite after exploring our wild side, then relax with some of Port Arthur’s famous flavors from crawfish and gumbo to barbecue, Vietnamese and Tex-Mex. You know boudain, right? Cajun influence and seafood is abundant. You might catch some live music while you enjoy a local brew and – if the season is right – a seasoned crawfish boil. If you haven’t learned how to peel a mudbug, we’ll teach you!
Visitors often travel to the Museum of the Gulf Coast specifically to see the Janis Joplin homage, then leave thrilled to discover wide variety of musicians this area inspired to produce country, rock, swamp pop, blues, gospel, classical and hip hop masterpieces. Tex Ritter, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, George Jones and The Big Bopper – of “Chantilly Lace” fame – are honored, along with sports legends including Jimmy Johnson, Bum Phillips and Olympian “Babe” Didrickson Zaharias.
We can’t wait to “Sea Ya” in Port Arthur. Download our free birding and waterway guides. For more ideas on fun on how you’ll #LovePortArthurTx and enjoy #flavorsofPATX, www.visitportarthurtx.com