Here are the top 5 things to do that will let you explore Port Arthur, Texas fully.
Port Arthur, Texas, founded in 1895, struggled to establish itself as a city, but thanks to the discovery that there was oil in the region, Port Arthur became the center of the largest oil refinery in the world at the time. The region isn’t just good for oil, though. Being on the Texas coast, there is plenty of wildlife to see and areas to explore. After reading these top five ways to delve into the history and wildlife of the area, you’ll be sure to want to add Port Arthur to your travel list.
1. Learn at the Museum of the Gulf Coast
Learn all about the history of the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast region (plus a little more) at the Museum of the Gulf Coast. There are some pretty cool exhibits to view here. Get connected to the music you love in the Music Hall of Fame Gallery, then walk over to the Sports Legend Gallery, where 60-star athletes are highlighted. Once you’ve seen those, check out the Notable People Gallery to find out more about the 35 featured people from the area who achieved national and/or international recognition professionally.
Take a step outside of the museum to witness the Pompeian Villa, built in 1900 to resemble the villas in ancient Pompeii. The house is furnished with 19th-century furniture and is a must-see. The museum has more than 35,000 items, though many of them are not even on display. There is so much to see here, making a visit well worth your time.
Museum of the Gulf Coast
Address: 700 Procter Street, 77640 Port Arthur, Texas
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Price: Adults – 6 USD, senior citizens (62+) – 5 USD, college students w/valid ID – 5 USD, children 4-18 – 3 USD, children 0-3 – free
Contact: (409) 982-7000
Website: Museum of the Gulf Coast
2. Sabine Pass Battleground State Historic Site
The Sabine Pass Battleground State Historic Site, located on a Civil War battlefield, serves as a way to teach about Confederate Lt. Richard “Dick” Dowling and his army of 46 men who prevented an attempted Union attack at the Sabine Pass. The battle lasted less than an hour, as the Confederate side destroyed two gunboats, causing the Union forces to never come back. The Sabine Pass Battleground State Historic Site is an interesting place to visit, full of history that’s worth learning about.
Sabine Pass Battleground State Historic Site
Address: 6100 Dowling Rd., 77640 Port Arthur, TX
Hours: Daily, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
3. McFaddin and Texas Point National Wildlife Refuges
McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge spans 23,000 hectares (58,861 acres) and contains the largest remaining freshwater marsh on the Texas coast. There are also thousands of acres of intermediate to brackish marsh. The landscape is important, as it supplies a feeding and resting habitat for migrating and wintering waterfowl and other wildlife.
Texas Point National Wildlife Refuge protects 3,600 hectares (8,972 acres) of coastal marsh habitat. It includes tidal flats, shallow freshwater lakes, and ponds. It has been designated by the American Bird Conservancy as one of the Globally Important Bird Areas of the United States. Visitors of both refuges can hunt, fish, hike nature trails, and try their hand at nature photography, though Special Use Permits will be needed to hunt and fish. You can apply for permits on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website.
McFaddin and Texas Point National Wildlife Refuges
Address: 7950 S Gulfway Dr, 77655 Sabine Pass, TX
Hours: Open to the public during daylight hours
4. Kayak around Sea Rim State Park
Sea Rim State Park offers 8 kilometers (5.2 miles) of Gulf shoreline and 1,600 hectares (4,000 acres) of marshland to explore. Walk around the park, go birding and beachcombing, take a canoe or kayak on a water trail, swim, fish, hunt (in season), and camp.There are 15 different campsites with utilities, as well as a cabin you can rent. If you’d rather feel more one with nature, there is a primitive camping option to stay on the beach.
Fish in the surf or marshy areas of the park. There is also a boat ramp if you’d like to take your boat out to fish. Because Sea Rim is a state park, you do not need a license to fish here.
Explore the 3-kilometer (1.79-mile) easy trail or the 15.5-kilometer (9.59-mile) advanced trail by kayak or canoe. Bring your own, or rent one from the park. This is a great way to take in the view of the coastline from the water. While you’re free to be in the water, it’s important to remember that there may be alligators in there, as well. Be sure to be alert at all times and read up on safety tips before venturing out.
Sea Rim State Park
Address: 19335 S Gulfway Drive, 77655 Sabine Pass, TX
Hours: March through September, 8:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m., and October through February, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Price: Adult – 3 USD daily, children 12 years and under – free
Website: Sea Rim State Park
5. Check out tanks and canons at the Veterans Memorial Park & Bridge
The Veterans Memorial Park & Bridge is a great trip for kids and adults alike to learn more about military history. The bridge is the only cable-stayed bridge built on a Texas highway, which in itself is cool to see. The park, on the other hand, has a tank, some canons, a boat, a jet fighter, and a helicopter to see.
The park’s walls have the names of Orange and Jefferson County’s living and deceased veterans, from the Spanish-American War up to Desert Storm. Additionally, the Tower of Honor has the names of local soldiers killed or missing in action. Come to Veterans Memorial Park & Bridge to pay your respects to the fallen soldiers and learn about the area’s military history.
Veterans Memorial Park & Bridge
Address: Hwy 87, 77642 Port Arthur, TX
Hours: Dawn to dusk, year round
Website: Veterans Memorial Park & Bridge
Become one with nature – as long as you're cautious
Port Arthur is the perfect place to have a wilderness adventure. Thanks to its location on the coast of Texas, there are endless fishing, kayaking, and bird watching opportunities. It is worth noting again, though, that as much fun as it can be in the great outdoors, you should be mindful of alligators and other dangerous situations you may encounter while out. As long as you take the proper safety precautions, you’ll have a wonderful trip.
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