Texas capital

Why Beaumont is the Texas capital of Cajun cuisine and culture

Beaumont, the unofficial Cajun capital of Texas, is bursting with outdoor adventure, a delicious food scene, and a Cajun spirit befitting this bayous-filled region. The city is unmistakably Texan, but there’s no denying the Cajun influence that began to develop in the 1840s when the first French settlers migrated from neighboring Louisiana to the region, bringing with them their traditions and cuisine.

© Jacob Rhoades / Lonely Planet

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

But you don’t have to be a nature lover or a connoisseur of Cajun cuisine to enjoy Beaumont. City dwellers love it for its many museums, restaurants, urban parks and downtown arts scene. Strap on your boots and dive into our favorite ways to enjoy this Southeast Texas gem.

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Many places along the Cajun Food Trail and throughout Beaumont produce top notch mudbugs © Courtesy of Visit Beaumont, TX

To eat

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

If you’re here during crawfish season, plenty of places along the Cajun Food Trail and throughout the city will be teeming with top notch mudbugs – just ask a local and they’ll point 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 New American dinner, try J. Wilson’s crab cake benedict or shrimp and grits.

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Beaumont has plenty of South of the Border flavors to offer © Courtesy of Visit Beaumont, TX

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

For a true Southeast Texas mashup, head to Tia Juanita’s Fish Camp for “Mexicajun” items like blood sausage 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 split banana with your choice of ice cream flavors.

Texas information: In Texas, crawfish season typically runs from January through May or June, so if you’re in Beaumont during those months, load up on crawfish porridge or a local restaurant.

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

To play

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

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Beaumont is home to over 285 species of birds each year, including pink roseate spoonbills © Courtesy of Visit Beaumont, TX

If you’re interested in birdwatching, you’ve come to the right place – Beaumont is home to over 285 bird species each year, including roseate spoonbills, red-winged blackbirds, pelicans, egrets, ducks, doves, etc. . At Cattail Marsh Scenic Wetlands and Boardwalk, try to spot as many species of birds as possible or head to the gravel dike trails for hiking, biking, jogging, horseback riding or hiking. wildlife photography. Cattail Marsh is a wildlife refuge with approximately 900 acres of wetlands. Walk the boardwalk for stunning views of the marsh and visit the excellent education center to learn more about this important ecosystem.

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

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

Enjoy

Back in town, history buffs will love the McFaddin-Ward House Museum, a Beaux-Arts Colonial-style house built in 1906 with 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 house for 75 years, frequently entertaining guests with elegant parties. Today, you can take guided tours of the house and its three furnished floors, as well as the grounds — and learn about this slice of local history along the way.

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Download the Beaumont Murals Guide and see incredible artwork on building facades © Courtesy of Visit Beaumont, TX

Looking for fun outdoor art? Stroll, bike or scooter around Beaumont with the Beaumont Murals Guide and see incredible artwork on building facades – see if you can find Janis Joplin, Frida Kahlo and the Scales of Justice. For a little relaxation, head to the Beaumont Botanical Gardens and walk through acres of vibrant flowers and garden paths.

Above all, take the time to immerse yourself in this good old Cajun culture. From cooking to music and spirit, you’ll want to ‘let the good times roll!’

Texas information: As you tour the murals, check out “Beaumont Betty,” which is a colorful, retro version of each woman. In the mural, see if you can find the hidden Easter egg and oil derrick – an ode to Beaumont’s oil boom past.