Southeast Texas' proximity to Louisiana brings a Cajun flavor to the area. Mardi Gras is huge here and influenced by Louisiana Mardi Gras traditions. Eyes pop at the grand costumes and parades; Cajun and Zydeco music is heard throughout the streets. The cities of southeast Texas, especially Port Arthur, host what are probably the biggest, and most family-friendly, Mardi Gras parties in Texas.
Beaumont, Port Arthur and Orange form the Cajun Triangle, named for the region's Cajun culture. It's also been called the Golden Triangle, for the oil industry wealth boom in the early 1900s. In Beaumont, you can go back in time and visit a life-sized, re-created boomtown at the Spindletop/Gladys City Boomtown museum.
Besides having the beaches due a coastal area, southeast Texas has more than a dozen lakes and three major river systems, which makes it a fisherman's and water sport enthusiast's paradise. Port Arthur's location on the waterfowl flyway lets it serve as a winter stop for migratory waterfowl and birds; it's a good place for birders and for hunters of ducks and geese.
Port Arthur's Museum of the Gulf Coast is dedicated to the history and diversity of southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana's Gulf Coast. One floor is dedicated to the area's musicians, including singers Janis Joplin and Tex Ritter. The Sports Hall of Fame includes world-class female athlete Babe Zaharias and football coaches Jimmy Johnson and "Bum" Phillips.
Beaumont's Old Town District features eye-catching buildings in a variety of architectural styles and an eclectic mix of galleries, shops, boutiques, residences and businesses. The city is host to the Southeast Texas State Fair each October.
To visit Port Arthur, take I-10 from Houston to Highway 73, or take Highway 82 from Louisiana. Beaumont is north along US 69/96/287, or for the scenic route, use Highway 347.