There are so many great things to see and do in Port Arthur, from a beautiful historic district to a rich cultural melting pot. Let us help you make the most out of your trip to Port Arthur!
You won't want to miss the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Port Arthur Historic Site, with its fascinating collection of buildings. Then there's the cliff-side walks, gardens and seaside views.
1. Museum of the Gulf Coast
One of the most fascinating Port Arthur attractions, the Museum of the Gulf Coast explores the rich history and culture of southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana. Its 39,000-square-foot, two-story facility features several captivating pop-culture wings.
The Museum’s ground floor displays focus on Port Arthur’s Native American and European explorers, while the second floor focuses on local music legends and sports stars. You can also learn about Port Arthur’s petrochemical industry and the area’s maritime history in a newly-renovated Maritime History gallery.
If you’re a Janis Joplin fan, be sure to check out the museum’s permanent exhibit dedicated to her life and career. You’ll find high-tech touch screens that absorb her audio-video, frequent screenings of her Southern Discomfort documentary and a replica of her Porsche.
In addition to the Museum of the Gulf Coast, Port Arthur has a variety of restaurants, entertainment venues and other exciting activities. These places are perfect for families or couples looking to spend a fun-filled day in this historic city.
2. Buu Mon Buddhist Temple
A unique landmark in Port Arthur, the Buu Mon Buddhist Temple serves a growing Vietnamese Buddhist local community. Located on Proctor Street, this former Baptist church is a part of the city’s multi-cultural scene.
The temple’s gardens feature fruit trees and a koi pond with stunning water lily displays. The gardens create a peaceful, tranquil setting, and a statue of Buddha, rimmed in lights, stands at the head of the pond.
It is an oasis in the midst of a gritty city. Saffron-robed monks are on hand to guide visitors through the grounds and meditation areas.
The temple spokesman, Danny Dubuisson, said it is the only Theravada Vietnamese temple in Southeast Texas. It was founded 20 years ago by Vietnamese fishermen and shrimpers who came to the area after communist takeovers in their homeland. Today, the Buddhist congregation consists of mainly Vietnamese, but has a growing number of non-Vietnamese speaking members.
3. Sea Rim State Park
Located at the far southeast corner of Texas, Sea Rim State Park is unique coastal park offering 5.2 miles of Gulf shoreline and 4,000 acres of marshlands. It's a perfect spot to enjoy beach side primitive camping, shore and marsh boardwalks, crabbing, fishing and much more!
This beautiful coastal park is home to a delicate marsh ecosystem and many birds. A walk on the Gambusia Nature Trail (a boardwalk through the marsh) is a great way to see this habitat up close and personal.
The park also offers fishing, canoeing, kayaking and beach swimming. There are even seasonal public waterfowl hunting opportunities in the marshlands.
It is the largest coastal park in Texas and offers an abundance of wildlife-viewing opportunities. Birds, such as warblers, swallows, vireos, grosbeaks, buntings and flycatchers, are frequent visitors to the dunes and marsh areas.
4. Faith Trail
Those who are spiritually curious and interested in learning about religion will want to visit the Faith Trail. This area features three distinct sites of faith in Port Arthur that offer visitors a glimpse into different cultures and beliefs.
Starting at the Shrine of Our Lady Guadalupe, you’ll see a 17-foot statue of the Virgin Mary set atop rocks brought to Texas from Mexico City. From there, you can continue on to the Vietnamese Martyr’s Catholic Church & Queen of Peace Shrine and Gardens.
You can also visit the Port Arthur Historical Home and explore the town’s waterfront. Tours can be arranged ahead of time and are free.
There are also numerous hiking and biking trails around the city. If you’re looking for a quieter escape, head to Sea Rim State Park where you can sit on the beach and watch the sunset. Or try your hand at fishing or birding! Whatever you’re in the mood for, Port Arthur has plenty to keep you busy year-round.