Port Arthur is where land and sea meet. We’re nestled on the shores of Sabine Lake and gulf beaches. Catch our coastal vibe with these Top 10 picks:
1. Museum of the Gulf Coast
700 Procter St., 409.982.7000
The Museum of the Gulf Coast takes an eclectic look at Southeast Texas history through the ages. The museum boasts the largest mural in the Southwest -125-feet highlighting the region’s evolution; a replica of Janis Joplin’s psychedelic Porsche; the Sabine Banks lighthouse’s original Fresnal lens; and music and sports halls honoring The Big Bopper of “Chantilly Lace” fame, Johnny and Edgar Winter, Olympian Babe Didrickson Zaharias, Coach Jimmy Johnson and others who called the area home. Mon. -Sat. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; • Fee for admission.
2. Pompeiian Villa
1953 Lakeshore Dr. • 409.983.5977
This pink villa is an authentic replica of a Pompeiian home of 79 A.D. with rooms around a Roman peristyle, or three-sided courtyard.
Tours by appointment: Mon., Wed., Fri., 1-5 p.m.; Tue.-Thurs., 10-2 p.m. Groups of more than 12 will be taken in groups. Visit Museum of the Gulf Coast site for more information.
3. Boardwalks & Kayaks at Sea Rim State Park
19335 Hwy 87, Sabine Pass, TX 77655 • 409.971.2559
Offering more than five miles of natural Gulf of Mexico beach shoreline, Sea Rim State Park is where the marsh meets the surf, making it prime binocular-hunting grounds for numerous species. Grab a spot on one of its many boardwalks and you might just spy long-billed curlews, ruddy turnstones, clapper rails, painted buntings or blue grospeaks. Bring a kayak or canoe (or rent one at the park) and paddle along one of its paddle trails, or comb the sand for sea treasures that wash up on the shore.
4. Birding, Fishing & Golf on Pleasure Island
520 Pleasure Pier Blvd. • 409.982.4675
Pleasure Island offers water views, birds and fishing along Sabine Lake. The 18.5 mile man-made stretch extends from the mouth of the Neches River on the northwest to the Sabine Causeway on the southeast. Sabine Lake and the Intracoastal Waterway surround the island, approachable by the soaring Martin Luther King Bridge. A Yacht Club, marina with floating docks, a disc-golf course, playgrounds and picnic sites are island perks.
5. Buu Mon Buddhist Temple & Lotus Gardens
2701 Procter St., Port Arthur, TX 77640 • 409.982.9319
Towering bamboo, lotus and fruit gardens surround the temple featuring a four-tier pagoda tower that symbolizes the tenets in the Buddhist faith. Call for a garden tour appointment.
6. Queen of Peace Shrine and Gardens
801 Ninth Ave 409.983.7676
This Hoa-Binh (Area of Peace) features a statue of the Virgin Mary that is three times life size and is surrounded by gardens and other sculpture. Queen of Vietnam Catholic Church parishioners built the area in appreciation for the welcome received upon arrival in Port Arthur
9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. Admission: Free
3648 Staff Sgt. Lucian Adams Dr., at the intersection of 9th Ave. 409.962.6777
This 17-foot high bronze statue of Our Lady is set upon rocks that Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church parishioners brought from Mount Tepeyak, Mexico City, where the Virgin Mary appeared to Juan Diego. The shrine includes a statue of Diego, a chapel and a wall for candles and prayer. Open daily. Admission: Free
Hwy. 87 South, Sabine Pass, TX 77655
409.332.8820 or 512.463.6323
On Sept. 8, 1863, the United States Navy attempted to invade Confederate Texas via Sabine Pass. Lt. Dick Dowling and 46 of his men used six cannons to defeat four gunboats and halt the invasion. A statue of Dowling stands in the waterside park.
Open daily. Admission: Free
This nautical-themed boardwalk is the perfect spot to view international ships navigating the ship channel.
10. Veteran’s Memorial Park
On Hwy 87, near the Veterans Memorial Bridge
Park walls bear the names of Jefferson and Orange county veterans serving from the Spanish American War to Desert Storm. Military transport and statues fill the park, near the Veterans Memorial Bridge and Rainbow Bridge.
More in Port Arthur
Here’s more Port Arthur picks for your visit. We love our historic homes, blend of cultures and scenic waterside views:
2545 Lakeshore Dr. Currently closed for tours.
Originally built as a New England Colonial-style mansion, subsequent owners changed the structure of the house to a Southern Greek Revival-style. Collections include candelabras from the Shah of Persia and a French screen from the collection of Empress Carlotta of Mexico.
Rose Hill Manor
100 Woodworth Blvd. • 409.985.7292
An early mayor built the waterside home in 1906. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the oldest landmarks in Port Arthur.
Tues. -Fri. 11 a.m. -5 p.m. Tours by appointment.
A.J.M Vuylsteke Home
1831 Lakeshore Dr. • Currently closed for tours.
This Dutch Colonial home was built in 1905 for the first Dutch Counsel Vuylsteke in Port Arthur. It features three fireplaces sharing one central chimney, period furnishings and antiques.
Over the Neches River on Hwy 87
Completed in 1938, the Rainbow Bridge is the tallest bridge on the Gulf Coast. It rises to a height of a 20-story building and clears the river by 177 feet. The newer companion bridge, the Veterans Memorial Bridge to the east, has 143 feet of navigational clearance, and its claim to fame is that it is the only cable-stayed bridge built on a Texas Highway.
Italian Heritage Monument
4615 9th Ave. • 409.985.7822
This is an immigrants’ monument built by the Port Arthur American-Italian Club. It is located directly behind the Port Arthur Public Library and is open to the public.
Texas Artists Museum
3501 Cultural Center Drive 409.983.4881
This working museum is host to art lessons and shows and presents receptions for area artists.
Hours: Tues.-Fri., noon- 4 p.m.