1. Cast a line in Sabine Lake from Pleasure Island
Fourteen miles long and seven miles wide, Sabine Lake has some of the Gulf Coast’s best fishing, with speckled trout, red fish and flounder all biting. You can stake your claim on one of the island’s fishing piers (some lighted for night fishing), launch your own boat from one of Pleasure Island’s fishing charters (many of which will supply the equipment and clean and package your catch).
2. Check out a Replica of Janis Joplin’s psychedelic porsche at the Museum of the Gulf Coast
“Cooome on, Cooome on. Cooome on,” … and take a little trip back in time at the Museum of the Gulf Coast , where you’ll see a replica of Port Arthur native and blues great Janis Joplin’s 1965
Porsche alongside memorabilia from other hometown celebrities, like recording artist Big Bopper and football great Jimmy Johnson. You can also learn more about the regions natural history and industrial roots.
3. Spend an afternoon at Sea Rim State Park birding, beachcombing and kayaking
This 4, 100-plus-acre park is set on the Gulf of Mexico and includes five miles of natural beach. Stroll along the boardwalk of the Gambusia Nature Trail or kayak along its paddling trails–from easy to challenging. Enjoy some surf fishing or comb the beaches for shells or shorebirds and the trees for purple martins or painted buntings.
4. Explore the Faith Trail
Nowhere is the diversity of Port Arthur’s faiths and cultures more evident than along its Faith Trail. Start at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a 17-foot bronze statue of Mary set upon rocks that parishioners carried from the original site on Mount Tepeyec near Mexico, where the Virgin Mary appeared to Juan Diego. From there, visit the Vietnamese Martyrs Catholic Church and Queen of Peace Shrine and Gardens. A Hoa-Binh (area of peace), the shrine includes a statue of Mary in a tranquil garden setting. Last stop on the trail is the Buu Mon Buddhist Temple and Lotus Gardens, where monks will serve as your peaceful guides through the renowned gardens filled with lotus blossoms and towering bamboo.
5. Tour the Historic Pompeiian Villa
Located on Port Arthur’s Lakeshore Drive, this replica of an ancient villa was built in 1900 as a home for fencing manufacturer Isaac Elwood–known as the “Barbed Wire King.” Listed on the National Register for Historic Places, the villa is gorgeously outfitted in imported period furnishings and artwork. Other notable stops along Lakeshore Drive are White Haven– built in 1915 for the British consul–Rose Hill Manor–also on the Register for Historic Places– and the 1905 AJM Vuylsteke Home, home of the city’s first Dutch consul. Call the Villa at 983-5977 to schedule an appointment. Visit the Museum of the Gulf Coast site for more information.