Now that you’ve had some time to peruse my list of Southeast Texas Picnic Essentials (and hopefully all of your amazon orders have arrived!) I thought it was time to share my favorite kid-friendly picnic spots in Beaumont!
Remember that picnics are supposed to be perfectly easy, and it’s been our experience that the company matters much more than the location, so you could honestly pull up into the Target parking lot and have an amazing day! However, if you’re looking for more of a classic, picturesque type picnic situation, here are a few of my favorites:
1. McFaddin-Ward House – under the trees near the rose garden
1906 Calder Ave, Beaumont, TX 77701
If you’ve been in Beaumont for a hot minute (especially pre-Covid), you probably know that the community picnics at the McFaddin-Ward house are a longheld local favorite. If you’ve been missing those picnics in this pandemic world, I’m here to tell you that you’re in luck. Mamie’s beautiful lawn and garden was meant to be enjoyed, and it’s perfect for a laid-back private picnic with kids. A sprawling, fenced-in lawn means your kiddos can explore to their hearts content without you having to worry about vehicle or pedestrian traffic, and there’s something so undeniably Southern summer about relaxing in the shade of the beautiful mansion built in 1906. The McFaddin-Ward House is a historic museum, so please be mindful of this and strive to leave the house and grounds even better than you found them, so that others can enjoy this beautiful spot. The McFaddin-Ward House requests that you have your dates approved in advance by calling (409) 832-2134, and check in at the Visitor’s Center when you arrive.
2. Julie Rogers Theater – under the oak near the Beaumont Library Main Branch
765 Pearl St, Beaumont, TX 77701
You may have already seen the whole post I have dedicated to this location, but it holds a special place in my heart. One of our first post-lockdown gatherings with friends, we grabbed brunch picnics from various local spots like Rao’s, Toasted Yolk, and more, and had the most perfect morning doing absolutely nothing and feeling perfectly normal. You can sit and listen to the trains as they chug towards the Port of Beaumont, or the bells of St Anthony’s Basilica – all of it along with the gentle whoosh of ocassional traffic creates a downtown symphony that is so peaceful, relaxing, and just perfection for a morning picnic. There is a tall hedge that runs alongside Pearl Street that will guard your kids from dashing into any oncoming traffic, and a large lawn in between the Julie Rogers Theater and the Beaumont Public Library Main Branch where your kiddos can kick a soccer ball or blow bubbles while you relax in the shade with a book. The fountain in front of the Julie Rogers Theater can be a danger for small children, and playing on the buildings is not recommended. Remember to respect these beautiful, historic gems we’re so lucky to have!
3. Downtown Event Centre – under the trees on the north side of the lake (by the Lakeside Center)
700 Crockett St, Beaumont, TX 77701
This one ranks pretty even with the Julie Rogers picnic for me, and they’re pretty much tied. The little area of trees on the north side of the lake near the Lakeside Senior Center is picture perfect for a picnic. Downtown’s favorite feathered friends, the ducks that call the lake home, are happy to stop by and visit (and get exponentially less shy) if you’re feeling generous with your lunch. After you eat, hop on over to the Rotary Centennial Playground (one of the best in Beaumont, in my opinion – fenced-in goes a long way towards winning my eternal favor) to let the kids burn off some energy. There are restrooms that are usually open for public use on the north side of the Event Centre, but they will be locked if there is an event taking place at the Event Center. Remember that swimming, diving, or wading in the lake is not permitted, and always keep an eye on your little ones near the water.
4. Rogers Park – on the hill
1455 Dowlen Road, Beaumont, TX 77706
I usually like my picnics with a healthy dose of shade, especially as the summer temperature rockets up, but for a mild spring day, the big hill at Rogers Park is perfect! My kids love rolling down the hill all the way to the bottom, getting up only to fall down dizzy, and then climbing back up to do it all over again. The playground on-site is another obvious perk, as is the newly renovated splash pad as we head into summer, and the hill is a pretty great vantage point for a parent who is wanting to give their child their independence while keeping a watchful eye on the goings-on. To cool off, pop into the R.C. Miller library next door and pick up some summer reading materials!
5. Dishman soccer fields
9000 Dishman Rd, Beaumont, TX 77713
This obviously is heavily-dependent on the weather, as the soccer fields pull double-duty as part of Beaumont’s drainage system, but that’s part of the appeal here! The sunken soccer fields mean plenty of room to spread out and let your little ones run and play, while all of the traffic on Dishman stays at a safe distance. Another one with no shade, but time it just right and you can pick wild dewberries along the fence line. Bring along a soccer ball or a kite for the cherry on top of a perfect picnic day. (The roadway is also dirt/gravel, in case you have that kid who is always on the hunt for the perfect rock). This one was a haven for us during the anxiety of lockdown last year. Perfect for getting outside while still social distancing.
6. Pour Brothers Brewery
585 Wall St, Beaumont, TX 77701
This one might not fit the bill of a typical, traditional picnic (as in, blanket on the lawn), but it’s one of our favorite locations nonetheless and I couldn’t close out this list without including it! Pour Brothers was designed to be a family friendly environment and has an amazing, spacious, fenced-in (see? I’m a sucker for a fenced-in space) beer garden full of picnic tables that is the definition of “a little something for everyone.” Enjoy a cold one while challenging your little ones to a family tournament with giant Jenga or giant Connect-4. Or head inside and check out the fully-stocked, overflowing board game closet. Pour Brothers does not serve food, but has partnered with nearby New York Pizza and Pasta to provide a special pub menu via delivery. You can also catch food trucks there, usually on the weekends, or bring your own food in. I’ve gotten a lot of raised eyebrows when I say that we love visiting a brewery with our children, but I’ve heard it straight from the owners mouths that the space was designed to be family friendly, and I think it brings up an interesting point. We approach it with the mindset that it teaches and models drinking alcoholic beverages socially and responsibly, that one beer does not a drunkard make, and that consuming alcohol doesn’t have to be this wild and crazy, out of control kind of thing like it’s often portrayed to be.
Even if you don’t drink alcohol, Pour Brothers also hosts Boomtown Market on the second Sunday of every month, which features an amazing collection of local food, art, music and so much more. It’s one of our can’t-miss events!
7. Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum – under the tree near the Lucas Gusher
5550 Jimmy Simmons Blvd, Beaumont, TX 77705
I almost didn’t include this one, because the Lucas Gusher was damaged in our freak winter storm this past February and, at the time of posting, has not been repaired. But it’s such a great spot that it felt wrong not to include it! When working, the museum regularly schedules free re-enactments of the Lucas Gusher – the 1901 oil discovery about three miles south of Beaumont that went on to shape Southeast Texas industry, and change Texas economy forever. On those scheduled re-enactment days, get there a little early and grab the shady spot under the tree between the museum and the gusher and enjoy a picnic while waiting for the Gusher to go off. Kids will love kicking a ball around, flying a kite, or just exploring the spacious lawn around the Gusher as you count down.
After the re-enactment, make sure you visit the museum and have fun being a tourist in your town! Adults are $5, Seniors 60+ are $3, children ages 6-12 are $2, and children 5 & younger are free. Lamar University and Lamar Institute of Technology students, faculty, staff, retirees, and alumni are also free with a valid ID. You’ll see a short film before you’re free to explore the museum on your own self-guided tour. The museum also provides a scavenger hunt for kids, even going so far to have several variations available in case you have multiple children in your party. The gift shop on site is a wonderful collection of local treasures. This entire day and experience is a wonderful slice of local history that you and your kids will both love!
Remember that our only hard and fast picnic rule is to leave things better than you found them, so please be mindful of the fact that many of these sites are enjoyed by many and make sure to clean up all your trash and watch your kiddos closely so everyone can continue to enjoy these favorites!
Did I miss one of your favorite picnic sites? Have any to add? Let me know!