swamps & gators

You want swamps and gators? We've got plenty! Southeast Texas is home to the largest alligator population in Texas. And Beaumont's Gator Country is the place to visit to get to know all about scaly reptiles - and even hold a baby gator. The park is home to nearly 600 alligators but the headliner of this popular family attraction is Big Tex, the largest alligator in captivity in Texas - and that's a fact certified by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. Big Tex is more than 13 feet 8-1/2 inches long and weighs roughly 1,000 pounds.

In town, visitors can spot alligators sunbathing along the banks of Hillebrandt Bayou and Willow Marsh Bayou within Cattail Marsh. The Marsh includes 900-acres of scenic wetlands and offers a variety of recreational activities with more than eight miles of gravel levee roads for jogging, hiking, biking, horseback riding, bird watching and wildlife photography.

For a less up close and personal encounter with alligators, step aboard the Ivory Bill, an open-air pontoon boat that offers a leisurely way to enjoy the Neches River. The Neches River is often called "the last wild river" in East Texas because of the diverse ecosystems that include bottomland forests, pine trees and an abundance of wildlife, including alligators. Neches River Boat Tours depart from the dock at Riverfront Park in downtown Beaumont. A complete list of swamp and river tour operators is below.

Just a short drive from Beaumont, you'll find Anahuac, McFaddin & Texas Point National Wildlife Refuges where you can explore bayous and trails along one of the largest remaining freshwater marshes on the Texas coast - and home to plenty of alligators.