8 Best Places to Live in Southeast Texas – 2022 Update

We looked through all the data to pick the best places to live in Southeast Texas based on each city’s overall desirability and their quality of life.

Southeast Texas is one of the most well-rounded regions in all of Texas. The cities here offer an authentic culture with a relaxed way of life that is both affordable and filled with things to do around town.

Most cities in this area are located directly on or near the water, while there is also the Big Thicket National Preserve and McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge to enjoy, making it a great place for outdoor lovers as well.

The relatively low cost of living found in the whole region also makes it an attractive option for young professionals, families, and even retirees who are looking to relocate to an area that offers a great value.

Best Places to Live in Southeast Texas – How We Chose the Cities

Let’s first identify what part of Texas should be considered “Southeast Texas.” Traditionally, it is the land between Houston and the Louisiana border on the Gulf Coast of Texas. Within Southeast Texas, there is also the “Golden Triangle,” which is the area between Beaumont, Port Arthur, and Orange, Texas.

Then, to determine the best cities in Southeast Texas, we gathered a database with all the major aspects of what we think makes a city great, including:

  • Overall standard of living
  • Costs for housing
  • Amenities around the city
  • Education 
  • Safety levels
  • Access to arts and culture

When we added up all the scores, we came up with our top eight cities. So, let’s dive into the details and discover what the best places to live in Southeast Texas are and what we think makes them so desirable to move to.

The 8 Best Places to Live in Southeast Texas in 2022

8. Beaumont

best-places-to-live-in-southeast-texas-breweries 

Population: 116,825
Cost of Living Index: 6.5% Below Texas Average
Median Home Price: $138,738

Location: Check on Google Maps

Beaumont starts off our list of the best places to live in Southeast Texas and is one of the major cities of the area.

In fact, it is the biggest city on this list, so it is the perfect place for those looking for a dynamic urban environment instead of a small town within the region.

Beaumont offers plenty of things to do, including a historic downtown district that offers many great restaurants, breweries, and cultural attractions like the Art Museum of Southeast Texas, Jefferson Theater, and Beaumont Children’s Museum.

Its location right on the Neches River also allows its residents to enjoy a bit of nature.

Additionally, there are numerous parks around the city, including Riverfront Park that is right on the river.

7. Port Arthur

Population: 54,280
Cost of Living Index: 10.9% Below Texas Average
Median Home Price: $84,085

Location: Check on Google Maps

Port Arthur is the 2nd biggest city on this list and also offers the most affordable cost of living compared to the rest of the cities here.

Costs are over 10% lower here than in the rest of Texas. Unbelievably, the average home here costs less than $100,000 as well.

Its location right on Sabine Lake also makes it a nice place for people who like to relax by the water.

Port Arthur also offers ample opportunities for those in the oil and gas industry.

Meanwhile, it is just 30 minutes from Beaumont and 1.5 hours from Houston, so residents here can take advantage of the amenities in the big cities, too.

6. Vidor

best-places-to-live-in-southeast-texas-families

Population: 10,403
Cost of Living Index: 8.7% Below Texas Average
Median Home Price: $159,903

Location: Check on Google Maps

Vidor, Texas is located right outside of Beaumont and is a quiet community that offers great neighborhoods for families and retirees to settle into.

This family-friendly city is quite safe as well, with a crime rate that is almost 30% lower than the rest of Texas.

Prices here are reasonable, too. The cost of living is about 9% lower in Vidor than the state average and homes can be bought for around $150,000 to $170,000.

5. Bridge City

Population: 7,862
Cost of Living Index: 1.1% Below Texas Average
Median Home Price: $203,342

Location: Check on Google Maps

Bridge City is the smallest place on this list, which makes it one of the best places to live in Southeast Texas for those looking for a relaxed and authentic small community.

Local residents speak very positively about the sense of community within Bridge City’s idyllic, tree-lined streets, noting how welcoming everyone is to newcomers.

It is also a pretty safe place to live, with crime rates that are 50% lower than the rest of Texas.

Bridge City’s proximity to multiple bodies of water, like the Neches River, Cow Bayou, and Sabine Lake, make it a desirable place for those who like to go fishing or boating as well.

4. Groves

best-places-to-live-in-southeast-texas-lakefront

Population: 15,480
Cost of Living Index: 5.4% Below Texas Average
Median Home Price: $151,853

Location: Check on Google Maps

Groves, Texas is a neighbor to Port Arthur and is also minutes away from the lakefront.

It is a simple and humble community where you can find nice people and a calm, small town environment.

Residents speak positively about the quietness and safety of Groves. They mention that there is rarely any traffic and that they can find everything they need around the city.

Groves is also just 25 minutes from Beaumont, so residents here can easily access larger city amenities.

3. Lumberton

Population: 13,073
Cost of Living Index: 2.2% Above Texas Average
Median Home Price: $265,159

Location: Check on Google Maps

Lumberton is a small town about 20 minutes north of Beaumont that offers a family-friendly community that is known to have a solid school system with great sports and extracurricular programs.

The city is also quite safe, with crime rates that are about 50% lower than the rest of Texas.

As a result, Lumberton has experienced a small boom in the development of real estate and small businesses.

However, all of these benefits do come at a price as Lumberton is one of the more expensive areas to live on this list.

Still, the cost of living is just 2% above the state average and homes here can be found for under $300,000.

2. Nederland

Population: 17,371
Cost of Living Index: 2.2% Below Texas Average
Median Home Price: $175,274

Location: Check on Google Maps

Nederland, Texas is located right in between Beaumont and Port Arthur and is about 10-15 minutes away from a body of water in the southern and eastern parts of the city.

This tight-knit community offers many restaurants and stores across the city as well as several public parks as well.

Don’t miss the beautiful Doornbos Heritage Park that is located in the middle of town.

There are also some unique things to do around Nederland, Texas, such as a visit to the Dutch Windmill Museum or the quaint bars and shops that can be found on Boston Avenue.

1. Port Neches

best-places-to-live-in-southeast-texas-affordable

Population: 712,655
Cost of Living Index: 0% Below Texas Average
Median Home Price: $192,773

Location: Check on Google Maps

Port Neches is our number one choice as the best place to live in Southeast Texas. It earned this distinction by offering an excellent mix of livability, affordability, and entertainment.

It is a neighbor to Nederland, Texas and is located right on the riverfront of the Neches River.

Around the city, you can find many small neighborhoods with affordable homes alongside some bustling commercial districts along Port Neches Avenue and Magnolia Avenue.

There is also the expansive Central Park that is in the center of the city and Port Neches Park that is right on the waterfront.

Port Neches is also pretty safe, with crime rates that are about 50% lower than the Texas state average.

You can experience all of this for an affordable rate. Home prices are around $200,000 in Port Neches, while the cost of living here is around the Texas state average.

Best Places to Live in Southeast Texas – Summary

After looking through all the numbers and reviews, these are the best cities in Southeast Texas:

  1. Port Neches
  2. Nederland
  3. Lumberton
  4. Groves
  5. Bridge City
  6. Vidor
  7. Port Arthur
  8. Beaumont

These are all great places to live in Southeast Texas and offer an enticing blend of fun things to do, affordability, and a good quality of life.

If you are thinking about relocating to Southeast Texas, be sure to consider the cities that we have mentioned above.

If you want to see the list of the best cities in all of Texas, then check out our latest rankings.