Clute is a quaint town of just 12,000 people nestled within the bustling region that is surrounded by thousands of acres of fresh and saltwater marshes, forests, and sandy beaches. As such, Clute offers visitors easy access to the many sites and experiences that define the Texas Gulf Coast. Explore a vast underwater area full of sunken vessels, wander through tranquil coastal prairies full of colorful wildlife, and escape to a tranquil beach. These are just some of the great things to do in Clute that should comprise any adventure in this part of Texas.
Scuba diving in Clute? Absolutely! Clute is home to Mammoth Lake Waterpark, a 55-acre water activities park that is the largest scuba diving-specific lake in the United States. Explore the lake and you’ll encounter more than 70 submerged wrecks, including fire trucks, boats, and the metallic shell of a military C-130 cargo plane. You’ll see all of this in stark clear water, with visibility ranging from 10 to 30 feet. If you’re not a scuba diving expert, or you don’t have your equipment with you, don’t fret. Mammoth Lake Waterpark has a full-service scuba shop with a full set of rental gear. Since it is a Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) facility, it also offers training and certification classes for depths up to 61 feet.
There may be plenty of exciting things to see and do below the surface of the lake, but that’s not all you can do here. The lake is a popular spot for swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, and standup paddle boarding. Camping sites are available as well, if you want to enjoy the full Mammoth Lake experience. The lake is open year-round and an entrance fee must be paid before entering.
The Texas Gulf Coast is a biologically diverse region that is an important nesting ground for hundreds of species of migratory birds. As such, there are several sprawling national wildlife refuges that are well worth exploring. Travel northeast from Clute and you’ll find yourself among the pristine marshlands and coastal prairies of the 44,000-acre Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge. More than 600 species of animals call the refuge home at any time of the year, including such creatures as the American alligator, bobcat, white-tailed deer, and monarch butterfly.
On the other side of Clute, you’ll reach the oak forests and saltwater lakes of San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge, a nearly 35,000-acre area that is just as diverse as its northern neighbor. It’s also the home of the largest live oak tree in Texas, a 67-foot-tall behemoth that boasts a more than 100 foot crown.
Both wildlife refuges offer plenty of space for you to explore. Hiking and driving trails take you through each refuge, offering several great points for wildlife observation and photography throughout the year. Fresh and saltwater fishing are available in both refuges, as well as waterfowl hunting. Keep in mind that all Texas state regulations apply to fishing and hunting activities, so you’ll need the appropriate permits or license before you can do either. Spectacular natural beauty and a seemingly infinite number of animals to see makes both refuges a must visit while you’re in Clute.
Along with its quick access to fantastic natural areas, Clute also enjoys an ideal location near some of the best beaches on the Texas Gulf Coast. Clute is within five miles of the coastal area, which includes Bryan Beach, Quintana Beach, and Surfside Beach, a stretch of 27 miles of public and private beaches. Whether you want to swim, surf, soak up the sun, or fish off of one of Surfside Beach’s mile-long jetties, you can do it all here. Of course, no trip to the beach is complete without browsing a souvenir shop or dining on some fried fish or a succulent hamburger at a local restaurant. Fortunately, there are several shops and restaurants in Surfside Beach that likely have what you’re craving.
You’re back in Clute and you’ve cleaned the sand off of you. Now what? If you enjoy live music in any form, then the answer to this question is quite easy. Check out The Clarion, a spectacular 600-seat performance hall located in the Brazosport College campus. The Clarion is designed to maximize the quality of acoustic sound, creating an enthralling atmosphere for the wide variety of musical performances held there. Internationally renowned musicians such as Lyle Lovett and Don McLean have performed in The Clarion, complementing The Clarion’s set of blues, jazz, and acoustic concerts. Performances are conducted throughout the year, and if you’re the type to plan in advance, you can purchase tickets and check out the schedule on The Clarion’s website.
Clute may be a small town, but it holds a very big distinction. Within its city limits resides The Center for Arts & Sciences, an all-in-one cultural center lauded by Frommer’s as one of the ten best museums in Texas. That’s because you will encounter just about everything at the museum, from archaeology to the performing arts. The natural history museum is composed of halls dedicated to archaeology, paleontology, geology, and the wildlife indigenous to the region. A small planetarium contains interactive computer stations and displays, and images from the Hubble, Spitzer, and Chandra telescopes. If that weren’t enough, browse an art gallery featuring sculptures, paintings, and other works, or take in a theatrical performance at Center Stages, the oldest continuously operating community theater in the Gulf Coast of Texas that includes two stages. All of the things you can see and experience at The Center for Arts & Sciences makes this one of the essential things to do in Clute.
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