Matagorda County is a picturesque community on the Gulf Coast with a rich history and access to the great outdoors. Residents and visitors alike can enjoy outdoor sports such as golfing, fishing and boating or take a stroll through one of the many parks and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature that abound in the number one birding spot in the nation. Spend some time shopping in one of the locally owned shops found throughout the county. The county was once home to the Karankawa Indians. Settlement by Anglo-Americans began in 1822, when the schooner "Only Son" landed immigrants for Stephen F. Austin's colony at the mouth of the Colorado River. The Republic of Texas organized Matagorda County as one of the first 23 counties. By 1913, railroads had helped establish or expand many towns and villages to include Bay City, Palacios, Blessing, Collegeport, Markham, Midfield, Wadsworth, Van VIeck Pledger and Sargent. Bay City, located at the junction point of three railroad lines at the time, flourished after 1900. Devastation of Matagorda by major hurricanes caused the county seat to be moved to Bay City. There are more than 100 Texas Historical Markers found throughout the county.  With three of the county's main communities Palacios, Matagorda and Sargent on the water, fishing and watersports are a big draw in the spring and summertime. Whether your passion is kayaking, boating, skiing, riding jet skis or spending a lazy day on the beach, the county has you covered. The increasing population has been a boom for the economy, as evidenced by the packed parking lots and larger consumer base at local businesses. Along with population growth has come an influx of new businesses. The county has seen new hotels, restaurants, shopping centers housing and gas stations built and opened over the last few years. The temperate climate throughout most of the year makes it possible for visitors to enjoy breathtaking sunrises and sunsets or observe a variety of bird life in the estuaries and marshes found throughout the county. The Matagorda County-Mad Island Marsh Wildlife Management Area is a 7,200 acre coastal wetland habitat for wintering waterfowl. The annual Christmas Bird Count has been number one in the USA for number of species seen in one day, eighteen times in the last 23 years. Reservations are required for tours of the wildlife. Matagorda County is quickly growing. It is a booming county and a desirable destination to visit or to make a home.


Bay City is a town with a strong, historical presence and the county seat of Matagorda County. The community --named for its location on Bay Prairie, between the richly productive bottomlands of the Colorado River and Caney Creek - was established in 1894. It is located at the crossroads of Texas 35 and Texas 60 and is within a short drive of anything in Matagorda County. The town is home to a large public library and a state-of-the-art medical center, thriving town square and many activities to enjoy. Bay City is a place you can get outdoors and relax and enjoy hours of refreshing fun year round. Golfers can enjoy the 18-hole course designed by Gary Player at the Rio Colorado Golf Club. This picturesque public course is carved around the beautiful Colorado River and surrounding wetlands. Riverside Park offers walking/running trails a 10-station exercise course, a boat ramp. fishing, playground and a day pavilion. They also feature 40 campsites with full-service RV hookups Le Tulle Park has two open-air pavilions and one enclosed pavilion, restrooms two lakes,  playground, picnic tables with grills, and an 18-hole disc golf course. The Matagorda County Birding Nature Cen- ter covers 34 acres along the Colorado River in Bay City. It has six botanical gardens and three major eco-systems for visitors to enjoy. It is accessible by car or kayak/canoe. Two community pools, Valiant Pool at 2624 Carey Smith Blvd and Hilliard Pool at 3020 Le Tulle offer swimming in the summer; starting after Memorial Day. Valiant Pool also offers lap swimming at designated times year round. Skateboard enthusiasts have a place to hang out and hone their skills at a 6,600-square-foot facility at Hardeman Park on 12th Street. Rollerbladers and rollerskaters also are welcome at the park. The Matagorda County Museum is housed in the town's original 1918 U.S. Post Office. The museum offers four permanent exhibits and several temporary exhibits each year, giving fresh attractions for returning visitors In the museum's basement, "'Our Town" is a turn-of-the-century playroom, complete with a corral, general store, barber shop, jail, craft room and an opera house that allows children a taste of pioneer life The Bay City Public Library provides books video tapes and DVDs, audio tapes and compact discs. The library has several special features, including a genealogy section, Inter net workstations, large print books, and books on tape.



The coastal community of Palacios, along Tres Palacios Bay in the southwestern corner of Matagorda County, is the second largest city in Matagorda County. Known as the Shrimp Capital of Texas, the Port of Palacios is home to more than 400 commercial shrimp, crab and oyster boats that operate in Matagorda Bay and the Gulf of Mexico Palacios is a popular spot for "Winter Texans" and year round vacationers alike. Visitors can enjoy breathtaking sunrises and sunsets or observe a variety of bird life in the estuaries and marshes found in Palacios. Whether you have a sailboat, canoe or a fishing vessel, there are numerous public boat ramps and three marinas available for launching and docking. A 1.5-mile long concrete lighted seawall allows for a quiet stroll or exercise alongside the bay while enjoying the view. Families can relax and spend time in the covered picnic areas and playgrounds located on poth the East and South Bay parks. On some days, schools of porpoises can be spotted feeding along the coastline! Lodging options are abundant, whether you prefer an RV park, a cozy bed and breakfast, a vacation rental, a stay at a local motel or historical hotel there's an option for everyone. With all these wonderful amenities, it's surprising that Palacios is the best-kept secret on the Gulf coast.


The town of Matagorda is Texas' third oldest city; at one time the state's third largest - and the second port established in Texas after Galveston. 60 immigrants aboard the first sailing vessel to pull into Matagorda Bay on Jan. 27, 1829 settled Matagorda The historic Matagorda Cemetery was established in 1830. Historic figures buried there include: Ira Ingram, the first speaker of the Texas House; Albert Clinton Horton, the Republic of Texas' first lieutenant governor; Samuel Rhoads Fisher, a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence; and George Morse Collinsworth commander of the Texans who captured the Mexican garrison at Goliad in 1835. Matagorda's many attractions include the Matagorda Beach with a covered picnic area, the Matagorda harbor, the LCRA Nature Park, kayak trails and ample fishing opportunities Much of Matagorda's business community caters to beach visitors; with restaurants, souvenir shops, bait camps, motels, rentals and numerous RV parks.


Sargent is a small coastal community at the end of FM 457, 30 miles south of Bay City. The Intracoastal Waterway runs through Sargent providing access to the Gulf of Mexico, as well as East Matagorda Bay. Texas' last remaining swing bridge adds a touch of nostalgia to the town, but soon will be replaced by a new span bridge. In the 1960s, canals were dug to connect the Intracoastal Waterway with Caney Creek, giving many home sites waterfront access. Most of Sargent's business community caters to beach visitors; with restaurants bait camps, a motel, numerous RV parks, and marinas. Sargent also offers ample opportunity for birding enthusiasts to spot several different species with Matagorda County having the largest Bird Count in North America. 


Blessing is at the junction of Texas 35 and FM 616, 20 miles west of Bay City on the west side of the Tres Palacios River in west-central Matagorda County. The town was founded in the early 1900s and was first named "Thank God" in gratitude for the coming of the railroad but the U.S. Post Office rejected that name. The name Blessing was the second choice, and the post office opened in 1903. Blessing is home to the historic Hotel Blessing, built in 1906. The hotel was restored in 1978, and in 1979 the Hotel Blessing was entered into the National Register of Historic Places, the first official listing for Matagorda County with this distinction. Popular with locals is Heffelfinger Memorial Park. The park includes lighted baseball fields, fields, a a walking track, basketball and tennis courts, playground equipment, picnic areas and a small lake with a suspension bridge leading to a gazebo in the center.

Van Vleck

Van Vleck, originally known as Hardeman, resides adjacent of Bay City to the east on Texas 35. The township has its own post office and a school district that services a large rural area of eastern Matagorda County. The estimated population is about 2000, up from 1400 recorded in the 2000 census. Many residents live in rural areas on the outskirts of the community Van VIeck is located only one half mile from Tenaris Bay City, a state-of-the-art seamless pipe mill and just three and one half miles from the Bay City Municipal Airport. 

Cedar Lane

Cedar Lane, at the intersection of FM 457 and FM 521 in east central Matagorda County on Caney Creek, is a small community, with an identity tied to the church and a long history. The community has had three names - originaly known as Sugar Land, then Bowieville and now Cedar Lane Sugar Land dates back to the mid 1800s, when sugar plantations thrived along the Caney. Bowieville was a farming community on FM 457. The original settlement clustered around the Bowie store with an approach through a lane of cedars, providing today's name n 1912, Cedar Lane had its own post office and was a stop on the Texas and New Orleans Railroad Cedar Lane is halfway between Bay City and the beach in Sargent.


Markham sits six miles west of Bay City where FM1468 and FM 2431 cross and just north of Texas 35. The town was first named Cortes, for the community's largest employer, the Moore Cortes Canal Company. The name was changed in 1903 to Markham, in honor of C.H. Markham, an engineer for the Southern Pacific lines By 1914 Markham had become a stop on the Texas and New Orleans Railroad and had a population of 500. Today, Markham has its own volunteer fire department, several businesses and a population over 1,100. 


Midfield, 16 miles west of Bay City at the intersection of FM 2431 and Texas 71, is named for the community's location, which is equal distance from EI Campo, Palacios, Bay City and Ganado. The first post office opened in 1904 and remains in operation today. Midfield was originally a stop on the Texas and New Orleans Railroad in 1914, when the town had two general stores, a lumber company, a bank, a telephone connection and a population of about 300. 


Formed in 1909, Collegeport is another small Matagorda County town with a rich history. It is located at the southern end of FM 1095, on the eastern shore of Tres Palacios Bay, two miles The combination of a port and a college, Gulf Coast University of Industrial Arts, gave the settlement its name A community center - the Mopac House was built from lumber from the Missouri Pacific depot during the depression in 1935 and has a Registered Texas Historical Marker. The waterfront views from Collegeport are spectacular. Palacios can be seen across the bay and there are many unique homes sitting along the waterfront. This small town set in a remote area of southwestern Matagorda County is a hidden treasure. 


Pledger, whose town site was platted and filed in 1902, rests in the northern corner of Matagorda County at the junction of FM 1301 and FM 1728, 19 miles northeast of Bay City. It has links to Texas' first settlers brought by Stephen F. Austin. During most of its history, the area has been primarily an agricultural community. The rich bottomland on Caney Creek yielded crops of sugarcane, cotton and corn in addition to pecans, turf grass, grains, soybeans, hay and livestock. 


At the junction of Texas 60, FM 521 and FM 2078 in south central Matagorda County, Wadsworth sits halfway between Bay City and the coastal town of Matagorda. It is an active community that serves as home to a chemical plant, an agriculture industry and is just minutes from a nuclear plant. Wadsworth sees traffic from area farmers and ranchers, workers at the LyondellBasell chemical plant and the South Texas Project. A steady stream of people headed for Matagorda and the warm waters of the Gulf Coast also pass through this town.