Matagorda County is a great place to live and work. With three communities located directly on the coast and the mighty Colorado River, Tres Palacios River and Caney Creek running through the county, it is known for its appeal to outdoor enthusiasts. Boating, fishing, skiing, sailing, surfing, and just enjoying the sand and sun is often what you’ll find residents and visitors alike doing during the majority of the year that we enjoy beautiful weather. Matagorda County offers three golf courses, tennis courts, and plenty of boat launches for kayaking and canoeing. For detailed information on outdoor activities and sporting, visit the Matagorda County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau’s Guide
Wildlife in Matagorda County
This coastal prairie land is also a huge draw for hundreds of bird species, which in turn is a huge draw for birders from around the world who make the trek to Matagorda County for the chance to add many sightings to their lifetime bird lists. For many years, Matagorda County has ranked number 1 in North America for the most number of bird species documented during Audubon’s Annual Christmas Bird Count. The Matagorda County Birding and Nature Center is a must-see for birding enthusiasts.
Waterfowl and all manner of game hunting is another popular pastime in Matagorda County. From guided hunts on private property to public land hunts and chartered helicopter hog hunts, there is something for every outdoor enthusiast here.
Much of Matagorda County is still farmed and ranched, a heritage that has endured since members of Stephen F. Austin’s Old Three Hundred settled it as a Mexican Colony. Each spring and winter you can still witness a cattle drive on horseback over county roads across the mouth of the Colorado River and on to Matagorda Island where cattle graze on Saltgrass to sustain them through the winter.
The ag industry is much celebrated in Matagorda County every March with the Matagorda County Livestock Show and Rodeo. A two-week event, this tradition has something for everyone including a PRCA-sanctioned rodeo, ranch rodeo, youth livestock shows, cooking and arts and crafts competitions, a large midway and plenty of old-fashioned fun.
Though the drought has caused a three-year hiatus, Matagorda County is also known for its rice farming. It is an $80 million industry in the county that has become somewhat of an agricultural identity. Each year around harvest time the Bay City Lions Club holds a Rice Festival that is a two week event consisting of pageantry, parade, carnival, awards luncheon, and rice dish cooking competition.
Lifestyle in Matagorda County
For those who enjoy more of the nightlife, Matagorda County offers plenty in the way of fun as well as refined dining establishments, watering holes, a coffee bar and wine lounge not to mention plenty of waterfront restaurants where you can enjoy a meal, have a drink and listen to some live music all while enjoying the sights and sounds of the water. For a complete list, visit the Matagorda County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau’s Restaurant Guide and list of Live Music Venues.
Those who are just looking to relax and get away in a homey, coastal environment, Matagorda County offers a historical hotel, beds and breakfasts, brand new popular chain hotels, and a large variety of beach rentals, vacation homes and peaceful waterfront RV and camping parks. Click here for a complete list of places to stay.
There is much to be found for kids entertainment as well, including a bowling alley and arcade with activities suitable for young children and teens alike. There are two public swimming facilities, municipal parks, a skate park, a sports complex, a well-supported and thriving Boys and Girls Club, and a plethora of youth sports leagues from soccer to swimming, football,baseball and basketball among others.
Arts & Hobbies
There are also plenty of opportunities to cultivate an appreciation of and participation in fine arts. The Community Actors of South Texas is a thriving community theatre group that puts on at least three productions each year.The Dungeoneers, a high school speech, debate and theatre club that is known for its award-winning program, also provides excellent opportunities to enjoy musical, dramatic, classic and comedic theatre experiences. The Art League of Bay City and Matagorda County hosts a local and regional art show each year that features very accomplished artists showing a wide array of media. There is a local men’s choir and Barber Shop Quartet that entertains the community regularly, as well as a community chorale that features classically trained vocalists performing such musical treasures as Handel’s Messiah at Christmas time.
History buffs enjoy much to offer in Matagorda County as well with the Matagorda County Museum in Bay City and the City by the Sea Museum in Palacios. We have an impressive 11 landmarks listed on the National Register of Historic Places as well as many more listed as state historical landmarks.
The county also has five public libraries – The Bay City Public Library and its Sargent Branch, the Palacios Library Inc. and its branch the Blessing Library and the Matagorda Public Library – strategically located throughout the county to offer citizens and visitors access to great literature and information in all forms.