Texas,  Travel & Places



Two weekends ago we drove down to the coastal town of Matagorda for Chris’ birthday weekend. He wanted to do some fishing and I wanted to go camping. We ended up camping at the Matagorda Bay Nature Park which is located mostly on the Colorado River towards the tip of the outlet into the Gulf of Mexico.

Chris consulted his fishing maps for kayak trails and we found several along the road leading to the beach. Many of these areas have signs not to park next to the road, which confounded us at first, but as we drove back by we saw a small fill pad of a parking area built into the marsh just for the use of parking and offloading/loading kayaks.

The paddling was rather difficult heading out as we were going straight into the wind, which was blowing as a nice clip. That’s a good arm workout there, paddling into the wind.

Eastern (maybe western?) pygmy blue butterfly
While Chris fished I pushed my kayak as far as I could get into the vegetation to hold me steady, which didn’t always work. There were a lot of these small butterflies flittering about. I think I identified them as eastern pygmy blue butterflies, but they could be western pygmy’s instead. They looked closer to eastern to me despite many of the guides saying they weren’t nearly as common as the western’s.

The butterfly held on tightly to my hand for a good while despite my best attempts to let it walk off onto a piece of grass. It might have enjoyed the salts on my hand.

Chris paddled out into the bay for awhile, fishing alongside the motorized boats. Equipped with an anchor he was able to fish for awhile as I explored a shell/sand bar, finally heading back to the kayak to read My Life in France, the Julia Child memoir (good reading!).





Out on the water for only about two hours, we cut our paddle short. Fishing wasn’t good and going against the wind didn’t really lend itself to a desire to explore the marsh for a long period of time. Chris cast-netted some bait for fishing later before we took off down the road for the campground.


Our campsite was nice; we were next to another couple tenting and an RV on the other side. It was mostly RVs except for a group of Boy Scouts on the opposite side of the campground.

I’d love to go back to this park sometime soon. In fact, Matagorda might be my new favorite spot for a beach getaway. It isn’t touristy like Galveston, isn’t close to a lot of refineries and chemical plants like Surfside is, and from what we saw of the beach there’s a really nice dune system which isn’t as well develope further north on the coast. The mosquitoes weren’t terrible, though they did come out towards nightfall. I can imagine at certain times of the year it would be miserable without bugspray. What I loved about this area was the paddling trails and just how many people were actually using them.

Matagorda the town isn’t very large. In fact, when I was in the nature center nosing around their exhibits and gift shop there was apparently a close-call with a drowning. One of the park workers had just come back with an AED that apparently wasn’t needed, but someone had called 911. It wasn’t until about 45 minutes later when we had gone to town, (to find me a pair of flip-flops since my sandals fell apart) that we heard the sirens for the ambulance come through town. They had come all the way from Bay City as Matagorda did not have a local fire rescue system.

The nature center was for me, exciting. It had the musty smell of a beach house and somehow I swore I could smell formaldehyde—which to me is the smell of science. The building reminded me of going to my labs in college at the Ft. Crocket campus of TAMUG, dissection and 20+ year old jarred specimens on black lab tables. The gift shop was having a very, very reduced price sale on a few items and I snagged a wildflower book of the Hill Country for $5 and a couple of $2 t-shirts.

Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and East Matagorda Bay
It rained overnight and the next morning there was a good chance for storms so we left late morning to hit a few nurseries on the way home. This is the view of the Intracoastal Waterway looking east as we crossed over it.

Matagorda…I’m coming back for more!!

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