Just about halfway between the well-traveled waters of Galveston Bay and Corpus Christi Bay sits Matagorda Bay. A lesser known body of water that’s surrounded by charming towns, full of abundant wildlife and rife with amazing history.
On the northwest side of the bay is Port Lavaca, the county seat of Calhoun County which has been a VERY important place in Texas history. To learn about it all, head to the Calhoun County Museum which can fill you in on everything that happened here from the Native Indians, to the Frenchman La Salle, up to Indianola which was one of the biggest cities in Texas in the late 1800’s. The museum has a number of great artifacts, including items recovered from La Salle’s ship the La Belle.
This historic lighthouse was once located in the middle of the bay, but now it’s landlocked so trippers like you and I can explore it. Check out this piece of history and get a cool view of town from the top.
As you move down the west side of the bay you can still visit the place where La Salle first sat foot in Texas claiming it all for France. He established Fort St. Louis nearby which failed to be a long term settlement which is why we don’t speak French in Texas. Today, the spot where he landed is marked with a statue of the great French explorer.
Keep walking down the bay and you’ll arrive at Indianola, which is just a shadow of what it used to be as a series of hurricanes reduced this bustling port city to a remote fishing village. The only remnants left of Old Indianola are a few patches of concrete and the old cemetery. Folks say it is haunted, but we didn’t stick around to find out.
Fishing Guide Services
If you really want to hit the bay waters right, then head to Port O’Connor and schedule a charted fishing trip. We went with Capt. Mike Bohac at Fishing Tales Guide Service, but he has retired since we filmed this segment. On the Coastal Conservation Association website, you can find an expert on the middle coast area that will land you a keeper or two of Texas red, trout, flounder, or whatever you might be looking for.
The adventure in Port O’Connor doesn’t stop with fishing. I recommend getting a charter boat to Matagorda Island which holds the Matagorda Island Lighthouse. This cast iron beauty towering almost 100 feet tall is well worth the 2.5 mile bike ride or hike to get there.
While you’re in town and hungry, grab some amazing Texas-style BBQ that’s made the Texas Monthly’s Top BBQ list.
If you do catch some fish in the bay, take it to Josie’s Mexican Food, where they’ll cook it up right with onions, tomatoes, and spice. They also make some mean Mexican food if you don’t land the fish you want or would rather take your’s home and cook it yourself.
Port Lavaca, TX