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Travel + Leisure
May 16, 2014

Landlocked Bay City and waterfront Matagorda, linked by Highway 60, are a pair of small towns on the way to Matagorda Bay State Park, part of Texas’ impressively long barrier island system. The area’s brackish water—this is where the Colorado meets the Gulf—is brimming with unique marine life, and is ideal for fishing and bird watching from a kayak or motorboat. When you’re hungry or ready to rest your head, head back up Highway 60.

Freebird Kayak Canoe Adventures

Travelers can rent single or double kayaks and canoes at this soft adventure outfit. Bring a fishing pole if you want to drop a line for speckled trout.

Spoonbills

You’ll likely meet chef Edie Pruitt making his rounds at this restaurant, set in a revamped bungalow. Start the meal off with additive cornbread muffins before moving onto boiled shrimp with a basil ponzu marinade or grilled chicken and mango salsa.

Stanley-Fisher House Bed & Breakfast

After a day in the sun, bed down at this charming whitewashed house with green shutters, originally built in 1832. The three bedrooms are filled with vintage furnishings and pieces of Civil War memorabilia; don’t miss breakfast—the daily changing menu may include scrambled eggs, fresh fruit, or French toast.

Matagorda Country Birding Nature Center

Travelers can explore this 34-acre park, dotted with ponds and gardens, on foot or by golf cart; keep an eye out for Ruby-throated hummingbirds and yellow-crowned Night Herons.

Matagorda Charter Boats

The whole family is invited to take a seat in the lucky captain’s chair on “Redfish” Raymond Cox’s boat. He’s guided new and experienced anglers in the Gulf for over 30 years.

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