Matagorda County is located on the Texas Gulf Coast mid-way between Galveston and Corpus Christi and only 65 miles from the Houston metro area. The county spreads out over 1,114 square miles of coastal prairie and boasts more than 65 miles of coastline. Bay City is the county seat and Palacios is the only other incorporated city. The communities of Blessing, Midfield, Markham, Wadsworth, Matagorda, Van Vleck, Sargent and Pledger fill in the rural and coastal spaces. Matagorda County is bordered by Southern Brazoria County, Wharton County, Jackson County and Calhoun County.

Commercial Barge and Recreational Boating Transportation:

Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (ICWW):

The Gulf ICWW runs behind the county’s barrier islands for 65 miles.  There is dredged channel access to the ICWW from the Port of Palacios and from the Port of Bay City on the Colorado River.  The ICWW provides commercial barge shipments to all points along the Texas coast, the Gulf of Mexico, and into the Mississippi and Tombigbee waterways.

Shallow Draft Ports:

Port of Bay City – The Port of Bay City has a turning basin, 5,000 sf warehouse, and petroleum loading/unloading facility 10 miles up the Colorado River from the ICWW at Matagorda.  There is a dredged channel with a 12-foot minimum depth from the ICWW to the Port.  The Port Authority has land around the port for long-term lease and development.  The Port Authority also has an Industrial Development Authority to assist with new business locations. The Port Authority also owns and operates the Matagorda Harbor located on the ICWW at Texas mile 440. Near superb bay and offshore fishing locations, the harbor provides slips for approximately 222 pleasure boats, with limited bulkhead space available for transient boats. There are four paved boat ramps open to the public and 26 RV spaces available to boat slip patrons. There is commercial dockage available for crew changes and loading of supplies for commercial barge traffic.  

Port of Palacios – Navigation District Number 1 owns the Port of Palacios.  The shallow draft port is  connected to the ICWW and to the Gulf by a dredged channel in Tres Palacios and  Matagorda Bays.  The port is home to over 300 commercial shrimping boats.  The port has  three turning basins, a barge manufacturing facility, a boat repair facility, docking for commercial boats, covered and uncovered recreational boat slips and shrimp processing facilities.  The Navigation District has available parcels around the harbor for commercial, retail, industrial, and residential development.  The Navigation District also owns a 100- acre business park for industrial, commercial, and office uses and a 640-acre waterfront tract for future development.

Deep Water Ports - from Matagorda locks on ICWW

Port of Port Lavaca - Point Comfort33 miles by barge
Port of Freeport83 miles by barge
Port of Corpus Christi98 mile by barge
Port of Houston147 miles by barge

Rail Transportation

Railroad service is available in Matagorda County from the Burlington Northern/Santa Fe and the Union Pacific railroad companies. Their rail lines intersect in Bay City. Dual service and joint use lines are in some locations. 

Railroad NamePiggybackSwitching
Burlington Northern/Santa FeYesYes
Union Pacfic/Southern PacificYesYes

Major Thoroughfares

Matagorda County has two major thoroughfares. State Highway 60 (SH 60) is a north-south corridor connecting the cities of Wharton, Bay City & Matagorda. SH 60 connects Bay City with major industrial employers south and southwest of the city. SH 60 connects Matagorda County to U.S. 59 14 miles to the north in Wharton and connects to Interstate 10 52 miles to the north in Sealy. State Highway 35 (SH 35) is the east/west thoroughfare connecting Matagorda County with the cities of Angleton, Lake Jackson and Freeport to the east and Port Lavaca and Corpus Christi to the west.

Local Airports

Bay City Municipal Airport (BYY): 


Palacios Municipal Airport (PSX)

Palacios Municipal Airport covers an area of 1,538 acres (622 ha) at an elevation of 14 feet (4 m) above mean sea level. It has three runways (one is lighted) with concrete surfaces: 8/26 is 5,001 by 150 feet (1,524 x 46 m); 13/31 is 5,001 by 150 feet (1,524 x 46 m); 17/35 is 5,001 by 75 feet (1,524 x 23 m).

Nearest Commercial Airports:

Victoria Regional AirportVictoria, Texas60 miles 
Hobby National AirportHouston, Texas65 miles
Bush Intercontinental AirportHouston, Texas75 miles
Corpus Christi AirportCorpus Christi, Texas140 miles
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