Matagorda Island State Park and Wildlife Management Area

By: Christopher Long

Type: General Entry

Published: April 1, 1995

Matagorda Island State Park and Wildlife Management Area is on Matagorda Island across from Port O'Connor in Calhoun County. The southwestern tip of the island, consisting of 11,500 acres, is privately owned, but the remainder, which extends twenty-four miles to the northeast, has 24,893 acres of state land and 19,000 acres of federal land. During World War II the federal government purchased the northern two-thirds of the island for use as a bombing range for crews based at Ellington Field and other training bases in Texas. Many of the bomb craters are still visible. Under a cooperative agreement between the United States Department of the Interior and the state of Texas approved in 1983, the entire area of public land is managed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The park occupies 7,325 acres of the total land; the rest is a wildlife-management area. The undeveloped park is covered with dunes, some up to ten feet in height, and has a wide variety of coastal vegetation, including grasses, shrubs, and forbs. Native animals include ground squirrels, gophers, grasshopper mice, rice rats, cotton rats, rabbits, and opossums. Shorebirds are common, and waterfowl and other migratory birds can be observed during various seasons. Facilities include primitive camping areas, a boat landing, and showers.

Ray Miller, Texas Parks (Houston: Cordovan, 1984).

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Christopher Long, “Matagorda Island State Park and Wildlife Management Area,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 24, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 1, 1995