Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Bay City, TX

  • Published 2023/04/05

Experience the great outdoors without leaving the comfort of city life and attractions in Bay City, Texas.

Founded in 1894, Bay City is home to an assortment of natural areas with thriving wildlife, tranquil vibes, and picturesque views of the environment.

At the same time, local businesses, nightlife, lodging, and entertainment venues lift the commercial side of the city.

You can find diverse experiences for leisure and amusement within the city.

Plan a vacation to Bay City and enjoy the best of both worlds!

Here are the best things to do in Bay City, TX:

Learn Local History in Matagorda County Museum

Side view of Matagorda County Museum's exterior

Jim Evans, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You’ll find the informative Matagorda County Museum along the streets of Bay City.

This museum oversees collecting and preserving the county’s culture, traditions, and local heritage through interactive exhibits, artifacts, and helpful guides.

You can also check out photographs, maps, and city records for viewing and research purposes.

A cannon from the La Belle ship displayed in Matagorda County Museum

Jim Evans, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Not only do you learn about Bay City’s local history, but you can also explore an interactive kid’s museum if you’re traveling with your little ones.

Children can dress in vintage styles and play in the museum’s themed areas, including an opera house, barber shop, and old-fashioned schoolhouse.

It’s a fun and informative destination for both children and adults.

Stop by Bay City’s local museum to learn more about the charming place you’re traveling to.

Front view of Matagorda County Museum's exterior

Billy Hathorn at en.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Explore Nature at Matagorda Island Wildlife Management Area

Matagorda Island is every outdoor enthusiast’s dream come true.

With over 56,000 acres of natural land, this pristine island in Bay City shows off the beauty of nature in its purest form.

Scenic bayside marshes and picturesque grasslands make up most of the geography in this designated area.

There’s also a wide selection of animal wildlife, from rare and endangered species to common birds and alligators.

Outdoor activities are popular on this island.

Some of the most popular activities are fishing, hunting, picnicking, and birding.

Along the northern side of the land, a historical lighthouse from 1852 remains in its original location.

Officials in charge of the area have tried to retain its original form and avoid any harm to the surrounding environment.

Visit the island to appreciate their efforts.

Take a Leisure Swim in Valiant Park Pool

Valiant Park Pool is one of Bay City’s more straightforward summer destinations.

It features a heated lap swimming pool with shallow ends on one side for kids and a deeper one on the other for those who want to swim laps.

It’s a straightforward facility with basic amenities like locker rooms and restrooms.

But aside from the refreshing pool, there’s not much else you need to beat the heat.

A dip into clean and cool water can cool off your heated vibes.

Valiant Park Pool is an excellent place to start if you’re looking for casual water recreation.

Unwind at Le Tulle Park

Established in 1934, Le Tulle Park owes its name and development to Victor L. Tulle, a wealthy rice producer who donated the land during the Great Depression.

It’s a peaceful park surrounded by live oak trees and far-reaching grasslands.

A pond with clear, stable waters is home to ducks, waterfowl, turtles, and many other types of animal wildlife.

Aside from scenic walks and wildlife viewing, Le Tulle Park also offers convenient amenities like pavilions, grills, picnic tables, and a colorful playground for kids.

Head to Le Tulle Park for a relaxing day with nature’s tranquil gifts.

It’s located along Highway 35.

Shop in Vacek’s Barn

Situated at Sargent Court, Vacek’s Barn is a big market for vintage items, specializing in furniture and home decor products.

Most of their items are salvaged, repurposed, and antiques sold at reasonable and competitive prices.

Even with their broad collection of antiques, this family-owned business still frequently adds new products into their shop.

There’s always something new to see each time you visit.

Step into their warehouse and browse unique souvenirs you can display at home.

A trip to Vacek’s Barn can be a fun shopping experience that might net you rare and exciting finds.

Give it a chance, and you might find a rare treat.

Cool Off in Hilliard Pool

Hilliard Pool is a safe, well-maintained swimming facility in Bay City, Texas.

They offer free-floating devices for all ages, and professional lifeguards are always on-site during pool hours.

You can also take swimming lessons at affordable prices.

All you can enjoy is a casual, welcoming atmosphere with a decent-sized pool for adults and a mini pool with a fountain for children.

If you’re unsure what to do in the city, why not take a swim at Hilliard Pool?

Visit the pool to cool off and wipe away your boredom.

Try the Entertainment in Schulman’s Movie Bowl Grille

Movies, bowling, and arcades—three types of entertainment are available in a single, fantastic venue in Bay City.

Schulman’s Movie Bowl Grille is a one-stop destination for an array of exciting activities with friends and family.

They’re equipped with modern, high-tech facilities to offer a splendid, immersive experience in whatever activities you choose.

See the latest blockbusters in comfortable seats, play a casual bowling game, or try retro games in their arcade.

They even have equipment for a cinematic adventure in virtual reality, complete with headphones, gear, and a spacious location.

If you get thirsty or hungry, Billy’s Grille, a restaurant with a broad selection of drinks and comfort meals, is right inside the premises.

Schulman’s Movie Bowl Grille has all the critical ingredients for a fun social hang-out.

Play to your heart’s content.

Tour Downtown Bay City

A coffee shop at Downtown Bay City

Billy Hathorn (talk).Billy Hathorn at en.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

The pleasant sights in Bay City are a proud result of the local community’s hard work and dedication to preserving their cultural and historical heritage.

New establishments and structural upgrades to historic sites are ongoing projects of the city’s historical commission; you can expect further improvements.

For now, local shops, community events, and a few historic buildings keep Bay City’s downtown area alive and thriving.

You’ll see distinctive architecture and experience Texas-style hospitality along the stretch of Main Street.

You can also grab informative pamphlets to let you start a self-guided walking/driving tour around the environs of Downtown Bay City.

Take a walk around this part of the city to see its natural charm.

Enjoy Bay City’s Nightlife in Neon Moon

A lively and vibrant nightlife awaits those who visit Bay City, Texas.

Neon Moon offers great music, colorful lights, and refreshing beverages, all essential features for a fun night out and getaway.

Even better, their theme, events, and activities vary daily.

You’ll see karaoke nights from Tuesday to Thursday, live bands from Friday to Saturday, and sports games on other nights.

The music in Neon Moon is also dynamic and often changes from a selection of country music, classic rock, and Texas country.

Pool tables are also available for those who’d like to play.

Dance the night away at this incredible destination in Bay City.

Go Kayaking at Riverside Park

Riverside Park presents a tranquil oasis amid the bustling city on the banks of the Colorado River.

Explore 100 acres of nature’s beauty with artificial facilities like pavilions, playgrounds, grills, and picnic areas.

Take a boat down the river, keep an eye out for animal wildlife, or walk through the wilderness trails of the area.

With a location close to steady waters and ample land, Riverside Park lets you enjoy loads of natural recreation.

Fishing, swimming, camping, and picnicking are some of the most popular activities in the park.

This place is a leisure destination that is ideal for those who want to connect with nature safely and relax.

If that’s what you’re looking for, don’t hesitate to choose Riverside Park.

Dance the Night Away in Shades Club

The vintage features of Shades Club give it a charming allure as a contrast to the chic, slick, shiny modern bars of wealthy cities.

The designs give Shades Club a retro flair and boost the venue’s fun yet cozy atmosphere.

Live music is available a few times a week, where you’ll see Bay City’s local musicians do their thing.

They also hold recurring karaoke events every month.

See Local Talents in Community Actors of South Texas (CAST)

You can find the Community Actors of South Texas, or (CAST), along Nichols Avenue.

They have been holding diverse seasonal performances with local actors and actresses across the state for over 20 years.

They alternate between a mix of original works like Doublewide Texas and revivals like Schoolhouse Rock.

From tragedy and comedy to musicals and romance, their performances always have something new, featuring unique genres and storylines.

Moreover, they volunteer their own time and effort; it’s a great way to see the passion and dedication of Matagorda County’s local talents in action.

They only hold shows a few times a year, so don’t waste your chance and buy a ticket.

Explore the Gardens in Matagorda County Birding Nature Center

This nature center is the ultimate destination for travelers seeking a picturesque adventure in a peaceful, dreamlike environment.

Lush gardens, impressive structures, and natural wetlands are features you can find in spades at the Matagorda County Birding Nature Center.

It consists of about 38 acres of scenic surroundings, including ponds, waterfalls, bridges, pavilions, wildflower fields, and many other structures and terrain.

A walk along the place gives you access to endless sights of colorful flowers, abundant plant life, and animals in their natural habitats, especially birds.

You can have a picnic, take pictures of whatever strikes your fancy or relax in the presence of serene nature.

It’s a natural destination you must visit if you’re ever in Bay City.

Find this oasis along the western end of the city.

Spend the Night in Fairfield Inn & Suites

After hours spent exploring Bay City, Fairfield Inn & Suites offer a restful space to relax and regain your energy.

Their rooms feature a warm, comforting ambiance with a touch of elegance and modernity.

Guests are free to use their amenities, including an outdoor pool, fitness center, convenience store, laundry, and room service.

You can enjoy a staycation in the hotel.

Swim in the outdoor pool, exercise in their fitness center, and sip handcrafted cocktails at the bar.

It may be a hotel, but there are plenty of activities to try aside from sleeping.

Its location also positions it close to Bay City’s downtown area, just minutes away from the two-star hotel.

Recharge your body and spirit at the Fairfield Inn & Suites.

Buy Unique Gifts and Souvenirs at Classy Clutter Resale, Treasures & More

Explore every corner of Classy Clutter Resale, Treasures & More and discover unique finds you can bring home from this trip.

There are lots of unique and vintage items you can find here, including collectibles, jewelry, clothing, tableware, glassware, furniture, home decor, and a lot more.

It has a bit of everything that you might be looking for, especially when you need something unique for a gift.

Many consignors display their products here, which makes it more exciting to stop and shop.

Classy Clutter Resale, Treasures & More is located at 9th Street.

Grab a Hearty Meal at K-2 Steak House

Celebrated for its hearty American fare and delicious steaks, K-2 Steak House is the best spot in town to have steaks in their true form.

Don’t miss out on its popular chicken fried steak, which customers are raving about, as well as its hamburger steak, and steakhouse chop.

But don’t let its name fool you.

K-2 Steak House also serves mouthwatering lunch and dinner specials that can surely satisfy every palate.

Try its delicious oysters, green beans, liver and onions, fajitas, grille zucchini, and a lot more.

K-2 Steak House is located off 8th Street.

Get Your Coffee or Wine Fix at Mainstreet Coffee & Wine Bar

Whether you’re starting your morning in Bay City or you’re simply having your daily dose of coffee or wine, Mainstreet Coffee & Wine Bar got your back.

The atmosphere here is unbeatable with its creative artwork display and comfortable corners to settle with your coffee and wine.

Its house brew is a Colombian medium roast with excellent flavors to choose from.

For those who have diet restrictions, you can ask the barista for plant milk alternatives like oat milk to use on your coffee, as well as gluten-free bread for sandwiches.

It also has a great selection of house wines, red, white, and specialties.

You can find Mainstreet Coffee & Wine Bar on 7th Street.

Read a Book at Bay City Public Library

If you want to spend a few hours reading a new book during your trip to the city without unnecessary noise, Bay City Public Library is your place to be.

The library offers a great selection of books for kids, teens, and adults, which are available for reading, study, or research.

There are e-books, audiobooks, DVDs for movies and TV series, magazines, newspapers, and a genealogy section if you need to find out something about your roots.

The library also hosts many programs and events for all ages.

It’s located off 7th Street.

Let Your Furbabies Play At Barkway Dog Park

If you’re traveling with your pet dogs, let them play and interact with other dogs at Barkway Dog Park.

The park features two separate areas for small and large dogs, which are all off-leash, so they can run around and play with others.

They’ll love running through the obstacle course and enjoy interacting with one another.

Don’t forget to bring your own poop bag to use when you pick up after your dog to maintain cleanliness at the park.

Water stations are available on both sides too.

Barkway Dog Park is located off Avenue H.

Final Thoughts

Bay City features a balanced blend of the city’s amusement with a rural town’s idyllic outdoors.

Vibrant nightlife and successful local establishments offer fun entertainment while natural destinations and parks deliver precious peace.

Recreational facilities and rich animal wildlife are essential features the city holds to entice tourists.

Get the best of both worlds in Bay City, Texas!

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