In between Freeport and Corpus Christi are a series of small ports where fishing and beaches prevail. As they're off the beaten path, these peaceful towns don't have the tourist crush you're likely to find at the larger ports and beaches. Quaint bed and breakfast inns dot the area.
Matagorda is the place to start guided fishing tours and or rent boats for the bay waters. Although Highway 60 runs just south of town, the 80 miles of beach in Matagorda Island State Park are relatively deserted, so beach-combing is a pleasure as are surfing and camping. Birders love Matagorda in general, but especially enjoy spotting the numerous Christmas birds along the bays and backroads. Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, home to the last and the only wild flock of whooping cranes, is close by.
Over 400 vessels make Port Palacios their home and it goes by the title "Shrimp Capital of Texas." The seawall provides a scenic walk either by day or night, when it sparkles with lights. Hunting and fishing tours are readily available, and the birding trails are spectacular. The coastal waters provide sailing, snorkeling and many other water activities. Palacios is off Highway 35.
Other towns along the central coast include Blessing (on State 616, just off State 35), Port O'Connor-Seadrift (at the end of Highway 185) and Port Lavaca (along State 35).