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A Coastal Retreat Like No Other Palacios, Texas Discovering

Nestled on the shores of Matagorda Bay, Palacios, Texas, affectionately known as the “City by the Sea,” stands as the shrimping capital of Texas and a premier destination for those seeking an unplugged retreat. Beyond its tranquil beauty, rich heritage, and vibrant community, Palacios is embracing a future filled with promise and excitement, making it not just a hidden gem on the Texas coast but a cherished sanctuary for both residents and visitors alike.


Nature and Adventure

Palacios has long been a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Its waterfront location is ideal for fishing, sailing, and kayaking, complemented by the picturesque Palacios Pavilion for those captivated by breathtaking sunrises and sunsets. The town’s status on the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail, celebrated by the annual Palacios Birding Festival, underscores its commitment to preserving natural beauty and wildlife.

A Rich Historical Canvas

The story of Palacios is told through landmarks like the City by the Sea Museum and the Luther Hotel, a beacon of architectural preservation undergoing a transformation into a modern destination hotel while retaining its historic essence. These sites, alongside Palacios’s pivotal role in the seafood industry and its significance in Native American history, paint a vivid picture of a community deeply rooted in its past.

Palacios invites all to discoverits beauty, engage in its traditions, and contribute to its promising future.

The Pulse of Community + Tradition

The spirit of Palacios shines brightest during community events like the Seaside Holiday, where Santa’s seaside arrival captures the imagination, and the annual seafood festival, which, alongside events such as Pedal Palacios and Birdfest, heralds the town’s burgeoning future. These traditions not only strengthen community bonds but also signal Palacios’s readiness to welcome the world.

Vision for the


A Vibrant Seaside + Downtown Revival

Looking ahead, Palacios is set to further enhance its appeal with exciting developments. The establishment of the first oyster hatchery in Texas heralds a new era for the local seafood industry, promising economic growth and sustainability. Plans for seaside improvements, including a splash pad, kayak launches, and expanded recreational activities, aim to enrich the quality of life for families and adventure-seekers alike.

Efforts to revitalize the iconic downtown area are underway, with initiatives to transform it into a bustling center of excitement, culture, and commerce. These enhancements are designed not only to attract visitors but also to invigorate the local economy and foster a sense of pride among residents.

Palacios: A Place to Call Home, Sanctuary, Loved

Through these concerted efforts, Palacios is emerging as more than just a coastal gem; it’s becoming a vibrant sanctuary where the community’s dreams and aspirations are coming to fruition. It’s a place where the past is cherished, the present is celebrated, and the future is bright with possibilities. Palacios invites all to discover its beauty, engage in its traditions, and contribute to its promising future. Here, amidst the gentle waves and open skies, lies a town that is not just to be visited but to be called home, to be called sanctuary, to be called loved.

The Luther Hotel


The Luther Hotel, a Texas Historical Landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places, graces the beachfront of Palacios, Texas, and is affectionately known as the ‘Jewel on the Bay’. Built in 1903 by notable architect, Jules Leffland, this historic building is one of only three remaining wood-framed hotels of its era along the entire Gulf Coast. Recently saved from demolition by the local community and preservationists, the Luther Hotel is now undergoing restoration.

Beginning the restoration with the hotel’s possible inclusion in the Historic Hotels of America’s prestigious network in mind, the hotel will be transformed into a destination hotel, complete with a full-service waterfront restaurant, a meeting center, and wedding venue, pool, spa and beautiful landscaping. It will have all the modern amenities of a modern hotel and retain its historic charm.

The Luther was built around the corner from where it now stands. It was cut into three pieces and moved by mule cart in 1905, to be right across from the pleasure pavilion out on a pier that Leffland had also designed. Two wings were added, plus what became known as the longest porch in Texas. All this before the City of Palacios was even incorporated!

The hotel was purchased by the Luther family in 1936. During World War II, 12,000 troops were based at Camp Hulen, nearby. This was the largest concentration of troops for field training in the whole U.S. military. Anti-

aircraft training was carried out on the lawn. Rooms were reconfigured to add suites for military families and a new motor court was built. Celebrities, including Rita Hayworth, Shirley Temple, and Guy Lombardo stayed at the Luther Hotel and entertained the soldiers. Also, in the 40’s, Elsie Luther’s mother wrote to her long-time family friend, then Congressman Lyndon Johnson, suggesting to him that a Texas battleship be designated as a memorial to Texas soldiers lost in the war. He wrote back thanking her for such a wonderful idea. As Vice President, Lyndon Johnson visited the hotel after Hurricane Carla devastated Palacios in 1961. The hotel weathered the major storm well as it has five others.

In the mid 1990s the hotel was filled with professional archeologists, volunteers, and visitors because La Salle’s ship La Belle, that sank in Matagorda Bay in 1686, was being recovered out in the bay, and Palacios was the headquarters for that operation. It is arguably the most important shipwreck in the western world.

Palacios has had its heydays of initial settlement, World War II, and marine discovery, and now this quiet seaside community, is experiencing exciting changes that will breathe new life into this charming town with its unique story and fascinating contributions to Texas and national history.

The combination of heritage tourism and ecotourism is the mix that is about to launch Palacios into an exciting future. The restoration of the Luther Hotel holds economic promise beyond its architectural significance. Heritage tourism thrives on the allure of historic sites, attracting visitors and stimulating local businesses. As Palacios becomes a magnet for heritage enthusiasts, its economy stands to benefit from increased tourism revenue and community pride.

Other notable heritage restorations in Palacios include the charming 1910 Palacios Preparatory School, now the Peaceful Pelican Bed and Breakfast, and the old Palacios Colored School, now the Sanford Community Center, both Recorded Texas Historic Landmarks. The City boasts nineteen Texas historic markers, way more than most Texas cities of its size, including three buildings also on the National Register of Historic Places. The Palacios Preservation Association is collaborating with the Texas Historical Commission and the Smithsonian in a rural coastal initiative to attract heritage tourists.

Within easy reach of 12 million people in Houston, Austin, and San Antonio, Palacios is the closest access to salt water for many of them. It offers an ideal setting for family gatherings and peaceful weekends away, with a serene environment to rejuvenate and reconnect with nature. Visitors can enjoy leisurely strolls along the picturesque seawall, relax on the beach, or fish from the piers. The little picturesque port is the ‘shrimping capital of Texas’. With a new oyster hatchery on the way it is also destined to become the ‘oyster capital of Texas’, too! There are free public boat launches as well as kayaking sites and rentals. The local Mad Island Marsh hosts the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count, boasting the highest species count in the United States for the past twenty-some years. The new annual seafood festival complements regular events such as Pedal Palacios, Birdfest, the Shrimporee, and Seaside Holidays, when Santa’s arrives at the Luther Hotel by shrimp boat.

In conclusion, the restoration of the Luther Hotel marks a significant milestone in Palacios’ journey towards renewal and prosperity. As the city welcomes heritage tourists and nature enthusiasts, it celebrates its history and natural beauty, inviting all to discover the treasures along its shores.

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