Welcome to the San Patricio County Parks website. Here you will find all the information you are looking for about our great parks. La Fruta Park currently provides the outdoor enthusiast with a large outdoor grill for cookouts, plenty of picnic tables, primitive camping, RV site rentals, hiking trails, paddling and kayak rentals, birdwatching, wildlife viewing, and multiple fishing points along the Nueces River.
Highway 361 Bridge over Nueces River.
La Fruta Park - This San Patricio County Park was started in the early 2000s. It is named after La Fruta, Texas. La Fruta was on the north bank of the Nueces River near the present State Highway 359 bridge four miles south of Mathis in northwestern San Patricio County. There was a small school house there, and after the railroad came through the area in 1888 at least two stores were started. On April 29, 1892, a post office was established in James C. Thompson's store, with Thompson as postmaster. The post office was moved to Mathis in 1895, but for several years La Fruta continued to be a shipping point for vegetables, especially watermelons. A ford existed where the highway now crosses the Nueces, and in 1871 Calvin Wright was issued a permit to operate the first ferry there. A bridge to replace the ferry was approved in 1909 and completed in 1915. Footings for the old bridge were still in place on both sides of the highway bridge in the early 2000s.
San Patricio De Hibernia - This park, located near historic "old" San Patricio, was named for the Patron Saint of Ireland and formerly known as the Dougherty Round Lake property. The town was founded in 1829 by empresarios John McMullen and James McGloin after they received permission from the Mexican government to settle 200 Irish Catholic families from New York. It was considered the frontier outpost of Texas when the Revolution began and was the site of several famous battles near Fort Lipantitlan where Texans beat Mexican forces in 1835. Former ranching activity in this park is indicted by the livestock pens, windmills and water tanks, which now provide water for the wildlife. Heavily wooded Nueces River bottomland in the 677 acre park is also characterized by open meadows, wetlands, scrub-shrub, riparian habitats, and short-grass prairie. Wildlife viewing and river access are excellent, with broad sandy beaches in several areas that also server as a great take out for kayakers. Managed by a conservation easement with the Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Foundation, access to San Patricio de Hibernia is by permission only.
Chipita Rodriguez Park - This park was named after the only woman legally hanged in Texas for supposedly stealing gold from the saddlebags of a Confederate horse trader. She was later exonerated when the gold was found washed up on the river bank. Soon after her death, though, the town of San Patricio lost it's designation of county seat and became a ghost town. This 6 acre park has steep river banks, a small pier, and cedar elm, pecan, and hackberry trees draped with Spanish moss that line the river bank. The park is a former home site, with open cleared areas that are great for camping or picnics. Water samples are taken here to monitor the water quality in Nueces River, which is a major source of fresh water for surrounding areas. Chipita Rodriguez park is open by appointment only.
A map of San Patricio County displaying the park locations.
La Fruta Park Development
This project, for the conservation, protection, or restoration of costal areas, including wetlands, is funded with qualified outer continental shelf oil and gas revenues by the Costal Impact Assistance Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.