Located 50 miles south of Laredo and 98 miles north of McAllen, Zapata and the surrounding area are rich in Spanish-Mexican heritage and romantic history. Zapata has many recreational activities including excellent fishing and watersports, bird watching, and rock hunting. Zapata is a paradise for birders; it's home to the "White Collared Seedeater", a rare little bird found only in this part of the United States. Many other native bird species also frequent the county. Falcon Lake dam, about 30 miles south of Zapata, provides a free crossing point into Mexico.
Earliest civilized settlement in present Zapata County was Hacienda Dolores founded by Jose Vasquez Borrego in 1750. (Ruins designated a state historic site.) Town was named in honor of Antonio Zapata, hardy Hispanic pioneer and fierce Indian fighter. When the historic old town on banks of Rio Grande was flooded by Falcon Reservoir, new Zapata was built on U.S. 83. Zapata County seat is headquarters for large ranching area and Falcon Reservoir visitors. Inquire locally about the nature conservatory which rescues and rehabilitates birds and animals. The shores of Lake Falcon is perfect for birdwatching. Almost any prized birds on any birder's list can be seen here, the White-collared Seedeater, the green jay, Kiskadee Flycatcher, and the fall migration of hummingbirds. The lake is also home to the White Pelican, White-faced Ibis, and osprey. For information on events, accommodations, and other area attractions, call the Zapata County Chamber of Commerce at 956/765-4871, or 1-800-292-LAKE (5253).
"Goings on" in Zapata
Winter Texan Appreciation Day in March
Local businesses and RV Parks show their appreciation to all Winter Texans with a day of fun activities, live music and dancing, drawings for prizes all day long! Everything is free for the Winter Texan.
County Fair, in March
Starting with a big parade in town, our "old fashioned" county fair includes ribbons for prizes, baked goods, rides, livestock, and cattle roping.
Christmas tour of homes
Zapata and San Ygnacio homes decorated for the holidays (both inside and out) are showcased. Also included in the tour of San Ygnacio is the oldest church and a fort. History galore!
Businesses, groups, and services available in Zapata:
Laredo Medical group/Mercy clinic, with an emergency room and ambulance service available.
Three grocery stores
Three video stores
Propane gas tanks filled
Beauty parlors and barber shops
Locally owned & operated restaurants
Church's Fried Chicken
VFW (and Ladies' Auxiliary)
American Legion (and Ladies' Auxiliary)
Golf course (soon to be 18 holes)
Falcon Lake State Park
Falcon Lake, of course! Many fishing clubs have voted Falcon Lake "#1 best fishing spot in Texas" with an abundance of Black Bass, White Bass, Stripers, Crappie, Pan, and gigantic Cat Fish.
Col. Antonio Zapata Museum
It's like walking through the past seeing everything from arrowheads to antique furniture and clothing. Focus of museum often changes with loaned exhibits of photos from family ancestral collections. On South U.S. 83. For information and days/hours of operation, call 956/765-3062.
Hotels & Motels available