The first European explorers to set foot on Texas soil arrived with what was left of the doomed Pánfilo de Narváez expedition to Florida of 1527. Two rafts with 80 survivors, including the famous Cabeza de Vaca, most likely wrecked somewhere around modern-day Quintana, close to the mouth of the Brazos River, on November 6, 1528.
Over three centuries later, the schooner Lively, which brought the first eighteen of Stephen F. Austin's "Old 300" to Texas in 1821, reportedly docked on the Quintana side of the Old Brazos River. The town was plotted in 1833.
A historic cemetery dates from the early 1800s. Quintana became a beach resort community in the 19th century so that the families of inland plantation owners could escape the summer heat. At that time the town contained a warehouse, hotel, churches, family homes and the first public school in Texas.
After the Civil War, from 1884 to 1900, Quintana was a thriving shipping community of 1,500 to 2,000 people. Then disasters struck. A series of hurricanes, the last one in 1915, combined with outbreaks of diseases, turned Quintana into a ghost town. Only three houses from this period have survived time and the hurricanes. The Coveney and Seaburn Houses, located at the county park, include a museum and meeting center. The Lewis House is located in town.
Today, Quintana is a non-commercialized, natural family beach and also home to wildlife and a bird sanctuary. It offers six miles of beautiful, natural sand beaches. Bryan Beach State Park and Quintana Beach County Park are both located on the island. Quintana Beach County Park is a unique, 52-acre park offering amenities such as RV sites, restrooms and showers. Elevated wooden boardwalks provide a view of the Gulf and dunes. Historical homes, pavilions, and 1,300 square-foot Education Center and a half mile of pedestrian beach offer plenty of room for children to play, learn and explore. Hiking trails, boating facilities, a fishing pier and grassy areas for volleyball, horseshoes or kite flying are also available.
For more information, call Quintana Town Hall at (979) 233-0848.