Real County is located on the Edwards Plateau in Texas, with a small population of 3,309 in 2010. The county was named for Julius Real, a former member of the Texas state senate. The county seat is Leakey.
Early in Real County’s history were a series of conflicts between Spanish military and Comanche Native American tribes. The county’s Frio Canyon was settled in 1856 by the Leakeys, who would give their name to the county seat later.
Between 1856 and 1881, conflicts between American and European settlers and Native Americans continued. Up until that point, the economy on the plateau was dominated by agriculture. After 1910, crop agriculture had declined to the point where livestock ranching became the prominent industry.
In 1913, Real County was established officially with Leakey as its county seat. Real County is characterized by its steep canyonlands and numerous streams and rivers, some of which are sourced by perennial springs.
Real County’s valleys, mountains, plateaus, and ridges make the area ideal for ranchers and livestock, which continues to be the most prominent industry in the county. Ranchers favor cattle, sheep, and angora goats.
An important secondary industry is environmental tourism, with visitors flocking to the area for hiking, hunting, fishing, and a myriad of other outdoor activities. Recently, however, the area has seen a great deal of archaeological activity, with excavations revealing Paleo-American sites that existed at the same time as now-extinct fauna and megafauna.
In the county’s largest cities, Leakey and Camp Wood, visitors can find swimming holes and white water rafting, in addition to local restaurants and shops. Near Leakey, visitors and residents enjoy visiting the Devil’s Sinkhole State Natural Area for hiking and other outdoor activities.
Other attractions include the Lone Star Motorcycle Museum, the Rio Frio Landmark Oak, and several golf courses. Those interested in biology or animals can view Sunset Bat Flights, which focus on educating the populace about the city’s bat population.
Real County is a land with opportunities for ranchers as well as for tourism, with both industries continuing to grow and prosper and bring new talent and businesses into the area.