Goldthwaite was established in 1885 as the seat of Mills County. It is the trade center for agricultural products including wool, mohair, fruits, cattle, turkeys and pecans. White-tailed deer are popular with hunters each fall and winter season, and fishing is excellent in the nearby Colorado River and Pecan Bayou all year.
The city park offers many recreational activities, including swimming, playground equipment and picnicking areas. The municipal golf course is nine holes and open year-round.
Goldthwaite lies on U.S. 183, a segment of the Ports to Plains Highway connecting the state's heartland to coastal ports.