Best Texas snorkeling

9 Best Places for Snorkeling in Texas (2024)

Hot, humid, sticky Texas heat sends swimmers headed for cool waters to escape the sun!

Lakes, rivers, reservoirs and swimming holes abound in the state and water activities of all kinds are favorite summer pastimes for locals.

Teeming with marine life, Texas waters aren’t just popular for fishing!

Texas offers some of the best snorkel spots where you can enjoy clear, cold waters and aquatic life while you break free from the summer blaze!

If you’re wondering where you can snorkel in Texas, read on to find out about some of the most interesting aquatic locals in the state!

Hey! Looking for more fun in the Texas sun? Head on over to one of these expert guides!


With 71 pages of helpful travel tips and the “best of” Texas lists, this is your ad-free key to your Texas trip.

Leave this field blank

What to bring for a day of snorkeling

Don’t forget to bring these essential items to have the perfect day snorkeling:

  • sunscreen: this sunscreen is safe for your skin and sprays on clear so no need to worry about those embarrassing white patches on your face and shoulders
  • GoPro Waterproof Camera: this camera is perfect to take on your next adventure to capture all of the beautiful marine life and clear blue waters!
  • GoPro head strap: don’t forget to grab a head strap to mount your waterproof camera so you can be hands-free during your diving adventures!
  • waterproof light: you may encounter some dark crevices and spaces during snorkeling, so it’s best to keep a waterproof flashlight handy. We love this one.

1. The Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon water
Photo credit: Blue Lagoon Facebook Page

Just an hour north of Houston you’ll find one of the best Texas snorkel spots and a perfect place to escape the Texas heat!

Known for its crystal clear blue-green waters, the Blue Lagoon is actually two pools created from limestone quarries.

Surrounded by pine trees and limestone walls, a visit here feels like a private escape close to the big city!

Snorkelers will enjoy the depth and high visibility of the water, and caps on the number of visitors keeps this Texas gem from getting too overcrowded!

Still, you’ll want to visit on the weekday to have the lowest crowds!

Keep in mind those under 18 must have a parent with them, and an admission fee of $20 per non diver is collected upon entry.

2. Lake Travis

Lake Travis
Photo credit: Lake Travis Facebook Page

You can’t go wrong with Lake Travis as your go-to snorkel site!

With 271 miles of shoreline and a reputation as the most visited freshwater recreational destination in Texas, it’s no wonder Lake Travis is one of the best Texas snorkel spots there is!

Known as the “crown jewel” of the Central Texas highland lakes, the limestone bottom gives Lake Travis its crystal blue color drawing water enthusiasts year round from all over the state!

With average visibility of 8-10 feet, walls, grottos and an array of fish provide interesting subjects for snorkeling exploration!

And only 14 miles northwest of Austin, it’s the perfect place for a day or weekend trip!

As a sought after vacation locale, Lake Travis can get very busy with water vehicles!

Be sure to snorkel in safe locations!

3. San Marcos River

San Marcos River
Image: San Marcos River @Scull’s Crossing, Caldwell County, Texas. Nicolas Henderson. [CC by 2.0] via Flickr

Take an underwater Texas adventure in the San Marcos River, a gem running right through the middle of San Marcos, Texas just a half hour outside Austin and San Antonio!

Considered one of the prettiest rivers in Texas, plenty of fish and turtles swim in the river waters, making it an excellent snorkeling location!

You’ll also spot Texas wild rice, a grass that roots in riverbeds and only grows on this stretch of the San Marcos River!

Snorkel Texas runs snorkel tours on the river and teach you about the aquatic life you’ll see along the way!

They provide your gear and even a Go Pro to record your underwater adventure!

The tour ends at Rio Vista Falls Dam, a popular swimming spot, so you can stay and swim after your one hour tour is over!

Snorkel tours are recommended for ages 12 and over, and up to 5 people can be accommodated.

Call to make arrangements for larger groups!

4. Laguna Madre Estuary

Laguna Madre Estuary
Photo credit: SPI Birding Facebook Page

Perhaps the most unique place to snorkel in Texas is found along the state’s lower coast near the Texas Mexico border!

Laguna Madre Estuary is the only hypersaline lagoon in the nation and one of the largest in the world!

This gorgeous spot in southern Texas where the Rio Grande enters the Gulf of Mexico is a large, shallow body of water separating South Padre Island from mainland Texas.

Several tropical fish species make their home in this 910 acre body of shallow water averaging 3-5 feet deep, making it one of the best recreational snorkeling areas in the state!

Keep in mind that the water can sometimes be murky, so be on the lookout for sharks!

5. Balmorhea State Park

Man snorkeling in the Balmorhea State Park waters
Image: Balmorhea State Park Facebook Page

A desert park in the western part of the state might be the last place you think of when you’re wondering where to snorkel in Texas!

But hidden within Balmorhea State Park is a 1.75 acre spring fed natural bottom pool with plenty of snorkeling water up to 25 feet deep!

Clean, clear, super cold water draws swimmers and snorkelers in the hottest months of summer!

You’ll see tons of fish and turtles, and be prepared for them to nibble on you, too!

Clean bathrooms, warm showers, and dozens of picnic tables and benches give you a place to relax after a day spent in the water!

This natural pool is huge, but it can feel more like a public pool than a lake, so expect crowds!

Day reservations are recommended on weekends as this is one of the best snorkel spots in Texas!

6. The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment

Seaweed and kelp in the Meadows Center for Water and Environment
Photo credit: The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment Facebook page

Crystal clear waters abound in this lake full of marine life and fed by more than 200 artesian springs!

Eight endangered and threatened species are supported in this unique natural ecosystem, including fish, turtles, aquatic plants and migratory birds.

Snorkeling tours of this protected natural area run about two hours long and are recommend for ages 12 and up.

It’s an intimate way to explore the lake and have an immersive experience that enriches your understanding of the environment and the importance of protecting it!

Advanced snorkel tour reservations are required!

Afterwards, make a day of it and explore the center’s free aquarium and the boardwalk through the marsh habitat!

Halfway between Austin and San Antonio, it makes a great day trip!

7. Athens Scuba Park

Kids diving in the Athens Scuba park in Texas
Photo credit: Athens Scuba Park Facebook Page

One of the best snorkel spots in Texas is just an hour outside of Dallas at Athens Scuba Park!

With an eight acre open water lake serving as both a recreational swimming area and a professional scuba training facility, Athens Scuba Park is a great place for families to explore the lake and enjoy the great outdoors!

There’s tons of exciting underwater artifacts to see, including more than 20 sunken wrecks!

Staff are super friendly and the grounds are well maintained, creating a relaxing atmosphere for your next snorkeling day trip!

8. Possum Kingdom Lake

One of the best snorkel spots in Texas, Possum Kingdom State Park
Photo credit: Possum Kingdom State Park Facebook Page

About 75 miles west of Fort Worth in the Brazos River Valley you’ll find an 18,000 acre reservoir perfect for snorkeling!

With some of the clearest blue water in southwest Texas, people flock here for water fun on the weekends!

Surrounded by cliffs, hills and trails, Possum Kingdom Lake is a beautiful nature spot and one of the most picturesque places in Texas!

A favorite snorkel spot is in the deep waters where visibility is sometimes up to 100 feet!

There’s plenty of underwater treasures to discover like sunken cars and boats, even a drive-thru burger restaurant sign!

Watch for crabs and fish of all kinds as you bob along just under the water’s surface!

9. Flower Garden Banks

Scuba diver at the Flower Garden Banks, one of the best snorkel spots in Texas
Photo credit: Flower Garden Banks Facebook Page

For one of the best snorkel spots in Texas, head over 100 miles from land into the middle of the Gulf of Mexico!

Off the coast of Galveston, Flower Garden Banks is a marine sanctuary made up of two reef formations full of coral, sponges and reef fish!

At 56 feet underwater, you won’t see much of the reef from the surface on a typical day.

If you get lucky, you can sometimes see the reef on days of high visibility!

But don’t worry, the trip is still worth it just to see the plentiful marine life!

Sea turtles, barracuda, manta rays and hundreds of species of fish will keep you company on your snorkel expedition!

It’s a long boat ride from Galveston, but absolutely worth trip!

Choose from a variety of commercial charter companies in the area for transport out to this stunning underwater habitat!

Pin for Later!

Leave a Comment