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Top Snorkeling and Scuba Diving in Texas
Ready to check out the best sites in Texas for scuba diving, snorkeling, shore diving, free diving or other ocean activities? Zentacle has 23 dive sites, snorkel spots, beaches, and more. Discover hand-curated maps, along with reviews and photos from nature lovers like you. No matter what you're looking for, you can find a diverse range of the best ocean activities in Texas to suit your needs.
#1 - Balmorhea Springs
Texas, USA Mid
Oasis in the middle of nowhere, Texas. This natural spring is 72 degrees year round! Texas has a wonderful state park system, and Balmorhea State Park in West Texas is no exception. Located a few hours southeast of El Paso, Balmorhea boasts a large natural spring with views of the Davis Mountains. Stay in the cabins or camp on location. This is a great place for year round scuba diving and swimming (if you're really motivated!) where the water is consistently 72 degrees. Divers will see a variety of fish, and a rather feisty turtle. Entry is free for State Park Pass holders, and is otherwise $7. Pool hours are 8am-7:30pm. Check it out!
#2 - The Scuba Ranch
Texas, USA Mid
A great local dive site near the DFW Metroplex. It is a spring fed 22 acre lake/quarry. Visibility is usually good. It is limited to divers and snorkelers--no boating or fishing. Catfish and perch abound. There are a number of interesting objects to discover underwater--an American Airlines plane, a boat, and an artificial shark are all marked with buoys but there is also a casket that you might just find while out exploring. Air fills on site. Picnic shelters. Camping. Hot showers in a bath house. www.clearspringsscubapark.com--is their website From Dallas: Take Hwy. 80 East to Terrell exit. Once you exit, you will proceed 7 miles passing through the downtown area of Terrell and turn left at the Exxon (429 North). Travel 7 miles to Cedar Grove Road (Cty Rd 346) and tur4n right. Go 1 mile and the gate entrance is on our left. Be sure to look for the Dive Flag sign.
#3 - Twin Lakes Scuba Park
Texas, USA Mid
Though it's better known as a training spot for scuba divers, Twin Lakes is the perfect place to cool off without having to fight the traffic, and the crowds, in Galveston. Just 20 minutes south of downtown off the farm roads of 288, this aquifer-fed pool is clear enough for the aforementioned training and features five sunken fishing boats, a school bus and an Airstream trailer. Above ground there are floating docks, picnic tables, overnight campsites and a snack bar. Bass, catfish, turtle and perch live in the water, and if you're not there to dive admission is only $5. Just note that no alcohol or glass containers are allowed on the property. 31 acre lake, bass, catfish, turtles; 50ft deep, 20 ft viz; campsites, picnic tables, air fills; About 20 minutes from Houston, go south on hiway 288 to hiway 6, go east for 1.8 miles to the park.
#4 - Athens Scuba Park
When you just absolutely need to get wet...Underwater attractions: Small passenger jet; country music star Ray Price's tour bus; various vehicles and sundry items. Drive up to the dock. Athens, Texas
#5 - Canyon Lake
Texas, USA Mid
North Park on Canyon Lake is a public park with primitive camping available. There is a protected buoyed area for an easy shore entry. A short swim from shore will take you to a low bluff wall with cars, boats and the like at the bottom below the bluff. Continuing into the lake will take you to across a short flat area and then down another steep slope to standing timber. Visibility is typical of Texas lakes and can run from near none to rarely more than 10 - 12 feet above the thermocline. The deeper colder water may offer better visibility. Canyon Lake is about 30 miles north of Austin. Take Hwy 306 from New Braunfels, Tx to Caynon Lake. North Park is the first access to the lake and is the most popular dive site
#6 - Lake Travis, Austin
Texas, USA Mid
Lake Travis is an exciting destination for amateur and technical divers alike. Destination dives include the Shaker Plant, which was used to process the construction materials used to build the lake’s dam, with some features at recreational depths and others extending beyond 100 feet deep. In addition, there are walls and grottoes to explore, along with forests of sunken pecan trees. Along the aptly named Wreck Alley, you’ll find a permanent line that leads to a series of wrecks ranging from houseboats to sailboats. As you make your way from one site to the next, you’ll find yourself in the company of yellow spotted and channel catfish, perch and bass, tilapia, and crappies. Visibility averages 8-10 feet, and charters are available. Located just 14 miles northwest of downtown Austin, this is a great place to spend a day or make several dives over the course of an extended period of time.
#7 - Possum Kingdom Lake
Texas, USA Mid
One of the oldest inland scuba diving destinations in Texas, Possum Kingdom Reservoir attracts multitudes of divers each year as a training ground for new divers in the clear waters of the lake. It’s also a popular treasure-hunting site. About 75 miles (120 km) west of Fort Worth in the Palo Pinto Mountains of North Central Texas, the reservoir emerged after the construction of the Morris Sheppard Dam in 1941, which was built to help control the flooding of the historic Brazos River and provide hydropower to the region. The narrow lake follows the winding, snakelike path of the river for 65 miles (104 km) with about 17,700 acres (7,080 hectares) of water, but the deep waters closest to the dam, with its clear visibility, is what attracts divers. “Most of the lake in the upper portion is shallow with low visibility, but the closer you get to the dam, the more exceptional the diving, with visibility ranging up to 100 feet (30 m),” says Todd Burns of Scuba Point Dive Shop, which has operated as a training site and air fill station on the lake since 1959. Among the key features of the lower section of lake for divers are the sheer rock walls with numerous cutouts and caves bordering the former river valley, Burns says.
#8 - Aquarena Center At Spring Lake
Texas, USA Mid
To dive in Spring Lake at Aquarena Springs you have to take a special certification class as a scientific diver. The lake is the habitat of 5 endangered species as well as home to archeological digs uncovering history from 10,000+ years ago. Visibility is as good as the Caribbean. Once you are certified you get to come back and do work dives for free. There are no purely recreational dives as it is an endangered habitat. Here's the website http://www.aquarena.txstate.edu/Divingscience.html From Austin, go south on I-35 to San Marcos, take Exit 206, Aquarena Springs Drive, turn right and go through 2 stop lights; immediately after rail road tracks see entrance and sign to Aquarena Center on right side of the road, take a right into golf course, follow the road to the left to the park entrance. From San Antonio, take I-35 North to San Marcos, take exit 206, Aquarena Springs Drive, go left under I-35 and through 3 stop lights; immediately after railroad tracks on right side of the road, see entrance and sign to Aquarena Center, turn right into golf course follow the road to the left to the park entrance. The San Marcos River can be accessed from the town without having to go to Aquarena Center
#9 - Port Aransas and South Padre Jetties
Texas, USA Mid
These two sites are especially interesting since in the summer time there are various tropicals such as damsels and butterflyfish, as well as game fish such as snook and sheepshead. There is a lot of algae, barnacles, and crabs on and in the rocks, and at South Padre, I have personally seen 10 sea turtles (most of them Kemp's Ridleys, but a couple of greens too) in just and hour and a half while snorkeling there one July. The south jetty at Port Aransas, TX (channel side) is a good shore dive/snorkeling spot for late spring to early fall with visibility in the 5-25ft. range with an incoming high tide. Depths are about 7-14ft. along the large granite boulders. Also the north jetty at the southern tip of South Padre Island is a good shore diving/snorkeling spot (Gulf side, but may be good channel side too) with similar visibility and depths along the rocks.
#10 - Aquarena Springs
You have to get certified as a Scientific Diver through Aquarena springs prior to diving the lake, there are five endangered species living in this lake along with artifacts dating all the way back to mans first arrival in this area. Dive Training site, Dive site for Scientific Divers, 72 degrees spring fed year round 25'- 30' vis.
#11 - Comal River
Known as the "longest shortest river in the world" by locals (only 2.5 miles in length), the Comal River is a haven for tubing. As for diving, the current can be swift at times. But if you're into clean up projects, it's a great site. Just watch out for the tube shoots! New Braunfels. NE of San Antonia, TX.
#12 - Tyler State Park Lake
There are 2 small platforms in the lake at roughly 15ft ( 4.6m ). Entering Tyler State Park, the dive site is located by the pick-nick tables on the North East side of the lake.
#13 - Balmorhea State Park
1.5 acre pool over San Solomon Springs, built by Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930's. Visibility is very good, lots of fish, turtles, and it's the only diving for hundreds of miles around. Desert Divers dive shop in Toyahville. Motel & camping facilities in park. Balmorhea State Park is located 4 miles southwest of Balmorhea on Texas Highway 17, in Toyahvale. From I-10 westbound, take Balmorhea exit (exit #206); FM 2903 south to Balmorhea; State Highway 17 west 4 miles to the Park. From I-10 eastbound, take Toyahvale/Ft. Davis exit (exit #192); Ranch Road 3078 east approximately 12 miles to the park.
#15 - Deep 6 Wreck
USA, Texas, South Padre Island
This wreck was a shrimp boat that sank in rough seas. Now, the wreck lies in 60ft of water off the coast. Now, schools of fish, eels, turtles, and rays are seen on the wreck. It's great for nearly every diver looking for adventure in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. 11 miles off the coast of South Padre Island.
#18 - Windy Point Park
Windy Point Park is one of the top diving "hot spots" in the Central Texas area. It has been recognized by various divers and instructors from all over the state. Divers with advanced training and experience, can enjoy the deep underwater canyon wall, plunging to depths well over 100 feet. Dress warmly however- the temperatures at that depth can differ 30 degrees from the surface NW of Austin, TX.
#19 - 288 Lake
15-minute drive south of downtown Houston 288 Lake is also known as Tiki Lake, The Reef.
#20 - Mammoth Lake
USA, Texas, Freeport
Has many wrecks for all levels of divers. Main attraction is the C-130 aircraft. Mammoth Lake is located right off Dixie Rd. Hydrosports Scuba is the shop located on the lake. Plenty of parking at the shop or at your own covered pavilion, with the dock located right next to where you park. The park is closed during the winter season.
#22 - Clear Springs Scuba Park
Clear Springs Scuba Park is a 21 acre quary specifically for diving and dive training. It's less than an hour drive from Dallas. www.clearspringsscubapark.com Northeast of Terrell, TX. Access via stairs and shore entry.