Can you swim with dolphins in Texas?

Can you swim with dolphins in Texas?

Exploring Dolphin Encounters on the Texas Gulf Coast.

Many people are fascinated by dolphins and dream of swimming alongside these intelligent creatures in their natural habitat. 

If you didn’t know, Texas is home to 26 types of whales and dolphins, specifically 9 types of dolphins — the Atlantic bottlenose dolphins being the most common encounter along the Texas Gulf Coast.  

If you’re wondering whether swimming with dolphins is possible in Texas, you’ve come to the right place. 

Let’s dive into the legalities surrounding swimming with dolphins in Texas and dolphin encounters in general along the Texas Gulf Coast.

Can you swim with dolphins in Texas?

No, it is actually illegal, as well as can be dangerous, to swim with wild dolphins in Texas. Some people think you can swim with wild dolphins in Texas.  Some have swum with wild dolphins, knowing or unknowing it to be illegal.  

However, while you may not be able to swim with wild dolphins in Texas, Sea World San Antonio does offer patrons the experience of a lifetime with an in-water interactive swim with dolphins at their Discovery Point Dolphin Lagoon.  Of course, to participate in the controlled dolphin swim experience, patrons must pay $125 per person and be at least 48” tall. As of to date, this is one of the only swims with dolphin opportunities made available to the general public in Texas.

But as for swimming with wild dolphins in Texas, the state of Texas has specific regulations in place to protect marine wildlife and preserve their natural behaviors. Interacting with wild dolphins, such as swimming or touching them, can disrupt their natural patterns and potentially harm both the dolphins and humans involved. Therefore, it is important to respect these regulations and prioritize the well-being of these magnificent creatures.

However, in lieu of swimming with wild dolphins, it is best for the dolphin for enthusiasts and those curious to opt for dolphin-watching cruises and tours that allow for observation and, quite possibly, touching the dolphins on their terms.

Dolphin Watching in Texas.

Let’s explore some of the top locations for dolphin watching in Texas:

Dolphins in Galveston, Texas.

Baywatch Dolphin Tours is by far the favorite stop for localists and tourists alike in and near Galveston, Texas, that desire to see wild dolphins in their natural habitat.  

Set sail aboard their comfortable boat as their experienced crew guides you to the best spots for dolphin sightings in the Galveston Bay area. Witness dolphins in the wild as they play, swim, and jump alongside the boat. 

With informative commentary and a focus on conservation, Baywatch Dolphin Tours offers a unique and educational adventure about all there is to know about dolphins in Texas.

Baywatch Dolphin Tours is located at 2100 Harborside Drive in Galveston, Texas, 77550.

Dolphins in Port Aransas, Texas.

While many cities along the Texas Gulf Coast try and stake their claim to being the best-in-class dolphin watch cruise and tour, none can compare to the hidden gem of Port Aransas, Texas.  

Port Aransas is truly a dolphin enthusiast’s paradise with many locations to see, watch, and interact with dolphins. Port A, as its affectionately known by the locals, has a plethora of dolphin watch cruises and tours to choose from, but below are my top seven choices:

Dolphins in Ingleside, Texas (Corpus Christi Bay Area).

Dolphin Connection is based in Ingleside on the Bay, not far from Port Aransas and Corpus Christi.  

Dolphin Connection often encounters large pods of dolphins and sometimes spots 50 or more dolphins during their dolphin-watching charters and tours.  Their expert crew will guide you through the scenic waters, sharing fascinating insights about these intelligent creatures along the way.  

In addition, they are highly esteemed by customers, touting a 5-star rating based on almost 50 reviews and counting.  Dolphin Connection is located at 84 Bayshore Drive in Ingleside, Texas, 78362.

Dolphins in Port Isabel, Texas.

Colley’s Fins to Feather, located near South Padre Island in Port Isabel, Texas, is another popular option for dolphin enthusiasts.  It’s said to be South Padre Island’s number one dolphin and bird-watching tour option.  

Although it was shut down for a bit due to Hurricane Harvey, it is believed to be regaining stable footing in returning to business better than before Harvey hit and decimated the business. 

Located at 500 South Point Drive in Port Isabel, Texas, 78578, Colley’s Fins to Feather allows locals and tourists to jump in the water or lean into the water from the boat to interact with the dolphins.

Snorkeling with Dolphins in Texas.

Instead of swimming with dolphins, which is illegal in Texas, snorkeling allows you to observe them from a respectful distance while still immersing yourself in their world responsibly and ethically. Let’s discover places to experience the magic of snorkeling with dolphins in Texas!

Dolphins in South Padre Island.

Another South Padre Island favorite is Southern Wave Sailing Charters, located at 205 W Palm Street in South Padre Island, Texas, 78597. 

You’ll experience exceptional fun-in-the-sun snorkeling with a dolphin encounter with Southern Wave Sailing Charters in South Padre Island, Texas. Their friendly crew ensures your safety and comfort as you sail to where dolphins are commonly spotted. 

Swim alongside these magnificent creatures, learn about their behavior, and create lasting memories in the crystal-clear waters of the Laguna Madre Bay in Texas

Dolphins in Riviera, Texas.

SDM Adventures, based in San Juan, Texas, offers a range of exciting underwater experiences, including scuba diving, snorkeling, shark diving, and swimming with dolphins.

Their snorkeling with dolphins encounters an incredible opportunity to get close to these magnificent creatures. The one-hour experience begins with a safety briefing and snorkeling instructions, followed by participants boarding a boat to travel to where dolphins are frequently seen. 

Once dolphins are spotted, everyone gears up and enters the water. The dolphins are naturally curious and often approach the swimmers, allowing for interactions such as swimming together, petting, and even playing games.

SDM Adventures is located at 332 East 15th Street, San Juan, Texas, 78589.


While swimming with wild dolphins in Texas is prohibited, the Texas Gulf Coast offers numerous opportunities for dolphin enthusiasts to experience these magnificent creatures. 

Dolphin-watching cruises and tours and snorkeling with dolphins provide a responsible yet thrilling way to observe dolphins in their natural environment while respecting and protecting their well-being. 

Whether you visit Port Aransas, Galveston, South Padre Island, or Corpus Christi, you can embark on an unforgettable journey that connects you with the beauty of dolphins in Texas.

If you have additional questions about how to interact with dolphins, then review our recently updated frequently asked questions about dolphinsHappy Dolphin Watching!

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