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Where To See Dolphins In Texas – 2023 Guide

Welcome to my guide on where to see dolphins in Texas! If you’re looking to catch a glimpse of these playful creatures in their natural habitat then you’re in the right place.

I love seeing dolphins out in the wild so when I heard that Texas has a ton of them, of course I had to head over there to see them for myself.

Based on firsthand experience, the best place to see dolphins in Texas is on South Padre Island where dolphin sightings are ridiculously common.

I’d recommend joining this dolphin watching boat tour at South Padre Island for the best chance of seeing a dolphin up close! You’ll get a pretty spectacular view.

In the rest of this post, I’ll reveal all of the other exact locations where you can see dolphins in Texas.

Best Places To See Dolphins In Texas

Here’s all of the best places in Texas where you can see dolphins including where you can swim with dolphins in Texas.

1. South Padre Island

As I mentioned, the best place in Texas where you can see dolphins is on South Padre Island.

South Padre Island is a barrier island that sits just off the southern coast of Texas close to Mexico. It’s well known for its beautiful beaches and calm waters. 

dolphins around South Padre Island

Dolphins are very commonly seen swimming just off the coast of South Padre Island. The best way to see them is by booking onto a dolphin watching boat tour

This is the tour that I personally did and I absolutely loved it!

I got to watch several large groups of dolphins out in the ocean with between 10 and 30 dolphins in each group! I watched as they playfully jumped in and out of the water.

For something a bit more special, you could book a private sunset cruise for just you and your party. It’s the best way to escape the crowds.

Dolphin sightings are so common on South Padre Island that you’re almost guaranteed to see one! The best time to see dolphins in South Padre Island is during the morning or evening. 

There are tons of other ways to get out onto the water on South Padre Island – why not try parasailing or try out jet-skiing

These experiences also offer the opportunity to spot dolphins whilst having fun.

Check out the dolphins of South Padre Island in the video below:

2. Galveston

Galveston is a coastal resort city located right on the Gulf of Mexico close to Houston. It is one of the closest places to Houston where you can see wild dolphins.

Galveston Bay is home to a resident population of bottlenose dolphins as well as lots of other birds and marine life.

You can often see the dolphins swimming around the bay, feeding and jumping out of the water. 

I hung around the bay for a good hour or so and was lucky enough to spot several dolphins during this time.

The best way to see the dolphins is to book onto a dolphin watching boat tour that will take you out into the bay. You’ll get fantastic, up close views of the dolphins.

Did you know that you can also see dolphins in South Carolina? Find out exactly where in my detailed guide.

3. Port Aransas

Port Aransas is a city located on Mustang Island on the coast of Texas. It’s known for its stunning Gulf of Mexico beaches and vibrant marine life including dolphins. 

Dolphin in Port Aransas

I found that the best place to spot dolphins in Port Aransas was at Roberts Point Park, a 50-acre waterfront park with epic ocean views.

Head up to the watchtower for the best, panoramic ocean views. I saw so many dolphins from up here including a huge pod of at least 15 dolphins!

The best way to see the dolphins is to book onto a boat tour where you can get up-close views of the dolphins jumping in and out of the water. 

After seeing some dolphins from the watchtower on my first day in Port Aransas, I booked the boat tour for the following day and definitely wasn’t disappointed.

Again, I must have seen at least 20 dolphins on the tour!

The best time of day to spot dolphins is during the morning or evening. Port Aransas is home to a population of around 60 Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. 

Check out how close you can get to the dolphins in Port Aransas in the video below: 

4. San Antonio

One of the best places in Texas to swim with dolphins is at SeaWorld in San Antonio

SeaWorld is a 250-acre theme park and oceanarium located on the western side of San Antonio. 

SeaWorld San Antonio currently has 18 bottlenose dolphins that are located at Discovery Point. 

Here the playful bottlenose dolphins have their own lagoon where you can watch them playing and swimming.

They even have an underwater viewing area where you can see the dolphins from below.

For a truly memorable experience, you can go swimming with the dolphins and meet them one on one. 

SeaWorld is actually the only place in Texas where you can swim with dolphins.

You can check out the swimming with dolphins experience at SeaWorld in the video below:

5. Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi is a coastal city located in southern Texas. The city itself is tucked into a bay and sheltered by the nearby islands of Padre and Mustang. 

Dolphins can often be seen in Corpus Christi Bay. A popular activity is to head out on a boat tour into the bay where you’ll often see the dolphins swimming, playing and feeding.

Another way to see them is on the free ferry ride between Port Aransas and Aransas Pass. 

You can also see dolphins in the Texas State Aquarium, also located in Corpus Christi. Head over to Dolphin Bay for up-close views of the dolphins in their 12-foot saltwater pool. 

6. Houston

Houston is the biggest city in Texas, located in the southeast near the Gulf of Mexico. 

One of the best spots in Houston for dolphin watching is at Sylvan Beach Park

Sylvan Beach Park has a white sandy beach and calm waters. There’s lots of wildlife including birds and dolphins. It’s also a great spot to take a dip in the ocean.

Did you know you can also see dolphins in North Carolina?

Best Time Of Year To See Dolphins

South Texas is home to several large groups of dolphins year-round. Most dolphins found in the waters near Texas reside there all year and don’t migrate to other waters. 

Whether it’s summer or winter, you’ll always be able to go dolphin watching in Texas.

The best time of day to see dolphins in Texas is morning or evening time. 

If you head out at midday, you will still be able to see them but less dolphins are out at this time due to the midday heat.

And that’s all folks!

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about the best places to see dolphins in Texas.

From South Padre Island to Galveston, there are plenty of opportunities to witness these magnificent creatures in action.

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Megan Jones is a travel expert and founder of Traveller's Elixir who has been travelling the world full time since 2021. Megan's travel tips been featured in numerous media outlets including Metro, Timeout, Thrillist and more.