Let the Kids Swim with the Fishes–Balmorhea State Park

Minnows dart around your legs. Black catfish slyly seem to circle around your body.

If you are a kid it doesn’t get much better than this!

Swim with the fish
Swim with the fish

Welcome to Balmorhea State Park. Only five hours from San Antonio, it was our first (and for the under 10 travelers their favorite) stop on our Spring Break RV tour. You can see my overview post here.

Blamorhea hosts the world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool. The pool covers almost 1.75 acres and it stays a nice cool 72-76 degrees year round. It was constructed by men working in Civil Conservation Corps. The CCC was a New Deal program during the  Great Depression which provided work for unemployed men. During the day, these young men between the ages of 18-25 would work on public works projects and at night take classes. Balmorhea pool was constructed by these men using only hand tools!

Swim with the Fish at Balmorhea

We (meaning Scott and I), being reasonable parents, thought that the predicted 50 degrees air temperature was MUCH TOO COLD for anyone to want to swim. So we didn’t pack any swim gear.

Mom, I'm just going to dip my foot in.
Mom, I’m just going to dip my foot in.

Silly parents.  When the children saw the pool. . .the high dive. . . the minnows. . .and the black Breakwater catfish swimming in the crystal clear waters (and yes, you can see down to the 20 foot bottom) there were no arguments that would convince them that 50 degrees was too cold. We packed up the RV and drove 20 miles to the Walmart in Pecos and bought 7 suits, 5 googles, and one floaty.

But, you can only swim in 72 degree water for so long and getting out means that 52 degrees air temperature is VERY COLD. Scott said that Will broke down into tears when the warm water of the after-swim shower rained down on him.

Balmorhea has canals that run through the grounds and a large pond area and marsh that is teaming with waterlife.

Investigating the canals at Balmorhea State Park

Marsh at Balmorhea

We spent a lot of time watching or feeding the minnows and the three different species of turtles.

Feeding the wildlife

Feeding the Turtles

 Balmorhea State Park

 On the first evening, while the boys were playing a pick-up game of baseball, I sent Maddie out to capture some of the sights around the park with these instructions: surprise me!

waterfall over the canal

Balmorhea State Park


Tree at Dusk




Balmorhea State Park

She returned with these words, “I like landscapes. . .and texture.”

If you decide you don’t want to camp at Balmorhea, they do have small adobe cottages for rent that would be perfect for a weekend getaway.


But believe me. . .you need to leave your house, get in your car, and go. Your children will think that this was the coolest vacation ever!

What is your favorite state park to visit?



I am a mother of two sets of twins and a singleton. I explore the wild world of multiples and provide resources for other parents of multiples.
  1. Looks like y’all had a great time. I had never heard of Balmorhea State Park. On my list.

  2. That looks so cool! We’re always on the lookout for fun family getaways and this looks right up our alley. Thank you for sharing!

  3. WOW! This place looks amazing. I have never heard of it before but only 5 hrs away would be a great little getaway! Thanks so much for sharing. Im putting it on my list!

  4. How beautiful! We’ve never been but it looks like an incredible place to visit. I love all of your photos!

    1. Thanks Colleen. Balmorhea is a small state park, but for families very manageable. Since we went in the early spring, it wasn’t too crowded but I suspect in the summer it might be pretty busy!

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