An hour and a half north of Houston, down a tree-lined road dotted with ranches, lie two crystal-clear, spring-fed lagoons. Tall pines shade these two former limestone quarries, each filled with 28 feet of warm, blue-green water. The Blue Lagoon, outside Huntsville, is private, with a hefty $20 fee per person, but the experience is worth it.
The place caters mostly to scuba divers—there’s a full gear shop onsite—some of whom camp overnight. Swimmers can’t camp, though, and must adhere to strict hours: It opens at noon to non-divers on weekends, but they cap the number of people allowed in, so get there as it opens. You can’t even wait in your car once the property’s roundabout fills up.
For an ideal experience, play hooky one weekday, pack a cooler and a friend or two (no pets allowed), and hit the Blue Lagoon when it opens at 10 a.m. The place will be much less crowded, and you’ll have your pick of where to set up, whether on the main beach, or the intriguingly named Nude or Off-Nude beaches, which were sans nudists on the day we showed up, but boasted beautiful views nevertheless.
The Blue Lagoon
649 Pinedale Rd.