The clear water of the San Marcos River may not be the traditional home of mermaids, but the mythical creatures have become a Central Texas tradition. @micbergsma
If folklore is to be believed, mermaids spend their days among the ocean waves, swimming in the salty water alongside dolphins and sunbathing on sandbars. The legends speak of creatures with iridescent tales and flowing hair that emerge from the sea to flirt with homesick sailors.
The ancient stories do not reference Texas.
And yet, about 160 miles inland from the coast, the town of San Marcos is practically swimming with mermaids. These aren’t the mermaids from fairy tales and folklore; these are freshwater mermaids. Even better, these are Texas mermaids.
To the casual observer, the San Marcos mermaid connection seems completely arbitrary, but this aquatic obsession is actually deeply rooted in the area’s history.
The San Marcos River
To understand the reason behind the San Marcos mermaid fascination, you have to start at the beginning—and by that we mean the beginning of the San Marcos River. The miraculously cool, pristine waters of the San Marcos River rise up from the Edwards Aquifer, which is located in the center of the city. The water stays 72 degrees year-round and is a paradise for wildlife and humans alike. The Texas Blind Salamander is only found within the caverns of the Edwards Aquifer and other rare and endangered species of flora and fauna including Texas Wild Rice and the Fountain Darter call the clear flowing water of the San Marcos River home. The San Marcos River is so clean, so clear and cool that it can seem downright magical on a hot summer day in Texas, so it’s no wonder that it inspired something even more fantastical.