If you have ever visited Texas in the summer, then you know that we look for every opportunity to escape the summer heat. One of our favorite ways to do just that is to float down a crystal clear river with a cold drink in your hand.
There are many places to go tubing in Texas, but one of our favorites is New Braunfels tubing!
People flock to the Texas small town of New Braunfels for the opportunity to float down not one, but two Texas rivers!
Not only that, but there are so many things to do in New Braunfels that you could easily spend a week or more here!
Located about an hour from Austin, New Braunfels makes for a great weekend getaway in Texas!
Let us show you everything you need to know about tubing in New Braunfels!
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River Tubing in New Braunfels, Texas
As we mentioned above, New Braunfels is home to not one, but two Texas rivers to choose from.
New Braunfels tubing gives you the choice of planning a float trip down either the Comal River or the Guadalupe River.
Float trips on the Comal River generally take about three hours while a river tubing trip can range from two hours up to six hours!
Of course, each river offers you a different experience also.
A Comal River tubing adventure includes a fun river tube chute that is similar to being on a water slide.
While the tube chute is fun, many people prefer the rapids of the Guadalupe River instead.
No matter which of the rivers you choose, you are guaranteed an escape from the heat as both are spring-fed, crystal clear, and delightfully cold in the summer months.
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Comal River Tubing
One of your choices when planning a New Braunfels tubing trip is to go river tubing on the Comal River.
The Comal River winds its way through the Texas Hill Country directly through New Braunfels, Texas, including Schlitterbahn waterpark.
As the shortest river in the United States, the Comal River makes for a fun day of river tubing.
Float trips on the 2.5 miles of the Comal River are easy to plan.
There are several river outfitters to help you with your Comal River tubing adventure. These river outfitters are where you can get tube rentals, grab life jackets (if needed), purchase needed supplies, and plan for a ride back to your car.
Again, one of the fun things that people love about Comal River tubing is to float through the river chutes that divert you around the dams.
In our opinion, the Comal is the more family-friendly of the two rivers. While people still drink and party on the Comal, it doesn’t seem as prominent as on the Guadalupe. Kids also love riding their tubes down the river chutes on the Comal.
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Guadalupe River Tubing
Another option for your tubing in New Braunfels adventure is to float the Guadalupe.
While we love both rivers, we head to the Guadalupe over the Comal River if we are wanting a party. The Guadalupe is definitely a party!
Since the Guadalupe is also a spring-fed river, it too stays nice and chilly all summer long, making it the perfect place to escape the summer heat. This spring-fed river is also nice and clear, making it an enjoyable float trip.
The river flows through New Braunfels and is also home to several river outfitters making it easy for you to find the necessary supplies for your river trip.
Many people choose to go river rafting on the Guadalupe when the river is up and flowing well.
So, whether you choose to go floating or rafting, both rivers have their positives and you really can’t go wrong with either one.
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River Outfitters, Tube Rentals, and Shuttle
Of course, you are welcome to grab your own tube and hop into the river at any of the public entry points whenever you want.
We personally prefer to work with one of the tubing companies when we go tubing in New Braunfels.
Tubing outfitters will provide you with free parking, tube rentals, life vests, river access points, and most importantly of all, shuttle service back to your car once you exit the river.
While we thoroughly enjoy the tubes we have rented from the companies, we must admit that probably the best part of working with a river company is the free parking and shuttle service that they provide back to your starting location site.
This service helps to save time and stress ensuring that you can easily find parking and get the items that you want to rent.
Floating the river is a popular summertime activity, and the rivers can get pretty crowded, especially on the weekends.
We recommend making a reservation in advance of your float to ensure you have a tube rental.
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Speaking of tubes, we choose always choose a tube that has a bottom in it. That protects you from scraping your bottom on the rocks in the shallow areas, so be sure your tube rental includes this.
We also always get a tube rented that is specially made for our ice chest (just read below so you know the rules of what to pack).
Working with a reputable river outfitter makes planning your trip super easy and helps to ensure that you have a great time. Just be sure to check the reviews online and make sure they are experts in both the Guadalupe and Comal Rivers.
The company will let you know what public exit to take on the river to catch the shuttle. Just be sure to watch your time and know when the last shuttle picks up for the day. You don’t want to miss it and have to walk back to the parking lot with your tubes!
Here are some tubing companies we have had a good experience with in New Braunfels:
An important part of planning your floating trip is to ensure that you know the river rules prior to visiting.
As we mentioned above, tubing in Texas is a popular (and fun) summer activity. Knowing the rules ensures everyone has a good time and we keep our rivers safe for all to enjoy.
Parties on the rivers are popular, especially during holiday weekends like Labor Day and Memorial Day. So, of course, alcohol is allowed on the river. You just need to know that while you float you cannot have any glass containers or Styrofoam.
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If you are packing snacks, keep in mind that you cannot have any disposable containers on the water while you float. That means no Ziploc bags!
You can pack your items, including your food, in non-disposable containers like reusable sports bottles, reusable cups, and reusable jugs.
We advise getting a cooler with a locking mechanism as well. Trust us, we lost the entire contents of our cooler one year when our tube flipped over. And remember, it gets hot in Texas, so pack that cooler down with plenty of ice!
While a float down the river is a mini party, you can’t blast your music. Music cannot be heard beyond 50 feet in order to be legal.
There are also limits to the size of your tube. A tube cannot be longer than five feet in length or width, so keep that in mind when choosing your tube.
Also, keep in mind, especially if you are floating with kids, that there are no lifeguards on the river. Be sure to pack life jackets appropriately sized for kids and any weak swimmers in your group.
Watch your friends while swimming to ensure that everyone has a safe experience while escaping the hot Texas sun!
The most important rule of all while floating is DON’T LITTER! Keep our rivers a great place to visit by keeping our waterways free of waste!
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What To Pack For a River Float
Be sure you have everything you need for a river trip! Here are some of our suggested items to consider:
A good pair of river shoes is a must during your trip. You will need these when walking from the parking area, while waiting on the shuttle, and possibly even while in the river.
Having good sunscreen is so important. Be sure to apply it and reapply it as you will easily burn on the tubes!
Stock up on sunscreen before you go!
Sunglasses and Sunglass Straps
I am in love with my Ray Ban sunglasses, so I surely don’t want them falling in the water while we are floating on our tubes.
So, in addition to a great pair of sunglasses, be sure that you have them secured with a floating sunglass strap as well.
Trust me, you might feel silly, but you will thank me if your glasses fall off.
As we mentioned above, having a great cooler with a good locking mechanism is essential. There are many to choose from in all different price ranges, so it will be easy to find one that suits your needs.
A good insulate cup is another necessity. You have to stay hydrated while out on the tubes!
Having a good waterproof bag will save you a lot of headaches. You can store your car keys, phone, and more here while you are on the tubes. They keep everything nice and dry for you!
Waterproof Phone Case
Don’t risk thousands of dollars by getting your phone wet. Either leave it in the car or invest in a good waterproof case, the choice is yours.
Be sure to pack plenty of food and drinks for your time on the tubes, especially water and hydration packs! We love Liquid IV Hydration Multiplier. Try it and see what you think!
Having a little cash on hand never hurt, so be sure to pack some in your dry bag just in case you need it.
Rope or Ties
Having some rope or ties is also a good idea. If you are floating with a group, it is fun to tie the tubes together. If not, the ties can help secure your ice chest and other belongings.
Don’t forget to bring a cover-up. The sun is unforgiving while on the tube. You don’t want to get sunburned!
If you want to bring your own life jacket, then consider these. We love them!
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About The Author
Michelle Snell is a travel writer, history buff, wine lover, and enthusiast of different cultures. Michelle enjoys bringing places to life through her informative writing style on her blogs, That Texas Couple and Totally Texas Travel. Her practical tips and suggestions help make travel dreams a reality while immersing her readers in the history, culture, and food of a region. She is happiest sipping wine in Italy or chilling on a beach with her husband, Marty.