Tubing in Texas is almost a right of passage in the state. Of course, most of us start out floating the river in Texas just to beat the swelting summer heat. It seems that it later becomes a past time. You know, a way to socialize and hang out with friends.
Well, whatever your reason for wanting to float the river in Texas, you have plenty of rivers to choose from to make it happen.
As Texas natives, we have been floating the rivers in Texas for years, so you are in good hands. We have outlined some of the best Texas rivers for a float trip and given you some valuable tips just in case this is your first time to float the river.
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Best Rivers To Go Tubing in Texas
One of the best rivers in Texas to go tubing if you like a quiet environment is the Frio River.
Running through the Texas Hill Country, the Frio River is located is a little more remote setting than some of the other rivers on our list. That means you can easily come here to escape the heat and some of the crowds.
When floating this spring fed river, you find yourself surrounded by tall limestone bluffs and gorgeous cypress trees.
Easy access points include Garner State Park, one of the state parks near San Antonio that we love, US Highway 83 bridge, Magers crossing, and the FM 1120 crossing West of Rio Frior.
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The Guadalupe River is a super popular place for tubing. That could be attributed to the fact that the Frio runs 230 miles from Central Texas to the Gulf of Mexico.
The cool waters near San Antonio, the shade from the cypress trees, and the mild rapids makes floating here a really enjoyable experience.
There are numerous river outfitters servicing the Guadalupe River near San Antonio, so it is easy to rent tubes and shuttle service for your tubing adventure.
A popular float on the Guadalupe River is the Horseshoe Loop. This relaxing float takes about two hours depending on the water levels of the river.
Popular towns for floating near here include Canyon Lake, New Braunfels, San Antonio, San Marcos.
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San Marcos River
Another popular Texas tubing destination is the San Marcos River in the small town of San Marcos, Texas.
Grab your inner tube and head to one of the most popular river tubing spots in Texas.
Honestly, floating in San Marcos is always a party! I guess that can be attributed to the fact that it is so close to Texas State University.
The San Marcos River is a tributary of the Guadalupe River and boasts crystal clear water for tubing that is a cool 72°F during the summer months.
Located about 30 minutes from Austin, a float on the San Marcos River makes for one of the easy weekend getaways in Texas.
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Another favorite in the Lone Star State for river floating is the Comal River, and our favorite place to place to hit the Comal River is in the Texas small town of New Braunfels.
One of the most popular access points to float the Comal is in the city park, Landa Park. Here, you can easily throw your inner tube in the water and get ready for your 2-2.5 hour float.
If you don’t have your own tubes, then you can rent them at one of the tube rentals in the area.
Tubers here definitely bring the party. It is not uncommon to see people tubes toting their ice chest filled with alcoholic beverages and a speaker blasting their favorite tunes.
That’s one of the things we love about tubing in Texas, it is always a good time.
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South Llano River
Head to the South Llano River located in Austin, TX for a fabulous day out on the river.
The 100-mile South Llano River is a tributary of the Colorado River, making it a great place to escaper all summer long.
Visit the area of the river around the South Llano State Park to enjoy one of the hidden gems in Texas. This area is very family friendly boasting a nice park, beautiful landscape, and the amenities of the park.
Other access points besides the state park include Castell crossing, Boone’s crossing, and Pete’s Pecan Patch near Junction just to name a few.
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A great Texas Hill Country state park on the way from Austin to Fredericksburg is our next suggestion for Texas tubing river, Pedernales Falls.
When you visit Pedernales Falls, not only will you be able to see one of the fun waterfalls in Texas, but you can also use it as an access point for river tubing.
If floating the river from here, take note that there is no equipment rentals at the park, so you have to show up with your tubes.
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The Brazos River is one of the less popular rivers to float in Texas, so if you are a fan of having your own space, then the Brazos is for you.
Located near the town of Caddo, Texas, this river is pretty remote, so you might just have it all to yourself.
Be sure and visit before summer’s end to take advantage of the best current as the Brazos River will vary according to rainfall. Pay careful attention in late summer as the water levels may be too low for tubing.
You can put in at Possum Kingdom State Park, one of our favorite state parks near the Dallas Fort Worth area.
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Another of the great spring fed rivers in Texas is the Medina River. This beautiful river runs 120-miles through the hill country.
Due to its more remote location, floating the Medina River is a relaxing, but scenic float.
Put in at the town of Bandera, Texas where they offer tube rentals and a shuttle service.
Despite being a spring fed river, the Medina River still varies based on rainfall.
Running the expanse of seven states, the Colorado River is the longest river in Texas, and the perfect place for your next river tubing adventure.
Many people bring camping supplies, and make floating the Colorado a multi-day excursion!
Floating the Colorado is a relaxing experience as the flow is mild on this river. You can just kick back and enjoy the gorgeous Texas scenery that surrounds you!
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Being born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas, there was a time when I would have NEVER suggested that you get in the Trinity River. But, thanks to the concerted efforts of local businesses and citizens, the Trinity River is now a source of pride for the Dallas Fort Worth area, and I am happy to include it on this list.
Every Saturdays during the summer, well through mid-August, you can join the locals when you grab a tube and participate in the Rockin’ the River Festival with live music and fun.
One of the many reasons I love Texas!
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You will find the Blanco River winding its way through south Texas. Floating this gorgeous river will take you past waterfalls, tall pecan and cypress trees, and gorgeous Texas landscape.
The float is relaxing and gentle as the current is this river is relatively mild.
Our favorite place to access the Blanco is at Blanco State Park. Here you can get all of the needed equipment for a fun day out on the water.
Of course, the park also offers other amenities like rest rooms, a swimming area, and more.
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Top Tips To Float The River-Texas
Choose Your Tube Wisely
Believe it or not, not all tubes are created equally. We learned this the hard way!
I would advise to avoid the black tubes if at all possible as they get very hot when reflecting the Texas sun.
We like lighter colored tubes that have a cup holder and handles. The handles are great for tying a rope onto, and the cup holder is perfect to hold your drink!
Wear Water Shoes
One of the most important things to consider when you choose to float the river in Texas is to always protect yourself.
A part of that protection is to protect your feet. Water shoes are essential when floating the river as you never know what is on the ground.
These shoes will keep your feet safe while you enter and exit the water and while you are in the water.
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Bring Sun Protection
The Texas sun can be unforgiving, especially when it is reflecting off of the river water or the inner tube.
Be sure that you protect your skin and don’t get a sunburn by bringing plenty of sunscreen and reapplying it often.
Of course, just having sunscreen isn’t enough. You will definitely want to also include sunglasses, a hat, and a shirt or swimsuit cover up.
Bring Lots of Water
Staying hydrated is an important part of staying safe in the sun. Be sure that you have several bottles of water per person for your float.
We recommend bringing an ice chest and getting a special tube to hold it so that you can keep your water cold.
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Grab The Snacks
Don’t forget the snacks when planning a day out on the river. We like to bring cheese, cold cuts, nuts, and something sweet, just not chocolate!
This is another time when that ice chest we mentioned above will come in handy. You can throw your snack in the ice chest to help keep them protected from the river water.
You can put your snacks in two ziplock bags to help protect them.
Of course, you also want to bring a trash bag to throw your trash in.
No Glass or Styrofoam
Whatever you do, please don’t bring glass containers or Styrofoam to the Texas rivers. Of course, glass bottles are a given, but most people don’t realize the impact of Styrofoam. Styrofoam is harmful to the fish and wildlife in the area, so it is a big no no.
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Don’t Bring Valuables
Our motto is don’t bring anything that you don’t want to lose, because it will happen. You might drop your phone into the river, or accidentally dump your ice chest. It does happen!
We leave our designer sunglass and our favorite hats at home.
Always Check The Water Flow
The water flow of the river you are planning to visit can make or break your trip. By checking the flow rate, you can ensure that the river is flowing enough to have an enjoyable experience but not too much to make it dangerous.
Know the Rules and Laws of the Area
Always be sure that you know the rules and local laws that regulate the area. We always check to see if alcohol is allowed on the river and what type of materials are prohibited.
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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.
Wednesday 21st of September 2022
What a fun way to see the river by slowly floating down on a tube. I never knew this was such a popular activity, but definitely can see the appeal. The recommended Comal River and Guadalupe River look to be very beautiful.
Danny L. Ables
Tuesday 9th of August 2022
Just got back from out annual float on the Comal. The river wasn’t flowing much and it became a rather lengthy float. Very crowded as well, (which was alright ). We are from Odessa, so it was awful nice to get our bodies on the river! Just wish we had these amenities in our area. It was a great time and look forward to next year!
Wednesday 10th of August 2022
Hi Danny. I am sure that the water was refreshing if nothing else. With this crazy dry and hot summer we are having it doesn't surprise me that the rive isn't flowing well. I hope you had fun anyway!
Sunday 17th of July 2022
This guide is full of super helpful tips, thank you so much! I never thought that black floaties would be too hot because of the sun.
Sunday 17th of July 2022
Thank you for checking it out!
Catherine - Savvy Family Travel
Sunday 17th of July 2022
You are my go to Texas Travel blog! I love your content and this is another awesome post: tubing is an activity I wouldn't have thought of seeking while there and it looks like it'd be a blast!
Sunday 17th of July 2022
You are too sweet! Thank you so much!! We have another blog as well, That Texas Couple (.com). Please feel free to check it out also :)
Saturday 16th of July 2022
This is awesome. I've only gone tubing as part of tour but I'd love to try some of these places you've recommended - Comal river and Guadalupe River, they both look stunning to spend a couple of hours on. Sounds a bit silly but I always thought people bringing a floating ice box was only in the movies.
Sunday 17th of July 2022
Tubing is so very fun and a great escape from the Texas heat!!