Tubing in New Braunfels: The Best Texas Summer Fun in 2024!

Photo of author
Article written by: Rebecca
Last updated:

Looking for a guide on how to go tubing in New Braunfels, Texas? I got ya covered!

Can you think of anything more fun than floating down a crystal-clear river on a hot summer’s day, a drink in your hand, with your besties by your side?

Nope? Didn’t think so.

River tubing is one of the most fun things to do in Texas, and the town that takes the crown for tubing in Texas has to be New Braunfels. It has not one but TWO rivers to relax on.

We had an absolute ball tubing down the river in New Braunfels, and I highly recommend it for everyone, regardless of age.

This guide to everything you need to know about tubing in New Braunfels will set you up for a day of fun. It includes everything I learned along the way – and I’m sharing it so you can be as prepared as possible for your tubing experience!

Crowded river scene with numerous people floating on colorful inner tubes, packed closely together on a sunny day with trees lining the riverbank. Tubing in New Braunfels is so much fun - although it can be very crowded.

This blog post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you).

Where to go tubing in New Braunfels

There are many places to go river tubing in Texas, but we love New Braunfels because, as I mentioned earlier, it has TWO rivers! It’s also a lovely little town that’s great for a weekend trip away, as there are plenty of other things to do in New Braunfels when you’re not having fun in the water.

New Braunfels is a town of almost 100,000 people located in the gorgeous Texas Hill Country. It’s about 4 hours drive from Dallas and only 50 minutes from Austin.

There are two rivers in New Braunfels: the Comal and the Guadalupe. Both are spring-fed, so they are deliciously cool on a hot summer day. You can float on tubes down either river to tick off this USA bucket list activity.

The Comal River winds through New Braunfels and around Schlitterbahn waterpark. Locals bill it as the “longest shortest river in the world” because it’s the shortest river in the country. It’s only 2.5 miles (4kms) long and floating down here will take you 2-3 hours.

The best part about Comal River tubing is the fun chutes that divert around the dams – they’re like mini waterslides! The Comal River is super easy to get to, and there are a couple of bars and restaurants on the river bank that you can stop at along the way.

The Guadalupe River is known as the party river – here you’ll find college students and people looking for a good time. Trip lengths vary from 2 hours to 5-6 hours for the longest route. There are some rapids along the river to keep the excitement levels up.

We prefer to float the Comal River because the chutes are so fun. 

Whichever river you choose, you’re going to have a great time.

One thing to note is that it can get very crowded – as you can see from my photos. Floating during the week is far quieter, as is floating at the start and end of the season. We were there on the 4th of July long weekend which meant hectic crowds!

Choosing a company for floating the river in New Braunfels

You can either go with a tubing company or float the river by yourself. Unless you’re a resident or you’ve been floating the river in New Braunfels for years, I’d recommend finding an outfitter to organise everything for you. It makes the trip so much easier and means you won’t have to bring a whole lot of stuff with you.

Tubing companies will provide tube rentals and shuttle you to and from the river access points. You’ll pay $20 to $30 per person so it’s also a pretty cheap day out. 

Some hire out coolers, life vests and other essential equipment as well.

Interior of a bus with the ceiling covered in handwritten signatures and messages. Passengers are seated, looking ahead. River outfitters provide shuttles to and from the river access points.
Inside the shuttle bus on our way to start our New Braunfels tubing adventure!

Reserve ahead if you can, to save time and to make sure you do actually get a tube during the busy weekends. Most of the tubes were gone by the time we arrived to pick up our tubes from the company we’d booked with. I’d recommend hiring river floats with a bottom if you can, as they do provide a bit more comfort.

Pick your company carefully. We had a sort-of-bad Comal River tubing experience with a disorganised company with staff that weren’t very helpful, even though we’d booked ahead online. Read the online reviews carefully.

Some of the recommended tubing companies in New Braunfels include (I haven’t listed the company we used here):

These are just a few of the companies in operation. River outfitters organise trips on both rivers or they’re experts on either Comal or Guadalupe River tubing, so check this out as well when you’re making your choice.

If you want to go it alone, you’ll need to do a lot more planning: buy a tube, figure out parking, know where to find the river access points and then get back to your car when you’re done floating. In my opinion, it’s far easier to have someone do all the organising for you.

New Braunfels river float: Rules of the river

Your New Braunfels river tubing experience will be so much more fun if you follow a few rules. The rules change regularly, so make sure to do you research beforehand. This is a good site to stay up to date. The company we used did not have the latest information on its website, so we broke a few rules (ahem, don’t tell!) about the containers we brought with us.

Yes, you can drink alcohol on the river (woo hoo!) but you cannot bring your food and drinks in disposable containers. You must pack everything in non-disposable containers.

What’s allowed:

  • Hydration packs
  • Reusable jugs
  • Sports bottles, insulated bottles and cups

What’s not allowed:

  • Anything that’s made from a disposable material. Think plastic, glass or Styrofoam – that includes foam coolers, Ziploc bags and so on
People leisurely tubing on a river with a stone wall and lush greenery on the right bank, under a clear blue sky. There are two rivers in New Braunfels for tubing - we chose the Comal River.

You can bring one cooler per person on the New Braunfels river float and it needs to have a locking mechanism and 30 quarts or less. That locking mechanism can be as simple as a zip or a Velcro patch – anything that means the contents won’t spill out if the cooler tips over.

Bring your music, but you can’t blast sound beyond 50 feet.

Your tube can’t be bigger than five feet in length or width.

Most importantly: DON’T LITTER and take your rubbish out with you. If everybody did this, there wouldn’t be a need for so many rules!

Finally, there are no lifeguards along the way, so stay safe and keep an eye on your friends, especially if y’all are drinking. Pack life jackets for weak swimmers and kids.

If the water is flowing at more than 1000cfs, tubing isn’t allowed, so check first with your tubing company (most companies also list the daily flow on their websites).

River tubing participants clustered in the water near a bridge with onlookers standing on the riverbank, under a partly cloudy sky. Tubing in Texas - in New Braunfels - is a fun way to spend a few hours.

What to pack for floating the river in New Braunfels

Alright, so now you know the river rules. What do you need to take with you when tubing in New Braunfels? Here’s everything you need – from the obvious to my personal picks.

1. Bathing suit

Obviously! For the ladies, I’m loving these affordable Cupshe bikinis and bathers.

Cupshe Fashion Women Falbala High-waisted Bikini Set (M), Pink Orange
  • Design: Falbala, High-waisted Fit and High Leg Cut
  • About Cup Style: with Removable Pads
  • Garment Care: Regular Wash. Recommend with Cold Water. Do not Use Bleach. Do not Tumble Dry

2. Sunscreen

There are some shady parts but for most of the time you’re going to be out in the open, so take plenty of sunscreen. And don’t forget to reapply throughout the day so you don’t end up looking like a beetroot!

Coppertone SPORT Sunscreen Spray SPF 50, Water Resistant Spray Sunscreen, Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Sunscreen Pack, 5.5 Oz Spray, Pack of 2
  • Easy to Apply: Coppertone Sport spray on sunscreen has a continuous sprayer for application on any angle, and is easy to apply for quick, even coverage
  • Water Resistant: Coppertone Sport SPF 50 sunscreen spray is water resistant (80 minutes), and stays on strong when you sweat
  • Free Of: Coppertone Sport Broad Spectrum Sunscreen Spray is free from dyes, PABA

3. Rash guard

If you’re prone to burning easily, a rash guard could be a good idea. You can get some great designs for both women’s and men’s rashies.

AXESEA Women’s Rash Guard Swimsuits Tops Long Sleeve Bathing Suits Printed UV Sun Protection Swim Shirt (US 14(Read Seller Size Chart in Image), Aurora)
  • 【Sun protection】UPF 50+ fabrics block more than 98% of UVA and UVB rays.
  • 【Non-friction】Patchwork flatlock seams reduce chaffing.
  • 【Versatile design 】Long raglan sleeve ,zipper front and Crew neckline design, Easy to take off & on even when get wet.
  • 【Innovative second skin】Ultra soft 4-way super stretch fabric,Quick dry,Anti-chlorine , feels like a second skin.

4. Cover up

Slip a cover up on once you’re done tubing (you can keep it dry in a dry sac – which I’ll recommend later).

Ekouaer Womens Swimsuit Bathing Suit Beach Bikini Swimwear Cover Up Dress
  • 【High Quality】Made of soft and breathable material and lightweight, keeps you cool on hot days
  • 【Fashion Design】Deep V-neck and side split on asymmetrical hem, makes you sexy and hot
  • 【Delicate Design】Featured roll-up cuffed sleeves, loose design can perfectly protect your skin

5. River sandals

I wore flip flops and was constantly worried about them slipping off, so I’d suggest packing river sandals with straps or Tevas. There are times when you may need to get out of your tube and walk over the rocky bottom of the river.

Skechers womens On-the-go 600 – Brilliancy Sport Sandal, Black, 5 US
  • On-the-go 600 – Brilliancy
  • Lightweight, responsive 5Gen cushioning
  • Sketchers Goga Max high rebound insole for maximum comfort
  • Adjustable straps for secure fit
  • Soft heathered fabric upper

6. Sunglasses strap

Don’t lose your sunnies! Pack some sunglasses straps like these ones (which come in a pack of 6) or this pack of 12 colourful straps.

Weewooday 12 Pcs Sunglass Straps Neoprene Floating Eyewear Retainer Sunglasses Lanyard Sunglass Holder Strap for Men Women(Floral Pattern)
  • Quantity, size and style:filled with 12 pieces in a package,Abundant patterns and flamboyant colors for your daily use and replacement,the size of sunglass lanyard is 19.7 x 1 inch (L x W); The length of the strap is designed properly to ensure comfortable and convenient usage;When you are wearing glasses, the strap can be hung behind the neck; If you don’t wear, eyewear retainer can be placed on your chest instead of hanging near throat
  • Durable material: sunglasses straps are made of quality neoprene material, featuring with convenient and adjustable usage; Besides, this neoprene is soft, durable, waterproof and easy to clean, which can be suitable for active and adventurous customers who are engaged in various water activities

7. Waterproof phone case

This was the best thing I packed! You’ll have plenty of fun taking photos and sharing Instagram Stories from your river float. Just make sure you keep your phone dry with this waterproof case.

JOTO IPX8 Waterproof Phone Pouch Case, Underwater Dry Bag for Phone Protector for iPhone 15 14 13 12 11 Pro Max, Galaxy S24 S23 S22 Ultra Pixel to 7″ Cruise Vacation Essential -2 Pack, Black
  • ✅ 2 Pack Universal size waterproof case dry bag, fits all smartphones up to 7 inches tall and 4 inches wide (Certain big screen phones need to remove protective case); Also can be protection for your ID, cash, credit cards, passport, key
  • ✅ 100 feet/30 meters IPX8 Certified waterproof, perfect for pools, beach, cruise, ship, fishing, swimming, sailing, skiing, boating, kayaking, snorkeling, tubing, rafting, shower, sauna and other water park activities, keep your phone and wallet perfectly dry and safe
  • ✅ Clear Window on both front and back sides, easy to operate the touch screen functions, perfect for taking pictures, videos and checking emails

8. Cooler

Bring a floating cooler like this one filled with ice to keep your drinks cool. Remember, no Styrofoam coolers!

Intex Inflatable Mega Chill Cooler Float with Built-in Cup Holders
  • 2 handles
  • 2 quick connects
  • 5 built-in holders
  • Holds cans and bottles
  • Easy-to-use connectors

9. Insulated cup

Tubing in Texas gets hot! We found that our ice melted pretty quickly, so you might want to mix up some drinks and sip them out of this insulated cup or a hydration pack. If you’ve got a group, consider something a little larger like this.

YETI Rambler 20 oz Tumbler, Stainless Steel, Vacuum Insulated with MagSlider Lid, Seafoam
  • The Rambler 20 oz. is made from durable stainless steel with double-wall vacuum insulation to protect your hot or cold beverage at all costs
  • These Ramblers come standard with the YETI MagSlider Lid, the only drink lid that uses the power of magnets to keep your water, beer, or favorite drink on lock
  • While the MagSlider Lid adds a barrier of protection for keeping drinks contained and preventing heat or cold from escaping, Please Note – The MagSlider Lid is not leakproof and will not prevent spills

10. Dry sac

A MUST for this tubing adventure is a dry bag. This bag was a great item for us as we could keep our sundresses, sunscreen, car keys and our cash dry.

Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Dry Sack, Ultralight Dry Bag, 13 Liter, Grey
  • Ultralight 13-liter roll-top dry sack is the ideal dry storage and organizing option for backpacking, bike touring, and travel
  • Manufactured from 30D Ultra-Sil Cordura nylon with a smooth finish for easy packing; 2,000mm waterhead (the higher the waterhead rating, the more waterproof the fabric)
  • Reinforced waterproof seams are double-stitched, and tape sealed, with reinforced stitching at stress points; secure hypalon roll-top closure; fabric is translucent for visibility of contents

11. Life jacket

If you’re not a strong swimmer, wear a life jacket. For kids, slip on a child life jacket.

Stearns Adult Classic Series Life Vest, USCG Approved Type III Life Jacket with Standard & Oversized Fits, Great for Boating, Swimming, Watersports, & More
  • US Coast Guard-approved adult life jacket
  • Great for boating, tubing, swimming, and water sports
  • Soft and durable nylon shell and lightweight PE flotation foam
  • Open-sided design and 3 adjustable buckles for breathability
  • Designed for adults weighing 90 pounds or more

12. Drinks

Beer, wine and liquor is all allowed on the river. Take plenty of water, too – stay hydrated people!

13. Hat and sunglasses

It’s bright out there!

14. Cash

Take a small amount of cash or a credit card if you want to pull up to one of the bars alongside the river. Again, make sure you put it in a waterproof bag.

15. Rope

This is one thing I wish I’d known about beforehand! Bring some thin rope so you can tie your group together, tie your cooler to your tube or your shoes to your tube. It’s easy to get separated from your gang, especially after going down the chutes.

Ravenox Colorful Twisted Cotton Rope | Made in USA | (White, White & Black)(1/2 in x 10 ft)| Custom Color Cordage for Sport, Décor, Pet Toys, Craft, Macramé & General Use | Rope by The Foot & Diameter
  • ✔ EVEN MORE RAVENOX NATURAL COTTON ROPE DIRECT FROM THE MANUFACTURER: If you love our original colors you’ll love our tri-color custom combinations. This all-purpose soft and strong rope is made in the USA by our team of rope masons at Ravenox Rope in North Carolina – we are 1 of only 29 American Cordage Institute approved manufacturer members in the world!

What else is there to do in New Braunfels?

When you’re not out having fun on the river, what is there to do in New Braunfels? I wrote a post about the best things to do in New Braunfels, and below are some highlights.

  • Check out a show at Gruene Hall, the oldest music hall in Texas
  • Wander historic Gruene. Visit Gruene General Store and buy some fudge or souvenirs and browse through the antique stores
  • Sip local Texas wines at the Grapevine. There’s live music most weekends, especially throughout the summer months
  • Visit the New Braunfels Farmers Market, held every Saturday from 9am to 1pm
  • Enjoy more water activities at Schlitterbahn, spread out over a whopping 70 acres
The exterior of GRUENE Hall during the day, with the water tower visible in the background and surrounded by lush trees under a partly cloudy sky. The Gruene water tower behind Gruene Hall is one of the most photographed places in New Braunfels.

Where to stay in New Braunfels

We really liked our stay at Zink Haus. This renovated property is made up of three separate cottages. You can rent one cottage or larger groups can book all three.

We booked Chardonnay Cottage, the smallest of the three, and it was perfect for our stay. The two bedrooms had their own bathrooms (one with a huge bathtub). The kitchen and lounge room were small but cosy and had everything we needed for the weekend. There’s a decent-sized private garden with a fountain.

There are also many other bed and breakfast properties and hotels in New Braunfels. Check out options here to get the best rates.

Alternatively, there are so many gorgeous VRBO properties you can book (my preferred choice of booking site over Airbnb).

I hope this guide to tubing in New Braunfels was helpful for planning your next Texas summer adventure!

Did you find this article helpful? Consider buying me a coffee as a way to say thanks!

Have you ever been tubing in New Braunfels? Let me know in the comments below.

Related posts

Before you go… you might like these other Texas travel blogs:


  • Book flights to and around the USA online with Skyscanner. I like this site because it shows me which dates are cheaper.
  • Find a great hotel in the USA. Check prices on Booking.com and Expedia online.
  • Check out the huge range of day tours throughout the USA on GetYourGuide or Viator. There’s something for everyone.
  • A copy of the Lonely Planet guide to the USA will be handy.
  • One thing I always purchase is travel insurance! Travel Insurance Master allows you to compare across multiple policy providers, while SafetyWing is great for long-term travellers and digital nomads.


Save this guide to tubing in New Braunfels so you can plan your Texas tubing fun!


I'm a travel junkie who started dreaming about seeing the world from a very young age. I've visited more than 40 countries and have a Master of International Sustainable Tourism Management. A former expat, I've lived in Australia, Papua New Guinea, Argentina and the United States. I share travel resources, tips and stories based on my personal experiences, and my goal is to make travel planning just that bit easier.

8 thoughts on “Tubing in New Braunfels: The Best Texas Summer Fun in 2024!”

  1. I went to float for my first time in summer of 2019- I had a blast! Floated both rivers too. Your tips and suggestions will definitely help newbies like myself to river floating. Highly recommend reading the rules beforehand because they do change. Great Pin!

  2. This looks like a blast…with maybe half the people, lol! My family used to go to Texas for vacation every year in the 80’s and a highlight was always going to New Braunfels to Schlitterbahn…brings back some great memories!

    • I know – some people we bumped into (literally! on our tubes!) said that it was busier the weekend we went than it was on July 4 weekend. Schlitterbahn is next on my list!!

  3. Great post! We love tubing in New Braunfels as long as the river is flowing. LOL! You’ve given great suggestions here, especially recommending people visit Gruene and Gruene hall!! Love it!!

    • I just wish it was closer so we could go there more often! I love the Texas Hill Country, there’s so much to do there – and so much history.


Leave a Comment