When the temperatures start climbing, most Texans know to look for the cold, clear spring-fed rivers to keep you cool! With so many great rivers in Texas, it’s hard to know which ones are the best, but here’s a detailed guide for choosing the best river trip for your family!
San Marcos River, San Marcos
One of my favorite family floats is with Texas State Tubes or Don’s Fish Camp down the beautiful San Marcos River. Clear, cool water with fun little rapids along the way, and not too crowded, even on weekends! Click HERE for more information.
In Downtown San Marcos, Lion’s Club Tubes offers shuttles along the river, and is a great float, with crystal clear water and a fun chute at the end at Rio Vista Park. You can stay here to do the chute over and over, or grab lunch at Herbert’s Tacos before taking the shuttle back and doing it again! While I love the location, my daughter complains about the vegetation, some of which is an important wild rice, in this part of the river, but if you never get out of your tube, you’ll never know it’s there!
Since my son lives near the river, this is our go-to tubing destination. If you have 2 cars, you can park for free at San Marcos Park and Rio Vista Park and bring your own tubes to save $$$.
Comal River, New Braunfels
One of the most popular floats on in the state, the chilly Comal River runs through New Braunfels, and has easy access and lots of fun, filled with people of all ages! The tube chutes along the way makes for even more fun for those looking for a thrill! Landa Falls Tubes has the longest float on the river.
The Float In is a fun place to spend the day on the Tube Chutes, with great food and cabanas you can rent. They have lots of activities like corn hole and even a sandy area for the kids to dig and build sand castles! Or you can jump right in and float down the river! We went for my friend Pam’s birthday, and we had a blast and floated the river twice. Here it just takes a little over an hour!
Trinity River, Fort Worth Each summer, the Trinity River in Fort Worth at Panther Island Pavilion is full of tubers during there Saturday Night Rockin’ the River concert series, and on Family Fun Days on Sundays! While you’re more chillin’ in a tube than heading down the river, it’s still a fun way to spend a Summer Day! The FREE park is open daily to tubers, or visit Backwood Paddlesports location on the river to rent kayaks, canoes and SUP paddleboards.
Guadalupe River Horseshoe, Canyon Lake
Located just beyond the Canyon Lake dam, the water is so cold on the famed “horseshoe”, and a popular place for anyone trying to keep cool during the summer! There are several shuttles, including Tube Haus, Shanty Tubes and Whitewater Sports, and some even pickup from campsites like Jellystone Hillcountry.
Guadalupe River, New Braunfels
Rockin’ R River Rides is the biggest of the many outfitters that shuttle on the Guadalupe in New Braunfels, the most popular and busiest river! You’ll float and experience a few fun drops on the river, along with lots of fun people. From professional photographers to people passing out trash bags and more, it’s always fun! After a day on the river, we love to head over to the Stars and Stripes Drive In in New Braunfels to watch a movie under the stars!
Brazos River, Glen Rose
Rhodes Canoe and Tube Rentals offers tubing rental and shuttles on the Brazos River in Glen Rose. It’s a peaceful float with some small rapids, great for the entire family! The Brazos isn’t spring-fed, so don’t expect the clear, cool water of the rivers in the Hill Country, but it’s also never as busy! It’s also a short drive for those in DFW.
Llano River, Junction
The South Llano River State Park offers fun tubing along 2 miles of riverfront, and great campsites in the Texas Hill Country. Downtown Junction offers more options for tubing, as well as a cute Downtown with shopping and dining options.
Medina River Company, Bandera
Spend a relaxing afternoon floating the Medina River under a canopy of trees, with full little riffles along the way! We love the Medina River, with fewer crowds and more family friendly! Click HERE to visit the Medina River Company website.
Guadalupe River State Park, Spring Branch
Your kids will love just playing and floating down the river at Guadalupe River State Park! While there isn’t shuttles services available, it’s a fun place to play in the river and walk back to do it again! Click HERE to read more.
Nearby, the Guadalupe Canoe Livery offers shuttles on this unique portion of the Guadalupe, with tall cliffs and beautiful views! Click HERE for more information.
Frio River, Concan
I grew up floating on the Frio, and it’s still my very favorite river, but less dependable on flow than the Guadalupe. Still, you’ll never regret a day spend floating under the cypress trees and cliff banks! Garner State Park offers shuttles, click HERE for more information.
Happy Hollow Outfitters also offers shuttles in Concan.
Know Before You Go
When tubing with family, always remember that mornings are better then afternoons, and weekdays are better than weekends!
Take plenty of water, snacks, and sunscreen. We always take our shoes in a floating bag to put on when we get out of the water.
Some of our favorite river toys include a football that no will cry about if it gets lost, frisbees, beach balls, and inexpensive water cannons!
My kids like to take snorkels to swim along with us.
Our rule is life jackets for all kids under 12.
Please remember to pack out what you pack in, not to litter and keep our rivers clean!
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