If you’re visiting Texas in the near future, river tubing deserves a spot on your bucket list. The famous Texas heat is bound to have you desperate to cool off at some point, and what better way to do so than by grabbing your inner tube and floating the river with surrounding views of the Texas Hill Country?
The summers in Texas seem to go on forever, so visitors and locals have more than enough opportunities to go on float trips at the various amazing spots for tubing in Texas.
With so many rivers ideal for river tubing and swimming on hot days, you may be baffled when deciding where to start. Therefore, we have compiled a list of the best rivers for tubing in Texas so you won’t miss a thing.
The South Llano River
Arguably one of the best family-friendly river tubing spots in Texas is the part of South Llano River that extends through the South LLano River State Park.
The South Llano River is a branch of the pristine Colorado River located northwest of the beautiful city of Austin. The best place to get started is near the state park or at Boone’s Crossing.
The South Llano River is a great place to enjoy a relaxing float with picturesque views. You can also enjoy some kayaking and canoeing adventures here if the mood takes you.
Jonathan Cutrer from San Angelo, Texas, United States, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
The San Marcos River
The city park located beyond the local basketball stadium is the best place to enter the beautiful San Marcos River for an unrivaled tubing experience. Tubers typically float from this point until right before reaching Rio Vista Park.
Thousands of visitors are drawn to the crystal clear waters of the San Marcos River every year, and with Spring Lake within close proximity, you will have no shortage of water-based fun.
The following establishments offer tube rentals and guided tours across the serene San Marcos River:
- San Marcos Lions Club Tube Rental
- Don’s Fish Camp
- San Marcos Tubing Trips
- Great Gonzo’s Tube & Shuttles
- The Colorado River
- Texas State Tubes
The San Marcos locals see the river as the perfect summer tubing spot, which is why it is riddled with Texas State University students every year. The San Marcos River features incredibly clean spring-fed river water, perfect for tubing in cool temperatures year-round.
Jonathan Cutrer from San Angelo, United States, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
The Guadalupe River
Anyone who is familiar with the Lone Star State will know about the amazing Guadalupe River, as it is probably the most popular river for tubing in Texas. The Guadalupe River extends for 230 miles starting from Central Texas and ending at the Gulf of Mexico.
The best place to go tubing on this river is the sections in the Texas Hill Country, Canyon Lake in particular, San Antonio, San Marcos, and New Braunfels. The cooler water of the Guadalupe River makes it a very popular summer tubing destination and offers short and all-day excursions like no other.
Floating the river is already so relaxing, but the experience is enhanced by the cypress trees throwing their shade across the water. Many locals argue that the Guadalupe River is the best river for tubing in Texas, and it’s common to see a Texan enjoying a relaxing float, typically a beer in hand, and just taking in the views.
The Guadalupe River starts in the area of Kerrville and extends into Canyon Lake, where the waters create the ideal environment for fly fishing and river tubing alike.
The following establishments are the best places to go for tube rentals if you’re planning an adventure on the Guadalupe River:
- Jerry’s Rentals
- Rockin’ R River Rides
- Gruene River Company
- Tube Haus
- Lone Star Float House
- Whitewater Sports
- Shanty River Center
Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
The Comal River
A branch of the Guadalupe River, the spring-fed Comal River is a short stretch of 2 and a half miles long and serves as the perfect spot for tubing in New Braunfels. Tubing on this river starts at the lovely Landa Park, where the crystal blue water invites you to cool off after one of Texas’ hot summer days.
Although styrofoam and glass items are prohibited, tubers certainly don’t restrain from bringing their own drinks to enjoy while floating the serene Comal River.
Before the Comal River reaches the Guadalupe River, you’ll see signs indicating the exit sites. The river bends through the picturesque city of New Braunfels, and since it is such a popular river for tubing in Texas, there are several fantastic outfitters that will see to your tube rental needs:
- Corner Tubes
- 444 Tubing
- Landa Falls
- Comal Tubes
- Texas Tubes
- Rockin’ R River Rides
Carol M. Highsmith, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
The Blanco River
During your time in New Braunfels, you simply can’t miss tubing on the Blanco River. The mesmerizing scenery is sure to keep you coming back for more. The best place to start your adventure is at the Blanco State Park, which also features the park store where you can rent tubes.
Not only is the Blanco State Park famous for its river tubing, but it is also a great place for swimming, fishing, picnics, and exploring wonderful hiking trails.
Ariel carcamo, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
The Medina River
If you’re looking for a more secluded environment to enjoy your river floating experience in peace, the Medina River is your best bet. Extending for over 120 miles, The Medina River is a beautiful spring-fed river offering mild rapids and crystal clear water sheltered in the charming town of Bandera.
Though secluded, there are still various excursions and tube rentals available at the Medina River.
Editor5807, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
The Frio River
A short drive from San Antonio, the Frio River is a clear, serene river that offers much-needed refreshment on hot Texas days. The Frio River has many ideal spots to enter and exit the water, with Garner State Park being the best, and there are several companies available to take you back to your car after a long day of river tubing.
The Frio River also includes extensive stretches winding through Concan, so if you feel like it, you can always hike back to your vehicle and experience more of the Texas magic.
Zereshk, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
The Trinity River
Dallas locals are blessed with one of the best Texas rivers for tubing right in their midst. Not only does the Trinity River offer amazing tubing activities hosted by the Trinity River Vision Authority, but it is also the venue of a major rock show that attracts thousands every year.
The Rockin’ the River concert series begins in June and serves as the perfect background music while floating across the beautiful Trinity River. This river is the embodiment of the phrase, “Going with the flow,” and stands as the only river that starts and ends in the Lone Star State.
PGHolbrook, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
The Brazos River
The Brazos River, located near Caddo, is a hub for river floating, canoeing, and kayaking. The Brazos River is less busy than many of the other rivers on this list, as it is situated further away from the major Texan cities, like the Dallas Fort Worth area and San Antonio.
Most veteran tubers know that Possum Kingdom State Park is the best place to enter the river and is also an amazing spot for camping. The Brazos River varies from rapid to moderate flows, based on the nature of the rainfall, and is fed by Lake Granbury.
The optimal season for a float trip on the Brazos River is during the mid-summer months, as the fall brings low water levels.
HuecoBear, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
The Pedernales River
The sparkling Pedernales River flows through the Texas Hill Country Pedernales Falls State Park and boasts incredible views of the exposed limestone characteristic the area is known for. Just above the falls, a good portion of the river makes for the ideal tubing and swimming spots.
When it comes to tubes, you have to bring your own or rent equipment before coming, as there are no rental tubes available in the area. The local parks tend to get pretty crowded, so you are advised to purchase a tubing pass online beforehand.
There are so many other fascinating sites in the park you simply have to explore, especially the falls, and a few hiking trails through the scenic landscape make that possible.
Corey Leopold, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
The Colorado River
The famous Colorado is a massive river extending through a total of seven U.S. states. The Colorado River offers numerous sandbars and a mild flow, making it an extremely relaxing site for river floating.
This is the longest river in all of Texas, and tubers often camp out in the area to enjoy the water adventures for days on end. You’ll find all the supplies you need for this Texas tubing excursion in Columbus.
Tony Webster from Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Spending the summer days river tubing in Texas is arguably the best way to pass the time. The great thing about river tubing is that it is suitable for those looking for adventure, just as it is for those seeking a bit of relaxation in the beautiful scenery.
All you need to get started is a tube, the proper gear, and an adventurous spirit, and you’re all set for an unforgettable day on the water. Floating the river with friends and family will surely make for some photo-worthy memories you’ll cherish forever.
Texas has so many extraordinary sites for river tubing that you won’t know where to start. I hope the list above gave you some guidance on where to find the most beautiful rivers to float across in the Lone Star State.