School starts next Wednesday, and if you’re searching for a last-minute getaway to soak up some Texas sun that won’t break the bank, well, we know two things:

1. It needs to be within driving distance of home.
2. And it needs to have the option of being a daycation or overnight trip.

With that said, ever been river tubing? My husband and I have, and it’s TONS of fun! Peaceful, relaxing and a great way to beat the heat!


Last summer, Ernie and I were talking about where we could go outdoors to beat the heat, someplace that was an easy drive from Wichita Falls, preferably somewhere we’d never been. He mentioned river tubing. His birthday was approaching and after researching the best Texas rivers for beginning tubers, I arranged for the kids and us to head to the Comal River in New Braunfels. I rented a condo on VRBO that was located right on the river which made for easy access. If you’ve never been to New Braunfels from Wichita Falls, it’s a six hour drive if you head south down 281 which is the scenic route. Of course, you can also take 35W through Ft Worth and it'll take you all the way into New Braunfels.


The Comal, we quickly learned, is one of Texas’ party rivers. There are a couple of rapids that are perfect for beginners, so expect to get wet, but it’s still pretty tame compared to other rivers. The scenery is breathtaking, with lush trees and grass and the water is crystal clear. The Comal winds through downtown New Braunfels, past a couple of parks and even borders a golf course. Old, historic homes line part of the river, and along the float, you’ll see a few restaurants and bars with outdoor patios and some even have live music.


You can rent tubes at various places along the river--fees are inexpensive--or bring your own as long as it’s not more than five feet wide. As for lodging, there are plenty of inexpensive options in the area including budget-friendly hotels, campsites and RV parks.

When you're tubing on the Comal, watch for wildlife. We saw deer, rabbits and a family of ducks swam alongside us in the river while we were tubing.


Something to keep in mind—you can bring your own food and drinks(yes, you can bring alcohol too) but they must be in "non-disposable containers”. Styrofoam, paper, cans, plastic, and glass bottles are banned but you CAN bring Yetis and non-disposable drink cups, flasks, drinking cooler jugs and Tupperware-type containers.


Other Texas Hill Country rivers that are great for tubing include the Blanco, Pedernales, Guadalupe, San Marcos and Medina. Do your research before you go. Some of these rivers have rapids with strong currents that should only be navigated by those with experience tubing. But if you’re like me and just want a relaxing float, New Braunfels is well worth the drive.

Click here for other great vacation ideas in New Braunfels.

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