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Tubing in Texas: Floating Along the Rivers of Texas

4 of the best rivers for Tubing in Texas

· 6 min read

Looking for an adrenaline-filled adventure in the Lone Star State? Look no further than tubing! Texas is home to some of the best tubing spots in the country, offering an unforgettable experience for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages. So strap on your sunscreen and get ready to ride the rapids – here's everything you need to know about tubing in Texas!

What is Tubing?

Before we dive into the top tubing locations in Texas, let's cover the basics. So, what exactly is tubing? Tubing is a water sport where you float down a river or stream on an inflatable tube. Tubing is not as intensive as whitewater rafting or kayaking. Instead, it is much more relaxing and laid-back, where you just sit back in your tube and go along with the water flow. It's the ultimate way to relax, soak up the sun, and have a blast with family and friends.

Source: New Braunfels
Source: New Braunfels

Top Tubing Locations in Texas

When it comes to tubing in Texas, there is no shortage of incredible options. From scenic beauty to thrilling rapids, there is something for everyone. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned tuber, these top tubing locations will leave you in awe. During your tubing adventure, don't forget to take breaks and enjoy the various amenities available along the riverbanks. Many tubing destinations in Texas offer picnic areas, where you can stop for a leisurely lunch and recharge before continuing your journey. Some locations even have rope swings and water slides, adding an extra element of fun and excitement to your tubing experience.

Guadalupe River

Source: Totally Texas Travel
Source: Totally Texas Travel

The Guadalupe River is a tubing paradise, offering scenic beauty and a steady river flow. As you embark on your tubing adventure, you'll be greeted by crystal-clear waters and a sense of serenity. The towering cypress trees provide a respite from the scorching summer sun, all while creating a picturesque backdrop as you float downstream. One of the most popular places to tube in the Guadalupe River is the Horseshoe Loop, with the float taking about two hours.

There are many river outfitters servicing the Guadalupe River near San Antonio, so you will have plenty of options available for your tube rental. Whether you're seeking a peaceful float or an adrenaline-pumping ride, the Guadalupe River has it all.

Comal River

Source: Rockin' R
Source: Rockin' R

If you're looking for a family-friendly tubing experience, look no further than the Comal River. Known for its gentle currents and calm waters, the Comal River provides the perfect setting for a leisurely float. Comal River is one of the shortest rivers in Texas and its gentle and calm waters makes it very suitable for first-time tubers. It is also why it is such a popular choice for families, offering a safe and enjoyable experience for all ages.

One of the most popular entrances to the Comal River is from the Landa Park, and the float takes about two hours or so. There are also a number of rental services in the area, so you can easily rent a tube for your floating session.

San Marcos River

Source: Son's River Ranch
Source: Son's River Ranch

For a tubing adventure that combines relaxation and lots of energy, head to the San Marcos River. Given its close proximity to Texas State University, it is one of the most popular tubing locations for college students — you can imagine the amount of high-energy and party vibes that comes along with this!

San Marcos River is conveniently located just 30 minutes away from Austin, making it a great choice for a half-day getaway.

Frio River

Source: Unearth The Voyage
Source: Unearth The Voyage

Frio River is a great choice if you prefer something more scenic and peaceful. Compared to the other popular rivers, Frio River is located in a more remote setting. It is slightly more difficult to get to, but in exchange, you get one of the most beautiful views along with way less crowds.

You can enter Frio River from Garner State Park in Texas Hill County, about a 1.5 hour drive away from San Antonio.

Tips for Tubing in Texas

While tubing is a fun activity, it's essential to prioritize safety. Here are a few tips to keep in mind to maximise your fun.

Source: Float the Guadalupe
Source: Float the Guadalupe

Basic Safety Guidelines

Tubing is relatively safe. But prior to your floating session, it is advisable to check the river's flow rate and current. A high flow rate might make floating dangerous, and a low flow rate will probably take away the fun in tubing.

Be sure to check also the rules and regulations of the floating location and adhere to it. Check if alcohol is allowed on the river, and if so, what type of bottles/materials are allowed.

Stay Hydrated and Protect Yourself From The Sun

Stay hydrated by bringing plenty of water. And make sure to apply sunscreen. Being in the water would cool you down, but often results in a neglect for staying hydrated and protected from the sun. The hot Texas sun is not to be messed with, and if you are going to be out under the sun for hours, make sure you apply sunscreen to prevent getting burnt. And bring lots of water with you and keep yourself hydrated throughout the day. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and impair your judgment, so make sure to drink water regularly.

Don't Bring Valuables

Don't bring valuables, or anything that you are not ready to lose. You're in the water and if your valuables or belongings drop into the river, it's unlikely that you'll be able to retrieve them!

Choose Your Tubes

When selecting your tube rental, try not to get the black or dark coloured ones as they heat up very fast under the sun. Go for something brighter or lighter in colours for a more enjoyable tubing session. And try to look for one that comes with a cupholder so you can put your drink; and get one with handles so you can tie a rope to attach things like coolers you might want to bring along with you during your tubing session.

Packing for Your Tubing Trip

When packing for your tubing trip, be sure to bring essentials such as sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and a towel. Don't forget to bring snacks and water to stay hydrated during your adventure. Most river outfitters also provide rentals for coolers, ice, and ropes so you can store your snacks and drinks and attach them to your tubes. But be sure to check in advance, and if the river outfitter of your choice doesn't provide them, you might want to prepare your own cooler box and ropes!

Source: ATXcurisons
Source: ATXcurisons

As you embark on your tubing adventure, it's important to dress appropriately for the occasion. Opt for lightweight and quick-drying clothing, such as a swimsuit or shorts and a t-shirt. This will allow you to stay comfortable and cool as you float along the river.

It's also a good idea to bring water shoes or sandals with straps to protect your feet from rocks and other debris in the river. The rivers in Texas can have uneven and slippery surfaces, so having proper footwear will ensure your safety and prevent any discomfort during your tubing experience.

Lastly, consider bringing a portable speaker or Bluetooth speaker to enhance your tubing experience. You can create a playlist of your favorite tunes to set the mood and enjoy a soundtrack as you float down the river.

Preserving the Natural Beauty of Texas Rivers

As we indulge in the thrill of tubing, it's crucial to be mindful of our impact on the environment.

Responsible Tubing Practices

Responsible tubing practices include packing out any trash, staying on designated paths, and avoiding disturbing wildlife or vegetation. Let's do our part in preserving the natural beauty of Texas rivers for future generations to enjoy.

How to Minimize Your Impact on the Environment

Consider using eco-friendly sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun without harming aquatic life. Opt for reusable water bottles instead of single-use plastic bottles. By making these small changes, we can all contribute to preserving the natural beauty of Texas rivers.