It’s finally the weekend, y’all! cue the Hallelujah chorus
However, summer is winding down – sad day. School for San Antonio ISD begins this coming Monday, and although that means the blessed coolness of fall will head our way in the near(ish) future, it also means that we are quickly running out of summer weekends.
We don’t know about you, but here at SA Woman one of our favorite ways to wind down the summer season is by floating one of the beautiful rivers we’ve been blessed with in Central Texas. If you grew up around here, you probably spent more than a few days floating the calm waters of the Comal, or cooled off in the refreshing San Marcos River.
In fact, there are three beautiful rivers around our beloved Alamo City that offer a blessed escape from the grinds of city life, as well as a sweet respite from the brutal heat of the Texas sun. Check out our tips for enjoying the blue-green beauties, and let us know which river offers your favorite float!
The Guadalupe River
The flowing waters of Texas’ queen river is lined with limestone banks and shaded by pecan and bald cypress trees. She’s a breath of fresh air – or a drink of cold water – on those summer days where the temperatures can easily reach well above 100 degrees. This river offers multiple float lengths, outfitters and shuttle packages. The shortest float is two hours long, but if you’re feeling risky (or tipsy), go ahead and hang around for the six-hour float. Honestly, if you have enough cold beer in your cooler, how else would you want to spend a summer day?
The Comal River
If you compare the Comal to the Guadalupe by length, you’ll probably be less than impressed. However, if a nice, relaxed afternoon float is what you’re looking for, then the affectionately (and accurately) dubbed “longest shortest river in the world” may be the perfect river for your tubing needs. The Comal is the shortest navigable river in the state, clocking in at just 2.5 miles and contained entirely within New Braunfels city limits. Aside from the tube chute at the beginning, the river is wide and the float is leisurely, and even winds around Schlitterbahn.
The San Marcos River
The third ring of our Texas river trinity is the deliciously cold and crystal-clear waters of the good old San Mo. She’s a favorite of co-eds and post-grads alike, along with locals and out-of-towners. A special feature of the San Marcos River is that there are two floating options to cater to your individual tubing needs. For a shorter, more kid-friendly float, you can take advantage of the Lions Club Tube Rental at San Marcos City Park. The float winds through downtown San Marcos, offering views of the unique home of Texas State University, and wraps up in about an hour.
However, if you’re looking for more grown-up vibes, about ten minutes outside of town in Texas State Tubes. There you’ll find easy parking, a pile of multi-colored tubes, and a bunch of young adults with coolers full of the good stuff (cold beer, of course). The river here is slow, shaded and spacious, surrounded by nature and wildlife. It feels a little like being in the Texas Hill Country without leaving your back yard.
Tips for Floating the River:
Y’all. This is no joke. You will be on the water in your tube with minimal movement for at least two hours, in a swimsuit. No matter how many times you rotate or dunk yourself in the river, the sun will find you. Wear the sunscreen – and make it the spray-on kind for easy reapplication.
Know the River Rules
A good float on the river is often accompanied by a nice, cold beverage. However, to keep our rivers looking pretty and feeling healthy, there are some rules in place that you need to know. To sum it all up nice and easy: when it comes to drinks, everything needs to be in a non-disposable container. That means no glass, no Styrofoam, and no plastic, as well as no containers under 5 fluid ounces (sorry jello shots!).
Your best bet is to get yourself a Yeti cup and fill it with ice, then find a flask and load it up with your drink of choice, and keep yourself hydrated all float long. If you’re really feeling it, load up a cooler with your favorite sips, as well as some water, as long as it’s 16 quarts or smaller.
Check the Water Levels
If the water is low during your float, you’ll be walking/trudging over rocks a fair amount of time. Check the water levels to make sure your float will be wet, leisurely and enjoyable (and to make sure your butt won’t be bumping against rocks the whole time because ow).
Never a bad idea. Chacos and Tevas are the hipster shoes of choice, but any good water shoes will do. You don’t want to face the burning hot pavement on your walk to the river barefoot. Trust me.
Avoid Tying the Group Together
Non-local floaters love to get a rope out and tie together a grouping of ten to twelve tubes. Take it from personal experience: this is a horrible idea. The river is chock-full of rapids, trees, other tubers, and a plethora of other obstacles that require navigation. When you’re all roped up together, it is a pain-in-the-tube-bottom to try and untie, and it makes it really hard for other tubers to get around. Hold on to each other if you really need to be connected – it’ll be okay.
Take a Trash Bag
They’re offered at the entrance to the river. Don’t be jerk; grab one.
Don’t Pick the Black Tube
Remember science class? Dark colors attract the most heat. Do yourself a favor and grab a lighter tube. Texas summers are hot enough.
Pick an Outfitter, Any Outfitter!
Throw a rock in Central Texas, and you’re likely to hit a tube rental company. We’ve put together our top five favorites, but there is a plethora of options out there.
Choose your river, load your cooler, grab a tube, and spend the last weekend of your Texas summer floating. You won’t regret it!
Shuttles will take you to the river and back to your car, which makes for an easy, all-inclusive float.
Located in New Braunfels, you can park, stand in line for a wristband and your tube, hit the river, then shuttle back. Easy, fast and pleasant.
Rockin R River Rides
Voted Best Outfitter for 31 years, Rockin R is a favorite among frequent floaters.
Lions Club Tube Rental
For floating in San Marcos, the Lions Club is a great option. Tube rentals are good for the whole day, and include an unlimited shuttle pass.
Texas State Tubes
So easy, so simple. Drive up, park your car, grab a tube and hop in the river. Catch a ride back on their shuttle. Park, ride, float. #blessed
See you on the river!
XOXO, SA Woman