Grab your coolers and SPF 30 because the heat is here and that means it’s time to float down a river somewhere.
We’re fortunate enough in Austin to be surrounded by varying bodies of water with plenty of opportune tubing spots. My quick advice is this. For a shorter float that’s family friendly, hit the Comal River (2-3 hrs). If you’ve got more time and want to make a day of it, try the Guadalupe River. For an in-between, head to the San Marcos River (less crowded when school is out of session). Most importantly, have fun!
Below are a few of my favorite tubing spots and companies that help make the fun happen.
San Marcos River: Texas State Tubes
If you’re planning on floating the San Marcos River, I’d recommend Texas State Tubes for two reasons. First, I went to school here and feel somewhat obligated as a Bobcat (considering all the non-profit work the company does around the campus to keep the river clean). Second, they’re super friendly.
With tons of students gone in the summer, the crowds can be minimal. Which is usually a huge plus for me.
If you’re feeling antsy, you can jump right in the river at Texas State Tubes’ San Marcos location (2024 N Old Bastrop Hwy). If you prefer their bus ride before you float, head to their Martindale location (101 River Park Dr). Prices are very reasonable and they have Early Bird and Student specials weekly.
Guadalupe River: River Sports Tubes
If you’re dipping in the Guadalupe River, I like River Sports Tubes, located about 12 miles west of New Braunfels. They have short, medium, and long float options and their pricing is some of the best around ($15 all-day tubes with bottoms!).
They’re located right in the middle of the Guadalupe River’s “Horseshoe Loop,” which makes entry into and exit from the river quick and easy. Parking is free with your rental and they offer coupons and military discounts.
Comal River: Chuck’s Tubes
This is the place to go on the Comal River if you’re looking for a more specialized experience. Chuck’s Tubes focuses on smaller groups, which allows them to cater more to your wants and needs individually.
One of the things I like most about Chuck’s is the barbeque and beer on-site that you can enjoy beforehand as you’re preparing to laze about in the river for a couple of hours. They also have a General Store you can browse if you’re not in a hurry. Considering the fact you’re going tubing, you probably won’t be.
Comal River: Rockin’ ‘R’ River Rides
I know this is where everyone goes, but I had to include them. I’ve been going to Rockin’ ‘R’ River Rides since my college days. There has to be plenty of reasons they’re constantly packed and have been in business for 33 years, right?
Rockin’ ‘R’ has a whopping five locations, but I usually head to their Comal spot for a shorter float (2-3 hours). Prices are a little higher than some, but not by much ($16 without a bottom, $18 with).
You can rest easy knowing that your extra dollars are going to a good cause. Rockin’ ‘R’ donates $1 per rental toward litter removal and security on our local rivers.
They offer coupons, group rates, and even a camping spot. Like I mentioned before, beware of the crowds, but there are reasons they’re regularly flooded (no pun intended). Plus, sometimes it’s more fun floating in a swarm of random strangers. It all depends on your mood.
What are your favorite tubing spots near Austin?