Thursday, August 25, 2016

Tubing in Texas - Texas Tubes - Floating the Comal River

Tubing is a big attraction here in Texas.    

We were invited by some friends to float the Comal River one Saturday morning and happily accepted.    After stopping at Whole Foods for some made to order sandwiches and snacks we headed to New Braunfels, TX. The drive was about an hour.   We met up with our group in the free Texas Tubes parking lot.   We paid for our tubes.  The rate is 18/ per person for 1 float or $25 for all day.  You could float the river several times in a row but once was good for us.  Texas Tubes will hold on to your car keys with an ID, which I recommend because if you flip your tube you don’t want to lose your keys in the river.

We ordered 4 tubes (2 with bottoms and 2 without).  Tubes with bottoms would be recommended for kids and weak swimmers.  Tubes with bottoms were not what I was expecting.  I was imagining sitting in the tube and not getting wet.  This was not the case.   They are regular inner tubes with a bottom attached with a rope.   So once you get into the water there is a gap and water immediately comes in.  You sit in a few inches of river water the entire ride.   They are great for little ones as they can sit in the tube and be in the a little bit of water and not be swimming.   Texas tubes gives you a bracelet that is your ticket for the bus the end of the river to catch a ride back to your car.    

Kids under the age of 3 are not allowed to Tube good thing my youngest is four.    Life Jackets should be worn by small kids and weak swimmers.   They are complimentary at Texas tubes but we brought our own for our little one.   Our older daughter is 8 and a pretty good swimmer.  

Our friends had a tube for each person and 2 tubes with bottoms for coolers to hold lunch, snacks and drinks.    YES, Alcoholic beverages are allowed on the Comal River.   Bring your drink of choice just remember glass and styrofoam are illegal.   You can be fined or arrested for having these on any Texas waterway.  

After applying sunblock, bug spray and loading up the coolers we got into the tubes and tethered up to the cooler tube.   You never want to be too far away from the cooler tube in case you are hungry, thirsty or need more sun screen.   We were off to float the Comal.   There is a bit of a current which keeps the boats moving.   The water was cold on average 72 degrees but comfortable on a hot day.   The float to the end took about 2.5 to 3 hours.   There are several chutes which are fast moving water slides.  Watch small kids on the chutes.  We were tethered so I made sure my little one didn’t flip.   People and coolers flip often but they are fun.   There are lifeguards at the chutes.  The river gets packed.   As some points it is wall to wall people on rafts.   It was fun and relaxing.  Talking to the group you are tethered with having lunch floating down a river.

At the end of the river there is an exit.  It was hard to get all the rafts and people out at the exit because it is deep and there current was strong but we managed to get all the tubes and coolers and kids up the stairs where the Texas Tubes bus was waiting to take us back to our cars.  

A strap for your sun glasses
Water shoes – you don’t really want to touch the bottom of the river plus need to walk a bit at the end to get the bus.
A mesh bag to hold everything that your tie to your tub
A waterproof bag if you have one.
A waterproof iphone case - invest in one now you will re-use it often in Texas
A water resistant speaker is allowed as well.

We used Texas tubes but I should note there are many other tube rental places in New Braunfels you can use as well:
  • RockinR Tube Rentals
  • Comal Tubes
  • Or even places where you can park and bring your own tubes 

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