Thinking about going tubing? Tubing is one of the favorite Hill Country family activities. Knowing where to go, how to navigate the river, what (and who!) to bring, and what to expect can help you to have a great time with your loved ones on the water.
Choose the right spot
You have lots of choices for tubing in the Hill Country. Two of the most popular options are the Guadalupe River and the Comal River. While they’re both in New Braunfels, they each offer a unique tubing experience. The Guadalupe tends to attract those who want a bit more adventure, as well as activities including rafting, canoeing, kayaking, and fly-fishing
The Comal River is a great place for families in New Braunfels to go tubing. The 2.5-mile river joins up with the Guadalupe in the city and is known as a calm river with mild currents and a constant 72-degree temperature.
Get to know the river and check conditions before you go
Speaking of adventure…some rivers are more challenging than others when it comes to tubing. Currents can also change, becoming stronger or weaker depending on water levels and weather conditions. Plus, some rivers attract a more family-oriented crowd while others may be a little more spirited than you’re looking for. Doing a little research ahead of time will help you decide which tubing experience is right for your family.
Bring water and snacks
You’re going to get thirsty under that shining sun, and you (or at least your kids) might work up some hunger. On most rivers, you can bring a small cooler. Check with the website of the river you plan to visit for specific rules.
Clean up after yourself
Whatever you bring with you, make sure it leaves with you, too, or hits the trash can on your way out. Not only is littering in and around the water rude and harmful to the environment, it’ll also cost you—a $500 fine!
Make sure everyone is of legal age
You may have a little fish who would love being on the river as a toddler, but, for safety reasons, little ones aren’t allowed to tube. Children typically need to be five years old to be on the river, but check out the rules for the river you want to tube ahead to time to make sure.
That’s not the only safety rule you’ll need to follow on the river. Here are a few more:
- Don’t get in the water without a life jacket—Accidents happen, even to the strongest swimmers.
- Pack some water shoes—They will protect your kids’ feet against heat as well as slippery or sharp surfaces.
- Watch your alcohol—If you’re going tubing with friends and are planning to drink on the river, remember the word “moderation.” Getting drunk can lead to an accident. Make sure also to check the river’s website for rules regarding drinking. Some only allow it during certain hours and most prohibit glass bottles.
- Bring sunblock—You may not feel how hot the sun is when you’re in or on the water, but you’ll feel it later if you don’t slather that sunblock on. In addition, you’ll want to bring sunglasses and something to cover your head, said River Sport Tubes, to “help shield your face, eyes and head from the rays.”
- Inflate properly—If you’re bringing your own tube, make sure you’ve read the directions. “Different inflatables are built for different weight limits, ages…riding styles,” said Boats.com. “Make sure everyone involved understands and follows the proper precautions. Also, pay particular attention to the inflatable itself. Make sure it’s blown up to the proper tension.”
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