There are few destinations in all of North America that could boast the same versatility as New Braunfels, Texas. A small town by most standards, it does well to cater for a real variety of different visiting crowds, from the family holidaymakers on their way through to San Antonio to the hedonistic party goers on break from the colleges of San Marcos. Accordingly it comes complete with wholesome activities like the Schlitterbahn Waterpark and the heritage-laden, downtown historic center – a place that oozes with the colonial charm of New Braunfels’ Germanic 19th century roots – along with a variety of more daring escapades like party tubing on the Guadalupe River. Best accessed by car from sprawling San Antonio to the southwest (which is about 35 minutes’ drive away) or from Austin, New Braunfels is also served by Greyhound bus routes.
The Schlitterbahn Waterpark is the most complete family friendly attraction in all of New Braunfels, offering an action-packed day out, with activities aplenty for both kids and adults. Looping, twisting and turning water slides mingle in clusters overhead, while the more relaxing lazy river attractions wend their way quietly about the park. For visitors coming to New Braunfels just for Schlitterbahn, there are also a number of suitable lodging options on-site.
Start hoarding those beers and decanting your wine in preparation for Texas’ best tubing experience. Visitors choose between two separate routes; one down the picturesque Guadalupe River, and the other down the inner-city, short and sweet Comal River (rumored to the shortest in the whole world). In true tubing style, drinking is allowed, but there are a number of strict rules in place in order to protect the natural environment, so be aware!
Photo by Matt HH
Founded by the first German settlers in New Braunfels, the Gruene Historic District is the premier attraction for history lovers and heritage buffs coming to town. Today, the classic European-style frontispieces of the buildings ooze with traditional charm, while the number of bespoke arts & crafts stores found here showcase the best in local handiwork and creativity.
Gristmill River Restaurant & Bar is famed for its truly enticing location beneath the swaying treetops of the Gruene Historic District, where guests can enjoy the wide menu of all-American classics in the presence of New Braunfels’ oldest and most interesting architecture. The dishes are quite meat-heavy, and the Gristmill is known for its offerings of steaks and seafood, while there also a number of salads on offer for the vegetarian eater.
High Texan hospitality meets traditional Bavarian charm at this elaborately decorated inn located in the heart of Gruene Historic District. Guests enjoy unparalleled access to all the major historical sights, along with all the pleasant natural surroundings on the banks of the Guadalupe River. Inside, hearty breakfasts and luxuriously appointed suites abound, along with all the novelty of staying in a bona fide Texas Historic Landmark.