I can only hope that this post doesn’t find you residing in a scenario where you have yet to take part in one of the most holy, quintessentially Texan of all traditions. Tubing the Guadalupe, or Comal for that matter, is an experience that few other states can offer.
Simply put: If you haven’t yet. It’s about time to get to it. Below are some resources available to help you in your quest for the spirit of Texas summers…
Gruene Texas - It’s kind of crazy how one small town can have just about everything you need for a fun day of tubing. River outfitters, great restaurants and, in case you haven’t made the connection yet: The legendary Gruene Hall. Texas’ grandest and oldest dance hall. If tunes are blaring from the open widows that line the walls of this hollowed palace, than it’s time to get on in and grab a cold one.
- For Tubing: Rockin’ R River Rides
- For Shopping: Lone Star Music
- For Dining: The Grist Mill
- For Live Music: Gruene Hall
- For More Drinks and Live Music: Tavern in the Gruene
Also, check out the Comal River for tubing good-times…
- For Tubing: Comal River Tubing
- For Good Times, Brew and Tunes: River Road Ice House
- For Cabin Rentals: River City Resorts
OK, that’s enough to at least get you started. Believe us, it’s almost a deal where you will have a hard time convincing other Texan’s that you’re a real Texan if you can’t say you’ve tubed the river. It’s kind of like saying you haven’t seen Willie Nelson live in-concert, or paid your respects at the Alamo…wait, you have done those things, right??
Last weekend we decided to drive from Dallas to New Braunfels to have a relaxing weekend of floating down the river and Schiltterbahn fun. Little did we know at that time, what was in store for us over the next few days. We could never have imagined how much fun we were going to have in New Braunfels.
We left Dallas on Thursday around noon and headed south. The drive wasn’t bad at all and only took us about 4 hours to get to New Braunfels. On the way, we stopped at the Little Czech Bakery in West, Texas for some lunch. This place was packed, even at 2pm in the afternoon, and I can see why. They have an amazing selection of delicious kolaches to choose from in both sweet and savory flavors.
After hours of researching places to stay in New Braunfels on the web, I found a really great website called Guadalupe River Houses. They have a really cute house right on the Guadalupe River, called the Kuehler Cottage (pronounced “Cooler”). I was very lucky that it was available for Thursday and Friday night, since this trip was last minute, so we booked it right away. The Kuehler Cottage is located right on the Guadalupe River/Lake Dunlap and close to everything in town.
When we arrived, there was a nice handwritten note on the door from the owners. They also had some fruit and cold bottles of water waiting for us in the fridge. To me it’s the little details like this that make you feel really welcome. I dropped my bag at the door and ran around to check out our new waterfront home for the next two nights.
The living areas were really nicely decorated in that warm, cottage kind of way. The hardwood floors and cold AC blowing out of the air vents on the floor felt very nostalgic to me, and reminded me of my grandmothers old lake house from when I was very young. The kitchen was rooster-themed and had everything we needed for our stay, they had also left coupons and other New Braunfels attraction materials on the dining room table for us. The Kuehler Cottage can sleep up to six people. There is one bedroom and one bathroom, but a large living and dining area with two sofas that fold out into beds. Along the back all of the cottage, which faces the Guadalupe river is an entire wall of windows, so it’s very open and you get excellent views. If you’re going to New Braunfels for the weekend, you probably aren’t going to be spending much time indoors, so the set up is perfect.
The most exciting part of the Kuehler Cottage for me was the outdoor back patio! You can tell that this was a patio built for entertaining and BBQ gatherings. There are several chairs, a nice table, a few BBQ grills, and even a HOT TUB! Although we didn’t partake in the hot tub action, since it was about 104 degrees outside, the Kuehler Cottage would also be a great place to come stay in the winter months, too. Walk down a few steps and there is another sitting area that is right on the river. Immediately upon seeing this, I ran back upstairs, grabbed a bottle of white wine that we’d brought with us, put on my swimsuit and headed back down to jump in the river. A quick dip in the nice cold river water cooled me off immediately, and I was ready to watch the sunset and have some vino.
Tom, the owner of the Kuehler lives right next door with his lovely wife and their daughters. He called me to check on us and inform me about some of the river tube rental places for our adventure the next day, so I told him to just come down and have some wine with us. Five minutes later, Tom and his wife were headed down the steps with grapes, cheese and wine in hand.
I must say, Tom and his family are some of the friendliest, most interesting people I have ever met. Check out some of his guest’s comments. We all hung out down by the river for a couple hours, and then all decided to go to dinner together. On the way to dinner, Tom was a fabulous “tour-guide” and showed us a few other of his New Braunfels properties, and pointed out other points of interest as we drove through the town. Tom has lived in New Braunfels his entire life, and it’s always best to hook up with the locals when you’re traveling anywhere! We all had a fabulous dinner at The Gristmill, which is located in historic Gruene and on the river. It was one of those amazing nights that you don’t plan and you end up having the most wonderful time and meeting the best people.
Bright and early the next morning, we loaded up the car and headed over to Felger’s Tube Rental. We decided to float on the Comal River, instead of the Guadalupe, since the Comal River isn’t quite as rough or crowded as the Guadalupe River and the water is so clear and blue that you can see all the way to the bottom! The Comal River tour starts off with a fun ride down the Tube Chute and you can lazily float through the river for about an hour and a half, checking out the beautiful homes on the sides of the river wall and you even pass by Schlitterbahn. Of course, you can also get an extra tube with a bottom on it for your beer cooler or buy one of these awesome floating coolers. I even saw a guy that had his dog in one of the tubes!
After our relaxing float down the river, we had a few beers back at Felger’s with the owner, J and his bartender Russ. J is a big, loud, friendly character and I liked him immediately. He’s a proud father, and his daughters are beautiful girls. He also has one of the coolest “Crown Royal” Harley’s in his bar. All of the staff and everyone at Felger’s was really nice. I also had my first taste here of my new favorite drink, called the Cordina Mar-GO-Rita. I liked it so much that we decided to write a story on the Best of Texas Blog about them as well, and this is the PERFECT drink to take with you down the river.
Could this weekend get any better? Um, yes. My friends from Austin had just arrived to New Braunfels and were at the Kuehler Cottage waiting for me and ready to BBQ. We hung out the rest of the afternoon, swimming, eating, drinking and catching up. That night, we met up with some more friends and went to Gruene Hall to catch some live music. Gruene Hall is the oldest Dance Hall in Texas. There was a $10 cover charge and the place was packed on a Friday night. You can check out the Gruene Hall Music Calendar, and famous favorites that have played here over the years. They should really have a list of Who’s NOT played here.
The next morning we all went to Schlitterbahn. How can you go to New Braunfels and not check out Schlitterbahn? It was a Saturday morning and the place was packed, of course with it being the last weekend before school started, you can understand why. Most of the rides had long lines, but my two favorite rides there are the Boogie Bahn Surfing Ride and a ride called the Back Flop, which is a simple, but fun water slide,which drops you right off into the lazy river. Schlitterbahn has over 3 miles of tubing adventure, 17 water slides, and 3 uphill water coasters spread over 65 acres. You’re also allowed to bring your own cooler and food, but no alcohol. Does Deep Eddy Sweet Tea count? Deep Eddy Sweet Tea was also a new drink that my Austin friends introduced me to this weekend, but that’s a whole other story in itself….I could swear there was no alcohol in that stuff. Wrong.
So, to wrap this amazing weekend up, we decided to take the long way home back to Dallas, and check out some other great towns, including Fredericksburg, which will have its own weekend adventure story soon. New Braunfels is definitely one of my favorite getaway in Texas. It was a weekend of new friends, old friends, adventure, music, history, and natural beauty everywhere. I can’t wait to get back there, and the New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce is full of great information and has a calendar of events for everything coming up in New Braunfels, so pick your flavor and go have fun!
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