Texas Rivers and Tubing
This interactive map shows Texas rivers and tubing sites. The map includes major cities for context. Since many of these sites go through state parks, they have also been included. Hover over the map to get more information on each River, Park, or Tubing Site. To get a closer look, zoom over. For more information, scroll down.
|State of Texas||Park|
|━━━||Major River||━━━||Minor River|
Lazy Rivers in Texas
This map has the most complete tubing locations in Texas. It shows all the major rivers of the Lone Star State. It also includes the most popular lazy rivers, as well as the most scenic ones.
Most articles focus on the best rivers for floating. This map attempted to include all of them.
Remember that the time it takes a canoe to travel down a river will take at least twice as much time floating on a tube.
Best Rivers for Tubing in Texas
The most popular rivers are located in Hill Country, close to the cities of Austin and San Antonio. They have different options for tube rentals and prices.
For flights and itineraries to Austin and San Antonio visit Expedia!
The most secluded and scenic ones are in West Texas. In these rivers, conditions are usually unknown. Therefore they might have rapids and are dangerous. Below you will find more information about each.
This is one of the most popular tubing sites in Texas.
Due to periodic draught conditions, river flows and water levels vary.
This large river has rapids, boulders, and tube chutes spread over miles.
The float may vary between 1 mile (1.6Km) for about 1.5 hours to 4 miles (6.6Km) for about 4 hours. The shortest route is the most famous one called the "Horseshoe Loop". This loop is a calm float.
"The Chute" is a tube chute a few yards long, where water flows quickly and spits tubers further downstream.
"The Gruene" section has some small rapids.
Its allure is the cypress trees around it and the cool waters for swimming.
Tubing is the main activity, but visitors of the Guadalupe River may also enjoy rafting, canoeing, kayaking, fly fishing, and paddle boarding. Source: Tubehause.
The busiest days are Memorial Day Weekend, 4th of July Weekend, and Labor Day Weekend. It is better to plan ahead before coming if you want to avoid the crowds.
For an unforgettable weekend, you can stay nearby in Canyon Lake. VRBO has cozy cabins and tree houses. For dates and prices click here!
Comal River is one of the shortest navigable waterways in the United States, at just 2.5 miles (4Km).
The river comes from the Comal springs in Landa Park. Therefore the water temperature is a cool 70-72 degrees year-round. The River ends at its junction with the Guadalupe River.
This float is short; hence great for floating newbies!
Located close to San Antonio, there are plenty of outfitters to rent a tube and get a shuttle.
This popular destination receives a quarter million visitors each summer.
Because of the high number of visitors and the amount of trash, the city of New Braunfels decided to forbid disposable containers inside its limits. A safe bet is to take non-disposable containers if you want to hydrate.
Even though it's located close to large cities, this small river is home to the fountain darter fish. This small fish is endemic to the Comal and San Marcos rivers. It is currently enlisted as an endangered species; nbtexas.
Expedia has many hotels to stay in nearby New Braunfels. For dates and amenities click here!
San Marcos River
San Marcos River rises from hundreds of springs in the center of the city of San Marcos. This is one of the reasons its water is pristine.
The city of San Marcos is between San Antonio and Austin, TX.
The area is unique not just because of the confluence of the San Marcos River and the Blanco River but because of the Guadalupe Mountains National Park.
The water is a cool 72°F (22°C). The typical ride is one hour long.
The river also offers opportunities for diving, kayaking, paddling, and glass-bottom river tours.
The river is protected from development so tubers can enjoy the local flora lining the banks.
Floating beyond CR 299/Cape Road might be a bit dangerous.
Due to its popularity, different outfitters will rent you a tube. But you can also take your own tube and start at the San Marcos City Park, The Dyrt.
For a tubing trip down the San Marcos River with friends and even with family, Amazon has the ideal backpack companion. IceMule backpack cooler is a medium, collapsible, portable sling bag with a sided roll top, 15 Liter, and 12 can capacity.
It is lightweight, insulated, waterproof, and leakproof. It is designed to carry beer or canned drinks in aquatic settings like beaches, rivers, or lakes.
The Medina River is about 120 miles (193Km) long. It comes from the springs in Bandera County, and it eventually merges with the San Antonio River.
Located north of San Antonio, this tubing destination is more laid back and less crowded than the rivers mentioned before.
The water is crystal clear wherever you go. The cypress trees and maple trees create a fairy tale canopy.
The float may last up to 6 hours, but there are different drop-in points.
Glass and Styrofoam containers are not allowed. Source: Houstonia.
Austin's Barton Creek
The Barton Creek Green Belt offers a secluded float inside the city of Austin.
For this float, you need to bring your own tube and arrange your own transportation.
You decide where to start and stop. But a popular location to begin is the Loop 360 Access, which offers a two to three-hour float.
You may also start at other points along the water, depending on water levels, like Twin Falls, Sculpture Falls, Gus Fruh, and Campbell’s Hole.
As you are on your own, pack light, and bring your own gear. Alcohol is not permitted in the river.
Austin is a popular destination. You can always find something to do besides tubing. Hotels.com can give you low prices in Downtown Austin or near by fun sites. For dates, deals, and locations, click here!
This float stands out for two reasons. It runs through Dallas and Fort Worth. It also has concerts during the summer so you can float while enjoying a good show!
This is called Rockin' the River Concert Series, and it is usually held between 6 and 9 pm. There are also vendors providing food for visitors.
The proximity to the city of Dallas, once made the river polluted. Ever since cleanup, efforts have brought the waters to a safe standard.
For airline ticket deals to this and other tubing sites in Texas, go to Expedia. With Expedia, you may also compare prices and airlines.
Most Scenic Rivers for Tubing in Texas
Reaching these rivers requires more effort as they are further from urban areas. Nevertheless, the rewards are impressive.
This is a long and scenic river. It is very cold; therefore, the name "Frio", which means cold in Spanish.
The cold waters originate in a spring west of San Antonio. The River winds through Hill Country and flows into the Nueces River. The river spans over 200 miles (322Km).
The waterway is surrounded by enormous cypress trees, limestone bluffs, and boulders. The water is as clear as in the Guadalupe river.
The river goes through Garner State park, which is also a location to start the float.
There are different distances, and the floats vary from 3 to 7 hours.
The river is a place for birdwatching, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, or swimming.
Some outfitters will rent you a tube and offer a shuttle ride.
To prevent water from spoiling all the fun, make sure you can protect your electronics like cameras, phones, and even car keys. I have personally used grocery zip bags, and they will not last the whole trip. I suggest you buy it on Amazon LOKSAK bags. These are reusable storage bags of 12"x20". They can protect your gear from water, humidity, sand, and snow.
South Llano River
The South Llano river runs through Hill Country close to the town of Junction, then it empties into the Colorado River.
Visitors go to the river from Spring to Fall.
This float is ideal for families, except when it rains. Then the river increases the flow, and the currents might be dangerous.
The river goes through South Llano River State Park (park fees apply).
It is possible to start at South Llano River State Park and finish at Junction, TX, with a 4-mile (6.4Km) float.
There are also opportunities for kayaking and boating.
Service stations rent tubes, but there are no shuttle services. Source Junction.
If you are taking more than small gear with you and looking for a tranquil float, make sure you put your personal belongings in a dry bag. I suggest you use this sack found on Amazon: MARCHWAY floating, waterproof, dry bag. This bag comes in different sizes, from 5L to 40L. You can roll the top of the sack, and it keeps your gear dry.
Tips for Tubing
- Remember, it is always better to take reusable containers than disposable ones, even if they ones are allowed. Do not use Styrofoam or glass containers. Help keep these beautiful waterways clean!
- Take cash; some outfitters don't accept credit cards. Some will also ask for a collateral like your car keys or driver's license.
- Reserve ahead of time if possible. This will speed up the process.
- Keep the trash with you until you find the proper place to dispose it.
- Don't forget the sunblock!
Sources for Tubing in Texas Map
State shapefiles were downloaded from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The river shapefiles were downloaded from NOAA.
The data on Texas State Parks was obtained from TPWD.
The tubing locations were gathered from the sites referenced.
Made by Luz K. Molina with D3.js.