There’s something uniquely Texan about grabbing a tube and floating down a river on a hot summer day. This Lone Star State experience, known as tubing, combines the thrill of outdoor adventure with the laid-back charm of a leisurely picnic.
With countless rivers carving their paths through diverse landscapes, Texas offers some of the best spots in the country for this beloved pastime.
Whether you’re a seasoned tuber or a first-time floater, our comprehensive guide explores the best places to go tubing in Texas.
1. Colorado River
The Colorado River, which winds its way through the center of Texas, presents a unique tapestry of river tubing experiences. You’ll float by urban landscapes and untouched wilderness.
One of the most frequented spots for tubing is the stretch that meanders through Austin. Many businesses offer convenient tube rental and shuttle services, taking the hassle out of planning your trip.
As you drift downstream, the river unveils diverse backdrops—from cityscapes and scenic bluffs to various wildlife. This creates a tubing experience that caters to everyone from the urban explorer to the nature enthusiast.
2. Barton Creek
Located within the city limits of Austin, Barton Creek is a well-kept local secret. Rumor has it that it is a prime spot for tubing after significant rainfall.
The creek’s gentle current and high water levels promote a relaxed float, perfect for families or individuals seeking a tranquil respite from the city’s hustle and bustle.
The creek’s banks are thick with lush greenery and local animals. Plus, the Barton Springs Pool contributes to a serene, nature-filled tubing journey that feels miles away from urban life.
3. Nueces River
Tucked away in the southern region of the Texas Hill Country, the Nueces River serves as a stunning backdrop for a day of river tubing.
Its clear, spring-fed waters offer a cool escape from the Texan heat, and the river’s clean, gently flowing water makes it an ideal place for swimming and fishing. Whether you’re looking to float the day away or engage in some water-based recreation, the Nueces River offers a full-day outdoor experience.
The town of Camp Wood serves as a popular launch point for tubing adventures, providing easy access to the river’s natural beauty.
4. Pedernales River
Set within the stunning Pedernales Falls State Park, the Pedernales River offers a tubing experience like no other, especially after substantial rain.
As you navigate the refreshing waters, you’re treated to panoramic views of rugged limestone cliffs, dense foliage, and tranquil waterfalls—a testament to Texas Hill Country’s natural beauty.
With tube rentals in neighboring towns, the Pedernales River draws day-trippers and campers, offering a unique blend of relaxation and adventure.
5. Lampasas River
The Lampasas River is a lesser-known gem in Texas. It provides a peaceful and scenic river tubing experience away from the crowds.
The tranquility of the river, coupled with the surrounding landscapes— endless hills, densely wooded banks, and vibrant wildflowers—creates a scenic float that’s a nature lover’s paradise.
The city of Lampasas is renowned for its numerous springs. It offers several access points to the river, making it a convenient choice for a day of floating and relaxation.
6. Trinity River
Running through the heart of the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area, the Trinity River delivers a one-of-a-kind urban tubing experience.
The river retains an air of tranquility thanks to its slow-paced currents and tree-draped banks. You’d never guess that it is nestled within a bustling city.
Several places to rent tubes dot the riverside, providing tubes and life vests for a safe and enjoyable experience. A trip down this river promises relaxation and plenty of entertainment.
7. Cypress Creek
Situated in the idyllic town of Wimberley, Cypress Creek promises a serene and picturesque tubing journey.
The calm and gentle waters of the creek are perfect for a relaxed float, while the tree-lined banks, rustic bridges, and potential animal sightings add to the charm.
Various tube rental services within the town ensure you have everything you need for a hassle-free and memorable tubing experience.
8. Blanco River
Known for its crystal-clear waters and peaceful ambiance, the Blanco River carves a scenic path through the city of Blanco and the Blanco State Park, offering a blissful tubing experience.
The river’s calm pace allows you to truly enjoy the stunning views of towering limestone cliffs and leafy riverside flowers.
Remember that the river’s water levels depend significantly on recent rainfall, so it’s always a good idea to check the current conditions before setting off on your river tubing adventure.
9. Guadalupe River
Arguably one of Texas’ most iconic tubing destinations, the Guadalupe River draws scores of locals and tourists, particularly around New Braunfels in Central Texas.
The Guadalupe River flows into Canyon Lake and is great for fly fishing and tubing. It has moderately paced currents, and intermittent rapids provide tubers with an exciting yet manageable challenge.
Many local businesses offer tube rentals, shuttle services, and even guided tours, making it easy for anyone to partake in this popular Texas pastime.
10. Comal River
Located in New Braunfels, the Comal River is one of the shortest navigable waterways in the United States. Despite its length, the river doesn’t skimp on beauty or fun.
The spring waters maintain a chilly temperature all year round, providing a refreshing respite during hot Texas summers.
The Comal River has clear waters, lush surroundings, and leisurely currents, making a delightful tubing experience suitable for all ages.
11. San Marcos River
Thanks to its constant and steady current, the San Marcos River offers an exhilarating tubing event. The river originates from a spring in San Marcos, which lends it a cool, refreshing temperature throughout the year.
With its lush City Park riverbanks and vibrant aquatic life, it is not only a hotspot for local Texas State University thrill-seekers but also for those who appreciate natural beauty.
Numerous tube rental services are available in the area to facilitate your adventure on the San Marcos River.
12. Frio River
The Frio River, aptly named ‘cold’ in Spanish, offers a refreshing tubing experience amidst the beautiful landscape of Garner State Park.
The journey down Frio River can range from 1 to 4 hours, depending on your starting point, and offers breathtaking views of the limestone bluffs and a diverse array of flora and fauna.
It’s relatively secluded compared to other Texas river tubing spots. This lends a peaceful and unhurried vibe to the experience.
13. Medina River
Snaking through the heart of the Texas Hill Country, the Medina River provides a tranquil and somewhat secluded tubing experience.
As you meander down the river, you’ll be treated to a serene panorama of towering Bald Cypress trees and ancient limestone bluffs. The absence of commercial operations and large crowds adds a layer of tranquility, making it an appealing choice for those seeking solitude and unspoiled natural beauty.
14. South Llano River
The South Llano River, near Junction City, offers a serene, slow-paced float. Its calm waters and wildlife-rich banks make it a particularly attractive option for families and those new to tubing.
While the area lacks widespread commercial rental services, the untamed beauty and peaceful ambiance of the river make it well worth bringing your own gear.
15. Brazos River
The Brazos River, particularly around College Station, offers a leisurely and relaxing tubing experience. Its mild current and wide banks, adorned with sandy beaches and lush trees, make for an idyllic float.
The river also provides excellent spots for picnics, making it a beloved destination for students, locals, and tourists seeking a balance of relaxation and outdoor recreation.
16. Little River
Winding through the cities of Temple and Belton, the Little River offers a quieter and less crowded tubing experience.
The river flows gently most of the time, creating a calm and soothing ambiance ideal for those seeking relaxation. But it’s not just about tranquility; in certain stretches, you’ll encounter mild rapids adding excitement to your Texas tubing escapade.
With less commercial activity, it’s a wonderful place to bring your own tube and enjoy a lazy day on the water.
17. Buffalo Bayou
Buffalo Bayou is a slow-moving waterway that snakes its way through the heart of Houston.
Tubing down this urban river offers a unique perspective of the city as you float past parks, residential areas, and even the downtown skyline.
Besides tubing, the bayou also provides ample opportunities for kayaking and canoeing. With several rental services nearby, this waterway is a great way to cool off and relax amid the bustling city.
18. Llano River
Flowing through the heart of Llano County in the Texas Hill Country, the Llano River is another great option for tubing. Known for its clear water, the river provides a peaceful float, allowing tubers to appreciate the stunning views of the local landscape and diverse fauna.
The areas around Kingsland and the city of Llano are popular starting points for tubing trips on the Llano River. This river is one of Texas’s finest, with its laid-back pace and beautiful setting.
Whether you choose the excitement of the Guadalupe River, the revitalizing Comal River, the Trinity River’s urban charm, or the Medina River’s tranquil seclusion, a tubing adventure in Texas will leave you with memories to cherish.
As we’ve discovered, Texas has an array of the best rivers, each offering a unique and unforgettable tubing experience. So, grab your tube, put on your sunscreen, and dive into the heart of the Texan summer season.