The Best Tubing Rivers In Texas To Float When It’s Hot Outside

Let these spring-fed waters cool you down.

Guadalupe River Tubing
Photo: Robbie Caponetto

When temperatures start to rise in Texas—which, let’s be honest, is most of the year—people beat the heat with a beloved warm-weather activity, and it’s not locking the door shut to keep all the good air-conditioning inside. Tubing down rivers has long been a favorite pastime of Texans (and Southerners in general) in the spring and summertime when everyone is just looking for a way to cool down. The affordable outdoor excursion offers old-fashioned fun for families and friends.

Luckily, the Lone Star State has plenty of tubing spots to flock to when the weather calls for it. Just make sure to show up prepared with sunscreen, water, and a waterproof speaker ready to play country tunes in the background. Here are the best rivers to float in Texas.

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Frio River

Frio River, Garner State Park

One of the most beautiful places to float, the Frio River is cool and calm. You’re able to enter from Garner State Park, which is located more remotely in Texas Hill Country near Concan around an hour-and-half drive from San Antonio. Warning: Cell service can be unreliable, so make a clear plan with your group beforehand if traveling. There are many campsites and rustic cabins in the park for overnight stays. 

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Guadalupe River

Guadalupe River Floats
Robbie Caponetto

The Guadalupe River is easily the most well-known tubing river in the entire Lone Star State. The 230-mile river runs from Central Texas all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. The most popular stretches to float are in the Texas Hill Country, especially near New Braunfels, Canyon Lake, San Marcos, and San Antonio. Hop off near New Braunfels in Gruene Historic District for a bite to eat at The Gristmill, which sits on the banks. The chicken-fried steak is famed! 

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San Marcos River

San Marcos River Texas

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This Hill Country river is another extremely popular place to float, particularly for the college kids at Texas State University in San Marcos. For those wishing for a quick adventure, there’s an hour-long float that runs from the town’s City Park to Rio Vista Park. This spring-fed river is a tributary of the Guadalupe, which means it boasts cool temperatures year-round. It can get quite crowded during warmer months, so heed the crowds. 

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Pedernales River

Pedernales River Texas

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You’ve likely heard Willie Nelson croon about this Texas river, and the scenery explains it all. Along the river, you can see limestone formations and waterfalls, but make sure to stay on the approved tubing route, as certain areas can get rough or precarious. If going during the summer months, check for tickets ahead of time, as you’ll enter the river in the Pedernales Falls State Park

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Comal River

Comal River Texas

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The spring-fed Comal River moseys through New Braunfels until eventually reaching the Guadalupe River. You can expect the water to be between 70 and 72 degrees year-round, and the floating stretch is under three miles, which makes it ideal for those looking for a half-day activity. End your float  at the “tuber’s exit” right before the Comal River meets the Guadalupe River.

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Trinity River

Trinity River Fort Worth Texas

Getty Images/Mark Perry

Those looking to float near Fort Worth or Dallas can grab a tube and head to the Trinity River. The standout bonus of floating Trinity River is that every Saturday in the summertime, you can catch live music as you float, known as the Rockin’ The River concert series. They even do a fireworks show after every performance. You can enter and exit the river at the public beach near the festivities. 

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Colorado River

Colorado River Austin TX

Getty Images/simonkr

The largest river on the list, the Colorado River flows through seven states. Many even opt for a multi-day floating excursion in order to make the most of the expansive river and its many sandbars. You can make your starting point in Columbus, Texas, for rentals or supplies, which is around an hour-and-half drive from Houston. Austinites can easily float the Colorado River by way of nearby Bastrop.

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