How do I float the river?
It’s barely June, but the summer heat is already sweltering, and Central Texans are seeking any and all means of cooling off. Lucky for us, we live near some natural sources of refreshment – rivers.
As a former resident of New Braunfels, home to both the Guadalupe and Comal rivers, I have the inside scoop for how you can get the most out of a do-it-yourself river float.
First, before you head to the river, I recommend checking how fast the water is flowing to determine if the conditions will suite the type of float you desire. The lower the number on this list, the slower the water is flowing and therefore, the longer your float trip will be. I’ve heard of float trips on the Guadalupe that lasted five hours. That is a lot of time at the mercy of the sun's rays. In my opinion, an ideal float trip lasts about two hours.
The next ingredient in concocting a successful river float – tubes. The most popular way for river-goers to get tubes is by renting. While renting from a river outfitter may seem like the easiest option to some, it can run you $10 to $15 per tube. A tube with a bottom is about $20. However, a perk to renting is that most river rental companies have some sort of shuttle system that will drop you off at a public entrance point and pick you up after your float.
So, if you foresee multiple float trips in your future, I recommend buying your own tubes. Look for tubes 20 inches or larger at any tire store. They cost about $25 each, but unless they are left out in the sun or punctured, they should last you for years.
Now that you have your tubes and have lathered up with sunscreen, it’s time to head to the water. Load the tubs into the back of a truck or SUV, and pick a buddy to drive in a separate vehicle (that can also hold all the tubes) with you to the river.
Drop off the tubes and any people or belongings you’ll take with you on your float where you will enter the water. Then, drive both cars across town to where you will exit the water. Leave one car there so it's ready and waiting when you've finished floating, and drive back to your start point.
Finally, let the floating begin!
Click here to for a list of Texas rivers that are good for floating.
Other items you may want on your float:
- Water-proof shoes
- Goggles and/or a snorkel
- Waterproof watch
- Cooler with drinks
Miscellaneous river float tips:
- There ARE rules and police on the rivers. Be sure to know the rules before you float.
- Keep towels in the car you park at the river exit point.
- If tubing the Comal River, beware the tube chute and a few small rapids. Hang on to your tube, as the chute has a history of flipping floaters into the water!
- HAVE FUN.
Is there something you wonder about? Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.