New Braunfels is usually considered a vacation destination. While it has no university of its own, it has a distinct college town feel, probably due to the huge numbers of students from universities in nearby San Antonio and San Marcos. As the name implies, it has a German heritage, and many of the local attractions capitalize on this. Most of the town's revenue comes from tourism drawn by the incredible rivers.
New Braunfels is situated on IH-35 at SH-46, near the Comal and Guadalupe rivers. Unless you charter a bus or small plane, personal vechicle travel is really the only way to get in. From San Antonio, head north on IH-35 about half an hour (30 miles) until you reach the SH-46 exit. From Austin, head south on IH-35 for about an hour (60 miles), past San Marcos, and exit SH-46. From Houston, head west on IH-10 about two and a half hours (150 miles), exit SH-46, and head north for about half an hour (30 miles more).
Personal vehicle travel is the only effective motorized transportation in town. Print, download, or buy a local map and brave the roads. Traffic during summer weekends is very heavy. It is often better to park and set out on foot or bicycle. Parking can be expensive, and most businesses only allow parking for patrons (they will happily have your vehicle towed if you park without permission). Prince Solms Park often has free parking after the for-pay lot is full. Parking costs $5-$10 depending on location. Many tube rental shops offer free parking all day with rental.
With heavy traffic and crowded roads, bicycle and foot are appealing travel options. There are few, if any, bicycle rental shops in town, so if you want to use one, bring your own. Remember that bicycles are considered vehicles in the eyes of law enforcement, so obey all traffic laws (in practice, most officers are happy to have the reduction in motor vehicle traffic, and offer extreme leniency to any cyclist who is not doing anything very stupid or immediately life-threatening).
The Comal and Guadalupe rivers offer beautiful sights when they're not packed with tubers (that is, people - often quite drunk - floating down the river in inflated innertubes, not starchy plant roots). While locals and authorities are very proactive at removing trash and assisting the public in proper trash disposal, litter is a big problem. If you want to see rivers in a more natural state, you might consider San Marcos.
This seems to be what the comal river was created for. People get (or rent) a large innertube, stuff a loaded cooler in another innertube, hop in the water, and float a few miles down the river. The services of a tubing shuttle are often employed to get from the end back to the insertion point, but because of loops in the river it's a very short walk. If you can't or don't want to bring your own tube, there is a nearly endless array of rental agencies to choose from. Most offer personal and cooler tube rentals, shuttle service, and parking. Note a recent ordinances prohibit carrying coolers with a capacity over 16 quarts on the river in city limits , and consumption or carrying an open container of an alcoholic drink in city parks .