New Braunfels is a resort town in the Texas Hill Country.
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 also the home of several other smaller "towns" within the city. One of these "towns" is Gruene, TX, home of the Gristmill Restaurant and Gruene Hall.
New Braunfels is situated on IH-35 at SH-46, near the Comal and Guadalupe rivers. Access to New Braunfels is accessible via private plane charter, highway access, and the Greyhound Bus Line. Airport shuttles from Austin and San Antonio are available. 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. 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 a few bicycle rental shops in town. Remember that bicycles are considered vehicles in the eyes of law enforcement, so obey all traffic laws.
The Comal and Guadalupe rivers offer beautiful sights.
- Schlitterbahn, ☎ 830-625-2351, . Consistently called the best waterpark in the world. See web site for various ticket prices, reserve rooms early to ensure availability.
This seems to be what the Comal river was created for. People rent an 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. 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 .
- City Tube Rental, Liberty Ave. (Liberty, between Common and South). Run by the city of New Braunfels. Tube rental also has a $10 deposit, returned when you return the tubes - you are asked to write your name on the receipt, which is kept on file for the day, and your deposit is returned when you provide the rented tubes and name on the receipt. Parking: $7/vehicle, Admission: $5 (not required for tubing), Shuttle: $10/trip, Tube rental: $7 (plus $10 deposit).
- Felger's Tube Rental, Liberty Ave. (Liberty, between Common and South). Offers tubes, shuttles, and parking.
Festivals and Fairs
- New Braunfels Folkfest, 1370 Church Hill Drive, . Folkfest is an annual Family Heritage festival celebrating the German/Anglo/Spanish heritage of New Braunfels. Most activities take place at the Heritage Village, but there is a costumed children's parade (the Kindermaskenball Parade) that takes place in Downtown New Braunfels. This is generally held the second week of April, but check the website for more details
- Comal County Fair, Fair Park - Common Street and the Guadalupe River, ☎ 830-625-1505 ([email protected]), . The Comal County Fair is one of the largest county fairs in Texas and is generally held the last week of September. The Friday during the Fair is a local holiday with a downtown parade and other activities Generally $3 for Adults, Children free.
- Wurstfest, ☎ 800-221-4369, . German for "sausage festival", is held for ten days, beginning the Friday before the first Monday in November. Concessions are found throughout the grounds. Activities celebrating the German heritage take place throughout New Braunfels during Wurstfest (Heritage Exhibit) Admission: $8/person.
- Landa Park, ☎ 830-221-4350 (fax: 830-608-2162), . A large park along the Comal river. It has lots of trails and open spaces, but is not very secluded.
- Panther Canyon Nature Trail, Near 350 Aquatic Circle (in Landa Park), ☎ 830-221-4350 (fax: 830-608-2162), . Panther Canyon Nature Trail is a 51 acre wilderness area at the western edge of Landa Park that is excellent for hiking, geocaching, etc.
- Fair Park, Common Street @ the Guadalupe River. On the Gaudalupe. This park also serves as auxiliary parking for Schlitterbahn during the summer months.
- Cypress Bend Park. On the Guadalupe
- Natural Bridge Caverns, 26495 Natural Bridge Cavern Road, ☎ 210-651-6101 ([email protected], fax: 210-651-6144), . Huge series of underground caves southwest of New Braunfels. From $9.95 to $99.95.
- Old Gruene Market Days, (Gruene District - Take IH35 Exit #191and go west on Hwy 306 for 1. 5miles - Take a Left onto Hunter Road at Doug's BBQ), . A variety of stores in the historic Gruene district of New Braunfels, including a winery, hand-made furniture, and arts/crafts
- Historic New Braunfels Downtown, (West San Antonio/Spur St. at Bus. 46), . A large variety of shops along the streets.
- San Marcos Outlet Mall, IH-35 (About 15 min north on IH-35).
- Huisache Grill, 303 W. San Antonio St. (historic downtown), ☎ 830-620-9001, . 11am-10pm. An intimate and casual restaurant serving creative contemporary cuisine with fresh regional ingredients. $15.
- Pat's Place, 202 S. Union St. (Union at South, right by Prince Solms Park), ☎ 830-629-1491. Caters to tubing groups. Proper attire is of course required by law (that is, shirts and shoes), but they take to-go orders. Their burgers are great, and they have a variety of local beer.
- Oma's Haus, 541 S. SH-46 (SH-46 just west of IH-35, before Freiheit Rd./FM 1101), ☎ 830-625-3280, . A bavarian restaurant near the edge of town. The food is great, and a wide variety of imported German beers are available. $10.
- Clear Springs Texas Seafood, 1692 S. SH-46 (SH-46 just north of IH-35), ☎ 830-629-3775, . Known for its fried catfish. Amazing country atmosphere.
- The Faust Brewing Company, 240 S. Segun Ave., ☎ 830-625-7791, . New Braunfels' only microbrewery.
- Pat's Place, 202 S. Union St. (Union at South, right by Prince Solms Park), ☎ 830-629-1491. Has a full bar with several Texas beers.
- On the Half Shell, 203 S. Seguin Ave. (1/2 block south of the square), ☎ 830-627-7766. Known as the "OB" to locals, this bar has a full bar with a fun atmosphere.
- The Other Place, 385 Other Place Dr., ☎ 830-625-5114, . Has cottages on a bend in the Comal river. Low-cost tube rentals and shuttle service are available for guests.
- The Faust Hotel, 240 S. Seguin Ave., ☎ 830-625-7791, . An historic hotel, built in 1929 and decorated in 30s style. Don't forget to check out the in-house brewpub.
- The Red Roof Inn, 815 1 H 35 South, 830-626-7000
In high season, hotels can fill. If this happens to you, consider a hotel in nearby Seguin or San Marcos.
- San Antonio is a nearby city with a lot of history and attractions.
- San Marcos is a college town and has larger stretches of river in a more natural state.
- Austin is the capital of Texas, has endless quirks and is definitely worth a visit.
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