The Guadalupe River runs for 230-miles, and is one of the tubing favorites for Texans. It rises up in two forks before converging into Guadalupe River proper where the two forks meet. Its North Fork’s headwaters are four miles from the Real-Kerr county line south of SH 41. Its South Fork’s headwaters are three miles southwest of the intersection of SH 39 and FR 187. 

Today’s Kerrville-Schreiner (State) Park in Kerrville, Texas, is below the two fork’s confluence that form the Guadalupe River proper. From there, the river runs southwest (respectively) through Kerr, Kendall, Comal, Guadalupe, Gonzales, DeWitt, and Victoria counties, where its mouth reaches the San Antonio Bay on the Texas Coast. 

Various authorities control the water flow in the Guadalupe River and monitor its flow year-round. When it rains heavily, the water rises too high for recreational activities, so only experienced kayakers and rafters are allowed on the river those times. Most of the year, the Guadalupe River tubing is extremely popular in Texas. There are plenty of runs and services to support the tubing public. 

How Long Does it Take to Tube the Guadalupe River?

Floats on the Guadalupe River can take anywhere from 2 to 5 or more hours.

The runs are relatively short on the Guadalupe River. The length of your float depends on current speed, how crowded it is, and how many people are in your party. The world record for the largest party tied together was previously listed as an “open record” by the Guinness Book of World Records and included 250 tubers. On July 26, 2014, that record was broken, but no one knows by how many because over 2,000 people showed up for an organized record-breaking event. 

Where Is the Best Tubing Spot for Guadalupe?

It is so difficult to say which spot is best for tubing on the Guadalupe. The entire river is beautifully scenic and there are many, many public access points. Tubers share the river with kayaks and canoes. Some of the public tubing access points also have launches for paddlers. You must make reservations during peak tubing season, June through August. 

Bergheim Campground and River Outfitter

One of the most scenic stretches is from FM 3160 to Rebecca Creek Crossing at 22.4-miles long. Unless there is an extreme draught, there is enough water to tube here year-round. To find this location, you contact Bergheim Campground and River Outfitter, seven miles south of Kendalia, Texas, on FM 3160, right on the Guadalupe River. Tubes are $25 per trip with shuttle.

Tube Haus

Another great Guadalupe tubing spot is on the east side of Canyon Lake, beginning at extremely popular Horseshoe Loop off of FM 306. Tube Haus, a tube rental service, is the place to call for information here. Tube Haus offers a 1 to 2-hour short float and a 5 to 6-hour long float. On this stretch of the river, you can bring canned drinks. Tube rentals are $17 with shuttle and with or without bottoms.

Rockin’ R

New Braunfels and its surrounding region offer lots of launching locations. The outfitter to contact there is Rockin’ R with four locations. Its main location is in Gruene, Texas, with its riverside Gruene Light Bar, El Arroyo Events and Catering, and live music. It is family and dog friendly. All locations rent tubes and rafts. 

You may have to walk your tube to the next water pool If the water is low. Rockin’ R’s locations offer day camping passes if you want to hang out on the river without floating but no camping. Exit points for shuttles are well marked. Float durations are 2 to 3 hours and 5 to 6 hours, depending on which Rockin R location. You need to call ahead for weekend floating adventures. 

Rockin’ R rents tubes for $25 for tubes and shuttle or $20 if you bring your own tube. An extra trip is $5 if you want to go again.

Guadalupe River State Park

Four miles of the river meanders through Guadalupe River State Park. This park offers 85 campsites with electric and water hookups and nine walk-in tent sites on the river, 13 miles of trails, picnic tables throughout, and an amphitheater that seats 100. Visitors need to make their own tubing arrangements for rentals and shuttles. The park loans fishing equipment. Make reservations because the park frequently closes to when filled to capacity during season. 

Park entry fees are $7 and camping is $24 a night. Park fees are charged in addition to camping fees. 

Can I Bring My Own Tube to the Guadalupe River?

You do not have to pay to rent tubes, but you will need a shuttle service back to your starting point. The outfitters have the best tubes that are specially made. Some of them rent tubes for your dog, but dogs are not welcome everywhere on the river. You can find many other access points without using an outfitter, but then you have to make your own arrangements to get back to your vehicle or where you are staying. Locals find friends to pick them up, and they also pay outfitters for rides. 

How Much Does it Cost to Tube the Guadalupe River?

Costs vary for a Guadalupe River float. You can budget in lodging or camping fees, travel expenses, food and drinks, necessities like river shoes, sunscreen, coolers, etc. The actual cost of tubing is between inexpensive and expensive, depending on your supplies. 

Tubers can expect to spend up to $25 per tube, per person, per tube for gear and animals, which includes shuttle, tube rental, and fees. Most outfitters require a driver’s license or credit card to hold as a rental deposit.

What Are the Best Snacks for River Floats?

Whatever you like to eat are the best snacks. There are so many restaurants and eateries around the Guadalupe access points that it is really easy to fill up before and after a float. Staying hydrated is the number one goal. It gets hot floating on the river. 

Tubers need to put snacks in approved containers and put them in coolers. You should not bring pre-packaged snacks, like candy bars and small bags of chips. Granola bars and dried fruit are popular snacks. Bring more than you would possibly think you could ever or drink, no matter what that is. It is easy to slam down a whole lot of alcohol without realizing it. 

What Is Banned on the Guadalupe River?

Before you decide to float the Guadalupe (or any river), do not bring anything with you that you do not want to lose. Everything you take floating is subject to permanent loss. Phones drowning, keys sinking, and shoes floating away are especially the most common items prone to loss, unless you wear your wedding rings and eye glasses. Do not wear jewelry. Secure your glasses to your head, not to hats. 

All the cities on the Guadalupe River have ordinances for what you can and cannot take tubing with you. Texas State Law covers much of what city ordinances ban. For example, New Braunfels, Texas, has a can ban. You need to call the city or area you plan to tube on to make sure you are not taking contraband with you. 

On the, Guadalupe River, the tubing rules are:

  1. Glass is not permitted
  2. No Styrofoam on the river
  3. No littering of any kind
  4. No jumping from bridges, dams, trees, or cliffs
  5. Life jackets are recommended for children under eight and weak or non-swimmers
  6. Follow State Law
  7. Tubing is not allowed when the river flow is above 1,200cfs
  8. No open plastic containers of 5 fluid ounces or less are permitted

Recommendations for what you should eat or drink from include using a canteen, flask, hydration backpack, insulated cup/bottle, reusable jug, and yes, even a beer keg, but you cannot drink directly from a keg. Food containers follow the same restrictions, like no plastic baggies for snacks, disposable juice boxes, snacks in wrapping like candy bars and small cracker packages, etc. 

There is absolutely NO littering allowed. River authorities are serious about litter infractions, and so are the local residents. An adult must accompany children under five.

Kendall Davis
Author: Kendall Davis

Author: Kendall Davis Company: Lumini Services Kendall currently lives on the shores of Lake Texoma in Texas. She traveled across two-thirds of the U.S. for many years camping at lakes, rivers, and three oceans before motels and hotels if at all possible, and she continuously saw God's presence in nature. Writing for Lakehub allows Kendall to share her experience with God's creations.

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