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. Most of the town's revenue comes from tourism drawn by the incredible rivers, including the Comal River, which is the world's shortest, entirely located within the city limits.
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.
As elsewhere in the region, English and Spanish are the primary languages. But if you're lucky, you might overhear the odd conversation in Texas German, a dialect brought here by 19th-century immigrants that's still today spoken by a few hundred New Braunfelsians. If you're keen on encountering the Texas German language in the wild, it's best to gravitate toward places where older people congregate, such as bowling alleys, hardware and feed stores, and the like.
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 15 minutes (14 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.
- 1 Buc-ee's, 2760 I-35, ☏ . Open 24 hours. The largest convenience store in the world (66,335 sq ft).
The Comal and Guadalupe rivers offer beautiful sights.
A historic district. Visiting this little "town" situated along the Guadalupe River is like stepping back in time. Antique shops, restaurants, and niche retail stores make for unique shopping.
- 2 Gruene Hall, 1281 Gruene Rd, ☏ (general), (tickets). The oldest continually operated dance hall in Texas.
- Lone Star Music. A Texas music retail store which was started on the Internet by Chad Raney and grew into a bricks and mortar retail location.
- Gruene General Store, 1610 Hunter Road, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. The General Store has an ice cream bar; dozens of different salsas, jams, and butters; t-shirts; and lots of miscellaneous toys and gifts, all right across the street from Gruene Hall.
- 1 Schlitterbahn, ☏ . Consistently called the best waterpark in the world. Complete with four parks, and the highest rated water ride in the country, this waterpark is an ideal tourist spot. 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 short walk. The anti-littering rules are strong and enforced; do not take anything disposable on the river, including beverages in disposable containers, plastic baggies, or anything made of glass or styrofoam. Coolers with a capacity over 16 quarts is prohibited in city limits on the river. It's okay to drink beer on the river, but 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 Dr. 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, ☏ , email@example.com. 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, toll-free: . 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, ☏ , fax: . A large park along the Comal river. It has lots of trails and open spaces, but is not very secluded. Landa Park also has new and improved playground equipment!
- Panther Canyon Nature Trail, near 350 Aquatic Circle (in Landa Park), ☏ , fax: . 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 Rd, ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. Series of underground caverns west of New Braunfels. From $9.95 to $99.95.
- Old Gruene Market Days (Gruene District - take IH35 Exit #191 and go west on Hwy 306 for 1½ miles, 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).
- See Buc-ee's in "See" section above.
- Granzin's Meat Market, 1644 McQueeney Rd (off of IH-35 behind Bluebonnet Motors), ☏ . Granzin's has the best and freshest meat for the cheapest price in New Braunfels.
- Naegelin's Bakery, 129 South Seguin (historic downtown), ☏ . The gingerbread men, apple struedel and sugar cookies are excellent.
- Gristmill Restaurant, 1287 Gruene Rd. (in historic Gruene), ☏ . Alongside the river, Gristmill's large country atmosphere serves up excellent food. It's often a long wait on weekends and predominantly tourist. $20.
- Huisache Grill, 303 W. San Antonio St. (historic downtown), ☏ . 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), ☏ . 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.
- Clear Springs Texas Seafood, 1692 S. SH-46 (SH-46 just north of IH-35), ☏ . Known for its fried catfish. Amazing country atmosphere.
- The Faust Brewing Company, 240 S. Segun Ave., ☏ . One of several microbreweries.
- Pat's Place, 202 S. Union St. (Union at South, right by Prince Solms Park), ☏ . Has a full bar with several Texas beers.
- The Oyster Bar, 203 S. Seguin Ave. (1/2 block south of the square), ☏ . Known as the "OB" to locals, this bar has a full bar with a fun atmosphere.
- 1 Riley's Tavern, 8894 FM 1102, ☏ . Su-F 1PM-midnight, Sa 1PM-1AM. First tavern in Texas after Prohibition. Serves pizza, tacos, and sandwiches. They have regular concerts which require tickets.
- The Other Place, 385 Other Place Dr., ☏ . 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., ☏ . An historic hotel, built in 1929 and decorated in 1930s style. Don't forget to check out the in-house brewpub.
- Super 8 By Wyndham New Braunfels, 815 IH 35 South, ☏ .
- Sleep Inn & Suites, 1477 N. IH 35, ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Hotel opened in 2008, featuring interior corridor rooms with an elevator, breakfast, pool and heated spa, high speed and wireless Internet, business center, fitness room, meeting space, and guest laundry. All rooms feature king bed with sleeper sofa or two queen beds. Amenities include a work desk, LCD TVs with HBO and HD channels, microwave/refrigerator, coffeemaker, iron/board, and hairdryer.
- River Ranch RV Resort, 420 Business Loop I35 N (I 35 North exit 187 Sequin Ave), ☏ . Beautiful RV resort on the Guadalupe River with 53 - cemented full hook up sites 20/30/50 AMP paved drives, free cable TV, free Wi-Fi. clean bath houses and laundry facilities. Friendly and knowledgeable staff, on site manager, and array of activities and nearby attractions.
- San Antonio is a nearby city with a lot of history and attractions.
- San Marcos - 18 miles northeast of New Braunfels, San Marcos is the home of Texas State University and its Aquarena Center, two massive outlet malls that have more than 350 shops, as well as stretches of river in a more natural state.
- Austin is the capital of Texas, has endless quirks and is definitely worth a visit.
|Routes through New Braunfels|
|Austin ← San Marcos ←||N S||→ San Antonio → Laredo|