Trending
MOST READ
Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
Best Place to Live Downtown

Best Place to Live Downtown

Best of 2013: 4/24/2013
Dessert & Bakery: La Panaderia

Dessert & Bakery: La Panaderia

Flavor 2014: Los panaderos are in San Antonio. Brothers David and Jose Cacéres have opened the first of what could be many locations of La Panaderia, a concept the... 7/29/2014
3 New Local Frozen Treat Purveyors Will Help You Chill

3 New Local Frozen Treat Purveyors Will Help You Chill

Flavor 2014: Most of us already have our raspa stand of choice. Whether you’re going to wait in line at Las Nieves on Hildebrand—regardless of how many people may... By Jessica Elizarraras 7/29/2014
Justin Timberlake’s Secret Ingredients

Justin Timberlake’s Secret Ingredients

Music: Outside of rap, there aren’t a lot of artists with the XY chromosomes, staying power and tunes to be anointed as the definitive male pop star of 2014... By Matt Stieb 7/30/2014
Calendar

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

Arts & Culture

A Grown-Up’s Guide to Tubing

Photo: Photo via Flickr user Houstonian, License: N/A

Photo via Flickr user Houstonian

Tubing the Guadalupe River



Related stories


I am a late convert to tubing. I love being near water, but oddly, not usually in it. I don’t like swimming in the ocean or a lake, I’m also averse to crowds and am generally an old-fashioned “get off my lawn” curmudgeon. So for years as family and friends would enthusiastically open tubing season the Friday of Memorial Day weekend (pro tip: much less crowded), I would roll my eyes and say, “Gross. Have fun.”

Dear reader, I was so wrong. All it took was one sweltering summer afternoon on a shady bend of the Guadalupe to change me forever. We picked up tubes from a house off the highway, wandered down the lawn to a set of concrete steps, and slid in. The water was cool and clear. The current was gentle. The old tire tube smelled faintly like hot childhood summers when I played outdoors until the asphalt melted. I leaned back, letting my hair drag in the chilly water, and observed upside down the dozens of shades of juicy, vivid green layered between the water, the bank and the breeze-ruffled trees drifting by. Bliss. I’d found my proverbial Happy Place.

Obviously, this isn’t everyone’s impression of—or even desire for—a good tubing trip, but I include it as the opposite of an experience most people find dominated by binge drinking, screaming co-eds and “I’ve Got Friends in Low Places” on continuous loop. You can find a happy medium—here’s how:

DO try to go when it’s less crowded. For those of us with square (Monday through Friday, 9 to 5) jobs, I know it’s a challenge. It’s worth it to cut out of work early mid-week though, if you can. The sun will be out until 9 p.m. Friday late afternoon and Sundays are both better than Saturday. Or why not try off-season? It’s often still good tubing weather as early as April and as late as September.

DO watch the weather. A second trip to that same spot on the Guadalupe was a total bust after a drought had rendered the river completely motionless. We paddled for about 15 minutes before giving up. Better yet, choose the Comal, which is almost always flowing.

DO your research. Many of the outfitters on the major tube runs now have webcams so you can see what the conditions and crowds are like in real time. It’s also worth it to look for the tubing paradise less traveled, even if it means hauling your own tubes in and out. Legally, you can access any Texas river where a bridge crosses over a navigable stream. Just remember, you’ll need two cars, or one non-tubing driver for drop-off and pick-up.

DO drink responsibly. New Braunfels recently lifted the “can ban” allowing beer back on the Comal River. While a ban on cans did result in a slightly less littered river, it also encouraged a lot of serious hard liquor drinking. It’s hot and the trip can be as long as four hours—pace yourself with a lightweight but still fun refresher. My recommendation: ice-cold light beer, or a healthy mix like a wine spritzer or beer shandy.

Only one DON’T: Don’t be that guy (or gal). Treat the river and your fellow tubers with respect, and it can be everyone’s happy place this summer.

For more information, including outfitters, river flow levels, DIY float trip tips and more, visit tubetexas.com.

Recently in Arts & Culture
  • Savage Love I am wondering when the best time is to mention being in an open relationship to new girls. I’m a 27-year-old straight guy who’s been in an open... | 7/30/2014
  • ‘The Hundred-Year House’ Tells a Ghost Story in Reverse Rebecca Makkai’s new novel begins, “For a ghost story, the tale of Violet Saville Devohr was vague and underwhelming.” | 7/30/2014
  • Shatner, the Internet and Reverse Engineering William Shatner seems to need no introduction, but you’d be surprised how many irons the Star Trek star has in the fire. Aside from his one-man show... | 7/30/2014
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus