The sun is high and the energy is low. So pack up for an easy summer getaway centered around the clear, cool water of the Comal River. Located in between San Antonio and Austin, Schlitterbahn Waterpark is a summer tradition for my family and keeps us cool while having fun. It’s been the top water park in the U.S. for over 20 years. During my latest trip, my family, including my 80-year-old dad, splashed in both waterparks, connected by the shuttle. Here is why Schlitterbahn is the best waterpark in Texas for families.
Best Waterpark in Texas for Families
- Free Stuff
- BYOC-Bring Your Own Cooler packed with Snacks
- Lots of Shaded Tables
- Fun River Rides with Wave Action or Alligators to Ride
- Not just one Water Park, it’s Two
- Boogie Board Heaven
- Uphill Water Coasters
- No Wait Option with Blast Pass
- Set in Quaint New Braunfels
Free Stuff at Schlitterbahn
Don’t tell the people over at Schlitterbahn but some parks charge for parking. Not at Schlitterbahn, parking is free. Not only is it free, I always find lots of spots and some are in the shade of a tree. This is one of the main reasons Schlitterbahn is the Best Waterpark in Texas for Families.
In addition to free parking, the shuttle is also free. To get in between the two sides of the park, visitors can take the shuttle. We do and it is fast and efficient.
Note: The City of New Braunfels charges $20 to park at its park with Comal River access.
BYOC—Bring Your Own Cooler
Imagine bringing in all your favorite foods to nibble and snack for the day. You can at Schlitterbahn since it allows picnicking at all its parks. Coolers just need to be smaller than 26”L x 16”W x 16”D.
We pack our cooler with our favorite drinks along with cheese and lunch meat. We also bring a snack bag with crackers and cookies. Since it’s summer, our appetites dig and we really enjoy snack breaks instead of big meals.
Remember no glass or alcohol is allowed in the coolers. Schlitterbahn does a cooler check when you walk through the gates. Alcohol is available for purchase inside the park. This is another of the main reasons Schlitterbahn is the Best Waterpark in Texas for Families.
Shaded Tables Everywhere
The first thing we do when we arrive is to find a shaded picnic table to park our gear for the day. We use it as a home base.
Since my kids are older, they can come and go. The table makes a great meeting place for older kids to explore on their own.
Remember, pack a dry case and a waterproof phone case to take your valuables with you. We leave our snacks along with towels and cover-ups at our table all day without a problem.
Not Just for Kids
One of the reasons we come back to Schlitterbahn Waterpark year after year is, it’s a multi-generational attraction, especially the Original Section. I bring along my 80-year-old dad and he rides all the chutes. He’s not the only one.
There are lots of active grandparents at Schlitterbahn. This is one of the main reasons Schlitterbahn is the Best Waterpark in Texas for Families.
It seems every family-friendly hotel in Texas has a lazy river. So Schlitterbahn reinvented it.
This might be my favorite ride. Grab a tube and ride the rapids on the world’s longest water park ride. Then take the Aqua Veyor, a conveyor that takes tubers uphill, to make The Falls a continuous loop.
Look out, the Krystal River is infested with friendly foam alligators. Wrestle one and climb on its back to float through Surfenburg. My 10-year-old caught one for Mom to ride. For a splashy entrance, take the Backsplash and body surf into the river. It’s a channel of swift-moving run-off from the Boogie Bahn. Find the Krystal River wrapping around Surfenburg in a continuous loop.
Take a turn on a tidal river with ocean-inspired swells that roll through every minute. A wave of screams and squeals warns all of an approaching wave. Adds a crazy amount of fun as the waves chase down and tip floaters out of their tubes, like me. It wraps around the Blastenhoff Tower of waterslides and has a wave pool at the entrance.
Water Slides and Chutes
Don’t forget the water slides and chutes. Schlitterbahn offers seven water slides.
The Original Section Water Slides
- Bahnzai Pipeline
- Der Bahn Triple Speed Slides
- Double Loop Body Slides
- Downhill Racer
- Soda Straw Body Slide
The Original Section Chutes and Black Tube Rides
- Congo River Expedition
- Hillside Tube Chute (closed for 2023)
- Ragin’ River Tube Chute
- White Water Tube Chute
Set in the quaint town of New Braunfels, Schlitterbahn offers a pair of water parks. With a free tram, families can sample both parks on the same day. Though Schlitterbahn is so big it’s really hard to do all of it in one day.
The original section of Schlitterbahn opened in 1979. It uses the natural water from the Comal River in a series of chutes and slides. Century-old cypress trees shade the park and tubers use traditional black inner tubes to ride the rapids. It’s all the fun of the river without the mud on the banks.
For all the latest in water park fun, head to the Surfenburg, Blastenhoff and Tubenbach. It features all the thrills and even some spills while riding the waves. It uses traditional chlorinated pool water though it overlooks the Comal River.
Each part of Schlitterbahn has its own entrance along with a parking lot.
Blastenhoff Section Water Slides
- Black Knight
- Wolfpack Raft Slide
Tubenbach Clear Tube Rides
Though not labeled chutes, the rides in Tubenbach are similar.
- The Falls
Boogie Bahn Surfing Ride
Hand your teen a board and they know what to do. Drop into a specially designed ride where 50,000 gallons of water rush over the undulating surface. Mimicking the form of a wave most teens find the flow easily and love the rush.
Though a wipeout at Schlitterbahn offers a soft foam landing. In the Surfenburg section and use the Blast Pass for no-wait access to Boogie Bahn. I tried it and it was super fun.
Uphill Water Coasters
Grab a tube and blast off for thrills. The force of the water shoots riders up inclines and around hairpin curves for maximum fun. The water coasters were my 75-year-old Dad’s favorite ride.
Schlitterbahn offers a pair of uphill water coasters, the Master Blaster Uphill Water Coaster and its original, Dragon’s Revenge. Though tiny teens and tweens go a lot faster than adults. And remember to pull up your bottom or you might get a swimsuit full of water.
Dragon’s Revenge—The first edition water coaster combines fierce uphills along with blasts from a dragon and special lighting effects.
Master Blaster Uphill Water Coaster—Climb the Blastenhoff Tower six stories up and grab a double tube float. Start with a three-story fall and blast up again to twist and turn over 1,000 feet to the pool at the bottom.
A park favorite and voted the best water coaster in the U.S. by water park enthusiasts. Located in the Blastenhoff Section and use the Blast Pass for no-wait access to the Boogie Bahn.
Blast Pass Option for No Wait Fun
Hate waiting? I do. So buy a Blast Pass for the day and save a place in line while enjoying another ride. Starting at $95 for the day, per person, reserve a spot on the most popular rides.
- Dragon’s Revenge
- White Water
- Ragin’ River
- Hillside Tube Chute
- Congo River Expedition
- Master Blaster
- Wolf Pack
- Black Knight
- Boogie Bahn
Note: Visitors to Schlitterbahn Waterpark will go through airport-style security. This includes metal detectors and coolers, backpacks and pool bags will be searched.
Schlitterbahn is located at 400 N. Liberty Ave. in New Braunfels. It opens for the season in mid-April for weekends only and daily from Memorial Day in May through the third week of August, then weekends only until the end of September.
New Braunfels Perfect for a Weekend Away
In the middle of the quaint small town of New Braunfels, find lots of German-inspired fun for the family. If the kids want more water fun, then rent some tubes and float the Comal or Guadalupe rivers.
Take a ride out to the historic town of Gruene for shopping and dining. After dinner, swing on into the oldest dance hall in Texas, Gruene Hall.
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