Outdoor Fun

9 Reasons Schlitterbahn is the Best Water Park in Texas for Families

Schlitterbahn. Best Waterpark in Texas for families
Beat the summer heat in New Braunfels at Schlitterbahn along the shores of the Comal River. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Summer is hotter than a hornet in Texas so load up the kids and head to Schlitterbahn to keep cool while having fun. It’s been the top water park in the U.S. for over 20 years. During my last trip, we spent two days exploring what’s really two separate water parks.  Located in-between Austin and San Antonio, it’s an ideal getaway for a long weekend. Here’s why Schlitterbahn is the best water park in Texas for families.

Best Water Park in Texas for Families

  • Lots of Shaded Tables
  • BYOC-Bring Your Own Cooler packed with Snacks
  • Fun River Rides with Wave Action or Alligators to Ride
  • Not just one Water Park, it’s Two
  • Free Stuff
  • Boogie Board Heaven
  • Uphill Water Coasters
  • No Wait Option with Blast Pass
  • Set in Quaint New Braunfels

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Best Water Park in Texas for families.
You can pack a cooler though save room for dessert. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Shaded Tables Everywhere

On our trip, the hours floated by and the kids were wiped out by the end of the day. We were about to bring in a cooler, I found a picnic table in the shade. That way the older kids can come and go. The table makes a great meeting place for older kids exploring on their own.

BYOC—Bring Your Own Cooler

Imagine bringing in all your favorite foods to nibble and snack for your day? You can at Schlitterbahn since it allows picnicking at all its parks.

Though no glass or alcohol allowed. Schlitterbahn does a cooler check when you walk through the gates.

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Best water park in Texas for families.
Some of the chute rides in the Original section of Schlitterbahn dump out on the Comal River. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

River Rides

It seems every family-friendly hotel in Texas has a lazy river. So Schlitterbahn reinvented it.

The Falls—This might be my favorite ride. Ride in-between Sclitterbahn’s Surfenburg and Blastenhoff. Grab a tube and ride the rapids on the world’s longest water park ride. Then take the Aqua Veyor, a conveyor that take tubers uphill, to make The Falls a continuous loop.

Krystal River— 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.

Torrent River—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 crazy amount of fun as the waves chase down and tip floaters out of their tubes, like me.Wraps around the Blastenhoff Tower of waterslides and find 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

  • Cliffhanger
  • Congo River Expedition
  • Hillside Tube Chute
  • Ragin’ River Tube Chute
  • White Water Tube Chute
Master Blaster. Best Water Park in Texas for families.
The Master Blaster offers some big thrills at Blastenhoff. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Blastenhoff Section Water Slides

  • Black Knight
  • Wolf Pack

Tubenbach Clear Tube Rides

Though not labeled chutes, the rides in Tubenbach are similar.

  • Deluge
  • The Falls
  • Twice the Fun with Two Water Parks

Set in the quaint Germany-inspired 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 Sclitterbahn is so big it’s really hard to do all of it in one day.

The original section of Schlitterbahn opened nearly 40 years ago. 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. And it’s connected by The Falls river ride so don’t have to get out of the water to cross the park.

Free Stuff at Schlitterbahn

Don’t tell the people over at Schlitterbahn but some parks charge for parking. Not at Schlitterbahn, parking is free. The city of New Braunfels charges $20 to park at the park with Comal River access.

Not only is the parking free so is the shuttle.

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.

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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 a 1,000 feet to the pool at the bottom.

A park favorite and voted 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 $35 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

Schitterbahn 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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Known as the top water park in the U.S. for over 20 years, it's actually two water parks. One is an natural water park with chutes and river rides. The other waterpark is all about the slides and rides. See if Shlitterbahn Water Park in New Braunfels Texas needs to be on your summer to do list. Best Water Park in the U.S. | Top Water Park in Texas #Schlitterbahn #Texas

Catherine Parker has a passion for travel and seen all 50 U.S. States. As a former flight attendant with one of the largest airlines, there isn't a North American airport that she hasn't landed in at least once. Since clipping her professional wings after 9/11, she combines her love of the open road with visiting architectural and cultural icons. She is based out of Central Texas dividing her time between writing and restoring a pair of 100-year-old houses. She shares her life with her three kids and her husband.

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