Outdoor Fun

Top 9 Reasons Schlitterbahn is the Best Waterpark in Texas

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

It’s time to cool down and enjoy a super fun day on the river, so head to the best waterpark in Texas that uses real river water.  Schlitterbahn Waterpark is a family favorite for many reasons. Centered around the clear, cool water of the Comal River, this waterpark is what other waterparks aspire to be. Located between San Antonio and Austin, Schlitterbahn Waterpark has 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 

  • New Area for Little Kids
  • BYOC-Bring Your Own Cooler packed with Snacks
  • Free Stuff
  • 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

What’s New for 2024 

New for 2024, Schlitterbahn offers a new kids area, Schatze’s Storybrook Park. Located in the Original Section of the park (Schlitterbahn West section), families will find a kid-sized t water coaster, a pint-size take on Schlitterbahn’s famous Master Blaster.

In addition, the area offers 70 interactive water features, six body slides for kids, several splash zones and a 1,200-gallon tipping water bucket. It also features new shaded areas with tables and loungers.

Schatze’s Storybrook Park includes three areas for kids: Fur-Bidden Forest, Schatze’s Paw’nd and Fairy Tail Trail. Each is based on classic fairy tales with a short-legged hound as the center of the fun.

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Schlitterbahn dessert
You can pack a cooler, though, save room for dessert. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

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 must be smaller than 26” L x 16” W x 16” D.

We pack our cooler with our favorite drinks, cheese and lunch meat. We also bring a snack bag with crackers and cookies. Since it’s summer, our appetites are piqued, 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.

Free Stuff at Schlitterbahn

Don’t tell the people at Schlitterbahn, but some parks charge for parking. Not at Schlitterbahn, where general parking is free. Not only is it free, but I always find lots of spots, some in the shade of a tree. This is one of the main reasons Schlitterbahn is the Best Waterpark in Texas for Families.

If you’d prefer a space close to the entrance, there is Preferred Parking available for a fee.

In addition to free parking, the shuttle is also free. Visitors can take the shuttle to get between the two sides of the park. 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.

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 to pack a dry case and a waterproof phone case to protect your valuables. We leave our snacks, towels, and cover-ups at our table all day without a problem.

Schlitterbahn Family
My three kids and dad love spending time at Schlitterbahn Waterpark. Credit: Catherine Parker

 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 many active grandparents at Schlitterbahn, which is one of the main reasons it is the Best Waterpark in Texas for Families. Families of little kids will also find lots of spaces just for them too. This is another reason Schlitterbahn is the Best Waterpark in Texas.

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schlitterbahn waterpark
Some 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. 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.

Kristal 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 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.

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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
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Master Blaster. Best Water Park in Texas for families.
The Master Blaster offers some big thrills at Blastenhoff. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

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 tough to do all of it in one day.

The original section of Schlitterbahn opened in 1979. It uses natural water from the Comal River in a series of chutes and slides. Century-old cypress trees shade the park, and tubers ride the rapids in traditional black inner tubes. It’s all the fun of the river without the mud on the banks.

For all the latest 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 parking lots.

Blastenhoff Section Water Slides

  • Black Knight
  • Wolfpack Raft Slide

Tubenbach Clear Tube Rides

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

  • Deluge
  • 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 quickly and love the rush.

Though a wipeout at Schlitterbahn offers a soft foam landing, in the Surfenburg section, use the Blast Pass for no-wait access to Boogie Bahn. I tried it, and it was super fun.

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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 80-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. Tiny teens and tweens go a lot faster than adults. 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 use the Blast Pass for no-wait access to the Boogie Bahn.

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Fast Lane Option for No Wait Fun

Do you hate waiting? I do. So buy a Fast Lane for the day and bypass the standard line. Starting at $49 for the day per person, this is another reason, Schlitterbahn is the Best Waterpark in Texas.

  • Black Knight
  • Boogie Bahn Surfing Ride
  • Cliffhanger Tube Chute
  • Congo River Expedition
  • Dragon’s Revenge
  • Hillside Tube Chute
  • Master Blaster
  • Ragin’ River Tube Chute
  • The Falls
  • White Water Tube Chute
  • Wolf Pack Raft Slide

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.

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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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