Outdoor Fun

The Best 3 Day Itinerary for New Braunfels

Prince Solms Park. 3 day New Braunfels itinerary
A weekend in New Braunfels offers cool rivers to explore and German heritage to sample. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

New Braunfels offers outdoor recreation galore, like tubing and kayaking. Located in  Central Texas, it is between San Antonio and Austin.  During the summer, I recommend enjoying its Comal River. From one of the best waterparks in the U.S. to a serene float on the river to the city parks in between, New Braunfels is centered around enjoying the outdoors.  Located nearby, the quaint town of Gruene is a hamlet along the shores of the Guadalupe River, with the oldest dance hall in Texas. Here is the Best 3-Day Itinerary for New Braunfels.

Top Things to Do in New Braunfels

Visit Schlitterbahn Waterpark
Float the Comal River
Use Rockin R River Rides
Visit Prince Solms Park
Paddle the Comal River in a Glow in the Park Kayak
Explore Landa Park
Take the Landa Park Miniature Train
Visit Gruene Historic District
Listen to Live Music at Gruene Dance Hall

Why Visit New Braunfels

I’ve lived in Texas for the majority of my life. I will not lie—it’s hotter than a firecracker in the summer. The best way to have fun and stay cool is to stay in or near the water.

This is why New Braunfels is a great summer destination. There are many opportunities to swim, splash and explore the area’s waterways.

The Best 3 Day Itinerary for New Braunfels

This trip includes drips into the refreshing cool water in New Braunfels daily. While in town, explore its German heritage, and you will find several restaurants offering German food.

You will need a car to explore. The nearest airports are located in Austin and San Antonio.

Day 1

This itinerary is action-packed, so you will need your energy. New Braunfels is known for its bakeries, so visit one for breakfast.

2tarts Bakery 

For a quick breakfast, 2tarts Bakery offers a blend of savory and sweet baked goods. From its cinnamon rolls to scones, diners choose from several sweet options. It also serves a daily quiche, frittata and pigs in a poncho (pig in a blanket). 

For snacks later in the day, 2tarts Bakery sells assorted scratch cookies, such as Almond Thumbprints, Drop Cookies, like Chocolate Chip, and Macaroons. Its cupcakes are swoon-worthy, and they come in lots of flavors, including vegan options. 

This is a go-to for a cake on the go for birthday parties and other celebrations. 

Located at 139 N. Castell Ave. #300 in New Braunfels. Open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. 

Best Restaurants in New Braunfels 
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

Schlitterbahn Waterpark

If it’s warm outside, the best place is in the cool water in New Braunfels. My favorite place to splash and scream is Schlitterbahn Waterpark.

As one of the oldest water parks in Texas, there are many ways to enjoy a summer day. In fact, it’s really two water parks connected by a shuttle bus.

The Original Section of Schlitterbahn opened in 1979 and uses the spring-fed water from the Comal River. This part of the park is a favorite with multi-generational groups and my personal favorite.

Its water rides include a series of water chutes that use a traditional black inner tube. The rides venture down small falls and twists. As a bonus, most of this part of Schlitterbahn is shaded by century-old Cypress trees.

In addition to tube rides, Schlitterbahn features water slides and pools for lounging (including swim-up bars). For those looking for more screaming than splashing, then head to Schlitterbahn East. Packed with all the latest in water rides, kids run from one side to another.

Schlitterbahn Waterpark allows personal coolers packed with snacks and drinks. This is a nice budget bonus for families. Parking is also free.

Located at 400 N. Liberty Ave. Advance tickets offer the best rates. Open every day during the summer, and hours vary. Weekends only during the late spring and early fall.

Schlitterbahn Water Park Review
milkshake Muck and Fuss
A milkshake at Muck and Fuss credit: Catherine Parker

Muck and Fuss 

After a day in the water, a burger and beer are a great way to end it. For some of the best burgers in town, head to Muck and Fuss.

In the shadow of the Prince Solms Inn, Muck and Fuss makes the best burgers and fries in town. During my visit, we started with its truffle fries, perfect fries with lemon aioli, parmesan cheese and green onions. If not your jam, then it offers several versions of its signature fries. 

Most come to Muck and Fuss for its burgers. It serves a 1/2 pound patty made with Dean & Peeler Ranch beef. During my visit, my kids had the All-American Burger. I sampled the Havarti Jam, with caramelized onions and bacon jam.  

Other top items include its signature shakes, served kid-friendly and boozy. For adults, its selection of craft brews is excellent. 

Located at 295 E. San Antonio. Open Sunday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. 

Top Things to do at Natural Bridge Caverns
Comal River Tubing
Take a tube down the Comal River for a fun float with kids. credit: Catherine Parker

Day 2 

Paddling the Comal River 

After a day at Schlitterbahn Waterpark, travelers can explore the wilds of the Comal River. The Comal River, which cuts through downtown New Braunfels, is spring-fed. Its springs are located in Landa Park, and its clear waters are a favorite for recreational tubing.

To protect the waters of the Comal River, the City of New Braunfels enforces a no single-use plastic policy. Visitors using the Comal River will need to use reusable containers for both food and drinks. There is also a size limit for coolers. For more information, visit its webpage.

Before spending the day on the water, grab a good breakfast.

Union Station Diner 

With its train memorabilia decorating the walls, this local favorite is a must for a leisurely breakfast. It serves American breakfast favorites, like pancakes as big as the plate. Its menu features one page dedicated to its omelets. 

For lunch, the Union Station Diner serves sandwiches, burgers and lunch specials, like chicken fried steaks. It also offers a kid’s menu for both breakfast and lunch. 

Located 512 E San Antonio St. in New Braunfels. Open daily from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Expect a wait for busy weekends. 

Top Texas Caves to Explore
Rockin R Tube
Riding the Rockin R Bus to the Comal River was the easy way to tube. credit: Catherine Parker

Float the Comal 

I’ve been floating rivers for years. For the best experience, use an outfitter. They will rent you tubes and then provide transportation to and from the Comal River.

The average float takes about 2 to 3 hours with just a bit of paddling. The Comal offers deeper water for swimming and shallower water so floaters can touch the bottom.

There are also three chutes along the route, so all tubers need to know how to swim. Weak swimmers and kids under 8 need to wear light jackets.

The first chute near Prince Solms Park features lifeguards during busy times of the year.

Rockin R River Rides

To tube the shortest river in Texas, we used Rockin R River Rides for our tubes and transportation to the Comal River. It rents out several types of tubes and we choose the traditional black tubes with a plastic bottom. These protect riders from scrapes if the tube drags the bottom of the river. It also rents out the tubes with cup holders.

The staff at Rockin R River Rides showed us what we needed to know for our trip (like where to exit). Then, we loaded up in its van for the quick ride to Prince Solms Park.

Afterward, we found the van at the last public Comal River exit and rode it back to our car.

Located at 193 S. Liberty St., it is Open daily during the season from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Transportation and a tube are $25 per person.

Best Things to Do in Fredericksburg Texas
Prince Solms Park. 3 day New Braunfels itinerary
Prince Solms Park tubing entrance in New Braunfels. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Prince Solms Park

One entry point for Comal River floats is Prince Solms Park. It offers many shaded picnic areas and space for running around.

The City Chute at Prince Solms Park is a water slide carved into the side of the New Braunfels Comal River dam. It is a favorite for tubers.

Located at 100 Liebscher Dr. Parking in Prince Solms Park is $20 per vehicle from May 1 to Labor Day. The river remains open for recreation year-round. Tube and life jacket rental is available at the park, though no transportation.

Krause's Biergarten. 3 day New Braunfels itinerary
Find a spot at one of Krause’s Biergarten for a local brew and a plate of German classics. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Krause’s Biergarten and Café

After a day of sliding and splashing, diners can sit at a long table in a traditional German Biergarten. Krause’s Biergarten features a hall with soaring ceilings draped with flags. Grab a spot at one of the endless long tables then the attentive staff will help you navigate the beer menu.

With a wall of beer tabs featuring local, seasonal or traditional German brews, deciding isn’t easy. The menu offers German classics paired with Texas favorites, like burgers and schnitzel. For those looking for a lighter meal, it offers salads. There are lots of appetizers for those who would like to snack and sample the beer selection.

Outside the hall, find an outdoor space with a stage for frequent live music. For those needing to escape the heat, Krause’s offers an indoor space. Though I dined in the middle of summer and loved the outdoor space.

Located at 148 S. Castell Ave, Open Sunday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Top 20+ Things to Do in San Antonio 
Glow in the dark clear kayak
Paddling the Comal River at night in a clear kayak with Paddle TX. credit: Catherine Parker

Glow Ride with Paddle TX

During our day float on the Comal River, we looked above the water, taking in the scenery. Though it was hard to see under the water’s surface.

We arranged a nighttime clear kayak tour with Paddle TX. It provided clear polyacrylic tandem kayaks along with a guide. The clear-hulled kayaks allowed us to see under the water’s surface.

In addition, each clear kayak is outfitted with LED lights. This lights up the water under the kayak for better aquatic viewing.

During our tour, we saw Guadalupe Bass and crawfish, along with lots of smaller fish that gathered under the kayak. I even saw a small turtle rooting at the bottom of the Comal River.

Above water, I saw several Blue Herons flying overhead. This trip is a must for those interested in marine life and birds along the Comal River. We had the river to ourselves, and the experience was quite relaxing and educational.

Paddle TX requires everyone to know how to swim, and kids must be 6 years old to participate. The same rules apply for single-use water bottles, so pack a reusable water bottle for this trip. The weight limit for each kayak is 425 pounds. This tour is a smooth water tour.

Paddle TX limits its tours to six kayaks and 12 kayakers, but private tours can be arranged. Tours are $50 per person.

Top Things to Do in Corpus Christi Texas
Landa Park Train. 3 day New Braunfels itinerary
The Landa Park miniature train is a crowd-pleaser. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Day 3

After spending two days riding the chutes and waves of Schlitterbahn, explore the city parks in New Braunfels. First stop, grab some breakfast at a local favorite.

Buttermilk Cafe

Head over to the local favorite, Buttermilk Café. It serves hearty portions of family favorites, and the biscuits are tender and soft. For lunch, it also serves large salads and serious sandwiches.

Located at 1324 East Common Street. Open Monday to Saturday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., serving breakfast all day.

Landa Park

Landa Park Miniature Train

My kids are teens and tweens, but we still ride all the miniature trains we can find. For $5 a person, take the train to tour Landa Park.

Open every day from Memorial Day to mid-August, Spring Break in March, Thanksgiving Break and Christmas Break from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Open weekends only from September to May.

Landa Park Aquatic Center

Landa Park offers an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a spring-fed wading pool, and a bathhouse. The spring-fed pool is great for cooling off.

Landa Park’s Spring-Fed Pool

The Comal Springs feed the pool, which was originally built in the early 1900s. Now, it includes a two-story slide and water depths from zero entry to 9 feet. This is how kids used to keep cool before air conditioning.

Open daily from noon to 7 p.m. (10 a.m. on Saturday) from Memorial Day to mid-August, and weekends only from mid-May to Memorial Day and mid-August until Labor Day. Weekday adult admission is $6, kids 3 to 12 $5, and kids 3 and younger are free; add $2 for each on weekend days.

Landa Park Boathouse

Take a boat ride with the kids; paddle boats are at the Landa Park Boathouse.

It is open daily from Memorial Day to mid-August and during Spring Break in March from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Boat rental is $5 per passenger. It is open on weekends only from mid-May to Memorial Day and mid-August to Labor Day.

The Best Itinerary for Austin
Gruene Historic District. Three day New Braunfels Itinerary.
The Gruene Historic District offers 19th-century buildings along with the oldest dance hall in Texas. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Gruene Historic District

Take a stroll along the streets of the Gruene Historic District. With two main streets and a convenient free parking area, it’s an easy area to explore on foot.

The authentic Gruene General Store, located at 1610 Hunter Road, is a good place to start. It offers an amazing selection of treats, including fudge and old-fashioned candy.

Adults might want to stop at The Grapevine, a wine-tasting room with an outdoor patio area at 1612 Hunter Road.

Visitors can continue shopping in restored buildings, such as specialty clothing shops and antiques shops. Gruene Antique Company is at 1607 Hunter Road, and Gruene Outfitters, a specialty shop for outdoor sports, is at 1629 Hunters Road.

Visitors will find the Gruene Mansion Inn at 1275 Gruene Road. It is an 1872 Eastlake Victorian originally built by one of the town’s founders.

Grist Mill Restaurant

In the shadow of the Gruene Water Tower, the Grist Mill Restaurant sits on a bluff overlooking the Guadalupe River. As the remnants of an 1878 cotton gin, this open-air restaurant opened in 1977.

Most diners request a table on its shaded multi-level patio. Though a few tables are inside.

Its menu focuses on American classics, so you can find salads and sandwiches, along with fish, chicken and beef entrees. However, my family always gravitates to the burgers and the Grist Mill onion rings. They are immense.

Located at 1287 Gruene Road. Open Sunday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Gruene Dance Hall

Soak up some authentic Texas vibes while in town. Gruene Hall is the oldest continually operating dance hall in Texas.

With live music most nights, you can find everything from local acts to household names. Willie Nelson, George Strait, Garth Brooks and Lyle Lovett have all been on the stage.

Originally built in 1878, the building is still cooled by opening the windows. The bar in the front and the stage, dance floor and pool tables in the back have remained the same. The venue also offers an outdoor area with a stage.

Located at 1281 Gruene Road. Open Monday through Wednesday from noon to 9 p.m. and Thursday to Saturday from noon to 10 p.m., then Sunday from noon. to 8 p.m. Admission. For popular acts, get tickets in advance.

Where to Stay in New Braunfels

During one of my visits, I stayed at the Resort at Schlitterbahn. I enjoyed a studio overlooking the Comal River with a kitchenette and a dining table for six.

Completely updated with vintage charm, my unit had two queen beds and a sleeper sofa. Keeping its original windows decorated with old photos from the park, I loved the old doors it used as a headboard. The bathroom features white subway tile with standard bath fixtures. The kitchen offers everything to make simple meals for the family, like dishes and pots and pans. Along with the all-important coffee maker find a full range and refrigerator too.

Outside, find a picnic table with a BBQ pit to grill your favorites. The view can’t be beaten.


Consideration for brands mentioned.

Explore a quaint German town in-between San Antonio and Austin for a long weekend of family fun. Find waterparks and float trips. Get all the details like where to stay, where to eat and what to do when visiting New Braunfels, Texas. Where to go in Central Texas for the weekend | 3 Day Itinerary for New Braunfels #Texas #NewBraunfels

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.

Comments are closed.