It only takes the mention of the name, New Braunfels, for Texans to recall good times spent at one of the best summer locations in the country.
Known for its river floating opportunities, German heritage, and status as the original location of the most beloved waterpark in Texas, there is no shortage of fun things to do in New Braunfels!
Here’s what to do in New Braunfels–plus where to stay during your New Braunfels getaway!
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Fun Things to Do in New Braunfels, TX
Float at least one river.
New Braunfels may have never made it on the Texas map if not for the rivers that attract people to the area year after year.
The cool waters of the Comal and Guadalupe Rivers draw swimmers, kayakers, and tubers when the weather turns warm.
Both rivers provide a fun way to escape the Texas heat for travelers that want to have a great time on the water.
Browse the boutiques in New Braunfels’ historic downtown.
As popular as New Braunfels is, it has never lost its small-town charm. The historic downtown area is still an attractive and vibrant experience.
For those who like the shopping experience of unique shops run by individuals instead of large box stores, downtown New Braunfels is for you.
You will enjoy hours of browsing through items you cannot find anywhere else.
When tired of shopping, the downtown area offers great restaurants to help your taste buds have a great time.
Feel like a kid again at Schlitterbahn.
Sticking with fun in the water theme, New Braunfels offers a great time at its Schlitterbahn Waterpark. This famous New Braunfels attraction has drawn fun seekers for decades.
The park provides swimming, a lazy river, and numerous giant slides for the whole family to enjoy. They even have a beach area and heated pools for colder weather.
Schlitterbahn is not only a water park but also a full resort that will keep you busy for days.
Head to the theater.
If you have had enough playtime in the water, you can always appreciate some culture at one of New Braunfels theatres.
Both the Circle Arts Theatre and Brauntex Performing Arts Theatres are conveniently located within New Braunsfels to enjoy a play, concert, and even ballet.
Don’t miss out on some wonderful performances while visiting.
Check out Landa Park.
This 51-acre park in the city and along the Comal River will provide hours of fun, and visiting is one of the best things to do in New Braunfels. A wading pool area is available along with paddle boat rentals in the lake area for time on the water.
If water activities are not for you, the park also offers a miniature train with rides for the family.
The park also encompasses a full-size golf course and a miniature golf course. When your golf game is over make sure to check out the aquatic complex and arboretum to finish off your day.
Stroll over the Faust Bridge.
Erected 1887 as one of the last wrought iron bridges built in Texas, the Faust Bridge extends over 600 feet across the Guadalupe River.
The scenery along your walk is magnificent, with the river running below and nature on both sides to view, and belongs on any list of what to do in New Braunfels.
It can be an especially lovely crossing at night when illuminated in the dark.
Catch a drive-in movie.
Opened in 2015, the Stars and Stripes Drive-In Theatre has been taking people back to the vintage drive-in theatre.
Playing modern movies, the entire theatre area, including the cafe, is set up as if it were the 1950s.
Go see your favorite movie while in New Braunfels in the comfort of your own car.
Take a brewery tour (or two).
Nothing would be more natural than to visit breweries in a town founded by Germans. New Braunsfels has some of the best beer manufacturers around.
Have a visit and tour great microbreweries such as Guadalupe Brewing Company, New Braunfels Brewing Company, and Faust Brewing Company for some German-inspired beers.
… or enjoy a wine tasting.
If beer is not your choice, visit the Winery on the Gruene for a different yet just as pleasing experience.
Visit a Texas Legend at Gruene Hall.
If you are a fan of live music, then Gruene Hall is a legendary place that you will need to visit.
Technically in Gruene, Texas, straddling the outskirts of New Braunfels, Gruene Hall is a place where even successful country stars like George Strait will show up to play for a small crowd under sworn secrecy.
The hall has played venues to some of the greatest stars of music in its long history. The wooden plank building with wooden floors and overflow outdoor seating area is a must-stop for live musical enjoyment.
The beer and music flow late into the night at Gruene Hall. Take a nap during the day in order to be ready for this Texas classic, which is indisputably one of the most fun things to do in New Braunfels.
Get your adrenaline pumping at Texas Ski Ranch.
After your relaxing float down one of New Braunfels great rivers, take a trip over to Texas Ski Ranch for adventurous water fun.
With a human-engineered lake, Texas Ski Ranch offers water-skiing and wakeboarding to the extreme.
Water sports are not the only fun at this Central Texas spot.
Have a craft beer inside the Ironsides Craft Bar, play paintball with your friends or even challenge others with your ax-throwing skills inside Loki’s Axe Haus! Afterward, relax on the beach at the water’s edge for stress relief.
Enjoy the beauty of Canyon Lake.
While visiting New Braunfels, don’t forget to visit Texas’s deepest lake.
Enjoy swimming, boating, and other fun lakes adventures on this beautiful body of water. Fed by the Guadalupe River, Canyon Lake is a good place to bring in some of Texas’s best types of fish.
Rent a boat or wave runner to enjoy this jewel of the hill country. There are also eight parks surrounding the lake to enjoy camping, golf, hiking, and other exciting outdoor activities.
Shop and eat in the Gruene Historic District.
Gruene Hall isn’t the only attraction in the Gruene area. Its historic district, once little more than a ghost town, was revitalized to become one of the most visited areas in the New Braunfels area today.
Enjoy the many shops and antique stores in the district as you can spend hours walking around the area and seeking out unique items.
When you are hungry, it is the best time to be in the historical area, as there are no better restaurants available than here.
Some of these wonderful restaurants, like the Gristmill Restaurant and Bar, have outdoor seating that looks down on the river far below. The food is good all the time, but for great ambiance, be sure and go around sunset to enjoy the views.
Visit the New Braunfels Railroad Museum.
Another favorite is the New Braunfels Railroad Museum. It offers both model trains in the exhibit and includes a full-sized caboose, engine, and railcar to tour. Both adults and children will appreciate this small but intriguing museum while visiting New Braunfels.
Learn local history at the Sophienburg Museum.
For those with an interest in history, take a tour of the Sophienburg Museum. This repository of history tells the story of German immigration into Texas, specifically into the New Braunfels area. The museum has over a million photos, articles, and other archived information that have been collected over the years.
… and visit other local museums, as well!
For a small town, New Braunfels has plenty of museums to enjoy. For those with kids, make a visit to McKenna Children’s Museum, where they offer hands-on play areas for your children to enjoy.
Our last museum visit is to the Museum of Texas Handmade Furniture. This museum provides examples and information on the history of handmade furniture that was created in the German-style while setting up homes in Texas after immigration.
Go spelunking at Natural Bridge Caverns.
About 20 minutes outside of New Braunfels, you will find the Natural Bridge Caverns. Explored and opened in the 1960s, these caverns have become one of the most visited attractions in Texas, and visiting is one of the most fun things to do in New Braunfels.
These limestone caverns formed over millions of years are waiting for your underground viewing.
The park offers several different types of cavern tours that create different experiences depending on what level of intensity you’re looking for in your visit.
Don’t think of the park as only caverns, either! Above ground activities also include an adventure ropes course, zip line, climbing walls, a giant maze to meander through, and even gem and fossil mining.
What started as a small celebration of sausage in the 1960s has turned into a must-visit, 10-day German heritage festival. Each October sees thousands of people make their way to this Hill Country classic.
Music, food, and culture are all celebrated in this local event that brings in people from all over the state each year. Bring an appetite and thirst as this is not a place you want to visit during a diet.
Where to Stay in New Braunfels
Due to the popularity of New Braunfels as a travel destination, there are plenty of choices for where to stay. Regardless of your budget, most places fill up fast in the summertime and during festivals, so be sure to book early.
Each of these properties gets excellent reviews and is a popular choice in New Braunfels.
Comfort Suites New Braunfels — This chain hotel is one of the less costly places to stay in New Braunfels and highly rated with reviews.
It is located just off of I-35 for easy access and is only 6 miles away from the Guadalupe River.
Sleep Inn and Suites New Braunfels — Located only 10 minutes from Landa Park, this hotel offers a swimming pool, hot tub, and a business center.
America’s Best Value Inn New Braunfels — If you like to travel with your pets, this hotel is for you. Pet friendly with a good price and excellent reviews makes this hotel a choice for many who visit the city.
This popular hotel also offers an outdoor pool for when you wish to relax close to your room.
Courtyard By Marriott New Braunfels River Village — A highly rated hotel with river views, this place offers a great location while not being hard on your wallet.
The hotel is close to river rafting, offers a barbecue picnic area, and has its own bistro and bar on the premises.
The hotel is only a short 6-minute drive to the Schlitterbahn and a 13-minute drive to Natural Bridge Caverns.
Hideout on the Horseshoe — Looking for lodging that’s more unique than a hotel? Check out the bungalow rentals at the Hideout on the Horseshoe! These well-reviewed bungalows can be rented at a fair price for a three-bedroom stay.
The bungalows are located on Canyon Lake, a plus for those who like water activities. Each rental gives a home feel, with their walls made of solid wood, fireplaces, and modern furniture.
Lodge At Turkey Cove — This cozy lodge is also located near Canyon Lake. The lodge is especially popular with couples as it has created a romantic ambiance in the Hill Country.
The lodge also has its own private boat ramp that guests can use and offers an observation deck to relax during stargazing at night.
Antoinette’s Cottage — These luxury cottages have exceptional reviews. It appears the owners provide guests with a pampering that keeps them coming back.
Less than 3 miles from the Schlitterbahn, the cottage is also in the center of shopping and dining.
Antoinette’s provides an old-world charm with great service.
Old Mill Resort — Another exceptionally rated stay, the Old Mill Resort is located less than 2 miles from the Schlitterbahn. It is also within walking distance from Gruene Hall and the Gruene Historic District with all of its amenities, and only 2 miles from the Comal River.
Some of the units offer balconies with nice views, and there are BBQ grills for outdoor cooking and even offer a dishwasher in each room.
Gruene River Hotel and Retreat — Featuring colonial architecture, the Gruene River Hotel and Retreat offers a throwback to large sitting porches and balconies. It offers adult-exclusive accommodations in New Braunfels.
The retreat offers a hot tub, billiards, and a place to fish. The retreat is located near shopping and dining and is only a short drive to some of the best attractions in New Braunfels.
If you are looking for a unique place to stay while exploring all the fun things to do in New Braunfels, the Gruene River Hotel and Retreat is a fabulous option.