German settlers in the mid-1800s, especially those who left Germany specifically for Texas, established New Braunfels, Texas. Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels, who led the first expedition, continued to advertise and campaign for more German immigrants to move to the area after they began to build a town, which quickly became the fourth largest in Texas. With its heavily German influence, its numerous cold springs that run through the city, and its numerous watersports, this is not your typical Texan city. Here are ten things to do in New Braunfels.
10. Schlitterbahn New Braunfels Waterpark
This is a great way to beat the Texan heat and cool off with the family. Schlitterbahn has a few waterparks around the world, so they know how to deliver, with over ____ water slides and attractions, a wave pool and lazy rivers, not to mention an uphill water rollercoaster. Schlitterbahn also offers on-site resorts with vacation rooms, cabins, romantic luxury suites and more – perfect for staying the night and then hitting the water first thing in the morning. General admission begins at $53.99 for adults and $43.99 for kids.
9. Bezdek’s Rentals
The Guadalupe River runs right past the city, and Bezdek’s Rentals offers several types of flotation devices that will allow you to experience the flow first hand. Bezdek’s will drive you up river in a shuttle before releasing you and your choice of raft or tube, into the river to float back to the starting destination. There are campsites available for staying overnight. Bezdek’s is pretty insistent that the open container laws in effect in town don’t apply to the river area, so take that as a warning if you are planning on bringing kids on a weekend.
8. Canyon Lake
Who thought there would be this much water in Texas? Canyon Lake is Texas’ deepest lake, offering 80 miles of shoreline, and plenty of watersports including boating, waterskiing, fishing, and is considered the ‘water recreation capital of Texas.’ There are also a host of indoor activities as well, including a visitor center, and a Heritage Museum (including dinosaur tracks!). Also available are lodging opportunities comprised of campsites, bed & breakfasts and cabins and cottages. There are also a handful of restaurants – the best advice to to grab a map and start exploring!
7. The Sophienburg
New Braunfels is historically a German settlement first, being established in 1865. The settlers were led by Prince Carl, who desired his own castle to be built upon a hill, although he could not convince his fiancée to relocate, so it was never built. Today, the Sophienburg museum exists on his chosen site, showcasing the rich history of the German settlers and their ingenuity, grit, and determination. Visitors will learn about German immigration to Texas through many accounts including letters, maps, and newspapers. The museum admission is $8 per adult and $2 per child.
6. Landa Park
One of the most popular tourist attractions in New Braunfels is Landa Park, a small, 51-acre park is perfect for a day of lounging around. In addition to providing a handful of phenomenal nature trails to leisurely walk through, the park also has a boathouse where patrons can rent a paddleboat to discover the lake for $3 per half hour. There is also a small miniature golf course and a miniature working train that can take visitors and their friends all across the park. But perhaps the most beautiful part of Landa Park is its free natural areas, with both springs and wetlands to poke around in.
5. The Pour Haus
With such a distinct German influence in the area, it should come as no surprise that a beer house made its way onto this list. With drink specials and live music performances seven nights out of the week, this bar is one of the more enjoyable ways to experience New Braunfel’s nightlife. The Pour Haus has both an indoor and an outdoor bar, fire pits on colder nights, and at times, games. Although they do periodically feature food trucks, it should be noted that they do not currently serve food.
4. Gruene Hall
Gruene Hall was built all the way back in 1878, making it Texas’ oldest surviving dance hall. The owners purposefully have not changed much of the layout – there are still old-timey signs, exposed tin roof and other quaint amenities, but all of this only adds to the charm. Today, the hall is home to touring musicians and other performers, with a great list of modern muses passing through the town. Check out Gruene Hall’s upcoming calendar and see if you can make it out to catch a show in this historical monument.
3. Natural Bridge Caverns
Two students discovered these caverns in 1960 after feeling a draft emanating from some rubble. After a thorough exploration of over a half-mile (and exhausting excavating), the students opened Natural Bridge Caverns, which hold the record as one of the state’s most extensive publicly accessible caverns. Composed mostly of limestone, the caverns are easily eroded by wind and water, resulting in the massive tunnels available to exploration today. Visitors can walk 180 feet below ground and be blown away by the scenery – all for just $21/adult and $13/child.
Celebrated since 1963, this festival is much more fun than it sounds! Every year, both locals and tourists come together for ten days to celebrate … sausage! The festival contains tons of live music, even more food and drink, and plenty of merriment. There are also regattas, bicycle races, art festivals, craft shows, plays, card tournaments, races, and plenty more. Typically, most the individual events will have nominal charges to attend their events, but a general admission ticket ($8.00) will get you in for all the entertainment you should need.
1. Hill Country Craft Beer Trail
Hill Country Craft Beer Trail is a perfect tour for anyone who loves beer and learning the history of the area. As the area is known to have established the first brewery in Texas, there is no better place to learn about where the state of local microbreweries is today! The tour will not only take you along some truly scenic routes, but will also step-down at New Braunfels Brewing Company, the Faust Hotel and Brewing Company, and the Guadalupe Brewing Company. Tours as well as other local breweries. You can even customize your own tour!
With natural, historic, and commercial attractions to offer, this city is one of the most intriguing in the state of Texas. While New Braunfels hasn’t shaken its German heritage, it also has not been immune to the old Texan charm, with dusty roads, historic wooden buildings, and the oldest dance hall in the state. With its odd juxtapositions of culture around every culture, you will be continually surprised as you explore all of the places to visit in New Braunfels.