Floating the River

By Matt Loving

No matter where you are in Texas, you’ll hear people talk about “floating the river.” Getting in an inner tube and letting the current take you downstream over a few hours is hardly stressful, but if prior planning is not taken, it’ll just turn into a sunburned mess.

Most of the time people go to San Marcus (30 minutes south of Austin) to float. Multiple drop points allow you to rent tubes and get in the water, but the best is the one from the Lions Club. It’s expensive only with the deposit, but once you bring the tubes back it come to about ten bucks a person.

When you get in the water make sure everyone is ready because it’s definitely more fun to keep the group together. I suggest either tying the rafts or using your feet to stay in a four-way or bigger reclining position.

After an hour or two the float ends where you can choose to soak in the water, or ride the river again for free. The complementary shuttle will take you back to the drop point where you first entered the water, or you can turn in the tube and head home.

Use these tips to make the river fun for you and your friends. This will be a highlight of their trip that they’ll want to tell everybody back home about.

  • Make sure to get there about before one o’clock to allow yourself time to ride the river twice. The shuttle last runs at 6:45 pm.
  • Rent the tubes that have bottoms. Someone will lose their sunglasses, wallet, camera, or ring. It happens every time.
  • Alcohol is allowed but not glass bottles, but the sun will sap the energy out of you fast so pack a lunch and snacks. Don’t bother buying ice unless it’s in one of those insulated coolers.
  • Rent one more tube than you have people, this way all the extras stay together, but make sure that this tube is tied to one of the other tubes.
  • Most people underestimate how tired floating the river makes them. Once your group gets back to Austin, they will probably have no energy, so don’t plan on big evenings until after a nap.

Floating the river is a spring and summer staple. It’s fun, inexpensive and makes you tan, while using up a large portion of the day outside.


About Matt Loving

Journalism Senior at UT Austin.
This entry was posted in What's Always "Weird" and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Floating the River

  1. Lara Berendt says:

    The Lions Club in San Marcos was the first place I ever floated the river in Texas and it’s still my favorite! It’s a much more leisurely and relaxing trip than floating from, say Lazy L and L’s in New Braunfels, which is way too long a float for me, and rougher, in terms of rapids. Last time I went to San Marcos, though, I gave my car keys to a first-time floater, who said they’d be safe in his swimsuit pocket. They still rest—in relative peace I presume—at the bottom of the river. I found out afterward that you can give your keys to the folks behind the counter at the tube rental station, and they’ll keep them safe for you. Lesson learned.

  2. Ambika Singh says:

    i love anything involving water! you should try kayaking on lady bird lake too if you haven’t done so yet! it’s really cheap and a lot of fun — they have coupons during the week too!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s