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Your guide to Comal River
Welcome to Comal River
Nestled in Texas’s bucolic Hill Country, the wide, blue, spring-fed Comal River is nothing short of idyllic — short being the operative word here. Locals have dubbed the waterway “the longest shortest river in the world” because it flows for just 2.5 miles, entirely contained within the city limits of charming New Braunfels.
The Comal is best known as a tubing destination. Folks flock here with inflated inner tubes to enjoy a respite from the heat, as they float along in the cool water, stopping at sandbars to picnic or swim. While the nearby Guadalupe, another popular tubing spot, has a few rapids and attracts boisterous crowds, the Comal offers a leisurely experience.
If you are looking for thrills, the Comal does run by — and feed — a popular waterpark. But you don’t have to get in the water to enjoy this lovely little river, which is lined with tree-shaded parks, home to endangered species, and an excellent spot to fish, canoe, and kayak.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Comal River
The best season for tubing in Texas is summer, when temperatures sizzle. But the Comal River stays a refreshing 70 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit, year-round, making for comfortable swimming on almost any sunny day. With approximately 25 million visitors every summer, booking one of the area’s rentals can be more challenging during this season, and the atmosphere becomes particularly spirited on holiday weekends. Plan to visit on a weekday if you want something a bit calmer. If you’d rather canoe or kayak — or enjoy the river from shore — consider visiting in the off season, when the weather is still warm and the river, bereft of tubers, is serene.
Top things to do in Comal River
The headwaters of the Comal River are located in the 51-acre Landa Park, where you can picnic riverside under sprawling oak trees. The park also includes a small lake, an arboretum with more than 80 species of trees, tennis courts, a mini golf course as well as a full-size one, hiking trails, and a miniature train. Two neighboring parks, Prince Solms Park and Hinman Island Park, also border the river and have areas for swimming and fishing.
Dive the Comal River
Scuba diving offers a completely different perspective on the Comal. The visibility of the spring waters is excellent, revealing numerous species of shellfish and small fish, including the endangered Fountain Darter, a little reddish-brown fish found only in the Comal and nearby San Marcos springs systems. The quick drift dive only takes 15 to 30 minutes, and divers can rent gear from shops in town.
Tube the Comal River
Tubing is a serious pastime here. Most folks start downriver from Wurstfest Grounds (home to the annual all-things-German festival in November) and float down to the Last Tuber’s Exit. Bring your own tube, or rent from one of the local outfitters, who offer every variety necessary and also offer air conditioned bus rides back to your starting spot.