An Open Letter to New Braunfels Tourists

Dear New Braunfels Tourists,

Y’all are a necessary part of our little Hill Country town...the very lifeblood of our hospitality industry and avid supporters of our favorite local establishments! So many businesses in New Braunfels thrive off of your summertime tubing trips and hill country weekend getaways.

Image Courtesy of The NB Scene

Each summer, literally millions of you pack your Yeti coolers full of Shiner Bock and Buc-ee’s loot and head to the gorgeous intersection of the Guadalupe and Comal Rivers. During that sweltering window between May and September, you find sweet sunscreen-laden solace in these waters, pumping over $469 million into the local economy! (More on that here...) All that to say, “Thank you.” We really do appreciate your love and support. comes the kicker: while classic Hill Country hospitality is something we New Braunfels folks pride ourselves on, it’s easy to get rubbed the wrong way when we hear less-than-stellar language or watch wayward cans float down the would-be crystal clear waters of our beloved Comal. In these moments, our local pride kicks into high gear, transforming us from peaceful Texans into militant defenders of the Hill Country landscape.

But we admit: no one likes an annoying tourist OR a cranky local; so let’s keep our friendship strong and our waters clear with a few ground rules.

Image Courtesy of River Haven

Noise Levels

Remember that river ordinances require noise devices to stay at a reasonable level! You can jam your indie rock, oldies, NPR, or whatever you’re into these long as it’s not audible beyond 50 feet.

Appropriate Attire

We get it: the entire point of the tubing scene is to strip down and cool off. These 100+ degree days can make anyone lose their mind (and their shirt along with it). But remember that context is key! Most restaurants and establishments still require shoes and shirt, and even floating down the river still requires a few choice swim garments.

Traffic + Parking

Carpooling was cool in school, and around here we consider it a year-long trend. Traffic and parking can get a bit heinous, so help out the local roads and team up for a road trip. Oh, and please don’t park in private or business-designated lots! Public parking locations include Prince Solms Park and Elizabeth Street Public Parking (Wurstfest Lot).

Image Courtesy of Schlitterbahn

Respect Public Property

To you it may be just a weekend spot, but to us it’s home! We’ve worked hard to build our parks, waterways, and all the rest. Please respect public property by picking up after yourself, refraining from vandalism, and just generally being good stewards of the area. Oh, and be kind to the animals in our parks!


This one is a no-brainer: please keep crime to a zilch! We know it’s easy to fudge the rules a little when school’s out for summer, but we’d like to keep our town safe and livable. Please no public intoxication, buying alcohol for minors, trespassing, public indecency, etc.

Be Kind to Workers + Mindful of Locals

Because the hospitality industry contributes significantly to the New Braunfels economy, a large portion of our residents work in the tourism sector (almost 30%)! The hard working employees in this industry range from food service to retail, and each of them deserves your immense respect. Tip your servers, be courteous to theme park workers, be patient with long lines, and remember that residents always appreciate kind and considerate out-of-towners.

Image Courtesy of My San Antonio

Don't Mess With NB: Littering

We’re probably the most passionate about this one. While we’re incredibly grateful for the near $470 million you pour into our local economy each year, we’re less than stoked about the 500 barrels' worth of garbage that also gets poured into our rivers. The issue has been faced with numerous discussions and creative solutions...but at this point, we still have to hire divers to keep our waterways clean. We’re racking our brains: how do we keep the wonderful drinking-and-tubing tradition alive while still keeping our waters clean? The Infamous Can Ban of 2011certainly didn’t do the trick, so, for now, we kindly request: bring your juice-box-style wine, your cans of craft IPA, your Mike’s Hard Lemonade, and your Dr. Pepper...and then kindly place them somewhere other than the rolling Hill Country landscape. Bonus points for recycling!

Don’t mess with New Braunfels.

Don’t mess with the Comal or the Guadalupe.

Don’t Mess With Texas.

Image Courtesy of Unproduced Screenplays

Oh—and while we’d agree that our crown gems are our sparkling riverfronts, there are plenty more things to do in New Braunfels! After you’ve exhausted your supply of sunscreen, we’d invite you to explore a myriad of other local options.

- Clean up nice and dine at McAdoo’s Seafood Company, the former New Braunfels post office that now delivers oysters and “po’boys” straight to your booth

- Order a burger at The Phoenix Saloon and enjoy some live music

- Indulge your sweet tooth at Naegelin ’s Bakery, the oldest bakery in Texas

- Grab a pint at the historic Faust Hot e l & Brewing Co

- Sort through memorabilia at the 40+ vendor Downtown Antique Mall or stacks of vinyl at Stingray Records

- Stop in for happy hour at the Gristmill

- Unleash your inner underground explorer at Natural Bridge Caverns or your inner zookeeper at Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch

- Watch a movie under the stars at the Stars and Stripes Drive-In

- Go swing dancing or two-stepping at the iconic Gruene Hall

- Plan your visit around one of our famous festival events like Gruene Music and Wine Fest, Wein & Saengerfest, and (of course) Wurstfest

Contrary to what it may seem, we’re really not trying to be your mom over here. We still want to keep our tubing town rocking-and-rolling all summer long! This town is an incredible place to live, and we want to leave room for our families, our cars, and our sacred Sunday afternoon naptime.


New Braunfels

P.S. If our town has really wooed you, and you’re considering moving to the area, let us be your guide! Click here to sea rch homes and make the New Braunfels lifestyle your own.

*River Rules

Here is an easy-to-reference list of rules for the Comal and Guadalupe rivers. Broken ordinances are subject to $500 fine if violated, and we’d way rather you spend that on a downtown shopping spree.

  • No glass or styrofoam
  • No plastic containers 5oz or less
  • No littering
  • No jumping from bridges, dams, trees, or cliffs
  • Noise devices may not be audible beyond 50ft
  • Limit inflatable floatation devices to 2 per person
  • Inflatable floatation devices shall not exceed five feet
  • No volume drinking devices
  • Life jackets are recommended for weak swimmers and children under 8 years
  • Coolers must have a locking mechanism on the lid (zipper, Velcro, latch, cord)
  • Vessels on the rivers may not be over 18 feet in length
  • Maximum permitted cooler size is 16 quarts (limit one per person)
  • Observe no wake areas. Idle speed only
  • All boats must have the same number of life jackets as people on board
  • No trespassing on private property