New Braunfels Travel Guide

Have places you’ve traveled to recently been lacking in character? Let New Braunfels, deep in the heart of Texas hill country, solve that problem for you. This town offers a unique combination of outdoor adventure, old world charm, and the hospitality of a small town. If this off the beaten path trip sounds right up your alley, let complete the picture with a luxurious bungalow.

What to Do in New Braunfels

new braunfels vacation

The Back Story of New Braunfels and What That Means for Visitors Today

New Braunfels, Texas was founded by German settlers in 1845. This cultural influence is still felt in the town today, from its old world atmosphere to its historic districts to its cuisine and festivals. For visitors today, this means a vacation that has equal parts history and culture as it does outdoor adventure.

Begin your day by taking a walking tour of Gruene Historic District followed by an afternoon of kayaking. Another day can spent at the local waterpark, followed by an evening of dancing at the oldest dance hall in Texas, Gruene Hall. For an adventurous vacation with an infusion of history and culture, plan a trip to New Braunfels.

The Great Outdoors

No New Braunfels travel guide could ignore the old world charm of the town, but what if you have no interest in history? That shouldn’t be a concern at all; this town has an incredible variety of outdoor adventure to keep your family busy and entertained. There are two rivers that wind through the town: the Comal and the Guadalupe. Here you will enjoy fishing, kayaking, rafting, tubing, and swimming.

new braunfels riverCanyon Lake is just minutes away from New Braunfels, and many vacation rentals are located here right on the lake. As if that wasn’t enough water adventure, there is also a 65-acre water park, Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort. Voted America’s best water park, this resort is packed with water slides, a wave pool, surfing, and more.

Time to Get Adventurous

If you’re looking to plan a trip that includes more than your regular outdoor activities, New Braunfels will deliver. Spend a day exploring the Natural Bridge Caverns, the largest show cave in all of Texas. Another adventurous spot is the Natural Bridge Wildlife Park, a 400-acre park where you can see both Texas wildlife and some more exotic creatures.

There’s also plenty for adults to love here as well. Not every New Braunfels travel guide will give details about the local spas, but these are a great way to unwind after an adventurous day. Theaters, art galleries, and dining on the banks of the Guadalupe River are all ways to add a little culture to your adventurous vacation.

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What to See in New Braunfels

The unique character of New Braunfels is what sets it apart from so many other destinations. Take some time away from all the adventurous activities to enjoy a historical walking tour or visit a museum. Some of the best museums in town are the New Braunfels Railroad Museum and the New Braunfels Conservation Society.

The nationally registered historic district of Greune is a great place to relax and soak up the atmosphere. If you’re interested in local heritage or want to discover some of your own heritage, you might find answers at the Sophienburg, Conservation Plaza, or Heritage Museum. The kids shouldn’t feel left out of a day of learning either, they can visit the McKenna Children’s Museum to join in on the fun.

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Where to Shop and Eat in New Braunfels

new braunfels shopping

Shopping in New Braunfels

Between all the history and all the adventure, some travelers might not find any time to shop. If you’re determined to shop, you will be rewarded by a wide variety of stores featuring everything from antiques to jewelry to gifts. Go home with something special for loves ones after exploring local shops. For antiques, take a look around Centuries Past Antiques and Gifts. If boutiques are your shopping kryptonite, be sure to check out Alibi Boutique and Pookie Jane’s. There are many other stores that also feature clothing including Dancing Pony, Ducky’s, Gruene With Envy Clothing, and Hunter Junction.

Diverse Dining in New Braunfels

No New Braunfels travel guide would be complete with tempting potential visitors with a description of local restaurants. Many visitors love the fact that restaurants here are often nestled into the historic nooks and crannies of New Braunfels. This means that not only will you have an excellent meal, but your surroundings will be something truly special as well. Or if you’re in the mood for something casual, enjoy a traditional German meal in one of the town’s biergartens.

From Tex Mex to barbecue to an old German bakery, you’ll find any type of cuisine on offer here. One local favorite restaurant is the Gristmill River Restaurant and Bar, located in the ruins of a 100-year-old cotton gin. Here on the banks of the Guadalupe River, you will find one of the most unique dining experiences in town. If you want Tex Mex, try Adobe Verde or for barbecue enjoy a casual meal at Cooper’s Old Time Pit Barbeque.

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When to Visit New Braunfels

New Braunfels is located west of the city of Austin, in the heart of Texas. Spring and fall are the best times to visit, with mild temperatures and fewer crowds. Summer is a very popular season to visit, when kids are out of school, but this also coincides with the hottest and most humid time of the year. Some travelers decide to come anyway and stay cool at the waterpark and enjoying activities on the river or lake.

Not every New Braunfels travel guide will mention that winter here can have its cold snaps. Some travelers might think that Texas remains warm all year long, but that isn’t the case for this part of the state. If you’re looking for a quiet and scenic place to escape to during the winter, consider New Braunfels, but it might be too chilly to fully enjoy all of the local activities. In the heat of the summer, you might not be able to fully enjoy the historical tours and attractions as it will be difficult to tear yourself away from the refreshing rivers and lake.

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What to Bring to New Braunfels

Definitely bring your dancing shoes. New Braunfels is home to the oldest dance hall in Texas, and more than one fun evening could be spent on this dance floor. In general, New Braunfels has a very casual atmosphere, so don’t pack along anything too fancy. During the summer, temperatures will be very hot, so pack along light, breathable clothing and a few bathing suits.

If you plan on enjoying outdoor activities, remember to pack along your insect repellant, hiking boots, and sunscreen. Bringing a hat and sunglasses will also come in handy. New Braunfels offers many opportunities to spend some quality family time together, so bring along some entertainment as well. A fun night in at the Lake house can include board games, a game of cards, or maybe a game of charades.

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Local Services in New Braunfels

New Braunfels may be a small town, but the local services are great. Visitors will have everything they need right at their fingertips from grocery stores to convenience stores to ATMs. The best local services are the tours, so be sure not to miss out on the historical tours. Guides for kayaking and fishing also show the southern hospitality of this Texas town.

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What to Know About New Braunfels

A New Braunfels travel guide wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Oktoberfest. This town was founded by German settlers, and in the true German fashion, every year Oktoberfest is celebrated. Expect big steins of beer, lots of sausages, and traditional German music. This is one of the funnest times of year to visit New Braunfels. The heat of the summer will have passed and visitors can really enjoy the scenery and the culture during this festival.

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Getting to New Braunfels

Most travelers reach New Braunfels, Texas by car. Located in hillcountry in central Texas, New Braunfels is actually easily reached by two major airports: San Antonio Airport and Austin Airport. From both of these airports, a drive won’t take longer than 30–45 minutes. Reserve your rental car in advance and you should save some money. There is also a small airport in New Braunfels if you’re flying your own small plane.

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Why New Braunfels Vacation Rentals?

The best New Braunfels vacation is the one where you set the pace. This means waking up when you want, having breakfast when you want, and relaxing when you want. Strict hotels make this almost impossible, so choose vacation rentals instead. Instead of waking up to sounds of occupants in neighboring hotel rooms, wake up in a bungalow overlooking the lake; you are sure to start your day feeling relaxed. All the extra amenities of a vacation rental will make your trip more convenient and enjoyable. These rentals will make you want to say good-bye to hotels for good!

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