Perched atop a circular raft, a reddish golden retriever lifts his wet nose from the water and swiftly turns his head in the direction of the riverbank, his tail wagging rapidly and his ears perked. As he stares, a whitetail deer flits between the trees, pausing only long enough to make eye contact with the soggy dog before disappearing into the thick foliage. Defeated, the canine gazes at his owners as they laugh from their inner tubes before he plunges his face back into the cool river to escape Texas’ thick summer heat.
Through its long and short float tours, Tube Haus enables lazy interactions with wildlife throughout the summer. The staff furnishes customers with large inner tubes before sending them on leisurely floats along Guadalupe River’s Horseshoe Loop. It also rents out coolers so participants can enjoy refreshing drinks along their journey or keep their potential organ transplants nicely chilled. To further enjoy the experience, floaters may also bring their dogs and play music.
Action Angler & Outdoor Center, a stream-side fly-fishing shop, offers access to a unique segment of the Guadalupe River, replete with trout, bass, and panfish, and reserved exclusively for fly-fishing. The shop's owner and TXPW-licensed lead guide, Chris Jackson, draws on his 30 years of fly-fishing experience, which began at age 12, when he caught his first trout on the fly in the Rio Grande's headwaters. Patrons can buy or rent equipment ranging from kayaks by makers such as Outcast and Diablo to rods, reels, and wading boots, ideal for jogging into the depths during races with your reflection. Once outfitted, visitors can strike out independently, or opt for guided floats and fly-fishing lessons on the Guadalupe. Guides can also chaperone full-day floats on the San Marcos River, Colorado River, and Lady Bird Lake.
A buoyant fleet of inflatable rafts and tubes drifts lazily down two sprawling rivers populated with exciting rapids and falls. During 1.5- to 5-hour treks, guests can traverse the Comal or Guadalupe River in an inner tube, relax with a partner in a two-seater raft, or host a regulation poker game with friends inside a raft that holds up to six. Trip durations and age cutoffs may change on a daily basis depending on current river flow.
The 72-degree spring-fed waters of the Comal River snake through New Braunfels, throwing reflected light on tree branches that crane over the banks. One of the shortest navigable rivers in the United States, it stays a constant 72 degrees year round. Corner Tubes outfits visitors with black inner tubes or new vinyl tubes, letting them float down the river at a leisurely pace, then ride a shuttle from the last public river exit back to the entrance.
In the early 1960s in the Navy, Don Dibble embarked upon what would become a decades-long career in scuba diving. After 10 years in the service, he founded the Texas State University scuba program, to which he still devotes many hours. In 1972, Don opened The Dive Shop to spread his passion and scuba know-how to the uninitiated and those scared by all the sand in the movie Jaws.
At the shop, two experienced instructors head up classes in an outdoor pool. The sessions cover everything from snorkeling to securing an NAUI certification with structured dips in the pool and local lakes. The shelves in the pro shop brim with gear for training and recreational dives from brands such as ScubaPro, Bare, and Trident.:m]]
Arrowhead Bicycles is stationed only a few pedals away from the Southern Tier bicycle route that stretches from Florida to California, issuing customers a tantalizing challenge on their way out the door. The store itself is a hub that local and visiting cyclists swing into for new accessories, an impromptu tune-up, or simply an air-conditioned oasis where they can rest their feet, refill their water bottles, and hop online to check weather alerts and their favorite cycling blogs. Customers in the market for a new steed choose from models by industry mainstays such as Fuji and Scott, which were made for mountain, road, ramp, and spacious-condo travel. Meanwhile, the store’s stable of skilled technicians breathes new life into serviceable bikes with tune-ups, repairs, installations, and washes.