Seasoned kayaker John Cline paddles with a local hotel concierge along the Colorado River, periodically explaining that kayaking is perfectly safe for beginners and an ideal way to savor the pleasant Texas weather. Suddenly, the sky erupts and an onslaught of rain drenches the waterborne duo. They rest their paddles on their laps, look at each other, and start laughing. Rising Phoenix Adventures' kayak and canoe trips create these unique memories so regularly that one Belgian businesswoman even makes annual trips to the area just to ride the class-1 river. Since establishing the outdoor-excursion company in 2004 with barely 10 kayaks and canoes, Cline has more than quadrupled his fleet to accommodate the ever-increasing demand. After alighting one of the trusty vessels, adventurers set off to navigate through the river's islands and beneath a scenic half-mile tree canopy, where the shores offer glimpses of wild pigs, great blue herons, and undomesticated beach umbrellas.
Paddling, tubing, or camping along the Colorado River is more fun when someone else does most of the planning for you?and gives you the gear, too. Luckily, Bastrop River Company does both. Along the shores of the Lower Colorado, visitors can grab giant inflated tubes and enjoy one- to three-hour floats down the water, enjoy guided kayaking tours under the moon, or take tours down the El Camino Real paddling trail on standup paddleboards.
The paddling aficionados at Austin Canoe & Kayak maintain a stable of masterfully maintained vessels for outfitting all levels of aquatic explorers. Solitary river riders can transport single rental kayaks from the store's waterless location and drop into any body of water they choose, avoiding crowded routes and groups of largemouth bass that blab everyone's best-kept secrets. Adventurous couples can romantically float down Mother Nature's own tunnel of love in a spacious tandem kayak while fairytale marine life sings melodies to set the mood. Single-person boats such as the Wilderness Systems sit-inside Pungo 120 can best the currents of the Brazos River, and a Malibu 2XL from Ocean Kayak can ferry two-person teams seaward on salty jaunts in the Gulf of Mexico.
Staff Size: 2?10 people
Average Duration of Services: 4+ hours
Brands Used: Jackson Kayaks, Werner Paddles, NRS, Dagger, Perception
Pro Tip: Be ready to enjoy the pure, spring water.
It is 72 degrees, no matter what the weather. . .
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: San Marcos River / Springs
Recommended Age Group: All Ages
What is one fun, unusual fact about your business?
We lead the youngest ever kayaker to run the Grand Canyon. 9-year-old Brett Venable set the record in 1992 by running all of the rapids except Lava in his kayak.
What is the one feature of your business that you're most proud of?
Pioneering adventure therapy for wounded war Veterans has shown the therapeutic effects of the water. Seeing these heroes not only get out of the hospital, but get back to living life to the fullest makes all of our efforts worth it.
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
Joining our club makes paddling less expensive, less work, and more fun than renting or buying your own boat. In addition, you will get personal attention from caring pioneers of paddling, and be proud of ... your own accomplishments in the sport. You will [be] a part of a club [that] fosters community participation from wounded war Veterans, everyone in the family, beginners, [and] Olympians.
On sweltering summer days, the San Marcos River becomes a cooling respite for hundreds of tubers thanks to Don's Fish Camp. The shop rents tubes with coolers and sells supplies such as sunscreen and waterproof cameras for tubers to take onto the water. When not floating with a brew in hand, tubers can barbecue and picnic along the banks flush with trees and shrubbery.
The rec area accommodates those who aren’t ready to go home at the end of day by allowing guests to pitch a tent and camp under the stars to the sound of rushing water and largemouth bass that just won't shut up. To give these visitors a scenic place to tube and party, Don's team cleans up the riverbanks daily and requests guests bring no glass or styrofoam on the premises.
Largemouth and guadalupe bass fin through the Colorado River rapids while birds soar above river islands and swimmer-friendly sandbars. Moored in a nook along this artery, Texas native and outdoor enthusiast Danny Walker—known as “Pops”—and his son—“Dan the Man Omega Mega”—equip adventurers by renting regular, tandem, and fishing kayaks, as well as standup paddleboards, from MOC Kayaks. To elevate river adventures from Huck Finn–style floating to Rambo-style hunting, pros outfit customers with fishing poles and tackle, sending them off to catch some of the river's more than 20 varieties of perch. For those who'd rather drop their lines in stiller waters, MOC Kayaks takes paddlers to Lake Travis and Lake Austin, and those who seek coaching on how to catch finned bounty can take advantage of guided trips. Dedicated adventurers can also buy their own kayaks to craft custom adventures or to take home and paddle around neighbors' pools.