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 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.
The accommodating staff at Island Surf Shop and Kayaks rents out a large selection of beach buggies, skillfully coupling wayward beachcombers with a coast-exploring vehicle. Hop into your sand-flecked buggie to discover the dune-hugged beaches of Port Aransas, a town on the northern tip of Mustang Island, replete with brightly hued beach houses, trilling seabirds, and coin-operated sandcastle-building machines. Each one-hour rental outfits sandfaring customers in a shaded, four-seater golf cart fitted with oversized beach-ready tires. Rentals are subject to weather conditions, so plan your adventure on a day with a low chance of raindrops or gumdrops hailstorms.
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.
Floats last between one and four hours each, and the short, one-hour route can be repeated. Gather a team of water-drawn hooligans for a relaxing journey that takes you around the famous Horseshoe Loop. The river is flush with Momma Nature's finest currents and rushing at its highest level in three years, so there's no better time to propel yourself and your professional water Marco Polo team down a living waterslide. Choose the route that will satisfy your inner sundial and outer sunsoaker.
Chuck's Tubes' team sends their customers on laid-back journeys down the Comal River's tree-lined waterways. Their inflatable vessels?which can also accommodate coolers and nonrobotic dogs?float down the river as it winds through the city of New Braunfels. Once tubers reach the end of their journey, a shuttle ferries them back to the launch point for another trip down the river. At Chuck's Tubes' headquarters, staff members help visitors understand maps of the Comal River and that tubes don't actually taste like donuts.