The Best Rivers In San Antonio, Texas: Float The Summer Heat Away

Summer’s at its peak, the heat is unbearable and you most probably feel lethargic and worn out. Well, one of the most unconventional yet utterly effective ways to battle all these stressors is hitting up the local rivers and cooling off. While most people would prefer beaches over riverbanks, these lazy natural swimming areas can offer you an extremely enjoyable experience. Whether you’d like to tube, splash around, paddle or to just spend some quality time with your friends, you’ll find it all and more by paying a visit to some of the best rivers in the US.

San Antonio, Texas happens to be surrounded by a lot of said swimming holes –  a preferred method to pass the time and have fun for locals.

So let’s take a look at the best rivers in San Antonio and see what all the fuss is about, shall we? Maybe you’ll even trade the beaches of Florida for Texas’ rivers…

Guadalupe River

You will find Guadalupe River only 50 minutes away from San Antonio. It’s no secret destination for locals because it’s one of the most preferred places where they can tube, cool off and beat the summer heat.  

Guadalupe River spans 230 miles, floats through multiple cities and ends its journey at San Antonio Bay in the Gulf of Mexico. 

Tubing in Guadalupe River is the equivalent to a scenic water tour consisting of some majestic natural sights, blue green river water and endless canopies of sky-high trees. Be prepared for a lot of families, enthusiastic children having fun in their usual fashion and big groups of young adults trying to make memories also. 

While tubing is most visitors’ favorite method of cooling off in Guadalupe River, rafting, canoeing, kayaking, and paddleboarding are also possible.

Standard admission fee is $7 for people aged 13 and above. Guadalupe operates 7 days a week from 8am to 4:30pm. There’s also a shuttle service. 

Contrary to popular belief, Guadalupe is also a place where people like to socialize and befriend strangers, so if you’re looking for something quieter then try opting for other alternatives on this list. 

Address: 3350 Park Road 31. Boerne, TX 78006, USA

Beautiful Guadalupe River captured by @Howard Garofano on Flickr.

Medina River

Medina River – or more officially The Medina River Company – (not to be confused with Medina River Natural Area) is located in Bandera, TX, just outside San Antonio offering the perfect getaway for visitors looking for solitude and a little bit of peace after a challenging week. 

This is a place where you can tube or kayak through the blue-green river beds that are lined with canopies of cypress trees, making it a wonderful sight to behold. Once you’re done with your scenic water tour you can grab a bite from their onsite BBQ truck. 

Naturally, equipment rentals as well as shuttle services are available. 

Reservations are required for groups of 10 or more, but the facility operates on a  first-come, first-served basis for any groups consisting of less. 

A shuttle service will take you to the specific access point that aligns with the time of your reservation. 

Standard costs are $20 per tube and $50 per kayak. Both fees include shuttle service. 

Address: 1114 Main St. in Bandera, Texas, USA

Beautiful Medina River captured by @noodlelorde on IG.

Blanco River

Pack a bag, bring a picnic basket, grab the kids and head straight for Blanco River for a refreshing dip with your family. 

Located only an hour’s drive from San Antonio in Blanco River State Park, you will find the ultimate tubing destination with scenic views and many spots to picnic or just lounge. Due to the gentle flow of the Blanco River, it’s considered to be a very kid-friendly destination. 

Apart from tubing, you can engage in various other water sports activities such as swimming, kayaking, and boating. Fishing and camping are also available. 

Standard admission fee is $5 for people aged 13 and above. 

Tubing hours are 9am to 2pm

Address: 101 Park Rd 23, Blanco, TX 78606, USA

Blanco River Captured by @ae_cohen on IG.

Frio River

This spring-fed river is located around 80 miles from San Antonio in Garner State Park. It offers its guests one of the most scenic water tours with its cypress-lined river beds and opportunities to tube, kayak, paddleboard, and swim along the river flow and camp in or hike the surrounding area. 

There you’ll find numerous access points where you can start your floating journey.

You can rent all equipment onsite. Shuttle services are also available. 

If you’d like to stay overnight you’ll find quite a few campgrounds nearby. 

The river can at times become unsuitable for water activities so always check the current conditions before heading out.

Standard day use fee is $8 for people aged 13 and above.

Address: 234 RR 1050, Concan, TX 78838, USA

Frio River. Photo Source: @Christyr93 on Flickr.

South Llano River

South Llano River is a short, family-friendly river with a gentle current. Despite being further from San Antonio than other picks on this list, it’s well worth a 2 hour drive if you’re traveling with your kids and want to battle the summer heat with a beginner-friendly and mild tubing opportunity. 

Naturally, water sports activities at South Llano River aren’t limited to just tubing. You can also go kayaking and canoeing to your heart’s content and rent all the necessary equipment onsite. 

Be sure to reserve a spot because you won’t be able to walk in once the venue reaches its max capacity.

South Llano River State Park admission fee is $5 for people aged 12 and above.

 Address: 1927 Park Rd 73, Junction, TX 76849, USA

South Llano River. Photo Source: @maria_parkerrr on IG.

San Marcos River

Snorkeling, fishing, kayaking, tubing. You’ll be able to do it all if you visit San Marcos River located an hour and 5 minute drive from San Antonio. It’s one of the most frequented destinations for conquering the summer heat. 

It’s another spring-fed river and boasts colder and clearer blue-green waters than the other picks on this list, but that’s precisely what makes it a hotshot summer destination.

Expect a lot of families, college kids and generally big groups of people. If you’re not that big on crowds and loud voices, you can opt for other choices on this list. 

Naturally, shuttle services are available but only if you book in advance and unlike the other options on the list, there’s no admission fee to enter the territory.

Address: 1433 N Interstate 35, San Marcos, Texas, USA

San Marcos River. Photo Source: @kayak_gal on IG.


All of these destinations are Leave No Trace policy active zones. Make sure not to litter and take care of your surroundings and that the only things you leave there are wet footprints and obviously, good memories.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, tubing along the twisted river waters of San Antonio can be an amazing and as rewarding an experience as hitting up the best beaches in the country. Not to mention that river tubing is a much more budget-friendly alternative that does an equally effective job. 

So if you’re a first-timer and ever end up in the city, be sure to pay a visit to some of the best rivers in San Antonio, Texas, chill with your loved ones, and make some memories.


While we at Traxplorio do our very best to give you the latest information about recreational destinations, sometimes life happens, weather happens, property owners happen, etc. We always recommend you go to the official web page and/or the relevant state authority page of your destination to check conditions, times and prices (where relevant) before you head out. Thanks for understanding, and enjoy your adventure!

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