There are many excellent spots to go tubing and camping in Texas. One of the best spots out there has to be the Guadalupe River. Considered to be the most popular river to tube in all of the Lone Star State, the Guadalupe River is a low-flow, gentle river that is perfect for relaxing, swimming, and tubing.
In this quick guide, we’ll break down some things you need to know about the Guadalupe River for your next camping trip. If you want the real Texan experience, grab a tube and head down to the Guadalupe River!
The Guadalupe River is a rugged river that flows from Canyon Lake in Texas. Guadalupe River State Park offers access to the river, tubing activities, campsites, and more. Non-residents must pay a $2 River Management Fee to visit the river, but can also purchase season passes to save some money. The park boasts two access points-- River Acres Park and Cypress Bend Park. There are also tour guides available for visitors who want to learn more about the flora, fauna, and geology of the area.
You might be wondering, “Where can I camp on the Guadalupe River?” This spot isn’t just for tubing and swimming. There is also adequate tent camping on the Guadalupe River as well. The Shanty River Center is within walking distance of the river itself, complete with campgrounds that start at Horseshoe Bridge. There are restrooms and showers available, but no electric or water hookups. Campgrounds on the Guadalupe River also boast shacks that are available to rent, complete with air conditioning, electricity, and beds. Some popular campgrounds include Gilligan’s Island, Mountain Breeze Campground, and Camp Huaco Springs. Tube rentals are available all over the place, so you won’t miss out on a tubing adventure. The campgrounds also boast grocery stores and souvenir shops.
Hiking is another popular activity in Guadalupe River State Park. Bald Cypress Trail and Hofheinz Trail Loop are relatively easy hiking trails to trek. The views are like no other-- from the river to waterfalls to the lush woods, you’ll get to enjoy incredible sights just from a brief hike.
Outside of camping, lodging, and hiking, there are a few other things to consider when vacationing on the Guadalupe River.
Do Not Take Valuables on the River
Even though the river is quite gentle, there are some whitewater rapids that can jostle loose valuables. Only take what you absolutely need, and make sure those items are waterproofed and secured to your body. It’s recommended to leave keys, wallets, and valuable jewelry at your campsite or at home. Even if you opt to paddle the river via kayak or canoe instead of tubing, you should still keep your valuables safe from the rugged current.
When bringing a phone or camera, we recommend investing in a waterproof smartphone pouch with a wrist strap to ensure your electronics don’t end up in the bottom of the river. Many tubers will opt to bring waterproof GoPro cameras to really get a full view of the tubing experience.
Don’t Wear Flip-Flops on the River
When going on a tubing adventure, it makes sense to bring sandals. However, this is not the case for the Guadalupe River. As with valuables, anything loose can be easily lost on the Guadalupe River while tubing. Flip-flops are not secured to the foot very well, so they are more prone to get lost. Flip-flops are also a bad choice of footwear because the riverbed is quite rocky. Even if you only plan on fishing, sandals or loose shoes are not recommended. Wear hard-bottom, closed-toe water shoes instead.
Pick Your Starting Point
Guadalupe River camping and tubing enthusiasts often recommend “The Horseshoe” as a good starting point for tubing. The Horseshoe is a loop that starts and ends at different sections of Horseshoe Bridge. It takes about an hour or so to float, and some tubers will stop at the bridge to walk back to the starting point.
“The Chute” is another popular starting point. This river channel spans a few hundred yards and has small whitewater rapids, making it a good spot for those who want a little more adventure.
Choose Landing Spots
Be sure to map out where you start and end your tubing experience. This makes it much easier to locate your campsite or group. Guadalupe River State Park offers free maps to make this process easier.
Guadalupe River really does make an excellent camping destination.
Photo source: Pixabay