Drive southwest for 15 minutes from San Marcos and you’ll arrive in New Braunfels. The short drive makes it a perfect Hill Country getaway where you can spend a day or an entire weekend. A plethora of activities and places lie in wait at this Texas Hill Country city with a rich history.
Play in the Water
Having the Guadalupe and Comal Rivers turns New Braunfels into a prime spot for water fun. Families can swim, kayak, fish, and tube. Want to go wakeboarding, waterskiing, or wakesurfing? You can do that at the 70-acre Texas Ski Ranch. Onsite coaches help beginners learn how to ride. Dry land fun can be had with paintball, trampolines, and skateboarding,
More than 50 water attractions await at Schlitterbahn New Braunfels waterpark located on the banks of the Comal River. The attractions and pools use spring-fed river water. That means the water temperature is always a refreshing 72 degrees. You can even eat, sleep, and swim when you stay at the Schlitterbahn Resort next to the waterpark.
Feed Your Ears
New Braunfels is jam-packed with live music and concert venues. Whitewater Amphitheater boasts being the only venue with a creek on two sides. The venue appreciates its natural settings as cypress and large heritage trees surround the theater. On sunny days, attendees can raft, tube, and canoe. At night, they enjoy music under the stars.
Live music plays every night at Pour Haus in historic downtown New Braunfels. Locals play washers and giant Jenga while quenching their thirst at the indoor and outdoor bar. Once a month, the music house transforms into an art haus where local artists display their work.
Looking for a watering hole? Visit the Watering Hole Saloon with a cool hand-carved chainsaw bar. You can karaoke and play Texas Hold’em, pool tables, foosball, and shuffleboard at this 4000-square foot dance and music hall.
Take a Trip to the Past
German settlers arrived in Gruene in the 1840s, which eventually transformed into a historic district in New Braunfels. With many of the buildings established in the 1800s and early 1900s standing today, Gruene Historic District appears on the National Register of Historic Places.
If you’d like to stay in Gruene for a night or two, head to the Gruene Mansion Inn smack dab in the middle of town. Gruene Hall, formerly a dance hall and saloon, is right next door to the inn. There, you can relish live music, take swing dance lessons, and just throw one back.
Follow the wonderful smells floating in the air from Gristmill Restaurant and Bar. Open since 1977, the restaurant pays homage to the original Gruene cotton gin that burned down in 1922. The restaurant serves burgers, steaks, and South Texas fare. Head out to their open-air patio sheltered by a grove of trees for a breathtaking view of the Guadalupe River.
When you get a hankering for wine, head north to the Grapevine to get a taste of Texas and international wines and Texas craft beers. Take your glass outside to the garden or front porch and take in the colorful landscape.
What a better way to wrap up your Gruene adventures than with a stop at the store to pick up souvenirs? Gruene General Store, a mercantile store built in 1878, sells country-style homemade food and cowboy hats. See the Gruene map for more places to visit when you’re in town.
Having a home in TRACE in San Marcos puts you a short drive from many wonderful places around the Texas Hill Country. This modern community features amenities, unlike anything you’ve ever seen. It will have an on-site elementary school, three parks, and retail stores. You can pick up anything you need without leaving the community.