Joe and I have been going to Schlitterbahn Water Park in New Braunfels, Texas, nearly every year since 2006. For us, it’s our “happy place” vacation, where we don’t have to plan anything; we know where we’re going to go for the whole trip and we can “just go,” and play, relax and eat delicious food. Well, and visit Buc-ee’s, too. Probably several times (but I’m not obsessed).
So many people we know have more traditional places to visit every year. The mountains. The shore. How and why did we wind up with a water park like Schlitterbahn as our annual “go to” vacation? Well, I’ll tell ya…
Schlitterbahn Waterpark and Resort in New Braunfels TX has been open since 1979. It’s since gone from four water slides built around a 60-foot tall replica of a German castle to 51 attraction on over 70 acres in two water parks locations less than a mile from each other (there’s a free shuttle bus to bring guests between the two parks). The privately-owned Schlitterbahn company has since opened similar water parks in 4 other locations in 2 different states.
Schlitterbahn New Braunfels has won the award for “World’s Best Waterpark” every single year since 1999. It’s so good that the Travel Channel did a TV spot on it in the early 2000s, which is how we initially found out about it.
The original park is the most beautiful and unique water park I’ve ever seen. Located in Hill County, right next to the springfed Comal River, the park is built into the hills, and around and under the surrounding canopy of trees. Add to that the fact that the water for the various slides is fed from the river, and it’s really a water park like no other.
A mile away from the original park is the second Schlitterbahn New Braunfels park, which is divided into Surfenburg (which has Boogie Bahn – the first Flow Rider attraction ever built, the world’s first uphill water coaster [The Dragon’s Revenge], and a giant kids’ play area), Blastenhoff (housing several tall water coaster type attractions) and Tubenbach, which features The Falls, which is the world’s longest tubing adventure. This area of Schlitterbahn is a little more traditional and how one usually thinks a water park looks, with lots of concrete and many fewer trees, but it still some REALLY good water rides.
Want to see some of the stuff they have?
Original Schlitterbahn New Braunfels Park
Hillside Tube Chute
“The Hillside Tube Chute snakes through a series of hairpin turns, rapids and whirlpools before splashing down in the Lagoon Pool. This tube chute begins at the front of Schlitterbahn’s Castle then zigzags through a series of switchback curves. Next comes a series of rapids and a final downhill plunge before riders end their adventure in the Lagoon Pool.”
Raging River Tube Chute
The world’s longest tube chute! A swirling 45-minute float from one end of the original section of the park to the other! Riders can float directly into the Congo River or the Tunnel Tube Chute. The Raging River Tube Chute is the longest inner tube ride at Schlitterbahn and, since it directly connects with other tube rides, is probably the longest in the world! The Raging River flows past the Schlitterbahn’s landmark Castle, between the Downhill Racer speed slides, underneath the Castle Entrance building and along the edge of a cliff overlooking the Comal River. Riders may decide to float off into the Congo River, continue onto the Tunnel Tube Chute (the end of that lands you and your tube in the Comal River), or exit the ride.
“Wind through The Original Schlitterbahn hills and trees with a final dramatic drop down to the edge of the Comal River. Because geography makes it a little harder to find, the Cliffhanger often has one of the shortest waiting times of any Schlitterbahn tube chute.”
White Water Tube Chute
“This is a ride that really lives up to its name! Tubers spiral down a series of short drops before taking a precipitous plunge down the side of a cliff. The Whitewater continues its splashy way by cascading through a beautiful natural course before ending next to the Comal River.”
Second Schlitterbahn New Braunfels Park
Enjoy the first generation uphill water coaster. This thrilling ride shoots you uphill, downhill, and everything else a regular coaster does, but in water! Your adventure begins as you challenge the Dragon. The Dragon’s Revenge is a feast for the eyes and the ears with splashes and surprises that will thrill guests of all ages.
Six stories tall! Over 1000 feet in length! Selected as the best water ride in the nation again and again, Master Blaster combines the up and down thrills of a roller coaster with the unique experience of being propelled by jets of water.
Take a journey on an endless river where tidal waves break around every turn as you travel throughout the Blastenhoff section of the park.
And finally, this is a nice overview of the park, from Screamscape
So yeah – Schlitterbahn New Braunfels has been our “annual “go to” vacation since 2006 and, as I told Joe, I want to keep on going until I’m too old to go on water park rides. Hopefully that won’t happen for a long, long time.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary