What to Do in New Braunfels | 11 Best Things, Plus Where To Eat And Stay (2024)

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New Braunfels, Texas, is known for being a German town filled with antique shops, boutiques, and many great festivals, but the most exciting adventures in the city are the Guadalupe and Comal rivers and the many water recreation opportunities they provide. Located between Austin and San Antonio in Texas Hill Country, New Braunfels is an outdoor playground for everyone!

Going to New Braunfels for the weekend isn’t just a one-time place to go for fun — it’s a place to go over and over again. If the outdoors and fun in the water is your thing, place this trip way up high on your bucket list, and I’ll bet you’ll want to go back! This Hill Country getaway could just be your go-to vacation spot for many years to come. To make the most of your visit, check out these fun ways to spend a wonderful weekend in New Braunfels.

What To Do In New Braunfels

Make your first stop at the visitor center to pick up brochures and find out what’s going on in the city. You can view the visitors guide online, but I like to stop at a small town’s visitor center to see what’s going on that I may not know about — and pick up coupons for restaurants and attractions. Swing by: Greater New Braunfels Convention & Visitors Bureau is located at 390 South Seguin Avenue.

1. Downtown New Braunfels

Shop, stay, play, eat, drink, and do whatever else you want to do in downtown New Braunfels. From listening to live music at Krause’s Biergarten and Cafe to checking out the New Braunfels farmers markets to seeing an old-time movie, everything that happens in New Braunfels happens downtown

Pro Tip: If you like antiques, be sure to stop by Red Rooster Antique & Design Center and Adele Kerr & Co. Both are part of the popular Texas Antique Trail.

2. Hill Country Craft Beer Trail

Move over, wine tours, it’s beer time! While on the Hill Country Craft Beer Trail, you’ll taste a blend of traditional and creative craft beer at New Braunfels’ breweries as well as other Hill Country craft brew establishments. Full and half-day guided tours are available. Just imagine the spectacular views along this tour, too!

3. Museum Of Texas Handmade Furniture

During the tour of the Museum of Texas Handmade Furniture, you’ll get to know the artistic beauty of handcrafted Biedermeier furniture as constructed by German cabinet makers who settled in New Braunfels many moons ago. Tours also include a brief history of the house and its surroundings. The museum sits on a beautifully wooded 11 acres in historic New Braunfels.

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4. Downtown Gruene

Gruene (pronounced “green”) is every bit worth a visit. And, if you didn’t know (I didn’t), Gruene is actually a part of New Braunfels and not a city itself. I’ve been to Gruene a few times and never knew there was no such place as Gruene, Texas. It’s such a relaxed, quaint small “town” with lots to offer, such as antique shopping, lovely indoor and outdoor dining, Gruene Hall (a famous dance hall where George Strait first played), beautiful potted flowers, ice cream shops, parks, and more.

Pro Tip: Grab a good pair of shoes, park, and walk the entirety of Gruene.

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5. The Guadalupe River

Whichever way you want to do it — on a tube, a two-man raft, or a kayak — floating the Guadalupe (pronounced Gwad-a-loop) is a fun outdoor adventure for the whole family. There are several places to rent water equipment, or you can bring your own. The one that comes to mind is Rockin’ R River Rides. Immerse yourself in the river and have fun! I don’t think this outdoor activity ever gets old.

Pro Tip: Canyon Lake offers even more opportunities for water recreation within half an hour’s drive.

6. Landa Park Golf Course

Play a round of golf at Landa Park Golf Course at Comal Springs. This 18-hole public course is nestled along the Comal River. Soak up acres and acres of spectacular Texas Hill Country views while playing a challenging round. The course is for all levels, and the seasonal player will get a bit of a challenge. But don’t let that be a worry — you can always take a lesson there, too.

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7. Natural Bridge Caverns

On the outskirts of New Braunfels, heading into San Antonio, is Natural Bridge Caverns. It’s the most significant cave in Texas and one of the world’s premier caverns.

There are several tours daily, and the one my family took was the Discovery Tour. This particular tour lasted about 75 minutes, and we were able to get some gorgeous views and photos. My grandson was 6 years old when we went, and when the tour guide said, as she was pointing to a rock, “This is the only rock you can touch, and all others are off-limits,” he was all over that rock! You could spend the whole day in this area, as it looks like they’ve added a few attractions since I was there a few years ago. You can now zip line, climb, and go gem and fossil finding.

8. Schlitterbahn New Braunfels

Did you know Schlitterbahn New Braunfels is not just a Texas favorite, but also holds the title of World’s Best Waterpark? It’s a whole lot of family fun all rolled up in one waterpark.

If you wanted to make it a full weekend of fun, there are resort cabins you can rent. My mother, grandson, and I rented one last year for two nights and had so much fun. The park offers free activities out on the lawn for guests of the resort. This is one of the best places to take grandchildren of all ages!

9. Faust Street Bridge

If you are looking for a great photo spot, add the Faust Street Bridge to your list of things to do in New Braunfels. Built way back in 1887, Faust Street Bridge over the Guadalupe River in Comal County had served as the first toll-free passage over the waterway in Texas.

Visiting Faust Street Bridge won’t take very long during your trip to New Braunfels, but it’s a cool spot to visit, especially during sunrise over the river.

10. Downtown Antique Mall

With more than 60 vendors within 20,000 square feet of retail space, the Downtown Antique Mall in Downtown New Braunfels houses loads of antiques just waiting for a new home.

Surrounded by charming shops, cafes, and restaurants, the mall is located in the heart of downtown New Braunfels which makes it a perfect destination for a day out.

11. Dry Comal Creek Vineyards

Sip your way through New Braunfels at numerous wineries, including Dry Comal Creek Vineyards, which offers wine tastings from some fantastic “100% Texas” wines.

Pro Tip: There are often food trucks and live music if you visit Dry Comal Creek Vineyards on a weekend.

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Best Restaurants In New Braunfels

With hundreds of diverse dining experiences in New Braunfels, there’s no way you won’t find what you’re looking for.

Naeglin’s Bakery

Breakfast

Edouard Naegelin, Sr., came to town in 1868 with a sack of flour and less than a dollar in his pocket and opened his first bakery. He called it Naeglin’s Bakery. It is now the oldest bakery in Texas. For over 140 years, the bakery has been serving the public their signature breakfast items. You can expect delicious strudels, pastries, coffee cake, kolaches, and more sweet goodies. Start your morning either at a table inside or by drive-thru.

La Cosecha Mexican Table

Lunch

There’s German food, barbecue, Tex Mex, and fast food in town. You name it, New Braunfels has it. If you like good Mexican food, try La Cosecha Mexican Table — a neighborhood favorite. Really, the choices for lunch are endless.

Gristmill River Restaurant and Bar

Dinner

The times my family has been to New Braunfels, we’ve had dinner in Gruene. Dining is spectacular at Gristmill River Restaurant and Bar. The ambiance inside and out is not to be missed, and the food and service are awesome. Gruene is so small that you can park and walk the whole town, so if the line is long here, walk down the street to Gruene River Grill.

Pro Tip: If wine is in your plans, the Dry Comal Creek Vineyards is just outside of New Braunfels and is part of the Texas Wine Trail.

Best Hotels In New Braunfels

Depending on what you’re looking for, any of these options are great. New Braunfels has a ton of places to call it a night, from traditional hotels to B&Bs to river camps and resorts. You won’t be disappointed in the city where everyone plays!

River City Resorts

Staying in river camps and resorts is fun and most popular because of how cool it is to wake up and walk outside to the river. Check out River City Resorts for a place to stay and enjoy the Comal and Guadalupe rivers firsthand.

Gruene Mansion Inn

Located in the middle of the Gruene Historic District, Gruene Mansion Inn will allow you to catch live entertainment, float the Guadalupe River, enjoy shopping in downtown Gruene, explore New Braunfels’s finest dining, and experience the best nightlife around.

Kuebler Waldrip Haus Bed And Breakfast

At the historic Kuebler Waldrip Haus Bed and Breakfast, you can start your day with a morning walk around the peaceful establishment. At night, relax outside on the patio while taking in the Hill Country sunset. Enjoy complimentary refreshments that include homemade almond butter toffee, cold drinks, and Blue Bell ice cream.

Courtyard New Braunfels River Village

Stay and play at Courtyard New Braunfels River Village. When I travel and want to stay in a hotel, a Courtyard always seems like the logical choice. I love the interior, and their outdoor pool is outstanding and mandatory when my grandson comes along — plus there’s free Wi-Fi. This Courtyard is minutes away from the Guadalupe River.

Best Time To Visit New Braunfels

The best time to visit is undoubtedly in the spring and summertime; however, the city doesn’t sleep in the winter, so don’t miss out on potential fun then! In a little more detail, the best time to visit New Braunfels, Texas, is during the spring and fall seasons when the weather is pleasant for outdoor activities like tubing on the Guadalupe River, boating on Canyon Lake or exploring the Gruene Historic District.

Avoid the peak summer months when it can get extremely hot and crowded due to the influx of tourists. Spring (March to May) and Fall (September to November) offer comfortable temperatures and fewer crowds.

FAQs

Why Is New Braunfels So Unique?

New Braunfels started as a community of German settlers, and you’re bound to see lots of instances of German culture and taste delicious German food and drinks. This unique mix of history and culture makes this town in Central Texas unique.

What Makes New Braunfels So Popular?

New Braunfels has become a hub for adventurers. Between the Texas Ski Ranch, Canyon Lake, Landa Park, the Guadalupe River, and the Comal River, outdoor activities are abundant in New Braunfels. There’s also the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch and Animal World & Snake Farm Zoo for animal lovers.

Are There Any Historical Attractions in New Braunfels?

There are plenty. Gruene Historic District is home to Texas’s oldest dance hall, Gruene Hall. History buffs will enjoy exploring historic buildings like the New Braunfels Railroad Museum, and the New Braunfels Fire Museum. Check out the McKenna Children’s Museum if you’re traveling with kids.

What Are the Arts and Cultural Venues in New Braunfels?

The Circle Arts Theatre in New Braunfels is a destination for theater enthusiasts, while the Brauntex Performing Arts Center has featured a variety of performances, including plays, musicals, concerts, and dance shows since 1942.

How Far Is San Antonio From New Braunfels?

The drive from San Antonio to New Braunfels is 32.9 mi and should take around 30 minutes in normal traffic if you’re going on a road trip from New Braunfels to San Antonio, Blue Hole Regional Park, Jacob’s Well Natural Area, or the Bella Vista Ranch are popular stops.

What to Do in New Braunfels | 11 Best Things, Plus Where To Eat And Stay (2024)

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