A Cool Reprieve
The Guadalupe River lovingly called “the Guad” by locals of the Lone Star state, winds and meanders its way through Texas Hill Country. It flows past carved out limestone cliffs and mounds of gnarled cypress roots looking like they are dipping their toes in the river as they reach for water. A favorite destination for locals and visitors alike who are trying to escape some of Texas’ sweltering hot summer humidity. Thousands will travel to this cool water mecca over the course of a summer for a day of kayaking, tubing or rafting.
Guadalupe River – A Texas Gem
Located roughly a one hour drive from both San Antonio and Austin makes floating the Guadalupe an easy day trip or a quick relaxing weekend getaway. Along the twelve miles of river are over 30 outfitters eager to help you have a safe and fun float adventure by renting tubes, kayaks or rafts. The outfitters rent two different types of heavy rubber tubes. One style is the standard open-bottom tube that you sit in the other style has a closed-bottom. The closed-bottom innertube is ideal for holding small coolers with cold drinks and snacks or dry bags for towels and a change of clothes.
If you are not familiar with dry bags, they are an absolute must for water activities such as kayaking, rafting, or even hiking because you just never know when a little rain cloud is going to camp out over you. Dry bags come in a variety of sizes from 2L (safely holds keys and a phone) to 50L (good for towels and a change of clothes) depending on your need. Check out a wide selection here.
The Needed Equipment
The sun reflecting off the water is deceptively brutal so make sure to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and a brimmed hat to protect your face. I prefer to wear sunglasses that hug and wrap around the sides of my face so my eyes are fully protected and less chance of them falling off into the water.
I also prefer a hat with a medium brim that is slightly snug, but not so much that blood circulation is minimized to your noggin. Another important article to wear is a pair of water shoes. Flip flops, no matter how cute they are, will not cut it. You are bound to lose one and unless you are a one-legged pirate, you will either throw the other one out or give it to your dog to chew on. The best type of water shoe to wear is something that has a heel strap or complete foot coverage.
A group of friends and I chose to make a weekend of it. We had a fabulous time slowly meandering down the river rolling over rocks in our tubes, with the occasional whitewater rush. It may sound a bit daunting to “hit” whitewater while our tushies were dragging in the water, but at this particular float time, the Guadalupe was only about knee deep in most places. Several stretches of the river the water flowed slow enough that one of our group actually took a nap on their tube.
Be on the Lookout for Sleeping Beauty
After the aforementioned napper woke from his Sleeping Beauty intermission – I will mention that it was difficult to not tip his tube or at the very least splash him – we hand-paddled to one of the many beach locations to stretch our legs and break out lunch from the coolers. Floating the Guadalupe is all about relaxing and not being hurried. Take the time to pull your tube to the side of the river to explore the banks, stretch your legs and let your body warm up from being in the cool water.
We knew we were nearing the last mile of the float trail when we started seeing banners from the different outfitters stating to exit right or to “exit after bridge” as was our case. Our outfitters were waiting for us, helped us out of the water, and loaded our tubes in the truck.
Would I do it again? Yup. Already have the plans set. I may bring a water blaster this time to keep Sleeping Beauty on his toes.
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