In the center of the small, charming town of New Braunfels in central Texas is the original home to Schlitterbahn Waterpark and Resorts.
Nestled on the banks of the Comal river, Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort has been a treasured Texas summer staple for 40 years. To mark the beginning of summer vacation, my family and I took the 45 minute road trip from Austin to New Braunfels for our two day, two night stay at the waterpark and Riverbend Cabins, one of many different resorts at Schlitterbahn.
The Original Schlitterbahn
Schlitterbahn New Braunfels is made up of two parks, known as Schlitterbahn East and West. We started our first day at The Original Schlitterbahn, the West park. All of the rides and pools at the Original Schlitterbahn share the water flow from the Comal river, which is a cool, steady 72 degrees all year long, and is built around the natural landscape of oak and cypress trees. This park is known for its tube chutes and water slides, and they don’t disappoint. We had a private, reserved cabana during our stay at the waterpark, which was perfect for families with small children, because you have privacy and a comfortable place to get some shade and enjoy something to eat. If you don’t opt for a cabana, there are plenty of picnic tables throughout the parks that are first come first serve.
Another great thing about Schlitterbahn is you are allowed to bring in any size cooler you want, and can bring anything into the park except glass and alcohol. But, don’t fret, they do have heated pools with bars attached, and the cabanas have servers with local beer and summer cocktails you can enjoy poolside.
We decided to start off at the kiddie wave pool, per my 7-year-old son’s request. The pool went to a maximum depth of about 3 feet, and had small waves for the little ones to enjoy.
The Raging River
After he got some swimming in, we grabbed some tubes, provided by Schlitterbahn for free, and headed to the world’s longest tube chute, the Raging River. The ride starts at the west end of the park- you jump in your tube and flow through the entire park, under waterslides, through a tunnel, down a few rapids, and then down a chute directly into the Comal river. For the last few minutes, you lay back and enjoy the calm, flowing river through the shaded cypress and oak trees. This is unlike any typical waterpark I have ever experienced. The ride is a total of 45 minutes!
After our Raging River excursion, we headed back near our cabana for some lunch and exploring. There are several kiddie play areas with slides, pools, and fun activities located in the park for all ages, which my son enjoyed for a few hours. Certain attractions are for the younger kiddos, and have a height maximum, so you can feel safe with your toddler running around and enjoying the waterpark just as much as the bigger kids and adults. Perfect for family travel!
My son had a blast running around with the other kids, while I got to relax in the cool water with the sunshine. Couldn’t ask for a better summer day!
After wrapping up our fun in the sun, we headed to check into our cabin at Riverbend Cabins, located at the second park, Schlitterbahn East. Our cabin sat overlooking the Comal river, and we had our own patio area with a picnic table and grill. Our room also had a small kitchen, which was great because we didn’t need to leave Schlitterbahn or go out to eat! We also got extra perks while staying in the resort- such as the Boogie Bahn stays open for guests an extra hour, until 9pm, and the lounge pools stay open until 12am! This experience is the way to go for a family vacation. Totally worth it.
Surfenburg & Boogie Bahn
In the morning on our second day, we were able to wake up and walk right into the park, and start riding the rides. We started off in the Surfenburg section of the park, which includes a lazy river, heated pool with a bar, the famous Boogie Bahn, and plenty of kids slides and activity areas. The most popular attraction is the Boogie Bahn, which is a huge hit for all ages. The Boogie Bahn is a man-made surf wave, which you use a boogie board to body surf. They even have private lessons if you want to really step your game up! The Boogie Bahn at Schlitterbahn is the very first man-made surf ride, and now you can find similar surf rides around the US in many waterparks. It was very cool to learn it was all created here. A surfer from California helped create the uphill water effect, which also is the same technology they used to build the uphill water slide, Master Blaster.
Later in the afternoon, we headed over to the Blastenhoff section of the park. We got a cabana located directed underneath the three major waterslides, the Master Blaster, Wolf Pack, and the Black Knight.
The most popular ride, and what park-goers say is their favorite attraction, is the Torrent River, located at Blastenhoff Beach. It’s a lazy river and wave pool combined. Every couple of minutes, waves rip through the river and you can swim or sit in a tube and enjoy the fun. We stayed in the Torrent River for almost 2 hours!
My son is a thrill seeker and was eager to try out the major water slides above our cabana. We had a Blast Pass, which is a waterproof watch that you can purchase in order to reserve a spot in line on any of the rides throughout the park, and can enjoy other rides and attractions while you wait for your turn. This was such a time saver and was especially helpful when you’re with kids who don’t do well in long lines. We were able to hang out in the Torrent River, Han’s Hideout, or Blastenhoff Beach, and then our watch counts down the minutes until your ride is ready. My son loved the Master Blaster, which is a two person uphill raft water slide. Lots of up and down hills, and then it shoots you into a pool at the end.
After several hours enjoying the many rides and attractions, we started our walk back to our cabin for dinner. On the way back was the world’s longest waterpark ride, The Falls – a total of 3,600 feet long- tube ride. There are several entrances into the ride, and you just grab a tube and hop in. You float through the park, and above the Comal river, with beautiful views. The Falls is a never ending loop, so you can enjoy the rapids and relaxation for as long as you want. This was my personal favorite ride at Schlitterbahn. I could stay in it all day!
Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort has so much to offer, and with the two parks and resort, it’s much more than just a waterpark. You can make a whole vacation out of it, and it’s a blast for large families with any ages. I see this turning into a yearly family tradition!