Tubing in the Lone Star State! Nature Spring Water!

Mao and Then Sara Tubing

Who knew that you could be tubing in the cool nature spring water even under the cruel Texas summer heat?

Over the weekend, we went tubing down the San Marcos River to beat the summer heat.

We had a blast, so here’s everything you need to know for your tubing trip in San Marcos with Lions Club Tube Rental.

*Disclaimer: I am NOT being compensated nor do I have any relations with the Lions Club Tube Rental, this is just a review that I’d like to share. 


Mao and Then: Tubing in texas, our friend Ricky

The Basics


Getting there

Lions Club Tube Rental is just outside downtown San Marcos, which is about 30 minutes south of Austin. Traffic is always an issue coming out of Austin, so plan ahead and allow a little delay due to congestions.

I would recommend going there earlier than later. The busiest times are 3 to 6 pm and parking could be limited.

Rates and Duration

It costs $12 to rent a tube with unlimited shuttle rides (as of 2017). The tubing route is fairly short, you could get through it in 1 hour no more than 1.5 hr. Once you reach the end of the line, you hand the workers your tube, they give you a token, and you hop on a shuttle. Then, you can go back to the tube rental and hand over your chip, get a new tube, and hop back in the river!  I recommend floating down 2-3 times.

I found this system, while unconventional, very nice since you could “choose your own adventure” and tube as much or as little as you like.

You can also bring your own tubes and use their shuttle to get back for $6.


Mao and Then Tubing Lions Club Shuttle
Lions Club Shuttle


Now let the fun begin!

Natural Spring Fed Water

This is by far the coolest part (pun intended)! The flow from these natural springs keeps the temperature of the water at a cool 72 F (or 22 ºC) year round. In the scorching summer heat in Texas, the water makes it the perfect escape from the 100 F weather.

I would definitely jump off of the tube and the water is very refreshing.

In addition, since the water is constantly being refreshed by new spring water, the river is incredibly clean and clear, with a beautiful blue color.


Mao and Then Tubing Sara Jumping
Sara jumping off of a concrete bridge



Float Away All Your Worries

The best part of tubing in general? Just chill and relax on the water with a beer or a drink of your choice. It’s the perfect  way to relax after a long week. We all had gone through a tough week at work, so coming here and doing nothing but be in an amazing natural setting and hang out with friends was exactly what we needed.



Going Under Trestle Bridges

The tubing path goes under a few railroad tracks. We saw quite a few freight trains, and the sound of a train whistle and going under bridges are certainly going to be a highlight of your tubing trip.

The conductors were always very happy to oblige a “honk” for the kids who made the motion with their arms.


Mao and Then Tubing Trestle Bridges
Train on the bridge



Plants and Wildlife

There are a lot of cool long grass-looking plants along of the trail. The water was so clear, if you looked down you could see every beautiful, waving detail!

In a couple spots, we saw some roped off areas with a sign saying WARNING. Once we got closer, we realized that the area roped off contained Texas Wild Rice plants. The areas were actually blocked off for preservation. I had no idea Texas had wild rice? So cool!!


Beautiful water plants


Seaweed, and More Seaweed

Throughout the tubing route, you will see a lot of seaweed. “River” weed in this case, maybe? Nothing too special. But towards the end of the route, I found myself caught in a patch of seaweed when I jumped in the water. The feeling was really weird and it felt like as if there were thousands of plant tentacles grabbing me. Nothing dangerous of anything, but I totally freaked out! I didn’t mind some seaweed here and there, but having your body surrounded by tons of seaweed was quite a weird feeling for me.


Mao and Then Tubing Seaweeds
Seaweed beard. I would fit in well in Austin as every guy has a beard!




Rapids at the End of the Tubing Path

At the end of the route, you will arrive at a flat and slow area where you can either get out, or continue through  to a series of  three rapids! You don’t have to go through it as the bus shuttle from Lions Club Rental picks you up right before the rapids. However, I would totally recommend you to do it!

It was so much fun as there are three rapids lined up immediately one after another. It’s really not scary, but the first is the most intense. I did it twice but my girlfriend Sara fell both times. She was okay though!

There were many people jumping down the rapids without tubes, so I guess that’s an option?


Rapids at the end of the tubing path


Make a Friend or Two

You will probably run into other tubes and people from time to time. But people are all very chill. Strike a conversation with a friendly Texan and you just might end up with a friend or two.


Now, all the pictures and words don’t justify how much fun we’ve had. Check out the video below!



Where are your favorite places to go tubing? Comment below!


  1. Mrs. Picky Pincher

    Well hey there! It’s cool to see you’re in my neck of the woods! Sadly I’ve never floated the river since I’m freckly and afraid of the sun, but it sounds totally fun. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *