Nestled in the Texas Hill Country lies the original Schlitterbahn Waterpark & Resort. With decades of rich history and tons of fun to be had, this iconic family-owned water park resort (the first one in the country!) is a must for your vacation bucket list. We stopped in for a visit and got the scoop on everything from little-known secrets to what’s new and cool. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know.
The Henry family arrived in New Braunfels in 1966, to run a small resort along the banks of the Comal River. In order to attract more guests to the resort, Mr. Henry began constructing waterslides (fed by the Comal River) in the ’70s. Many of them are still in operation today, and they wander in and out of the many century-old oak, cedar and cypress trees that are set along the banks of the river. After almost 50 years, Schlitterbahn New Braunfels is still a world-renowned, award-winning waterpark that’s known for its super kid-friendly environment and rides.
Discover the Resort at Schlitterbahn
When you visit the original resort side of Schlitterbahn, you can see the 350-year-old oak tree that towers over what was once the Henry family home (and is now lodging for up to 12 people). You can stay in one of the original bungalows that are getting a modern makeover or enjoy a quiet swing over the catfish pond near the beach volleyball courts and pool. There are movie nights with popcorn and s’mores, too!
Since the Original Schlitterbahn uses spring-fed water from the Comal River, there’s nothing quite like a float on the Raging River Tube Chute, a 45-minute inner tube ride that flows past and under the landmark Castle, along the edge of a cliff overlooking the Comal River and drops you into the river for a final float. There are also seven kids’ play areas, the Hillside Tube Chute, Congo River Expedition and heated pools with swim-up bars to keep you busy.
Insider Tip: When floating the last bit of the tube chute, be on the lookout for Jenny’s Island, where the family donkey used to hang her hat!
Explore Surfenburg & Blastenhoff
Less than a mile away from the original resort side of Schlitterbahn lies Surfenburg and Blastenhoff, the newer sections of the waterpark, which include rides and lazy rivers with modern touches (There’s a free trolley to transport you and your crew between park sections!).
This is where you’ll find the Boogie Bahn, the world’s first surfing ride, created at Schlitterbahn over 25 years ago. Still popular today, you can get a head start on the crowds by opting to buy a private, hour-long lesson for just an additional $10 over your ticket price. You’ll get in an hour before the park opens, too!
You’ll also find Dragon’s Revenge—the first uphill water coaster in the world—in Surfenburg. With special effects, bursts of fast-flowing water and a dragon to battle at the end, this can’t-miss adventure is a unique experience you won’t soon forget.
Another popular feature in Surfenburg is the Kristal River. One of three endless rivers at Schlitterbahn, it circles the area, and kids are always on the hunt for one of the friendly alligator floats that dominate the area. If you like a little more thrill, enter the river via Backpalsh, which is a fast-flowing channel that’ll really get your tube moving.
Blastenhoff is home to the legendary Master Blaster, the three-story plunging, twisting tunnel of a water ride, the Torrent River, the world’s first ever Torrent River, which is an incredible combination of wave pool and lazy river, the Black Knight, a water ride done totally in the dark, and the new Sky Coaster, which combines elements of skydiving and hang gliding, that allows riders to soar over Blastenhoff.
Insider Tip: Consider splurging on a blast pass. For an extra fee you’ll be allowed to reserve your ride time, and then enjoy the other amenities until it’s time to ride. There’s even a super blast pass, which will cut your wait time in half.
Texans take their food seriously, and Schlitterbahn is no different. While you can bring in your own coolers and food, their in-house offerings range from delicious BBQ to incredible funnel cake desserts, burgers and more. There are over 25 different spots to grab a bite in the park, hundreds of picnic tables, and nine different areas with cabana available for day rental (some come with grills, others with wait staff).
There are 68 different types of rooms available for rental at Schlitterbahn! You can choose from the original bungalows on the resort side, stay amongst the trees in the luxury Treehaus Suites, enjoy easy-access in a River Bend cabin or go modern in one of the SchlitterStein Lofts located off the property.
Prices & Other Details
One-day tickets start at $54.99 (purchased online), $64.99 at the gate, and there various deals and discounts, depending on if you go with a group, stay at the resort or get a season pass. There are also several combo packages, that will take you to other parts of Texas Hill Country.
Insider Tip: Parking is always free at Schlitterbahn.
Schlitterbahn New Braunfels – Main Waterpark Enterance
400 N. Liberty Ave.
New Braunfels, TX 78130
Schlitterbahn New Braunfels – Resort Enterance
305 West Austin Street
New Braunfels, TX 7813
Lodging and Reservations: (855) 246-0273
— Gabby Cullen
Images courtesy Schlitterbahn unless otherwise noted.
Note: This trip was paid for by Schlitterbahn Resort & Waterpark but all opinions expressed here belong to the writer.