Find all the fun in New Braunfels for families right here!
New Braunfels, TX, is known for its quaint German town and the Texas Family Waterpark Schlitterbahn. One small Texas town has been on my radar for quite a while, and it wasn’t until recently that I visited with my family in tow – New Braunfels for families.
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New Braunfels For Families – A Place To Play Together
New Braunfels might be a small town, but it has all you could want for a family vacation and more, whether you fly into a nearby city or opt for a family road trip.
When you think of New Braunfels, one sure thing comes to mind – water! From the world-famous Schlitterbahn waterpark to two rivers known for tubing on hot summer days, there’s no doubt water should be on any New Braunfels itinerary.
Related: Texas Waterparks Open 2022
Schlitterbahn New Braunfels Waterpark And Resort
The well-known Schlitterbahn New Braunfels Waterpark is just off the banks of the Comal River, features 70 acres of fun, and offers resort accommodations for its guests. With seven different accommodations, your family might not want to leave. Making memories is what families do there.
Not only is Schlitterbahn New Braunfels a favorite Texas Waterpark, it’s America’s favorite waterpark! Did you know the park has the world’s longest tube ride? I’m not sure I would ride it, but my family would.
To help keep costs down for families, Schlitterbahn New Braunfels offers free parking and allows guests to bring outside food for picnics.
McKenna Children’s Museum
Head to the McKenna Children’s Museum with the kids for year-round fun. Both indoor and outdoor play experiences foster learning and encourage imagination.
This museum is just as impressive as many children’s museums I’ve visited in large cities around the country. Yes, and right in the heart of Hill Country. While the preschoolers in your life will go wild over the exhibits and play buildings, even my 11-year-old had fun.
There are all kinds of fun in New Braunfels for families! Keep reading.
Perhaps my daughter’s favorite spot in the entire museum is the one and only “Space Walk” in Texas. Kids can quickly put on their NASA spacesuit, play in a makeshift rocket, then head out into space, where they will attempt a spacewalk. The spacewalk is a dark mirrored room child walkthrough, where one is surrounded by “stars.”
Pro Tip: It’s not open on Sundays, but I loved their “Play All Day” admission policy, where you can leave and come back later.
Visit Gruene For More Fun In New Braunfels
Gruene is a quaint part of New Braunfels filled with history and nostalgia. You’ll want to walk by Gruene Hall, the oldest hall in the state of Texas, one where John Travolta famously shot the dance scene in the movie “Michael.” If you’re lucky, you’ll hear country music performed in the open-air venue. It’s there where many musicians played before they were well-known, like the King of Country himself, George Strait.
Shop for all things Texas at Gruene Haus (my favorite store), or mosey down to the Gruene Hat Company to find yourself the perfect cowboy hat.
Comal River And Guadalupe River
Tubing. Canoeing. Kayaking. The list is endless for all the water activities you can experience on two of the best-known rivers in the state.
If your kids are a little young or not great swimmers, you’ll still want to experience the beauty of the Comal and Guadalupe rivers. The rush of the water in certain places. The calmness of it in yet others. For me, it was the color that mesmerized me. I was not expecting the green-blue hues.
Travel Pro Tip: There’s a spot in Gruene, down below all the restaurants, where you can walk over a historic bridge and stick your feet in the river, listen to the rushing water, and take some great family photographs.
Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch
About 20 minutes from New Braunfels is Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch, a drive-through safari that will almost guarantee smiles, no matter your age. You will meet new friends, including zebras and ostriches while learning something (be prepared to google the difference between antlers and horns). Other animals like giraffes, camels, and rhinos won’t be roaming along the same path with you, so no worries, but be fully prepared for roadblocks when it’s feeding time for the rest of the animals.
We spent about 2 hours on our drive, then enjoyed getting out for a walk around a small area where you’ll find a petting zoo, cafe, and gift shop.
Mornings are best because the animals haven’t been fed all day by guests (every car gets a free bag of feed with admission), but we went late afternoon and still had an enjoyable time. Be watchful of your children as I saw so many parents who let their kids hang out of the vehicles, especially with certain animals that are known to bite (signs for biting zebras were spotted).
Natural Bridge Caverns
For a little more adventure next door to the Wildlife Ranch, head to Natural Bridge Caverns, where you can walk 180 feet underground for an unbelievable view of nature.
Take the popular Discover Tour and witness firsthand the beauty of stalagmites. This tour might not be for the entire family, as older friends and the littlest might find the stairs, the dark, and sometimes steep pathways difficult. For all others, be sure to wear sneakers, not flip-flops.
Natural Bridge Caverns has expanded and is more than the underground tours. Adventurous ones in your family will love the Canopy Zip Line or Canopy Explorer (there’s even one specially made for toddlers and younger kids, so they aren’t left out).
Where To Eat In New Braunfels
While you can find many chain restaurants in New Braunfels, take advantage of the many family-friendly dining options around town.
Buttermilk Cafe For Breakfast
Though you’ll need to be mindful as the Buttermilk Cafe closes at 2 pm and is closed on Saturday and Tuesday, this place is the talk of the town when it comes to breakfast. The great news is that they serve breakfast all day if you happen to sleep in one day.
Try the Grilled Banana Bread s
Gruene River Grill
The Gruene River Grill is the ideal venue for lunch or dinner in the Gruene historic district. Overlooking the Guadalupe River, the restaurant is almost hidden. On a nice day, opt for outdoor seating with a river view. If not, there are separately themed dining areas, like the one with stained glass windows overlooking the river or the room filled with law books and chandeliers. American food and some Texas classics like Gruene Chicken Enchiladas or Country Fried Steak are on the menu.
While in Texas Hill Country, German food must be on the menu during your trip. Krause’s Biergarten and Cafe is a unique venue in the downtown area offering several dining areas, some more family-friendly than the others (I would request the small cafe room in the back with kids, avoiding the much louder Biergarten).
2 Tarts Bakery
After dining at Krause’s Cafe, walk down a couple of blocks to 2 Tarts Bakery for a treat or two.
What I adored about this bakery was that it stayed open late. The quirky cafe offered coffee, tea, and sweet/savory breakfast items. Of course, we visited after dinner, so we were in the mood for a sweet treat. From cupcakes and cookies to french macarons, there is something for everyone. Try the homemade pop tarts – delicious!
Head to the oldest bakery in Texas in downtown New Braunfels. You’ll find more than a few traditional German treats. I’d had my heart set on visiting Naegelin’s, but we missed closing time by 30 minutes. One peek through the window, and I regretted it immediately. Stop by and partake in kolaches, strudels, and cookies to coffee cake during the daytime.
Rhea’s Ice Cream
Stop by Rhea’s Ice Cream while walking through Gruene. Unique flavors like Big Red, Circus Animal Cookie, Avocado Coconut, and Strawberry Nutella keep visitors coming back for more. Vegan options are available.
Plan Your Next Adventure In New Braunfels!
There are countless other activities to enjoy for family fun in the area. You’ll find live music, a trampoline park, and a drive-in movie theater. There is so much to do and see that it’s time to start planning your next adventure, beginning and ending in New Braunfels.