Austin Day Trip - New Braunfels/Gruene

New Braunfels/Gruene


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Why Go: Central Texas was settled by German settlers back in the mid 1800's. New Braunfels and Gruene, Texas have roots in this historic migration, but these towns have grown into key tourist destinations because of their history, character and water. Both have the Comal River running through it just below Canyon Lake Dam. The Comal River provides great rafting/tubing, a hill country attraction in the hot Texas sun. Of course, there are plenty of other attractions in both towns such as city parks, shops, boutiques, restaurants and dance halls. New Braunfels is famous for having Schlitterbahn, one of the greatest water parks.

What you can do: In Gruene, you can tour a working tour of the historic town; rent canoes, tubes and kayaks for a trip down the river at Guadalupe River State Park; or you can take a restful stroll through the streets for some antiquing. This German town's wide streets hearken the Old West, where you can find one of the country's great dance halls, Gruene Hall. The outskirts of town are bastions for Texas wildlife and nature trails.

In New Braunfels, water sport is king. With Schlitterbahn, the Guadalupe River and Canyon Lake just up River Road, the possibilities are endless. That mixes perfect with the warm Texas weather.  Visit historic New Braunfels for a walking tour, antique shops, boutiques and restaurants. There are also restaurants and shops along the river front.

Travel portion: New Braunfels is about 45 minutes on I-35 south of Austin. This is an easy drive from Austin.

Specific Directions: Take I-35 right from Austin to New Braunfels. This is a 45 minute to 1 hour drive depending on traffic. New Braunfels and Gruene are adjacent to each other (about 5 to 10 minutes on Common/Gruene Road). From Gruene to Austin, Take Hunter Road out of town to Farm Market Road 306, Right. This will take you right to I-35 where you will go north back to Austin, about 45 minutes.

Food options: Breakfast in Austin, lunch in New Braunfels at Pat's Place for burgers or sandwiches or sit-down dining at Friesenhaus . You can have dinner in Gruene at the Gristmill River Restaurant and Bar or the Gruene River Grill. Afterwards, plan to visit the Gruene Dance Hall where live music is part of the culture.  Austin is only a 45 minute drive so you can still experience the Gruene Hall after dinner.