Favorite Stay-cation Activity in Texas

Favorite Stay-cation Activity in Texas

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Destination: Texas Rivers & Lakes
Date: Every Summer

A quote by Sam Houston found at the Capital building in Austin Texas

I hope y’all have been enjoying my blog.  I feel like I can say “y’all” after being in Texas for nearly 20 years.  This past year tipped scale for my time here in Texas and I think I can finally call myself a Texan.  After growing up in California for the first 19 years of my life I have always considered myself a Californian living in Texas, but now the scale has shifted and my time in Texas has been longer than my nineteen years in CA.

Colton 16 & Bailey 14 my biggest critics
Summer 2012

Recently my teenagers found my blog posted on my Facebook page.  I really hadn’t mentioned it to them, and I’m sure they saw the little enticers that show up every time I create a new post, but they finally took time to read a little.  I wasn’t too worried about their privacy because I don’t feel like I’ve said too much to embarrass them, since this blog isn’t about my kids lives.  As I’ve said before the purpose of this blog is merely to inform you about some of the amazing places in the world that I think are worthwhile, and for me it acts as a great way to document our adventures.  Win, win for everyone right?

All six on a stay-cation in 2007, at the Marriott in Horseshoe bay on Lake LBJ
Bella 6 mos, Colton 11, Clay 5, Bailey 9, and twinners Lexi & Leah 2 1/2

Well I guess that isn’t exactly how my teens saw it.  Both of them loved reading about our trips and it even triggered some great dialogue of memories and fun times we’ve spent as a family.  However their greatest concern, which I feel is valid so I’m writing about it now, is that those who read this blog may feel that I am bragging about the opportunities we’ve had to travel the world.  So I’m addressing that now.  I hope no one out there feels like I am being a braggart in my posts.  My purpose truly is to inform and encourage you to see the world and to take your kids along for the ride.  I have nothing to gain nor do I wish to upset anyone out there reading this silly little blog.  (Maybe that’s what I should have called this blog in the first place.)  Anyway enough said.

Colton and his catch on Cedar Creek Reservoir outside of Gun Barrel City, Texas
June 2008
Trent teaching Clay to drive the boat
Summer 2008

Moving on, this idea inspired me to share some of our fun stay-cations right here in Texas.  So here I am living in the Lone Star State (should that be capitalized?, I just figured anything to do with Texas should be).  I hope to share some of the fun things we like to do here before we had any extra time or extra funds to explore the world.  Here goes….

Leah,4, & Clay,6, taking a plunge into Lake LBJ
Summer 2008

I once heard Jerry Seinfeld say that “there is no such thing as fun for the whole family”.  This does make me snicker when I take my kids to visit the Louvre in Paris, they hate it, or when we take a family vacation to Disneyland, Trent and I abhor it.  However, we have found a place that is fun for the whole family…ready for this?!?!….Texas lakes and rivers!

Colton,8, wakeboarding on Lake McQueeney
Summer 2004
The summer Bailey,7, decided to wear goggles everyday, all day
This is her getting ready to ride the cable lake up at Texas Ski Ranch near San Marcos Texas
Summer 2006

Our family loves to go water sporting at any lake we can find in Texas and we’ve been to quite a few.  Between Canyon Lake, Medina Lake, Lake McQueeney, Lake LBJ, Lake Travis, Lake Austin, Cedar Creek Reservoir, Lake Placid I could go on and on with our tales of lake preferences.  Our kids love to waterski, wakeboard, tube and more recently have taken up wake surfing.  Trent and I hardly participate in any of those activities anymore but just being on the boat, driving the boat, and swimming during ski breaks is fun for us.  So I can easily proclaim we truly have found the “fun for the whole family” activity.

Clay,9, wake boarding Lake LBJ
Summer 2011
Leah,6, wake boarding Lake LBJ
Summer 2011

I know that not everyone has a boat or access to one so I will suggest another almost as equally fun activity my family likes to do together, and that is tube down one of the local rivers.  Our preference in the San Antonio area is to tube down the Comal.  Around San Antonio there are two rivers that are easily accessible up in Canyon Lake or the New Braunfels areas, the Comal or the Guadelupe.  The Guadelupe is a great river but it is a tad bit freezing since the water comes from the bottom of the dam out of Canyon Lake.  The Comal water has a better temperature and is still a great river to lazily ride.  When I say fun for the whole family I mean just that.  As soon as our kids can properly fit into a lifejacket they can easily float the river, and this is wear our fun begins.

Getting ready to float the river with some Kimball cousins
Summer 2006

Our favorite spot to get in is up at Rocking R tubes in New Braunfels.  Here you have to pay the $15 per person fee to get in the river.  This gives you a tube and a shuttle ride back to your car at the end.  The end of the river is marked with signs that tell you to get out now, and has stairs that lead down to the rivers edge so you can walk back up to the street.

Tubing at the lake
Summer 2005
These twinners mean serious business when it comes to tubing
June 2009

Floating the river doesn’t have to cost any money.  If you already have a tube, either an old truck tire tube or a store bought one you can enter the river at different public entrances along the river, however the biggest challenge is parking your car at the beginning of the river only to get out four or five miles down stream.  The walk back is impossible, so there has to be some forethought… two cars one parked at the end, one at the beginning, and shuttling people back and forth.  It can be done but a little complicated.  The easiest spot to do this is up by Canyon Lake off of FM 306 where there is a horeshoe in the river so basically you get in at one bridge and it takes you in a big horseshoe shape of the river and you get out pretty close to where you parked.  Am I making sense?  I hope so!

Lexi,6,  wake boarding July 2011
Bella, 4, wake boarding for the first time
July 2011

For all you newbies try a river rental like Rocking R, so you can gain a little experience.  More info can be found at http://texastubes.com  My kids love to float the river.  To prepare I make sure we come with our own lifejackets.  This assures that everyone has a good fitting, comfortable jacket, and no complaining for the rest of the day. Tip#1 All kids under 12-years-old must wear a life jacket in the state of Texas while participating in this kind of water sport activity.  I bring some sort of netted bag to put all the kids shoes into and tie to the side of my tube during the float.  Getting into the water and out of it usually consists of standing on hot Texas concrete so shoes are usually a must, whether they be water shoes, or flip flops it doesn’t matter.

Colton, 15, wake surfing behind the boat
Summer 2011

Don’t bring any cameras or phones onto the river.  You will eventually fall off your tube, or at least jump in to cool off, and who wants to worry about electronics?!?!  I like to bring water and suckers.  I don’t usually bring food at all.  I don’t like to take the chance of food getting wet and inedible and suckers usually can hold the kids off during the two hour float.  Of course the most important thing to bring is sunblock!  Sitting in a tube with your thighs, calves, and shoulders in one place for two hours straight can lead to some harsh burns, so lather everyone up before you jump in.  For my littlest ones I make sure they wear a hat, as do I, to protect our fair skin. (wink wink 😉 Sunglasses are a must but don’t bring your Ray-Bans pick up a cheappy pair for these kinds of summer events.  The last thing I bring with me is a small rope for tying tubes together during the float.  This isn’t an absolute must, but as a momma hen with her chicks, I like to keep my kiddos close.

Bailey, 13, trying to do a belly start to her wake surfing behind the boat
I only included because I can’t stop laughing at the face she was making
Summer 2011

The Comal River is great because it has a tube chute in the middle of it by Landa Park http://www.nbtexas.org .  During the summer and holidays there are lifeguards there to assure a safe decent from an upper part of the river to a lower part.  Its kind of like a big water-slide for tubers but it does have a little bit of a whirlpool effect at the bottom so accidents do happen.  This is the only part of the river that I usually get out and walk around with my small kids that are four and under.  Since there is a nice paved walkway here, you can easily get out and walk down the stairs and have someone in your party meet you down at the lower part of the river with your tube ready for your re-entry.  Most of the rest of the two hour float is nice and relaxing filled with lots of fun people watching.

Bella, 4, Summer 2011
Serious water sports enthusiast
I could write post after post on some of our funny rides down the rivers here in Texas.  We have laughed our way down many rides with unexpected happenings, and because of these fun experiences, I can’t help but smile while writing this entry today.  So if your in this part of the country take time to float a river.  I think it is the best way to have a truly authentic Texan experience.  
Our water loving family Summer 2009
Canyon Lake

Be Safe & happy travels!!