Several years ago, with an emphasis on several, I was at my Mom’s house watching the Travel channel when they showed a countdown of the best waterparks in the U.S. They showed Schlitterbahn Waterpark in New Braunfels, TX and it was love at first sight! A trip to Schlitterbahn was added to my bucket list, even though I was still trying to figure out where the heck New Braunfels was located. At the time I was living in my home state of South Carolina and a trip to Texas seemed unlikely in my immediate future.
Maybe some of you think a trip to a waterpark is a silly addition to a Bucket List, but I LOVE water and I love adventure. What I don’t love is water with snakes, alligators, jellyfish or other predators so the best place for water and adventure for me is a waterpark!
So six years ago when I was in San Antonio on business, I booked my trip for an extra day and headed to Schlitterbahn! Lucky for me New Braunfels is only 20 minutes outside of San Antonio! Since my first time there I went back a few more times and had a blast every time! So its a little strange that since I moved to Houston (only a 3 hours away) about six years ago I’ve only back once.
But then again its not much fun to go to a waterpark when you’re pregnant and waddle around watching your friends and husband have all the fun on the rides! This year when my birthday rolled around, I only had one wish, to go to Schlitterbahn….without the kids! My first time to New Braunfels and the waterpark in five years, I almost felt like I’d neglected an old friend. The park, much like a friend you haven’t seen in five years, had changed but still had that easy familiar feeling I fell in love with.
The park was packed when we arrived and we had to park in one of their remote lots, yet when we entered the park it didn’t feel crowded. When you purchase your tickets make sure to buy splash cash. They load the amount you choose onto a card and you can wear it around your neck and use it for all your food/drink/souvenir purchases throughout the day. At the end of your visit, swing by guest services and they’ll refund the amount not used!
Feeling a little hungry, we stopped into the grill behind the Tree Haus for a quick bite. Quick tip: buy the sandwich combo (the chicken sandwich was yummy) with the souvenir cup and enjoy free refills on sodas and tea ALL day! Remember this place later when you want a snack, they have homemade waffle cones they make to order and a cone with double scoop is only $3.99!
Next we grabbed a locker, which you have unlimited access to on the day of your visit for a small rental fee, and stowed our cell phones, credit cards, etc. Take a look at the park on a map and try and figure out where you’ll be spending most of your time before renting a locker so its nearby. I always keep a backpack with sunscreen etc. and carry it with me if I move to the other side of the park.
Our first ride was the newest addition and the world’s largest water park ride The Falls, a 3,600 foot long whitewater river with rapids, rocks and an aquaveyor (conveyor belt that lifts you over the hill). This is a great way to relax and cool off between rides and the drops keep you on your toes! Then we headed to the Master Blaster, one of the world’s best waterpark rides and the most thrilling ride I’ve personally ridden in a waterpark. Lines are usually painfully long but we got lucky and waited just under an hour before it was our turn! (Tip: arrive at the park an hour before opening and when the gates open head straight to the Master Blaster, you should be able to ride it 2-3 times before the wait gets long. Also, an hour before closing time the lines are usually shorter.)
Then we rode the Black Knight tunnel, went around the torrent wave river a few times and headed to Boogie Bahn for some boogie boarding fun! Schlitterbahn is divided into three sections: the original, Blastenhoff and Surfenburg. We never made it to the original section of the park on this trip!
Reasons I LOVE Schlitterbahn, New Braunfels:
- Even though the massive waterpark covers 70 acres it still maintains a charm that matches the surrounding town where the park is located. Just take a look at the new Tree Haus suites, the perfect look for a park located on the banks of the Comal River.
- Free parking PLUS you can bring a picnic. Coolers, food and backpacks are welcome as long as they don’t contain glass or alcohol! Families looking to save money or locals can bring lunch, snacks, sodas etc and set up at a picnic table as a home base. Most theme parks don’t offer one of these let alone both!
- Variety. This park has so much to offer with something for everyone from the little kids, teens, thrill seekers and the grandparents. The park has two uphill water coasters, nine tube chutes, the world’s longest tubing adventure, 17 water slides, the Boogie Bahn bodyboarding ride, a family wave pool, five swimming pools, five heated pools, four award winning attractions, seven children’s water playgrounds, water and sand volleyball courts, five gift shops, a pizza arcade and 20 refreshment centers. There’s so much to do you need at least two days!
- Location. Its a natural riverfront setting in a small town located between San Antonio and Austin. And its only a 3 hour drive from Houston!
- Value. They’ve kept the admission prices low (all day adult ticket is under $50),kids under 3 are FREE and they even offer discounted tickets after 3PM every afternoon and the food and souvenirs are reasonably priced. Grab a pizza offer in Surfenburg for less than $20 or a beer for around $6. And the new Icee machines allow you to buy a souvenir cup and have free Icee refills all day!
- Its the #1 Waterpark in the world for the last 14 consecutive years for a reason! The Falls won the 2011 Golden Ticket Award for Best New Waterpark Attraction, it has 2 uphill water coasters, yep 2, one of which The Master Blaster has been voted the world’s best waterpark ride over and over again! Its the only waterpark I’ve been to with a boogie boarding area that’s included in your admission.
- Its also the #1 Kid-Friendly destination in the state of Texas. They have 7 separate children’s areas, several of them have been added since my last visit. I can’t wait to take the kiddos and check them out!
By the way I have good news for those of you that don’t live or plan to visit Texas anytime soon, Schlitterbahn also has a location in Kansas City, KS that opened in 2010 and this season they doubled in size. They also have a Schlitterbahn in Galveston, TX and South Padre, TX. Construction is currently underway on a Schlitterbahn Beachfront Waterpark and Resort on South Padre Island!
A huge thank you to Schlitterbahn for making it possible for me to experience their amazing waterpark. No compensation was received and all opinions are 100% original!