Here, German traditions and riverside living meet.
Float the River in New Braunfels, Texas
Credit: Patrick Byrd / Alamy

New Braunfels, located on the Guadalupe River, has proud German roots—it was settled by immigrants in 1845—which it celebrates with events such as Wurstfest, a sausage festival, every year. The town is also located on the Guadalupe and Comal rivers, fed by cold springs, so you’ll find families in their inner tubes floating on summer days. Animal lovers with love a ranch where exotic species roam, as well as an indoor museum with hands-on exhibits.

Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch

Ostrich, zebras and ibex come right up to your safari vehicle on this 400-acre ranch loaded with over 500 animal breeds, including 40 exotics. Look out for the year-old twin reticulated giraffes, the only pair in the U.S.

McKenna Children’s Museum

Head here for hands-on exhibits—throw on your hard hat for the Lend-a-Hand Ranch; zip up your astronaut gear for Destination Space—in downtown New Braunfels.

Floating the Guadalupe River

There is arguably no better way to spend a hot summer Saturday than floating the Guadalupe or Comal Rivers. Rent inner tubes from companies such as Texas Tubes before the two-hour trip.

Lamb's Rest Inn

This charming house with seven rooms—some of which have canopy beds, Jacuzzi tubs, or fireplaces—has long porch and overlooks the Guadalupe River. Don’t miss the housemade chocolate chip cookies.

Alpine Haus Restaurant

Stop in for Bavarian specialties such as schnitzels, rinder goulash, and hühnerbrust geschnetzeltes at this family-owned restaurant. You can also sip German brews in the outdoor beer and wine garden.