JOIN US IN AN INTERVIEW WITH AMY HANNAH FROM NEW BRAUNFELS, TEXAS!
Amy Hannah is a mom, wife, and blogger who lives in New Braunfels, TX. She was born and raised there and after living all over the state, decided to return to her stomping grounds and call it home. The passion for travel and discovery was instilled at a young age and has held strong. She is the creator and writer for Girl From Texas, which helps others discover the glory and hidden gems in and around Texas.
New Braunfels is a small town at the base of the Texas Hill Country that has an abundance of beauty and culture. Established in the 1800’s, New Braunfels has maintained its historic charm and stayed connected to its German roots. We have a such a variety of attractions, our little town attracts a vast array of travelers; young and old, couples, families and singles, we genuinely have something for everyone.
When is the best time to visit New Braunfels?
New Braunfels is a great town to visit all year round. But the peak season is definitely summer, when the majority of the travelers are here. It gets hot down here and our culture revolves around being in the water. We have two amazing rivers, a few lakes close by, and one of the largest water parks in the world. We float the river by day and enjoy live music and great night life after dark. But if you do find yourself in New Braunfels in the off season, there will not be a shortage of things to do and see.
Which is the most convenient and favoured transport of New Braunfels?
The town does not have public transportation, so the preferred method of travel is personal vehicle. The two closest airports are between 30 – 45 minutes away, so your best bet is to rent a car at the airport and drive in. But if that is not your style, catch a cab from the airport and once you get to town, there are plenty of Lyfts and Ubers to go around.
What are the must visit places in New Braunfels?
There really is so much to see and do in New Braunfels but I have to say, that no visit is complete without the following experiences:
We have a wonderful tradition here in Texas of grabbing an inner tube and floating down the river, and we do it best in New Braunfels. We have two of the most beautiful rivers in the state, one is the Comal River and the other is the Guadalupe, both providing their own experience.
The Comal River is fed by natural springs, so it stays at a cool 72 degrees of crystal clear water. Along the float, you will go through the Prince Solms tube chute, a water slide built into the side of the dam that adds a rush of adrenaline to your experience. Pro tip – wear water shoes and secure/waterproof your belongings. It is not uncommon for your tube to slip out from under you as you come out of the chute! But don’t worry, flipping your tube on the tube chute is basically a right of passage on the river that even happens to the locals. The Comal is in the heart of town and attracts locals and travelers alike. It is the shortest river in North America, so expect the float to take between two and four hours, depending on your pace.
For a slower and longer float, head a little out of town to the Guadalupe River. Fondly known as the “horseshoe”, this part of the Guadalupe will take you down gentle rapids as you bask in the shade of the towering Cypress trees. This float is different in that you can choose from multiple points to get out; just keep an eye out along the river for signs directing you to each point. There are numerous outfitters in and around town that will rent you a tube and provide a shuttle to and from the river. They will also be able to explain the ins and outs to make your experience relaxing and fun. Make sure to bring an ice chest for food and beverages (which will get its own tube), sunglasses, sunscreen, and water shoes.
Gruene Hall (pronounced “Green”) – the oldest dancehall in Texas. Walking through downtown Gruene is like taking a step back in time, surrounded by historic buildings, full of one of a kind restaurants, boutiques, and wine tasting rooms. But Gruene Hall is a main attraction and is a major hub for entertainment and live music. Built in 1878, not much has changed in the physical appearance of the building and it’s nothing short of authentic Texas. Since its construction, locals and travelers have enjoyed the laid back atmosphere of the bar and taken a turn around the dancefloor. Country music legends have graced the stage while up-and-coming artists have been discovered under the roof of Gruene Hall. It is a truly a can’t miss when visiting New Braunfels.
Schlitterbahn Water Park, voted the World’s Best Waterpark, provides endless fun for visitors of all ages. The park hast two sections with the most unique attractions in the world and features fifty-one rivers, rides, slides and chutes. The two sections of the park are separated by a few city blocks but a free tram will take you back and forth. The original side of the park is impossible to miss with its iconic castle that has water slides running down the roof. There are rides and slides to match every age level, so everyone is welcome. For a more exhilarating experience, head over to Blastenhoff to ride the first (and best) uphill water coaster of its kind. The first drop will have you plunge down three stories and then back up, followed by twists and turns that will leave you breathless the entire ride. The number of attractions and experiences feel endless; the seventy acre water park offers lazy rivers, group rides, heated pools, kiddie slides, adrenaline filled rides, and so much more. The waterpark offers free tube rentals, free parking, and picnics are welcome. Come ready to enjoy a full day of relaxation and so much fun!
What are the best day trips for nature, culture and history from New Braunfels?
Just a short drive away is San Antonio, TX. Full of history and culture, this makes for the perfect day trip. Take a stroll or a boat tour down the San Antonio River Walk that runs through downtown and pay a to visit Historic Market Square for an experience reminiscent of Old Mexico. Explore the festive indoor mall described as the biggest Mexican Market outside of Mexico. Take in the sights and sounds as you walk through the farmers market food court outside or have some of the best Mexican food around at Mie Terria or La Margarita. For the history boughs, you can not miss a visit to The Alamo.
The Mission, which was constructed in the 1700’s, became the site for the most infamous battle fought in the war for Texas’ independence from Mexico. You can almost hear the battle cry “Remember the Alamo!” still echoing through the halls as you tour the grounds. There is so much to see and do in San Antonio, with new things coming all the time. More of the can’t miss experiences include the Farmers Market at the Pearl, the charming King William District, and the roller coasters at Six Flags Fiesta Texas.
Austin is not only the capital city of Texas but also the weirdest city we have, and they are proud of it! The city is full of art, culture, and music. You can grab a can of spray paint and head over to Hope Outdoor Theater where visitors are encouraged to add their own mark on the murals. Take a walk around the banks of Lady Bird Lake or rent a kayak and get on the water in the middle of downtown. Dubbed the live music capital of the world, there is always a show to find, whether it be a free show in Zilker Park or at a hole in the wall bar off 4th street, you won’t have to look far.
Known as the Napa Valley of Texas, Fredericksburg is a charming little town nestled in the Texas Hill County and another can’t miss day trip. Start the day with a hike up Enchanted Rock, the largest granite dome of its kind, and soak up the endless views of the beautiful landscape. It gets busy on good weather weekends, so get there early to enjoy the serenity, free from the crowds.
You can hire a tour guide to take you to all the wineries your heart desires and provide an insider’s experience (as well as a designated driver). There are so many along the Texas Winery Trail that you will never run out of great wine to taste and beautiful views of the wineries. In town, you will find Main Street which is in line with boutique shopping, antique stores, and some great restaurants. What used to be known as a destination for antique shoppers, this quant little town has become a booming destination for day trippers as well as long weekend getaways.
What is the most celebrated holiday/event of the year in New Braunfels?
While the bulk of the travel season is in the summer months and requires being anywhere there is water, the most celebrated event of the year is Wurstfest! This is the largest and longest German festival outside of Oktoberfest in Germany. The ten day celebration of sausage, beer, and culture starts the first weekend of November and provides non-stop entertainment. The festival is seeded in tradition and attracts thousands of visitors every year. You will be able to hear the polka music from blocks away as you get close to the festival grounds and the excitement will not stop until you leave. The festival is full of food, beer, music, and Germans who know how to have a great time. There are carnival rides for the kids and everyone is welcome. Taste some of the best craft beer from Texas and Germany while pairing it with some authentic sausage and German food. This is truly a must see event in the heart of Texas. To discover everything you need to know about planning a trip for Wurstfest, visit www.wurstfest.com.
What is the most loved local food, savoury and sweet of your city? Is your city a vegetarian friendly city?
There are so many great, locally owned restaurants in New Braunfels, it is so hard to choose just one as the most loved. We have so many different cultural influences in this area that there is truly something for everyone. But if you are wanting an experience along with your great food, I would have to say historic Freiheit Country Store. Not only have they been voted best burger in town but the vibe is really what you should go for. Inside, you will find your usual restaurant seating and the walls are lined with pictures reminding the patrons of the humble beginnings. As you go out the back door, you will find an open aired bar, a dancefloor with a stage, and a huge backyard. It is almost hard to put into words what makes this place so unique and enjoyable. It is so laid back and down home, it feels like you are enjoying a barbeque in your best friend’s back yard. You will have live music almost every night of the week, beer on tap, and great food, there is no other way to experience authentic New Braunfels.
A few others I need to sneak in are Krause’s Café– a great beer garden located downtown with family style seating. And don’t miss The Gristmill in Gruene, the building is beautiful, the food is great, and you can dine overlooking the river.
My personal favorite for a sweet fix is Naeglin’s Bakery, located downtown. The oldest bakery in Texas features the best and most affordable treats in town. The family recipes are one hundred and fifty years in the making and have been perfected through time. You will find pies, cakes, kolaches, cookies, and so much more. As you walk through the door, you will be engulfed by the sweetest aroma that will make you want to try everything on the menu. When you stop in, don’t miss their trademark “Smiley Faced Cookies”, this has been a tradition of mine since childhood and one that has been passed on to my own kids.
Where to head for shopping in New Braunfels?
Downtown New Braunfels is great for boutique and antique shopping, but if you find yourself in town on the third weekend of the month, Gruene Market Days is your place to find unique and homemade goods. Over one hundred artisans gather in the Gruene Historic District to showcase their hand made treasures ranging from clothing, food, accessories and wine, just to name a few.
Just down the road in San Marcos are the outlet malls. Two fantastic shopping centers just across the street from each other. One is the Simon Premium Outlet, offering higher end options, and the other is Tanger Factory Outlet Center. With over three hundred and fifty stores combined, you are sure to find more than your heart’s content. People come from all over to shop here and you could definitely make an entire day of it!
Which is the local craft or souvenir of your city?
To really fit in to the German culture, go over to Once in a Blue Moon to get fully outfitted. In addition to their trendy picks of clothing and accessories, they also have a selection of the cutest Dirndls and Lederhosen. One visit to the shop and you will be ready to fit right in at Wurstfest!
Which are the best streets of New Braunfels worthy of taking a stroll on?
Definitely take a stroll around the Plaza Downtown. Our downtown area has preserved so much of its historic beauty and is perfect for an afternoon stroll. Take San Antonio street for a view over the Comal River. From there you can watch tubers come shooting out of the tube chute and get a glimpse of what is going on at Schlitterbahn.
All over the New Braunfels area, you will get a glimpse into the historic glory of this town, and Gruene Historic District is a perfect place. Start your walk heading towards Gruene Hall on Hunter Road. Dotted along the roadside you will find wine tasting rooms, the old General Store (which is still in operation), and the original post office, which has been converted into a restaurant. As you come up to the one intersection, you will see Gruene Hall as the center point of town. Turn right on to Gruene Road and follow it down the winding path to the river. If it is a busy Summer day, you will see the crowds of tubers making their way down the river and on quiet days, you can just enjoy the water along the banks.
Can you suggest a place from where one can get the best view of the city?
Taking a walk over the Faust Street Bridge will not give you an overlook view of the city but it will give you a beautiful vantage point of the river and the industrious elements that were once the heart of New Braunfels economy. The bridge was built as a commuter bridge across the river in the late 1800’s but is now dedicated to foot and bicycle traffic only. This location is loved by the locals, so do not be surprised to see a family photo session or even a wedding take place on the bridge during your stroll!
Would you recommend any local apps for food or transport in New Braunfels?
“The New Braunfels“ mobile app will help you navigate through historic New Braunfels, stay up to date on events happening throughout the city, and find you a great place to eat or stay.
Do you want to give any suggestion to tourists coming to New Braunfels?
New Braunfels is a unique and beautiful town where you will truly travel like a local. All of the things the tourists come to see are the same attractions we love to enjoy as well. We have a laid back culture and have grown to love the tourists that come to love our town too. We are friendly and respectful and that is all we ask of our new friends traveling to our town.
There are rules and regulations in regards to floating the river and I recommend getting familiar with those before heading this way. While it is a fun and relaxing experience, it is not completely free from hazard, so float responsibly!