Schlitterbahn Water Park in New Braunfels Texas: Why It’s Ranked #1

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Schlitterbahn New Braunfels entrance
Photo credit: Schlitterbahn

Schlitterbahn New Braunfels is a big water park. How big? It’s actually two parks with over 50 rides and attractions. And Schlitterbahn is consistently ranked as the best waterpark in the US. Before heading to this oasis of fun in Texas Hill Country, here’s what you’ll find at the park and how to get the most out of your visit.

After living in Texas for the majority of my life, I know one thing for sure. Texas is hotter than a firecracker in the summer. What’s a mom to do with a bunch of bored kids? Some families head to the Texas beaches. I take my kids to a water park and wear them out, like sleep to noon the next day wiped out. Schlitterbahn New Braunfels is our favorite water park. I love the fact I can load up a cooler with lunch, snacks and drinks and park it at a table all day. My kids love the fact that it is huge and has over 50 rides and attractions. Read on for why Schlitterbahn is the Number 1 water park in the US.

Schlitterbahn: Twice the Water Park Fun

Schlitterbahn New Braunfels is a summer tradition for some families in Texas. It opened over 40 years ago and has won the prestigious Amusement Today’s Golden Ticket Award for best water park for 23 years. It is now managed by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, one of largest regional amusement park operators in the world.

Schlitterbahn New Braunfels is like two water parks with a free tram connecting them. So you can explore both parks in one day, but I suggest spending two. The park is 70 acres and includes 55 rides and attractions. It offers season passes for spring to fall waterpark fun too.

The original section of the park uses the water from the Comal River in a series of chutes and slides. Century-old cypress trees shade the park and tubers use traditional black inner tubes to ride the rapids.

The newer section of the park includes the Blastenhoff, Tubenbach and Surfenburg areas. This area uses traditional chlorinated water and is sunnier than the original section of the park. You’ll find covered picnic areas but pack the sunscreen. And a swim shirt is valuable in the summer.

Here are the rides you’ll find when visiting Schlitterbahn New Braunfels and how to make the most out of your visit.

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Boogie Board Surfing

Hand your teen a board and they’ll know what to do. Most teens find the flow easily and love the rush of the water.

I (nowhere near teenage) dropped into the specially designed ride where 50,000 gallons of water rush over the undulating surface mimicking the form of a wave. I loved it and rode the waves for a while, surprising the kid next to me.

No reason to fear a wipeout at Schlitterbahn since it offers a soft foam landing. In the Surfenburg section, use the Blast Pass for no-wait access to Boogie Bahn. Read on for more info about the timesaving Blast Pass.

Uphill Water Coasters

The Schlitterbahn experience in New Braunfels involves hair-raising water rides, slides, and lazy rivers.
Check out the uphill water coasters at Schlitterbahn. Photo credit: Melody Pittman

Grab a tube and blast off for thrills. The force of the water shoots riders up inclines and around hairpin curves for maximum fun.

Schlitterbahn New Braunfels offers a pair of uphill water coasters, Master Blaster Uphill Water Coaster and the park’s original, Dragon’s Revenge.

  • Master Blaster Uphill Water Coaster—Climb the Blastenhoff Tower six-stories up and grab a double tube float. Start with a three-story fall and blast up again to twist and turn over a 1,000 feet to the pool at the bottom. A park favorite and an award-winning water coaster. Located in the Blastenhoff Section. Use the Blast Pass for no-wait access.
  • Dragon’s Revenge—The first edition uphill water coaster combines fierce uphills along with blasts from a dragon and special lighting effects. Located in Surfenburg; use the Blast Pass for no-wait access.

River Rides

The Schlitterbahn experience in New Braunfels involves hair-raising water rides, slides, and lazy rivers.
A lazy river is everyone’s favorite waterpark ride. Photo credit: Melody Pittman

It seems every family-friendly hotel in Texas has a lazy river. So Schlitterbahn New Braunfels reinvented the concept. There are three rivers to explore. Here are the details:

  • Krystal River–For a splashy entrance, take the Backsplash and body surf into the river. It’s a channel of swift-moving run-offs from the Boogie Bahn. But look out, the Krystal River is infested with friendly foam alligators. Wrestle one and climb on its back to float through Surfenburg. Find the Krystal River wrapping around Surfenburg in a continuous loop.
  • Torrent River—Take a turn on a tidal river with ocean-inspired swells that roll through every minute. Adds crazy amount of fun as the waves chase down tubers and tip them out of their tubes. Yes, I know from experience. A wave of screams and squeals warns all of an approaching wave. You enter at the zero-entry wave pool that’s fun too. Wrapping around the Blastenhoff Tower of water slides the Torrent River features a beach with loungers.
  • The Falls—Who wants to walk when you can float between Sclitterbahn’s Surfenburg and Blastenhoff areas? Grab a tube and ride the rapids on the world’s longest water park ride. Then ride the AquaVeyor, a conveyor that takes tubers uphill, to make The Falls a continuous loop.

Water Slides

Don’t forget the water slides and chutes. Schlitterbahn offers seven water slides.

The Original Section Water Slides

  • Bahnzai Pipeline
  • Der Bahn Speed Slides
  • Double Loop Body Slides
  • Downhill Racer
  • Soda Straw Body Slide

Blastenhoff Section Water Slides

  • Black Knight
  • Wolf Pack

The Original Section Chutes and Black Tube Rides

  • Cliffhanger
  • Congo River Expedition
  • Hillside Tube Chute
  • Ragin’ River Tube Chute
  • White Water Tube Chute

Tubenbach Clear Tube Rides

Though not labeled chutes, the rides in Tubenbach are similar.

  • Deluge
  • The Falls

BYOC—Bring Your Own Cooler

For families, feeding kids can be expensive. Schlitterbahn allows you bring in your own cooler and features 700 picnic tables across its grounds. (Note: liquor isn’t allowed inside the coolers).

Schlitterbahn also offers several food and beverage locations across the park. For convenience, Schlitterbahn offers an all day dining package. Nice, if you don’t want to haul a credit card or cash around with you all day.

Read More: Best Places to Get Your Feet Wet in Texas

Schlitterbahn for Teens

Here’s seven reasons why Schlitterbahn is tops with teens:

  • Not just one waterpark, it’s two.
  • Free Tram to get between the two..
  • Boogie board surfing.
  • Uphill water coasters are crazy fun.
  • Fun river rides with wave action or alligators to ride.
  • Lots of water slides and chutes.
  • BYOC-Bring Your Own Cooler so more fun for less cash.

Schlitterbahn with Little Kids

The Schlitterbahn experience in New Braunfels involves hair-raising water rides, slides, and lazy rivers.
Schlitterbahn has six spaces like this for young children to enjoy. Photo credit: Melody Pittman

Heading to Schlitterbahn New Braunfels with young kids?

Find wading pools and splash areas just for toddlers and kids 3 and under are free. Every area at Schlitterbahn features a lifeguard, even the wading pools. Schlitterbahn has kid-sized life jackets and features kid-sized tubes with bottoms for the river rides. You may also bring your own life jacket.

Find six areas especially designed for toddlers. Look for signs describing the ride for every ride in Schlitterbahn and some rides have height requirements.

Make it an Ultimate Day at Schlitterbahn

According to fellow SheBuysTravel Melody Pitman, add-ons can make a trip to Schlitterbahn better. Start with a Blast Pass for no-wait fun. Then add the convenience of a cabana. Finally stay in the park at one of the lodging options in, or near, Schlitterbahn New Braunfels.

Blast Pass

Hate waiting? I do. So buy a Blast Pass for the day and save a place in line at one ride while enjoying another. For an additional fee for the day, Blast Passes allows you to reserve a spot on the most popular rides. It is like a watch that keeps track of your space in line. A super blast is also available and both are not included in the price of admission. Here are the rides where you can use a Blast Pass:

  • Master Blaster
  • Wolf Pack
  • Black Knight
  • Boogie Bahn
  • Dragon’s Revenge
  • White Water
  • Ragin’ River
  • Hillside Tube Chute
  • The Congo

Cabanas

Renting a cabana is one way to have the ultimate Schlitterbahn experience.
Rent a cabana at Schlitterbahn to get away for a well-earned rest. Photo credit: Melody Pittman

Rent a cabana for the day then you have a place to park your stuff and a place to gather if you have older kids who are exploring on their own. There are cabanas in several locations. They come in standard and premium packages. There is even a cabana that offers a BBQ so you can grill up some lunch for the fam.

Photo Pass

Schlitterbahn sells photo packages and will get all the best photos of your family during your visit. 

Make it a Weekend

The Schlitterbahn experience in New Braunfels involves staying at one of their unique lodging options.
Treehouse accommodation at Schlitterbahn. Photo credit: Melody Pitman

Schlitterbahn New Braunfels offers lodging inside the park and across downtown New Braunfels. With seven different types of accommodation styles, you’ll find cabins, condos and traditional hotel rooms…even vacation rentals. I stayed in a renovated vintage cabin at the Resort at Schlitterbahn along the banks of the Comal River. It was outfitted with a kitchen and big enough for a family.

Fellow SheBuysTravel Melody Pittman enjoyed a luxury tree house, steps from all the top rides. It overlooks the park, especially the lazy rivers. You can stay in the Resort at Schlitterbahn and explore the rest of the Texas Hill Country for even more fun with your family.

Schlitterbahn New Braunfels is located at 400 N. Liberty Ave. and is close to San Antonio. Admission based on age and find online discounts.

Read More: 5 Splurge Worthy Texas Resorts for Families

Other Schlitterbahn Water Parks in Texas

Schlitterbahn New Braunfels is the original, though find another Schlitterbahn water park and resort on Galveston Island.

Schlitterbahn Galveston features 26 acres south of Houston on historic Galveston Island. It offers an indoor and outdoor area. Schlitterbahn Galveston has 33 rides and attractions, including the Guinness World Record winner for the World’s Tallest Water Coaster–The MASSIV Monster Blaster.

Schlitterbahn Galveston is located at 2109 Glenn Lucas Blvd. Admission based on age and discounts are available.

Aquatica vs. Schlitterbahn

Aquatica is the water park of SeaWorld San Antonio, so if you are staying in San Antonio, it is the obvious choice. Though it is a separate admission ticket and not included in a SeaWorld admission ticket. The parks do sell a one day, two park ticket if you want to explore both in one day.

Schlitterbahn is located in New Braunfels, about 40 miles east of SeaWorld. Doable if you are visiting San Antonio and want to drive. Schlitterbahn New Braunfels is considered the top water park in the U.S. so definitely a must if your family is really into water parks. Since it is a really two water parks in one, it hard to do it all in one day. My family spent two days at Schlitterbahn.


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