Taking a vacation with a large group of friends or your entire family can be stressful without a good plan.
You’ll need a full itinerary to keep everyone entertained, and not many places have destinations that everyone will find interesting.
New Braunfels is a city in Texas known for its mix of German and Texan heritage, and it’s a great place if you’re looking for a wide variety of things to do.
There are museums catered explicitly to children, wineries and vineyards for the adults, and parks and sights that everyone can enjoy.
Here are the best things to do in New Braunfels, TX:
Visit the New Braunfels Historic Railroads and Modelers
Start your trip by heading to a quaint and unique destination that you won’t find anywhere else.
The New Braunfels Railroad Museum, more commonly known as the New Braunfels Historic Railroads and Modelers, preserves and showcases railroad artifacts to the public.
You’ll find historical artifacts from the golden age of railroads.
They have exhibits on restored locomotives, so visitors can easily imagine what train travel was like back in the day and picture the changes.
Once you’ve gotten your fill of historical tours, remember that the story of railroads doesn't end here.
Next to the museum, you’ll find one of the busiest railroad tracks in the country, so you won’t have any trouble seeing how the past influences the present.
Step into the World of the Gruene Historic District
In the 1840s, German farmers arrived in Texas and settled in the area now known as Gruene.
These people built houses in several different styles: Victorian cottages, brick homes, and frame houses, to name a few.
Gruene sits next to the Guadalupe River.
Enterprising residents preserved its historic buildings.
The people wanted a haven for guests who wanted to get away from the bustling city life.
The National Register of Historic Places has added the district to its record.
Likewise, several buildings in the district have received a Texas Medallion.
Taste Perfection at Gruene River Grill
Stop by the Gruene River Grill for a good meal and a better atmosphere.
The restaurant offers outside seating, meaning you and your traveling companions can continue to marvel at the beauty of the historic buildings.
At the same time, you’re eating a memorably delicious meal.
There’s something for everyone on their menu, so don’t worry if you and your family or friends have different food preferences.
There are shrimp wontons for the seafood lovers out there.
If you prefer full-blooded red meat, they also have burgers and steaks to satisfy your cravings.
Sip Wine at Dry Comal Creek Vineyards
It’s always a fresh experience visiting a new city’s vineyards and tasting their homegrown brand of flavors.
Franklin Houser turned his passion for winemaking into a business in the 1990s.
All the wines at Dry Comal Creek Vineyards come from fruits grown in Texas lands, giving them a distinct taste.
After years of business, they’ve gained a keen understanding of various Texas wines and crafted great brews representing Texas wine culture.
Visit Dry Comal Creek Vineyards, walk around beautiful vineyards, and sip some of their best-selling flavors.
Wine enthusiasts and curious travelers should stop by this winery and taste this unique Texas wine!
Enjoy the McKenna Children’s Museum
While kids might not enjoy historical tours and museums, they might change their tune with a McKenna Children’s Museum trip.
This children's museum is a great learning environment, bursting with fun and games.
The establishment has a collection of exhibits on many subjects, including science, culture, health, and history.
They can even host birthday parties if you’re looking for a big, fun, and unique celebration for your children.
Have a Drink at the Dry Comal Creek Winery and Vineyards
Sometimes, during a vacation with the entire family, the adults may want some time to explore and unwind without minding the children.
If that’s what you’re looking for, drop by the Dry Comal Creek Winery and Vineyards.
Their tasting room lies tucked behind a seemingly endless row of vines.
Once you find the tasting area, a covered pavilion in the middle of the vineyard, the fun truly begins.
Try their uniquely Texan wine while savoring the company of your loved ones.
Throw an Ax at Texas Ski Ranch
The Texas Ski Ranch offers an array of thrilling and uncommon activities.
Wakeboarding, wake surfing, paintball, and ax-throwing are the exciting ventures you can try at this vast ranch.
They also offer lessons if you’d like to have a professional guide you rather than learning everything on your own.
During summer, the Texas Ski Ranch holds seasonal competitions for wake surfing, which you can watch for free.
There’s also a nearby bar if you get hungry.
Take a chance on the Texas Ski Ranch and their fun ventures.
Watch a Live Performance at Gruene Hall
Another fun destination is Gruene Hall in the historic district.
It’s the oldest dance hall in the area, and locals have used the building as a place to relax and unwind after a hard day or week of work.
Don’t worry if you’re new, either, since the hall's charm is it welcomes new patrons readily.
It’s a simple place for people with simple needs, a hall where people can watch concerts, hold events, and mingle.
There’s usually a live musician playing there every day, so visit at least once to see the local talents.
Grab a Bite at La Cosecha Mexican Table
At La Cosecha Mexican Table, you can expect a family-style restaurant that prepares a remarkable selection of inspired Mexican cuisine.
You can try their tacos or enchiladas or order something adventurous like Pollo con mole or snapper a la plancha.
They even have nachos and quesadillas if those are more your speed.
You can also stay and order one of their signature drinks or from their list of wines and Mexican beers.
Find Peace at Landa Park
Landa Park is where to go if you’re looking for some peace.
Just lay down a picnic blanket, sit with your friends and family, close your eyes, and listen to the sounds of nature all around you.
Walk along the trails and view flora and fauna if you're up for it.
Stop and smell the flowers and watch the birds soar if you have time.
You'll also find the best view of the Comal Springs and Landa Lake.
These things make you appreciate what you already have in life, when it’s just you and the gentle presence of nature, not expecting anything, but just being there like a kind and constant companion.
Spend Time with the Creatures at the Animal World and Snake Farm Zoo
Another place your kids may appreciate visiting is the Animal World and Snake Farm Zoo.
Since 1967, it has become one of the area's top attractions, for a good reason.
The zoo takes care of various animals from all over the world that both adults and children would find fascinating.
They have unique mammals, such as the Asian small-clawed otter and the capybara.
If you’re more interested in reptiles, you’ll also find black mambas, a Burmese python, and a green anaconda.
Take a Journey into History at the Sophienburg Museum and Archives
The first residents of New Braunfels were German settlers, and their story is woven into the very fabric of the city.
One of the Sophienburg Museum and Archives' goals is to preserve and retell this story for future generations.
In this museum, through their exhibits, photographs, and archives, you’ll learn the story of these early settlers.
How did they make a home for themselves in such a foreign land, and how did they defend it?
It’s a fascinating story, indeed a treat for any visitor interested in this period of history.
Relax at Fischer Park
Sometimes museum tours and wine tastings aren’t a suitable activity for your traveling party, and that’s completely fine!
Different people have different tastes, so you must find an activity that you all find exciting.
If museums and zoos seem too much for you, stop by Fischer Park for something more straightforward and easier to enjoy.
Fischer Park has a fishing ground and some playgrounds, but most importantly, it has hike and bike trails.
You can find yourself walking or biking in this park for hours, losing yourself in the peace of nature and letting all your worries disappear with the coming breeze.
Grab Treats from Naegelin’s German Bakery
If you’ve ever wondered what authentic German pastries taste like, you’re in luck!
Nagelein’s German Bakery lets you try new flavors from the recipes of a German immigrant, featuring standard baked goods and German pastries like strudels and German rye bread.
This historical bakery started from humble beginnings in 1868 when Edouard Naegelin Sr. came to New Braunfels with the last of his money and a dream.
His bakery is the oldest bakery in Texas and has become a local favorite in New Braunfels.
Stop by Naegelin’s Bakery to discover why this bakery is still doing good business many decades later.
Chill Out at Schlitterbahn Waterpark New Braunfels
What better way to beat the Texas heat than visiting a water park?
The Schlitterbahn Waterpark will save visitors and locals from the sweltering heat.
The park is massive, and you’ll never run out of fun things to do with your friends and family.
You can try multiple slides, each one bigger than the last, if you have a taste for that sweet, sweet adrenaline rush.
You can also go to one of their heated pools if you’re looking to chill out and relax in the water.
Try the Dishes of Texas Bistro at Park View
Everyone looks for new and exciting dishes to try out whenever they’re in someplace new.
If that’s what you’re craving, then the Texas Bistro at Park View may be what you’re looking for.
This restaurant offers a wide array of food and drinks to make even the most stoic patron’s mouth start watering.
Start your meal with one of their appetizers, such as the tuna tartare or the bistro poppers.
Then, move on to the soup or salad.
You can order anything here since they’re all great!
Then try one of their entrees if you’re still craving more after a single meal.
This kind of food deserves that sort of love and appreciation.
View the Light Displays in Santa’s Ranch
This scenic, vibrant park opens all its lights from November to January to create surreal visions of colorful statues and displays.
Santa’s Ranch is a collection of Christmas displays like Santa Claus, gingerbread houses, Texas musicians, etc.
Cars must drive slowly through a dark open location wonderfully lit up by multi-colored glows.
The ranch is also open on rainy days.
The staff even recommends a trip on a rainy night because the water drops only brighten the sparkles.
This seasonal activity has become a yearly holiday tradition for many locals, alongside eating cookies, kennel corn, and hot cocoa from the concession stands.
They also have a souvenir stall so you can bring home this memorable experience.
Look for the lights, and you’ll find the ranch.
View the Exhibits at the Museum of Texas Handmade Furniture
One last museum you should visit while at New Braunfels is the Museum of Texas Handmade Furniture.
The place is a testament to the beautiful and skilled craftsmanship of the German cabinetmakers who settled the city centuries ago.
Their furniture is called Biedermeier; the museum houses hundreds of pieces.
The late Bill and Nan Dillen donated many of these Biedermeier pieces.
A tour usually lasts an hour, but if you have time to kill or are on the last legs of your vacation, that’s also fine.
You can ask for a custom tour for you and your travel companions, and the museum staff will be more than happy to accommodate your needs.
Ride the River Stream with Comal Tubes
Cool off at the fresh waters of the Comal River through this tubing rental service company.
Their agency is near Stonewall Street.
They also have a shuttle transport service that can pick you up elsewhere and drop you off right at the main entrance of Comal River.
You can rent a tube and float along the waters.
The experience lasts for an average of two hours and involves a calm, leisure trip along the river.
However, a few tube chutes might make the floating quicker and more exciting in some sections.
The water temperature also stays at 72 degrees, with clean, fresh water coming from natural underground springs.
It's a leisure day in the sun with a few short, exciting moments.
End Your Journey at Faust Street Bridge
End your New Braunfels adventure at the iconic Faust Street Bridge and make the most out of your vacation's waning moments.
The builders built this impressive bridge in 1887 to stand right above the mighty Guadalupe River.
Walk across its wooden walkways and take a seat on one of the benches.
Take the time to breathe and reflect on all the things you’ve seen and places you've visited.
Drop by Lindheimer Haus
In 1964, the New Braunfels Conservation Society was formed to preserve the Lindheimer House, a historic home in the thriving city.
Ferdinand Lindheimer owned the house.
He was a famous botanist in Texas who discovered over 200 new plant species.
He designed the home similar to the houses of other German immigrants.
The “saltbox” style features a roof with lower slopes at the back, a loft, and a central chimney.
Personalized tours around the Lindheimer House will show what day-to-day life was like for people from the past.
See how they did their household chores, how they made their fires, etc.
It’s an exciting way to learn about the past while also reflecting on how modernity made life more convenient.
Book a tour around this beautiful historical residence.
Buy Local Goods at Old Gruene Market Days
Almost every town has a farmers' market.
For New Braunfels, it’s Old Gruene Market Days.
It opens on the 3rd weekend of every month, except for January and December.
This shopping venue has become a New Braunfels staple for over 30 years, allowing local producers and artisans to sell their works.
There are many handmade products and trinkets sold in this market, such as jewelry, candles, drawings, sculptures, photographs, edible creations, etc.
It’s one of those places where you see the products of people’s hard work, passion, and dedication to their crafts.
New Braunfels is a fun and exciting place to visit, no matter your interests.
It offers endless sights and even more history to flesh out the story of every remarkable building you see.
So, book a trip and experience everything in New Braunfels.