For the past 15 years, our family has made an annual Summer trip, and we have come up with a pretty good plan when it comes to getting the most out of the 4 parks that make up Schlitterbahn New Braunfels.

Now, before I go into these Schlitterbahn tips I guess I should offer the disclaimer that even though this plan of action has always worked smoothly for my family, it's not necessarily foolproof. There could always be extenuating circumstances such as larger than normal crowds, weather, or ride closures.

A quick primer on Schlitterbahn: Blastenhoff, Surfenburg, and Tubenbach are on the East side of the park, and these areas all share one parking lot. The original Schlitterbahn sprawls over a much larger area. There are several parking areas surrounding this park, but free trams run continuously between the East and West side.

So, here we go: this is a rather extensive outline of the itinerary that has worked so well for our family. Hopefully it will help you on your next visit. I'll include reference points and numbers from the official Schlitterbahn map which you can find here.

Avoid Saturdays in July or August.

Going on a weekday is the best plan. The tips laid out in this page work best on less-crowded weekdays.

Start at Surfenburg.

Park in the designated parking lot located off Union Street. Schlitterbahn directions indicate that you should take Common Street all the way to the original park. I suggest you take a left at Union Street (make sure you're in the left lane to do this) and then take that to the East side park entrance. Once in the parking lot, get as close as you can to Surfenburg.

Get to the park by 9:30.

Schlitterbahn opens at 10 but usually the ticket counter is open by 9:30 and there's no charge for kids under 3. Attendants near the ticket booth will also inspect your coolers and bags. Glass containers and alcoholic beverages are not allowed, but you are allowed to bring picnic items at no charge.

Purchase 'Splash Cash'.

This wearable card allows its holders to buy goods and concessions throughout the parks. Schlitterbahn will redeem any unused Splash Cash when you're done for the day.

Pick your picnic table. 

Once the park opens, find a picnic table to use as your base point. We always pick one of the covered tables near Kristal Cove (50). If you have other valuables such as phones or wallets you may want to consider renting a locker.

Start on the Kristal River (48).

Just go to Kristal Cove and enter the circular stream. We usually go for a couple of circuits on the river loop.

Next stop, the Dragon's Revenge (51).

You'll need to get a two-person tube in a waiting area near the end of the ride, then make the uphill walk to the ride entrance. The line for this can get rather long later in the morning and afternoon, but when we've made it our first ride we have never waited more than 20 minutes total.

Backsplash (44) time.

This is not really considered a ride, but we love it. It's a medium speed, high splash way to enter back into the Kristal River. You'll travel about 25 yards down a watered incline before being submerged into the River. Smaller children may not be good idea on this one, unless they have a life vest on (which is supplied at no cost by Schlitterbahn).  Also, I would bet the vast majority of lost sunglasses happen on this 'non-ride'.

Floatin' or Coastin'.

You're already in the Kristal River so keep going for a few laps or this may also be a good time for parents with smaller kids to take advantage of the Kiddie Coast (47).

Leave Surfenburg and head to Blastenhoff (just leave all your stuff at your picnic area). There is no waiting line for The Falls, just find a tube in the water and you're off. This provides a great, wet, and relaxing way to get over to the Blastenhoff Park.

Hit the Waves!!

At Blastenhoff, the first thing we like to do is to enter The Torrent (26) by way of Blastenhoff Beach (27). The Torrent makes a circle around the park. It's basically a circular river powered by a huge wave generator. It may be better for smaller children to stay on the shores of the Beach.

1,2 or all 3? 

After a few Torrent loops, we decide which of the 3 major Blastenhoff rides we'll be doing. The crown jewel of the park is the Master Blaster (22). If you've never been on this ride, you need to give it a try. It has been voted the best water ride in the U.S, and it usually has the line to prove it. You could be waiting up to 2 hours. That kind of waiting time sure cuts out on time for other activities and rides. We usually opt for either the Black Night (23) or the Wolf Pack (21). The lines for the Wolf Pack (around 30-45 minutes) are usually a little longer than the Black Night (15-30 minutes).

All Hans on deck.

Once done with the major rides, we usually take a few more trips on The Torrent, or, we we may take the smaller kids to Hans Hideout (28). There are 4 different tube slides to choose from there and the kids just love it.

Lunch time.

Just get back in The Falls (38) and take the wet ride back to Surfenburg. After lunch we put on our flip flops and make our way to the tram pick up in the parking lot and head to the Original Schlitterbahn.

It's all Downhill from here. 

Once inside, take a left to the Downhill Racer (7). We usually set our flip flops at a nearby picnic bench and get them when we leave the park. Very rarely have we ever waited more than 10 minutes to race. Be advised, the more you weigh, the more you're probably gonna grab some air when coming down the slides. Sometimes I feel like I'm going to take flight.

Tube Time. 

Next come the rides that require tubes. Your family will need to choose their inner tubes at a huge selection area located behind and to the right of the lagoon (6). It requires a few turns and stairs to get there so you may have to ask for directions.

Let's Get Cold. 

Go to the extreme East side of the park to the Raging River Tube Ride (1). On our past 3 or 4 visits, we have waited less than 5 minutes for this ride. Entry to this ride is not marked very well, but just make sure you stay to the right of the Soda Straws (2) and you'll see the stairs for the entrance. Keep in mind that the tube rides in this park use water from the spring-fed Comal River... In other words, this water is COLD but oh-so-refreshing on a hot Summer day. By the way, this ride forks towards the end: we choose the option to go towards the Comal.

More Tube Rides.

Once out of the Comal, we take our tubes and hit the following tube rides in this order: Congo River Expedition (18), Cliff Hanger Tube Chute (10), and White Water Tube Chute (9). If any ride is going to throw you out of the tube, the White Water will be the one. Average wait time for any of these rides on a weekday is usually 10-20 minutes. We wrap up our tube rides by going to the Hillside Tube Chute (3). This tube ride usually has the longest wait time: 45 minutes to an hour in most cases.  A word of caution: those who are already riding the ride tend to splash those waiting in line.

Picking up the Pace

Once done with the Hillside ride, we take our tubes to a collection area and then make our way over to Der Bahn (11) for some quick downhill racing and then to the Double Loop Body Slides (8). Then we head back to get our shoes and make our way to catch the tram to Surfenburg.

I'm Stuck...Now What?

Some of these tube rides last the better part of 30 minutes which is a great way to cool down and relax. In some of those rides, you may get caught in a back-current which can cause you to get stuck in a certain area for a few minutes. I've heard some people get downright upset as a result, which I simply don't understand. You're in the water. You're on vacation. Be happy.

I Don't Wanna Leave

When we get back to Surfenburg, it's usually around 6 p.m. If you and the kids still have the energy you can enjoy a few more attractions or loops in the Kristal River before heading out. The park usually closes at 8. Try your best to leave the picnic area as clean as you first found it. The area sparrows and grackles will do their part to clean up some of the crumbs, but it's just good practice to be courteous.


There are many other rides and attractions that did not get mentioned in this blog, but this is just a idea of what has worked well for our family. We get to ride some of the best rides in the park and we get to do so in a relaxing fashion. Of course, you can alter this plan to fit the needs of your family or group. In the 15 years that we've been going to the New Braunfels Schlitterbahn we only have wonderful things to say about the park and the lifeguards and personnel there.

Our family and friends just love it!


More From Kicks 105