New Braunfels has long been known as a summer getaway, because of its spot on the Comal and Guadalupe Rivers, and because it’s home to a certain waterpark mecca. But the city’s German heritage and holiday traditions have also grown New Braunfels into a winter destination.
You can keep your insides warm with a trip along the Texas Hill Country Craft Beer Trail. It includes five breweries in New Braunfels. You’ll also find two of the Hill Country’s top rated wineries in New Braunfels.
When it’s too chilly for tubing, you can canoe, kayak, stand-up paddle and fish along the Guadalupe River. There’s also Canyon Lake for motor boating, sailing and fishing. If you like to hike and explore, it’s always a nice 70 degrees inside the Natural Bridge Caverns. And next door you can enjoy a Texas safari at the Wildlife Ranch. Take a look at The Gorge, cleared by a historic flood and revealing dinosaur prints and the history of a long ago sea. If birding is your interest, New Braunfels is in the southern flyway for migrating birds.
The Texas Hill Country is also home to a network of dance halls and honky tonks with regular live music events where you can hear popular and up-and-coming artists of every musical genre.
If you’re planning a trip, here are a few New Braunfels events to add to your calendar. Many combine German traditions with Hill Country charm.
Christkindlmarkt is inspired by the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany. This open air Christmas market runs the weekend of November 30 through December 1. Enjoy German food, drink, music and shopping for unique ornaments, décor and handcrafted artisan gifts.
At the nearby Gruene Town Lighting you can see Cowboy Kringle ride into the Gruene Historic District December 1st to light the village for the holidays. The holiday celebration includes live music, festival food, and shopping at the more than 30 shops plus a show at the iconic Gruene Hall.
At Wassailfest you can enjoy an evening stroll through the streets of downtown New Braunfels sipping warm wassail – pronounced wa-sull – and shopping for some unique holiday gifts. The decorations, street entertainment and twinkling lights make this December 6th event the perfect mood setter for the upcoming festivities.
Christmas at the Caverns celebrates the holidays combining the sights and sounds of the season with the natural beauty and wonder of the cave. Features include a Christmas Campfire with Spelunker Claus, evening hayrides and caroling in the caverns where the sound of Christmas resonates 180 feet below the surface. Choirs from around Texas are featured in this holiday exploration of the spectacular Natural Bridge Cavern, the first four weekends in December.
You can learn more about these and other Texas destinations in the travel issue of Texas Lifestyle magazine.