New Braunfels sometimes gets a little lost between Austin and San Antonio. But this cute German town offers plenty to do for the weekend.
First, explore the wonders of caves and caverns in the area, including the largest in the state, Natural Bridge Caverns. Home to numerous cave formations and other unique geological features, the cave was discovered in the 1960s. Artifacts dating back as far as 5000 B.C. have been found there. Lantern tours and adventure tours allow you to experience it all just like the cavers who found the caverns. A half-mile tour takes you 180 feet below the ground to see awe-inspiring, ancient formations that were centuries in the making, and still growing today – amazing stalagmites, stalactites, flow stones, chandeliers and soda straws. It’s one way to escape the summer heat. The cave maintains a constant 70-degree temperature.
After exploring the caves, get lost in the AMAZEn’ Ranch Roundup. This maze experience was built to honor five generations of ranch ownership history in the Natural Bridge Caverns family, and is entertaining for all ages. Find your way through the maze and time yourself against your friends. There are three towers and a bridge to help you find your way if you get lost.
Ready to relax in the car but still want to keep the adventure rolling? The Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch is a real-life safari, home to more than 500 animals. There are 400 acres of land for guests to drive through as animals come right up to your vehicle. You can also take time to feed some animals at the petting barn or get up-close with some of the exotic animals in the walk-about.
Head north to check out the Gruene Historic District. You won’t want to miss live music and dancing at Gruene Hall, the oldest dance hall in the nation. While you’re in Gruene, grab a piece of homemade fudge at Gruene General Store.
If you’re looking to update your Instagram feed, New Braunfels has several worthy panoramas. Go to the Faust Street Bridge, Cypress Bend Park, Dry Comal Creek Winery and Vintage Oaks’ Timber Ridge Park for some of the best vistas in the city, and some great photo opps – no filters necessary.