At Lions Club Tube Rentals, this has been a “really good summer,” general manager Mark Jalufka said.
But trips are a bit longer this year because drought conditions have slowed the river’s flow, Jalufka said. Trips typically are 45 minutes to an hour long. They’re taking over an hour from start to finish this year.
“Water flow is not as great as would normally be this time of year,” he said. “And that was really that’s been the case all summer.”
The tube rental company, which supports the nonprofit San Marcos Lions Club, also raised its rental prices this year to meet rising labor and fuel costs. Jalufka said this has deterred some visitors from driving to tube.
But overall, the 2022 summer is outpacing the number of 2021 visits, he said.
The busy summer trend is also at Texas State Tubes in San Marcos. Ryan Abbott, a manager, said crowds this summer are similar to previous years. The dry summer has been great for business with back-to-back weekends of busy crowds, he said.
The only difference is not having rainy weekends for staff to recharge and get a break from the sun.
“Because we’ve been so consistently hot every single weekend, it almost is like no excuse for people to avoid any of our weekends we’ve had so far,” he said.
Texas State Tubes’ trips, which are further east of San Marcos, typically last 3.5 to 4 hours. Abbott said many tubers are not prepared for the heat for that long.
Thankfully, the San Marcos River is fed by Edwards Aquifer, so the dry summer has not spoiled the summer tubing season. But the river is about two feet lower than usual, likely due to low rainfall and nearby development, Abbott said. This won’t impact tube rides because the river isn’t as rocky as neighboring rivers like the Comal.
“It’s lower than normal,” he said. “But luckily it’s not at a concerning level as of yet.”
Both tubing companies encourage families and visitors looking for relaxation to come out on weekdays, if possible, for a more enjoyable trip.
“It’s almost like you have the river to yourself,” Jalufka said.
Know before you float
Here’s some tips to prepare for a float:
- Bring plenty of water. “Obviously, Coors Light is close to water. But it’s not the same thing,” Abbott said. Water prevents dehydration on three-hour trips.
- Sunscreen is a must.
- Bring a hat to get some shade.
- Watch your alcohol intake in the heat. Jalufka said usually, but not always, heat issues are alcohol-related.