There’s snow tubing in the North with boots and jackets, and then there’s river tubing in the South with flip-flops and sunscreen. Stretching 230 miles across the lower portion of Texas, the Guadalupe River is a Texan’s first choice for summer fun.

With vibrant turquoise waters, the Guadalupe isn’t just any river. Really, it looks like a river you would expect to find in Puerto Rico or the Caribbean, making it a pleasant surprise in southeastern Texas. It’s full of twists and turns, exciting (and safe!) currents, and plenty of opportunities to check out the natural beauty of Texas.

Before you go, here are some tips to help make your trip the best one yet:

Photo Credit: Jim Nix

It’s not called the Famous Horseshoe Loop for nothing

Perfect for adults and families with teens vacationing near San Antonio or Austin, the Famous Horseshoe Loop is like a natural theme park with only the best water rides. From the launch point, you’ll meander your way through the lazy river style waters before picking up speed from some of the faster currents, gliding past bluffs, and zipping by a few tree islands in the middle of the river. Depending on the amount of time you have— and the amount of adventure you’re willing to find — exit points are available anywhere from two to five hours from your entry point.

Photo Credit: Dustin Larimer

Do your homework on tube companies

The Guadalupe River winds its away across the entire state of Texas and multiple tube companies claim to offer “the best trip ever.” Spend some time researching the area you’ll be in and compare the different crews you’ll be floating with to ensure a winning vacation. If you’ve dreamt of floating the river in typical Southern fashion with a beer (or Fireball, we’re not judging) in one hand and a cooler floating alongside, you’ll want to look into companies like Whitewater Sports, who aren’t affected by dry county legislation. Families with children and tweens will prefer tubing with a company that offers free life vests and weekday excursions when the crowds are smaller (and less boisterous).

Photo Credit: Jim Nix

Pack sunscreen and bug repellent

During your time on the river, you may be tempted to tug on the mossy Cypress trees lining the shore to better navigate the course. Bad idea, that’s where the mosquitoes hang out. To avoid a rough afternoon, pack several bottles of water, lather up on sunscreen (that Texas heat can be brutal) and go heavy on the bug spray.