Things to Do

Fire Up for San Marcos’ Float Fest 2016

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Float Fest 2016 splashes into San Marcos the weekend of July 16 – 17. This marks the third year Cool River Ranch, a 220-acre spread in Martindale, has hosted the two-day Texas Hill Country festival. The event combines the treasured Hill Country past-time of floating the stunning San Marcos River with live music to create the ultimate wet-n-wild festival experience.


Photo: Courtesy of Float Fest by Julian Bajsel

General admission tickets are $99 and include a one-day float pass and camping for the weekend. For those of you that have a little extra cash, VIP admission tickets are $299 and include a one-day float pass, camping for the weekend, complimentary open bar, luxury AC lounge, side stage viewing deck, rapid entry, upgraded bathroom with bathroom attendants, and discounted craft cocktails.

All tickets are available online and can be purchased in advance here. Grab them quick! Ticket prices increase July 8. Students with any valid university ID are eligible for a 50% discount. Parking on site at Cool River Ranch is $10 per car — cash only.


Photo: Courtesy of Float Fest by Julian Bajsel

Campgrounds open at 10 a.m. on Saturday to campers. Campers will stake out sites  on a first come, first serve basis. Parking for camping is $20 for the weekend. The campgrounds will have 24-hour security but will close with no entry or exit after 12 a.m.  Grills are okay, but no fires.

Tubing shuttles start each day at 10 a.m. and are first come, first serve. Tubes are included in the admission price and cooler tubes are available for $10 each. In addition to tubing, take a trip down a huge inflatable slip-n-slide and participate in a scavenger hunt.

night concert

Photo: Courtesy of Float Fest by Julian Bajsel

It’s no secret; at Float Fest people like to party — a lot. Float Fest comes with a weekend full of sun, smiles, libation, and live music. Unfortunately, there is also a can for every coke and a bottle for every beer. To aid in protecting the river, a trash bag is handed to every person before they float. “River wranglers” courageously canoe down the river corralling bags mid-float. Volunteers are also positioned along the banks for an easy handoff. There will be trash cans, dumpsters, and recycle bins always nearby, so please take the extra five seconds to dispose of your trash responsibly.

Concert gates open at 2 p.m. Check the Float Fest website for a complete line-up of the killer live music on two stages with no overlap. There will be a large tent with food vendors and a general store available for tubers and campers outside the concert gates.

If you love tubing, dancing, camping and having fun with friends, this is the place to be. So, by all means, do whatever floats your boat: chill, float, party, get funky – just do it responsibly. And remember don’t mess with Texas, or its rivers.