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Austin River Tubing Float Guides

  • Writer's pictureFrontera Tours

Why a Shared-Private Shuttle is the Best Way to Head to the River

Frontera Tours Provides the Most Convenient Way to Head Out for a River Float from Austin

Whether you're a out of towner wanting a quick getaway, a bachelorette or bachelor party looking to coordinate a large group, or local friends wanting to take things a bit easier, a shared-private shuttle to the river provided by Frontera Tours is the absolute best way to make your river floating dreams come true. We've hit the river via almost every way imaginable (still waiting for our hover boards to come in), and we can without a doubt say that a shared-private trip checks all the boxes for a perfect transport to the San Marcos river.

Our river guide on a shared-private shuttle

What Exactly is a "Shared-Private" Shuttle?

A shared-private shuttle is just as the name implies: it's a shuttle that is shared with those on board, but also private for only those on board. That means it won't be picking up people all day, running back and forth, making you wait for it once you get off the river and are ready to head home. It's there just for your group and those others on that specific shuttle, and no one else! Have extra clothing, towels, phones, wallets, and other items that you don't want to float with? Forget about leaving them at home (or worse, worrying about losing them on the river) and simply hop on and leave them in your seat or onboard lockbox!

What Can I Expect When Riding a Shared-Private Shuttle with Frontera Tours?

Once you meet us at our designated pick-up spot, we do everything for you! Bring your beer, snacks, and other items to the check-in and let us ice them down and load them for you. Once we all load up, your guides will go over some basic river information with you and then begin "bartending" for you if you want some roadies on that trip down to San Marcos. Sit back and relax, we will get your drinks for you so you can focus on the fun!

While there are usually between 3 and 6 groups on board, it's up to you how much or little you mingle with other groups. But those people on the way down will be the exact same people on the way back to Austin once the float finishes. Your belongings can remain in your seat while you float ensuring they stay completely dry and ready for you, and any valuables can be stored in the on-board lockbox. And at the end of the river, while everyone else waits for their rides or for the shuttle back to their car, the Shared-Private bus will already be there waiting for you. No standing in 105 degree heat for half an hour waiting!

The ride is usually about 30-45 minutes, and we have music and some truly amazing guides there to keep the vibe going strong!

Always a good time on the way to the river

What Other Options Are There for Getting to the River?

Let's break down all the possible ways you can get out of Austin and head for the river, and you'll see why a shared-private trip is the best:


Ubering to the river may seem like a solid choice, especially for those without a vehicle and not wanting to worry about a DD. But while certainly viable, it suffers from the following problems:

  • Cost: A trip down in your standard 4 person Uber will run ~$50 at least each way. Larger vehicles cost even more.

  • Space: Bringing your own fully loaded cooler? Good luck making sure it fits before your Uber arrives, or your group may have to call a new one.

  • Belongings: Most people don't head to the river in simply their swimsuits. And floating with your clothes in tow is the perfect way to come home soaking wet. Ubers don't offer any way to store items you might like for the trip to and from the river, but not on the float itself.

  • Getting Back: While getting and Uber is usually easy, it requires two things... a phone and cell service. Taking your phone floating is always a risky decision, but even if you manage to make it to the end with phone in hand, the river exit is in the middle of nowhere, and cell service is non-existent. Having a fun filled, amazing day with your friends is the best, until y'all can't get home.

Drive Yourself

You have a car, either a rental or you're local, so why pay to get somewhere where you're completely capable of going on your own? Don't get us wrong, making your own way down to the river has loads of benefits, both with cost and timing, but still comes with some noticeable drawbacks that a Shared-Private trip doesn't have.

  • Designated Driver: Let's face it, floating the river is by and large a casual day drinking activity. And after 3.5 hours in the hot sun, watching your friends enjoy their ice cold beer and seltzer, we've seen even the staunchiest of DDs slip. What's one beer? Well one turns to 2 which turns to 5 and all of a sudden your DD is no longer such. Remember, buzzed driving is drunk driving, and not worth the risk to others or to yourselves.

  • Lines and Parking: Driving is a bit quicker than a shuttle, but the river is a immensely popular activity, and once you arrive you'll then need to deal with a line to get in, parking, and another line to access your tubes and the river itself. On top of that, once you exit the river, ready to head home, you'll need to wait for a shuttle service back to where you parked!

Standard Shuttle

There are a few companies in town that offer your run of the mill shuttle down to the river and back. These can be a good choice if you know what you're getting into beforehand, but many don't explain the shuttle until y'all are on board wondering why everything seems so chaotic. Our issue with these trips are:

  • Amenities: These shuttles provide nothing in regards to going floating. From out of town? Hope you brought you own cooler as they typically only provide them for an extra fee. And ice? You're on your own for that.

  • Chaos: Speaking of ice, these shuttles do often stop along the way for ice... and for beer... and snacks... and then loading it all. And instead of relying on expertly trained river guides to handle the logistics, you are stuck with the whims of people making their supply run on your time. We all have that friend that takes an extra hour shopping, now imagine 20 more of those friends on a single bus. That 30 minute shuttle just became a 2 hour one.

  • Guidance: This applies to Ubering or driving as well. Sure, the river is completely navigable on your own, in fact many people enjoy it without assistance every single day! But if you've never floated before, having someone there to answer questions and deal with logistics the entire float can be life-saving, and typical shuttles do not provide this.

  • Belongings: Once again, your belongings also must float with you, as these shuttles run all day and your bus down may not be the same as your bus back to Austin.

Shared-Private Shuttles with Frontera Tours

As you can see, a shared-private shuttle cuts out all the problems and is easily the most convenient and best way to do a river float from Austin. Accommodating to all group sizes, from solo to 40+ people, its simply a no brainer. And if you really need one, we do offer completely private trips as well. Though the cost is higher, it's an option for those groups that just want that private trip feel while still getting the best Frontera Tours has to offer.

Bachelorettes enjoying the ride from Austin

Float slow y'all!




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