Park and River Information

The San Marcos River is one of the largest aquifer-driven spring systems in the world and is home to several threatened or endangered species. This is one of the reasons we ask visitors to keep this in mind and be gentle with the natural environment both in and around our river. Please respect the plants and animals that rely on the San Marcos River to live. Don’t uproot Texas Wild Rice (that some call seaweed), try to catch turtles or birds, or damage the riverbanks. And as always, take home everything that you brought with you.


A few suggestions to help you and your family/friends stay safe on the San Marcos River:

  • Remember, this is a natural-forming river. Children and inexperienced swimmers should wear life vests. 
  • Don’t litter! Bring a litter bag or use the mesh bag provided by the Lions Club. Trash cans are located along the banks of the river.
  • Wear Sunscreen.
  • Wear hats and/or sunglasses that you won't mind losing.
  • Bring a waterproof pouch or zip-loc freezer bag for necessities. Recommendation: leave valuables in the car or at home/hotel room.
  • Water shoes or athletic shoes are recommended. There may be rocks in some areas.
  • Drink liquids to stay hydrated. 
  • Coolers and disposable containers are allowed on the San Marcos river. Please no styrofoam.
  • Secure lids on all coolers. 
  • Designated access and exits points are located at City Park and Rio Vista for those who bring alcohol to consume while on the river. 
  • Please, no Styrofoam-type products in the river including coolers, ice chests, cups, plates, disposable containers, toys, floats, kickboards, rings or swim gear.
  • Bring rope if you want to tie multiple tubes together.
  • Alcohol on city owned dams, spillways and bridges is not allowed.
  • Bring an ID, Credit Card or cash if you are renting a tube.  Lions Club sells snacks and beverages at the beginning and end of their float.


A few suggestions to help you and your family/friends while in our parks:

  • Park curfew (when parks are closed) is from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. every night.
  • Charcoal or wood grills are not allowed in any park.
  • Propane grills are limited to one and only allowed at City installed picnic tables.
  • Pop-up tents or shelters are limited to one and only allowed at City installed picnic tables.
  • Personal tables are prohibited.
  • Prohibit the public display and consumption of alcohol in city parks.
  • Prohibit alcohol on city owned dams, spillways and bridges.
  • Ban the use of Styrofoam type products in parks and the river, including coolers, ice chests, cups, plates, toys, floats, kickboards, rings or swim gear. Styrofoam liners used in floatation devices or dock supports are exempt if they are encapsulated by a water-based acrylic or latex coating or within a boat.
  • Create tobacco free zones in play areas and athletic fields.
  • Prohibit smoking or E-Cigarettes/Inhaled vapor devices of any kind on all city property or in city parks
  • Animals are to remain physically restrained at all times.
  • Require container lids to be secured in the San Marcos River.
  • Regulate the use of spear guns and gigs in the San Marcos River for wildlife management purposes.
  • Park rules apply in natural areas also.
  • Minimum fines for littering are $250.00 in the river and parks.
  • For additional park rules, please visit

About the San Marcos River

  • The San Marcos River is spring-fed which begins in San Marcos at The Meadows Center.
  • Since the river is spring-fed and begins in San Marcos, the water is clear which allows you to view to the bottom of the river.
  • The water is a constant 72 degrees year round.
  • There are three drops/falls at Rio Vista Park; this area is called Rio Vista Falls.
  • If you do not wish to go over the falls, exit the river to the left of the falls.
  • Due to the natural environment, the volume of water, depth and debris can change from day to day.

Lions Club Tube Rental sells the following:

  • Sunscreen, Sunglasses and Goggles
  • Water Cameras and Water Shoes
  • Life jackets and Floaties
  • Air - if you brought your own tube. (pricing varies)

Tubing can be fun for kids and adults but always take safety precautions. Remember, there are NO Lifeguards on duty. New swimmers should wear life jackets. Always have a plan or place to meet if a member of your party gets lost.