The secret’s out about “Secret Beach,” thanks to Austin’s first tubing and shuttle service on the East Side. For those who have never ventured to the hidden hot spot, Secret Beach is a stretch of undeveloped Colorado River shoreline — and it’s now a destination along the route outlined by East Side Tubes.
East Side Tubes owner Dan Walker, who also runs MOC Kayaks, decided to make Austin a tubing destination much like San Marcos and New Braunfels, saving adventurers the trip down south to the Comal and Guadalupe rivers.
Owner Dan Walker offers a $5 discount if tubers bring back more trash than they took with them.
“I believe this will be a much safer alternative [for Austin residents],” Walker says. “There’s a bus stop and people can take public transit to keep everyone off I-35 going north or south who shouldn’t be driving.”
The float starts at East Side Tubes' store location on Red Bluff Road near Cesar Chavez and winds up at Montopolis Bridge, where tubers can catch the shuttle back to their vehicles. Depending if you’re a lazy floater or a swimmer, the one-mile float will take about one to two hours.
Kids are welcome to float as well, because the river is, as Walker calls it, very “lazy,” and they do offer tubes with bottoms.
East Side Tubes offers two options for those who want to float: $15 for a tube and one shuttle ride back or $25 for unlimited shuttle rides for the day. The prices are somewhat higher than what you find in San Marcos and New Braunfels — but you also save money a little gas money.
Walker offers a $5 discount if tubers bring back more trash than they took with them in an effort to keep the river and beaches clean and change the reputation that tubing has earned.
“I’ve had some people say, ‘Oh, I can’t go down there anymore because there’s tubing,’” says Walker. “People think tubing brings trash and trashy people, but it doesn’t have to be like that. ... [Tubers] often come back and say, ‘There’s no trash to pick up!’ And that’s kind of the point.”