Day Trips: Paddle SMTX, San Marcos

Glowing river cruises in San Marcos

Photos by Gerald E. McLeod

Paddle SMTX has added night-lighted kayak trips to their repertoire of guided tours of the San Marcos River a few blocks from downtown San Marcos.

The lighted two-person flat bottom boats seem to hover over the dark river as the sun disappears behind the trees lining the bank. The red, green, blue, or white light, depending on a touch of a button by the front or back paddler, engulfs the translucent glass bottom boats in a halo that is absorbed by the inky darkness.

Even after several days of rain, the river current was manageable as we paddled upstream and then floated back down. The six boats in our group spread out making for an eerie show of lights under the canopy of tree limbs over the river. Curious fish came into the light of our boat to check us out before darting back into the thick wild rice that waved in the current.

Luke Adamson says that he and his brothers started the business three years ago by giving paddleboard tours on the river. This is the first summer they have offered the lighted kayak tours.

The boats are very stable, he says, and it is rare than anyone gets wet other than a splash from a paddle. The best part of the tours is all the wildlife that come out after dark. There are bats emerging from under a bridge, raccoons and possums in the trees, and occasionally they will see a beaver, he says.

Paddle SMTX offers tours of the San Marcos River from Rio Vista Park in San Marcos at 8:15pm and 9:45pm. Each tour last approximately 75 minutes. For more information, go to

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Paddle SMTX, San Marcos, San Marcos River, river cruise, Luke Adamson

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