Section Rio Vista Whitewater Park, Cheatham St, San Marcos
Difficulty Hard
Reward yourself Skip the expensive burgers and iffy service at the River Pub and get greasy with a yummy breakfast taco from Taqueria Del Charro.

When my friend and kayak enthusiast Kelly Sell told me that he and his wife liked to play in the San Marcos River at Rio Vista, I thought his choice of verb marginally odd. But, no, that’s exactly what people do here. The city replaced the original dam with three artificial barriers, and at each the current races through a narrow central opening. Boaters practice stern squirts and peal-outs in the pools while waiting their turn to bob for a few long seconds on the foaming water. This seems to be how some Texas State students blow off steam in between lectures. Even on a chilly November day, there were a dozen or more people hunched in tiny Dagger kayaks or kneeling on slalom canoes doing crazy things in the jet stream, and after a while, they were joined by two wetsuited dudes on boogie boards—all great free entertainment.