Take a crystal kayak glow tour down the San Marcos River this summer

Family-owned business takes people paddling at night in lit-up kayaks

SAN MARCOS – You’ve never seen the San Marcos River like this before.

Paddle SMTX is a family-owned company that offers paddle tours of the San Marcos River — but it’s the glow tours that are drawing attention on social media.

Crystal kayak glow tours take adventurers down the San Marcos River for a unique night paddling experience.

Each kayak is equipped with special underwater LED lights and the translucent hull acts as a magnifying glass, allowing paddlers to see the fish and wildlife in the river below.

Luke Adamson previously told KSAT that he and his four brothers started Paddle SMTX in 2015.

Paddle SMTX takes people on night tours of the San Marcos River. (Paddle SMTX)

“Our oldest brother Dane was paddleboarding at night and had the genius idea of adding lights to the paddleboard so as to light up the river beneath him. We bought some waterproof lights and strapped them on the boards and then started taking friends and family out to explore the San Marcos River in the dark,” Adamson said.

Paddle SMTX tries to offer between two and four paddle trips per night — some in the early evening and two more later at night.

The first tour typically starts around 8 p.m. and the final tour heads out around 10:15 p.m.

Trips typically take around 75-90 minutes.

The maximum number of people allowed on a tour is 12 and pricing is based per person, not per kayak. Tickets start at $44.95 per person and discounts are available for larger groups.

Crystal Kayak Glow Tour photo from Paddle SMTX. (Paddle SMTX)

“Times trips go out will vary depending on what time the sun sets,” said Adamson. “Guests reserve their spot on our website beforehand where they are able to see the time that the trip is starting for the evening.”

Adamson told KSAT paddlers will get a chance to see plenty of native fish and birds and sometimes the occasional beaver.

“We have about eight tour guides for the season. Many of them are local college students attending Texas State University and all of them are local river enthusiasts,” said Adamson. “Some of our student guides study marine biology or ecology and use this knowledge to educate guests out on the water of the importance of the river and aquifer systems. One of our guides is even a professional opera singer, who will serenade you while paddling under the moon.”

And the opera serenade may not be the most surprising thing you’ll encounter.

“It’s always funny to catch people skinny-dipping in the river at night time,” Adamson added.

Guests are asked to arrive 15 minutes prior to the start of their tour.

Adventurers will meet their guides at Rio Vista Park, located at 555 Cheatham Street in San Marcos. Just look for the blue Paddle SMTX van.

Glow tour by Paddle SMTX (Paddle SMTX)

About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.