Whether you want to enjoy a big splash or a relaxing float, these water-focused resorts and amusement parks offer ample facilities to keep you entertained.
Discovery Cove: Orlando, Florida
A tropics-themed water park designed by SeaWorld, Discovery Cove is an all-inclusive day resort where visitors interact with and learn about marine life. Change into swimwear and join a trainer to swim with dolphins (a premium, must-try activity), feed rays and tropical fish, and tour a screened-in aviary with exotic birds. Most activities and all meals and drinks are included in the $170 per person standard admission rate
Cowabunga Bay Water Park: Draper, Utah
Sitting less than 20 miles south of Salt Lake City, this 1960s-themed water park is decorated with surfboards, sandcastles and a 1967 Volkswagen Beetle water feature. At the park’s elaborate water playground, kids have access to bridges and tunnels that span 12 levels, as well as 300-plus water toys and a 1,500-gallon dump bucket. While older children twist through the 1,000-foot-long Mondo waterslide in the dark, little ones can lounge at Cowabunga Beach or enjoy Cowabunga Kid’s Cove’s smaller slides
Sandcastle Waterpark: Pittsburgh
This wooded Pittsburgh oasis is a nostalgic treat. Though the main attractions at this former railroad yard are its 15 waterslides, the property also features a wave pool, a lazy river, a pool with a mushroom-shaped waterfall, and shallow play areas for young ones. Plus, family-friendly games, activities and more are available every Friday from mid-June to mid-August. Come for lounging, heart-pumping fun and bingeing on loaded Potato Patch fries – a local specialty.
Noah’s Ark Waterpark: Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
Located in Wisconsin Dells, the “Water Park Capital of the World,” the 70-acre Noah’s Ark Waterpark is home to more than 50 attractions, including the Flash Flood flume ride and a 4D dive-in theater that engages all the senses. This innovative park’s latest thrill is the side-by-side tube racer, Raja, which sends riders speeding around 335 feet of track before they plunge 37 feet into the mouth of a king cobra.
Water World: Federal Heights, Colorado
One of America’s largest water parks, this 70-acre park, which sits approximately 10 miles north of Denver, features 50 attractions, including a circus-inspired lazy river and the Thunder Bay Wave Pool. Children may also have the opportunity to meet the park’s walrus mascot when they’re not zipping down slides or playing in the pirate-themed water playground. Plus, families have access to free parking, complimentary admission for kids shorter than 40 inches, and reduced rates for seniors.
Schlitterbahn Waterpark & Resort New Braunfels: New Braunfels, Texas
When owners Bob and Billye Henry added a replica German guard tower with four waterslides to their riverfront resort near San Antonio in 1979, they started what would become one of America’s most well-known water park chains. The first of five indoor and outdoor water park resorts, New Braunfels’ Schlitterbahn features 51 German-themed attractions, including the Kinderhaven wading pool, a castle with eight tube chutes, and the thrilling Master Blaster uphill water coaster.
Legoland Water Park: Carlsbad, California
Young builders will love this park’s Lego-themed rides, slides and splash pads. Kids can even customize rafts for the lazy river using soft Lego bricks. Cartoon Network fans will especially appreciate the Lego Legends of Chima section that’s based on the popular kids television show. Noteworthy features of this area include a spot for kids to design, build and race boats, and the Lion Temple Wave Pool’s arch, which is made of more than 260,000 Legos.
Six Flags Hurricane Harbor: Jackson, New Jersey
This massive tropics-themed water park sits about 55 miles northeast of Philadelphia. Just as the adjacent Six Flags Great Adventure theme park is known for big coasters, the 45-acre Six Flags Hurricane Harbor (which is one of several in the country) is popular with water lovers. It features more than 25 thrill slides, including the multilane Big Wave Racer and Tornado, which boasts a 60-foot-wide funnel. Additionally, visitors will find a 1 million-gallon wave pool, a nearly half-mile-long lazy river and the family-friendly Caribbean Cove water playground.
Raging Waters Los Angeles: San Dimas, California
Raging Waters features three California water parks, but its most impressive is Raging Waters Los Angeles. Situated less than 30 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, this water park is the state’s largest. It’s home to a FlowRider surf simulator, a seven-story drop slide and Aqua Rocket, a four-person hydromagnetic water coaster, among other attractions. If you’d rather chill during your visit, check out the quarter-mile-long lazy river.
Darien Lake Splashtown: Darien Center, New York
Situated roughly 45 miles southeast of Niagara Falls, this 10-acre water park is part of the Darien Lake amusement park complex, which has entertained families seasonally for more than 50 years. Splashtown offers seven slides, such as the 70-foot-tall Brain Drain and 700-foot-long Big Kahuna. In addition to slides, visitors can float in the heated lazy river, play in the pirate-themed water playground and splash around in the 600,000-gallon wave pool. The property also features a hotel, cabins and campsites.