Whether your family prefers hopping aboard thrill rides or chilling out on a lazy river, it’s time to get up, grab your swimsuits and head out for a day (or 2) at the water park. Today's slides, rides and splashy kiddie zones are better than ever, so take a look at our 10 favorite water parks for families.
Check out Travel's Best Amusement Parks and Water Parks.
Relax in an inner tube on the Congo River Expedition (keep your eyes peeled for water-squirting snakes!) before plunging 3 stories and turning in spirals on the Master Blaster Uphill Water Coaster at Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels, Texas. There are plenty of activities for small children too, like the Kinderhaven water playground with slides, a wading pool and even a shaded section for sun protection.
Whether you’ve got teens or tiny tots, Water Country in New Hampshire has plenty for everyone. Head to Thunder Falls for whitewater family rafting or jump the waves at the Giant Wave Pool, the largest in New England. Little ones will love the park's 3 separate kiddie play areas where they can shoot water cannons from a pirate ship, slide down an octopus and get soaked by a tipping bucket at a tree house.
Combine wave pools, water slides and scenic views of the Rocky Mountains and you’ve got Water World. Situated just outside Denver, Water World is one of America’s largest water parks, offering a boatload of family-friendly rides, like Lost River of the Pharaohs, a family rafting ride through ancient pyramids. Upgrade your entrance pass to include tube valet service, which allows you to cut lines and avoid lugging your tube up rides.
LEGOLAND Water Park outside San Diego features more than 20 LEGO models around the park, as well as LEGO friends ready to spray water on guests. Build-A-Raft River allows riders to create their own rafts using soft LEGO bricks. Meanwhile, toddlers get their own areas to splash and play with DUPLO animals. The LEGO Legends of Chima Water Park offers even more fun with a beach, wave pool and various water slides and water cannons.
Atlantis and Aquaventure in the Bahamas
The largest water park in the Caribbean, Aquaventure at Atlantis resort in the Bahamas is a free perk for overnight guests and a must-visit for families staying nearby. Look for jungle-themed slides and fountains, as well as Splashers, a Mayan-themed water playground that’s perfect for young children. Add in a lazy river, rafting rides and a variety of water slides with vertical drops and twisting corkscrews and you’ve got the makings of one splashy family adventure.
No trip to Walt Disney World is complete without a visit to Typhoon Lagoon. Spend the day floating around the park on a nearly 1/2-mile-long lazy river or hit the popular Crush ‘n’ Gusher water coaster which takes riders up, down and around before making a splash landing in Hideaway Bay. Little kids will love Ketchakiddee Creek with its mini slides, waterfalls and animal-shaped fountains.
Noah’s Ark in Wisconsin Dells, WI is the largest of nearly 2 dozen water parks in the area, featuring 2 huge wave pools, loads of water slides, a 4-D movie theater, wild water rides and even a bodyboarding experience. As a bonus, Noah’s Ark boasts 4 water play areas just for kids, including Paradise Lagoon and Tadpole Bay, which will keep tykes busy splashing and spraying for hours.
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Situated on 96 acres in Long Island, NY, Splish Splash has plenty of water slides, wave pools, family tubing rides and even a live parrot show when you’re ready to take a break from water-filled fun. Children will love splashing in the Octopus Pool and exploring the pirate ship in Pirates Cove before getting sprayed by the elephant in the kiddie wading pool.
9. Aquatica San Diego, SeaWorld's Water Park
Whether you prefer floating along Loggerhead Lane with its lush scenery and views of flamingos or flying down a racing slide like Taumata Racer, Aquatica offers a full day of fun. Look for speedy slides, family tube rides and plenty of splashy fountains and geysers for little ones. As a bonus, kick back in a cabana at the waterpark’s sandy beach.
More than 25 water attractions nestled in a tropical setting make Wet ‘n’ Wild Hawaii in Oahu the place to go for plunging slides, swirling tunnels and a 400,000 gallon wave pool. Little ones will love to splash and play at Keiki Kove, a spray ground complete with dancing fountains and mini water slides. Later, dry off for a round of miniature golf at Island Adventure Golf, adjacent to the water park.