The 20 Most Popular Water Parks To Visit in North America

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When the weather gets hot, the best place to be is splashing around in the water. North America is home to some of the biggest and most exciting water parks in the world, and they certainly know how to keep your family cool when the mercury rises.

Here are the top water parks in North America — we’ve ranked them by 2017 visitor numbers, which is the latest available data.

20. Wet ‘n Wild Emerald Pointe, Greensboro, NC

2017 Visitors: 398,000

As one of the largest water parks in the state of North Carolina, Emerald Pointe features more than 36 rides and attractions and over 3 million gallons of wet and wild fun for everyone. First opened in 1983, the park has been through many name changes and a vast period of growth, and now welcomes just under half a million visitors every year.

How to Get There

Located in Greensboro, the park is accessible via a number of transport options.

By Plane:

The nearest airport is Piedmont Triad International Airport, which is approximately a 20-minute drive to the park. Visitors can find taxis, buses and car rentals at the airport for an onward journey.

By Road:

From Raleigh/Durham – Take I-85 South/I-40 to Business 85 South/Business then on toward High Point/Charlotte at exit 31. At exit 34, turn left at the end on to Holden Road. Entrance to the park is on the right.

From Winston/Salem – Take I-85 North to Business 85 toward Greensboro (exit 120A). Take exit 34 to Holden Road. At the end of the exit, make a left onto Holden Road. Entrance to the park is on the right.

From Fayetteville – Take 87 North to 421 North to Business 40 West/Business 85 South, then take Business 85 South toward High Point/Charlotte to Holden Road (exit 34). Make a left onto Holden Road. Entrance to the park is on the right.

By Public Transport:

Amtrak trains run from the airport to the park, as well as from Raleigh. You can find out more about scheduling and ticket prices here. Alternatively, you can catch a Greensboro Transit Authority bus from a variety of locations in Greensboro and beyond.

Attractions, Rides, & Slides

Wet ’N Wild Emerald Pointe is a clean and family-friendly water park that has plenty to offer visitors of all ages. The park has tons of attractions to help you cool off, and your group can rent a private cabana as a shady base for the day.

Younger children will enjoy Splash Island and Happy Harbor with Silly Submarine and Ollie the Octopus, while bigger kids looking for thrills should try Daredevil Drop or Dr. Von Dark’s Tunnel of Terror.

Alternatively, grab a raft and float down the Lazee River, enjoy the cool shallow waters of the Leisure Lagoon, or get splashed in the Soak Zone.

Seasonal Events

The park hosts plenty of fun events for kids all summer long. These include fireworks, character meet and greets, and the Bubbalympics, as well as special days for home schoolers and Christian youth groups.

Where to Stay

Baymont Inn & Suites Greensboro/Coliseum – Southern hospitality with family suites, an outdoor pool, and a fitness center, located close to the entrance of the park itself.

Sheraton Greensboro at Four Seasons – Upmarket suites close to the Four Season Shopping Center are just a short drive from the park entrance.

Wingate by Wyndham Greensboro – Classic and comfortable family accommodation close to Emerald Pointe and other local attractions.

Where to Eat

There are plenty of places to eat in the park, including Captain Eli’s for traditional American burgers and fried chicken, Uncle Luigi’s Pizza for Italian-style dining, or Crispy’s Chicken for corn dogs, fried chicken, and curly fries. For sweet treats, Dippin Dots serves ice cream and donuts…or if you fancy a beer, the Crow’s Nest offers grown-up beverages served in a relaxing atmosphere.

Ticket Info

General admission starts from $39.99 for adults and $30.99 for junior passes. Discounts can be found if you book weekday tickets or buy 7 days in advance. Group tickets also offer reductions on single entrance prices.

You can find out more about ticket prices and season tickets at the Wet ‘n Wild Emerald Pointe website.

19. Knott’s Soak City USA, Buena Park, CA

2017 Visitors: 399,000

Knott’s Soak City Water Park is part of the Knott’s Berry Farm attractions in California. Offering a total of 22 slides plus a giant wave pool, lazy river, and interactive kids area, it’s a perfect day out for families of all ages. The park first opened in 1999 and now offers a wide range of exciting water-based attractions from May through September.

How to Get There

Located in Buena Park, the park is accessible via a number of transport options.

By Plane:

The 2 closest airports are the regional John Wayne/Orange County Airport, which is just a 20-minute drive away, or the larger Los Angeles International Airport, which is 30 minutes away.

Both airports offer car rentals, public transport, and taxi services for your journey.

The Karmel Shuttle also services both airports and runs to and from the park several times a day. More information can be found at the Karmel Shuttle website.

By Road:

From Anaheim Take I-5 N to Buena Park, then take exit 23B from CA-91 W/State Hwy 91 W to CA-39 S/Beach Blvd. Drive to Western Ave for the park entrance.

From Los Angeles Take I-5 S to CA-39 S/Beach Blvd in Buena Park, then take exit 116 from I-5 S before driving on to Western Ave to reach the park entrance.

From Long BeachFollow I-710 N and CA-91 E to S Knott Ave in Buena Park, and then take exit 23A from CA-91 E. Continue onto El Verano Dr to Western Ave to the park entrance.

By Public Transport:

Metrolink Trains run to Buena Park Metrolink station, which is only minutes from the park entrance. You can find out more information about schedules and ticket prices at www.metrolinktrains.com.

Alternatively, Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) offers buses that run along Beach Boulevard to the gates of Knott’s Berry Farm itself.

Attractions, Rides, & Slides

All of the attractions at the park are designed to keep you cool in the hot California sun. Whatever your age, there will be plenty to keep you smiling! For thrill seekers, the Banzai Falls steep slide, Laguna Storm Watch flume, and the Old Man Falls pool slide offer plenty of excitement.

Family fun can be enjoyed by all on the Sunset River ride, while Total Wave Bay pool has plenty for the little ones to enjoy. Cabanas can be reserved for you and your family during your stay.

Seasonal Events

While the water park does not offer seasonal shows or events, there are plenty held at the neighbouring Knott’s Berry Farm Park.

Where to Stay

There are plenty of family-focused hotels located close the park, including:

Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel – This hotel combines comfortable grown up accommodation with a specially designed Snoopy-themed wing, all just moments away from the park gates.

Radisson Suites Hotel Anaheim – An upmarket hotel offering family-sized suites, complete with a pool and plenty of luxury touches.

Courtyard by Marriott Anaheim Buena Park – A modern American hotel with a pool and play park close to the park entrance.

Where to Eat

Visitors to Knott’s Soak City can choose between the Longboard Grill with its extensive menu of burgers, hot dogs, and salads…or go Italian for pizzas and pasta at the Portside Pizza.

Dining plan wristbands are available for both restaurants.

Ticket Info

Tickets prices vary depending on the day of your visit. Discounts exist for booking online in advance or taking advantage of special offers. Visitors can also purchase fast lane tickets and other promotions for additional costs.

  • 1 day adult tickets start from $50.99
  • 1 day junior tickets start from $40.99

Promotional discounts are available for season pass holders. You can find out more about the best deals available at the Knott’s Soak City website.

18. Cedar Point Shores, Sandusky, OH

2017 Visitors: 412,000

First opened in 1988 with only 10 waterslides, Cedar Point Shores has grown dramatically over the years, and now offers over 18,000 acres of watery fun for families to enjoy.

How to Get There

Located in Sandusky, Ohio, the park is accessible via a number of transport options and is easy to get to.

By Plane:

The 2 closest airports to the park are the regional Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, or the more local Toledo Express Airport, which receives flights from across the U.S. and is just 20 minutes from the park gates.

Both airports offer car rental, public transport, and taxi services for your journey.

By Road:

From the Toledo Express – Travel east on I-80/I-90 to Exit 110 (Sandusky), then turn left onto OH 4. You will then easily be able to find the park entrance by following the signs to Cedar Point

By Public Transport:

Greyhound Buses run services to Cedar Point from nearly anywhere in the United States. Visit their website for timetables and prices.

Alternatively, Amtrak Trains operate services to Sandusky, Ohio from everywhere except Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

Attractions, Rides, & Slides

This water park is designed with families in mind — little ones will love Lakeslide Landing, where pint-sized slides, geysers, and fountains will bring a smile to their faces. On the park’s very own mythical Lake Erie, monster Lemmy is ready to play with you at Lemmy’s Lagoon.

For bigger kids and thrill-seeking grownups, the 4 capsule drop slide Point Plummet offers 6 stories of extreme sliding, while the Storm Surge is a flume and raft ride for the very brave.

Lakeslide Landing and Lily Pad Walk are perfect for relaxing with the whole family in a cabana you can reserve before you get there.

Seasonal Events

While the water park does not offer any seasonal events or special shows of its own, the adjoining theme park at Cedar Point has a full program of shows, including Halloween-themed adventures, music festivals, and special events throughout the summer.

Where to Stay

Sleep in style close to the water park entrance in these top family-focused hotels:

Cedar Point’s Castaway Bay – Located just a short drive away from the park, this hotel comes complete with its very own indoor water park and is incredibly family-friendly.

Cedar Point’s Express Hotel – This is a smart and comfortable budget-friendly accommodation for families looking to make their money go further, all just a short drive from the park entrance.

Hotel Breakers – Try this classic beachside resort hotel with its own beach as well as a TGI Friday’s restaurant.

Where to Eat

If spending all day in the water makes you hungry, there are plenty of eateries to choose from here. Go all-American with burgers, fries, and shakes at Coasters Diner, or grab a burrito at Buckaroo’s. Alternatively, Famous Dave’s offers fantastic BBQ fare like St. Louis-style ribs, chicken, and much, much more.

There are lots of other places to eat too, or you can stop for a drink in the water park and outside at the marina.

Ticket Info

Ticket prices vary depending on the day of your visit. Discounts can be had by booking online in advance, or taking advantage of special offers. Fast lane tickets and other promotions are available for additional costs.

  • 1 day adult tickets start from $39.00
  • 1 day junior tickets start from $26.00

Multi-park tickets can offer considerable savings over single attraction prices. You can find out more about the best deals available at the Cedar Point Shores website.

17. Typhoon Texas, Katy, TX

2017 Visitors: 418,000

One of the newest water parks in the U.S., Typhoon Texas offers family-oriented water fun just outside of Houston. The park is relatively small compared to some of the other great water parks in the U.S., but there is still plenty to enjoy for children of all ages.

How to Get There

Texas is one of the largest and most accessible regions in the U.S., so getting to the park shouldn’t be a problem no matter where you’re coming from.

By Plane:

The 2 closest airports to the park are George Bush Intercontinental Airport in north Houston and the smaller Houston Hobby Airport to the southeast. Both airports are around a 30-minute drive from the park, and they both offer car rentals, public transportation, and taxi services.

By Road:

From Houston – Take exit 742 from I-10 W. Continue on Interstate 10 Frontage Rd and follow signs for Typhoon Texas.

By Public Transport:

There is very little public transport outside the city of Houston that runs as far out as the water park. Visitors should consider car rental, taxi, or Uber instead.

Attractions, Rides, and Slides

For younger family members, the Buckaroo Bayou has plenty of mini slides and splash pads for the tiniest of Typhooners to enjoy. Families wanting to spend time in the water together can enjoy the crazy waves at Tidal Wave Bay, or rent a cabana to enjoy watching the world go by.

The Gully Washer features an 800-gallon water bucket and a play structure standing more than 4 stories tall, which is designed for children between 3 and 10 years old.

For bigger riders and sliders, The Typhoon will send you and 5 others crashing into a boomerang bend in a raft, while the Twister combines the thrills of a spiral flume with white water rafting.

If you just want to kick back and relax, the Lazy T river will let you float between the beaches and attractions throughout the park.

Seasonal Events

The water park holds a series of events throughout the summer including weekly film nights, a summer concert series, and even a popular week-long “Christmas in July” event that features snow at the wave pool and amazing holiday-themed rides and celebrations.

Where to Stay

There are plenty of excellent locations for families to stay just a short distance from the park itself.

Residence Inn by Marriott Katy Mills – Offers fully equipped suites complete with their own kitchenette facilities that are perfect for families looking to visit Typhoon Texas.

Courtyard by Marriott I-10 / Park Row – A brand new hotel offering comfortable accommodation complete with an on-site bistro, an outdoor pool, and patio area.

Wyndham Houston West Energy Corridor – An upmarket, contemporary lifestyle hotel complete with an indoor swimming pool and fitness center.

Where to Eat

Hungry visitors can enjoy all-American Fare at The River Grill, snack on pizza or gelato at Ray’s Pizzeria & Italian Icehouse, or enjoy traditional Texan BBQ at the Smoke House. Those with a sweet tooth can stop to cool down and eat ice cream at Mini Melts, while the E’ZEE Ice House has plenty of cold beers on tap for thirsty grownups.

Ticket Info

This park encourages visitors to buy tickets at the window when they get there. Prices vary depending on the day of the week and time of day that you visit.

  • Promotional deals include Twilight Tickets for just $24.99 after 5:00pm, or group tickets with Family 4 Packs
  • Season passes are the best value at just $64.99 per person

You can find out more on the Typhoon Texas website.

16. Dollywood’s Splash Country, Pigeon Forge, TN

2017 Visitors: 424,000

Adjacent to Dolly Parton’s world-famous Dollywood resort, Splash Country offers plenty of rides and slides deep in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains. First opened in 2001, the park features a 25,000-square-foot wave pool and is great fun for the whole family.

How to Get There

The Smoky Mountain town of Pigeon Forge is a little remote, but it is still accessible from all over the state of Tennessee and beyond if you allow extra time for your journey.

By Plane:

McGhee-Tyson Airport in Knoxville is the closest domestic airport. Anyone arriving from outside the U.S. would need to catch a flight from either Memphis or Nashville international airports.

McGhee-Tyson Airport does offer taxis and rental cars for your journey to the park.

By Road:

From Interstate 40 – Take Exit 407 toward Sevierville / Pigeon Forge / Gatlinburg. Then follow TN Hwy 66 South, which becomes US 441. At Traffic Light #8 in Pigeon Forge, turn left and follow the signs to Dollywood.

By Public Transport:

Public transport outside the city of Knoxville is limited, but the FunTime Trolley does run shuttle service from Pigeon Forge to the gates of Dollywood and Splash Country. You can find out more about the services they offer on their website.

Attractions, Rides, and Slides

Family groups will love the Downbound Float Trip, while Little Creek Falls and The Cascades offer watery fun for children of all ages.

For those looking for something a little more exciting, Fire Tower Falls is the tallest and fastest water slide in the park, while Mountain Scream and The Butterfly will send you flying down winding corkscrew tunnels and plunging down 55-foot-long extreme slides.

If you want to cool down as a family in the Smoky Mountain sunshine, the Big Bear Plunge is a great raft trip.

Seasonal Events

The water park itself doesn’t offer individual shows or specific events, but the adjoining Dollywood Park has plenty to offer. They host celebration dinners and show nights at the Stampede, as well as special events for Independence Day, Harvest Festival, Halloween, and a Smoky Mountain Christmas.

Where to Stay

The park and the nearby town of Pigeon Forge have plenty of comfortable accommodations for you and your family to enjoy, including:

Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa – A large-scale, upmarket hotel complex with pools, leisure facilities, and a spa.

Country Cascades Waterpark Resort – A family-friendly hotel complete with its very own water park complex, just 2 miles from the park entrance.

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins – For the ultimate experience, stay in one of the onsite cabins full of rustic charm and modern amenities.

Where to Eat

Hungry visitors can enjoy Smoky Mountain-style burgers at the Campsite Grill, tacos and nachos at Trailhead Tacos, or chow down on fries and jumbo hot dogs at Dogs-n-Taters. There is also the Mountain Waves Slush Factory to help you keep cool, or the Beavertails patisserie for freshly baked sweet treats.

Ticket Info

Discounts are available when booking online, and multi-day passes are a better value than single-day tickets.

  • A single-day adult ticket starts at $49.95
  • A single-day child’s ticket starts at $45.95
  • Season passes start at $104, and family and group tickets are also available

To find out more about ticket prices and the promotional discounts available, visit the Dollywood website.

15. Camelbeach, Tannersville, PA

2017 Visitors: 424,000

Camelbeach Mountain Water Park is located high up in the Pocono Mountains in Tannersville, Pennsylvania, and is part of the popular Big Pocono State Park. First opened in 1998, it operates as a water park during the summer months and a ski and snowboard center in the winter.

How to Get There

Camelbeach Mountain Water Park is easily accessible from many cities throughout the Northeast.

By Plane:

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport – AVP is the closest international airport to the park. The airport offers taxis, rental cars, and access to public transportation.

By Road:

From the Lehigh Valley – Take Route 33 North to I-80 West, then take Exit 299 to Tannersville and follow the signs to Camelback Resort.

From Scranton – Take I-380 South to I-80 East, then take Exit 299 to Tannersville and follow the signs to Camelback Resort.

From Philadelphia – Take I-476 (NE Extension of the PA Turnpike) north to Lehigh Valley Exit 56, Route 22 East to Route 33 North to I-80 West. Then take Exit 299 to Tannersville and follow the signs to Camelback Resort.

From New Jersey and New York – Travel I-80 West and take Exit 299 to Tannersville, then follow the signs to Camelback Resort.

By Public Transport:

Greyhound Buses run from all over the country to Tannersville, and local company Martz Trailways also runs services close to the park itself.

Attractions, Rides, and Slides

The youngest visitors to the park can get splashing in Kahuna Cove with its sprinklers and water spouts, or ride the waters of the Blue Nile Adventure. The Mummy’s Oasis is a new attraction that’s a water play park for all ages.

If you want to experience something a little more thrilling, the park offers tandem tunnels on the Sand Storm ride, the 6-story tall Vipers Venom slide, and the giant bowl slides of the Vortex.

More gentle rides for all the family to enjoy include the Spin Cycle rubber ring ride and the bouncing slides of the Checkered Flag Challenge.

The park is also home to Aquatopia Indoor Waterpark, which is open year-round and protected from the elements.

Seasonal Events

The park offers a limited program of seasonal events including regular evening fireworks, and DJ’s are on site most weekends playing modern dance music or Latin vibes.

Where to Stay

The park is close to the town of Tannersville, where you will find a varied range of accommodation, including:

The Camelback Lodge – As one of the most sought-after resorts in the Poconos, this onsite hotel offers mountain lodge decor, spacious suites, and easy access to the park entrance.

Days Inn by Wyndham Tannersville – Simple, affordable accommodation with an outdoor pool, just a short drive from the park itself.

Mountain Town Homes – Offering something different from a hotel, these stylish houses are close to both the park and the mountains, and are available all year round.

Where to Eat

There are plenty of places to refuel at Camelbeach that serve up freshly grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, and a variety of summer picnic fare that will have your mouth watering. Unlike many of the other water parks in America, Camelbeach also allows you to bring your own food onsite, although it can only be consumed in the picnic area.

Ticket Info

Discounts can be found when booking online, and multi-day passes are a better value than single-day tickets.

  • A single-day adult’s ticket starts at $44.00
  • A single-day child’s ticket starts at $34.00
  • Family Four4Fun tickets are available online only for $135.00

To find out more about ticket prices and promotional discounts available, visit the Camelbeach Mountain Park website.

14. Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, Jackson, NJ

2017 Visitors: 440,000

As part of the world-famous Six Flags group of amusements park, Hurricane Harbor originally opened as Paradise Island in 1997 and was rebranded in 2007. Since then, it has continued to grow and is now one of the biggest water parks in the country.

How to Get There

Located in New Jersey, Six Flags Hurricane Harbor is easily accessible from anywhere in the country.

By Plane:

Both Newark Liberty International Airport and Philadelphia International Airport are about 60 miles away from Hurricane Harbor. You can find car rentals, public transport, and taxis available at both airports.

By Road:

From within New Jersey – Take the NJ Turnpike to Exit 74, I-195 East to Exit 16A, or Garden State Parkway to Exit 98, then travel for 1 mile west of Rte 537 to Six Flags.

From PhiladelphiaTake the Ben Franklin Bridge to Route 38 East, then the NJ Turnpike to Exit 7A, or Rt 295 to I-195 East and follow Rt 537 to the park.

From New York – Take the George Washington Bridge, Lincoln Tunnel, or Holland Tunnel to NJ Turnpike South to Exit 7A, then proceed to exit 16A on I-195 to Rt 537 and the Six Flags exit.

From the Jersey Shore – Take Rte. 138 West or Garden State Parkway Exit 98 to I-195 West to Exit 16, then continue 1 mile west on Rt 537 to Six Flags.

By Public Transport:

New Jersey has a vast network of public buses that will take you right to the gates of Hurricane Harbor. For details of times and routes, visit the NJ TRANSIT website.

Attractions, Rides, and Slides

There are plenty of family-friendly rides available at Hurricane Harbor. Ride family-sized rafts down Big Bamboo and Reef Runner, or enjoy the 696,000-gallon wave pool at the Blue Lagoon.

For tiny visitors, the Taak It Eez Ee Creek offers a scenic raft cruise down the lazy river, while Discovery Bay has mini pools and slides in its own shallow water playground.

For bigger kids of all ages, Big Wave Racer offers multiple lanes of slides with several steep drops, while adrenaline seekers should check out Cannonball, Wahini, and Geronimo Falls for fearsome 75-foot drops.

Seasonal Events

The park offers a varied program of seasonal events that usually coincide with national holidays and celebrations like Labor Day weekend or Fourth of July. Exhibitions by sculptors are also on offer at Hurricane Harbor.

Where to Stay

The park’s New Jersey location is easy to find, and the surrounding areas offer plenty of places to stay, including:

Days Inn East Windsor – A pet- and family-friendly hotel with its own outdoor pool and an onsite bar and grill.

Radisson Hotel Freehold – An upscale, contemporary hotel with a fitness center and seasonal pool, as well its own restaurant and lounge bar.

DoubleTree by Hilton Tinton Falls – Eatontown – Luxury accommodation just 25 minutes from the waterpark and 15 minutes from the beautiful Monmouth Beach resort and village.

Where to Eat

Visitors to the park can enjoy hearty steaks at the Boardwalk Steak & Fries, burgers and chicken sandwiches at Paradise Pizza & Grill, and a fabulous choice of meats at the Hurricane BBQ. The Poolside Bar and Grill has cold beers and jerk chicken, while Rita’s has frozen custard and cold drinks.

Ticket Info

Booking your tickets online in advance can help you save money, and multi-day passes usually offer better value than single-day tickets.

  • A single-day adult’s ticket starts at $39.99
  • A single-day child’s ticket starts at $37.99
  • Group tickets for up to 15 people offer further discounts, and annual passes are also available

To find out more about ticket prices and discounts available, visit the Six Flags Hurricane Harbor website.

13. Wet ‘n’ Wild, Phoenix, AZ

2017 Visitors: 467,000

Offering approximately 35 acres of fabulous watery fun, Wet ‘n’ Wild is the largest theme park in Arizona. First opened in 2007, the park offers plenty of high-octane fun for families of all ages.

How to Get There

Located on the border of Phoenix and Glendale, visitors come from all over Arizona and beyond to cool down at Wet ‘n’ Wild.

By Plane:

The nearest airport is Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, which is about 20 miles away from the park itself. The airport also offers taxis, car rentals, and public transportation.

By Road:

From central Phoenix/Glendale – Take I-17 North, then Exit 217 Pinnacle Peak Road

From Scottsdale/Mesa/Tempe/Peoria/Sun City – Take 101 North to I-17 North, then Exit 217 Pinnacle Peak Road

From Flagstaff – Take I-17 South, then Exit 217 Pinnacle Peak Road

From California– Take I-10 East toward Phoenix to 101 North, then I-17 North until you reach Exit 217 Pinnacle Peak Road

By Public Transport:

There are bus, tram, and train routes that will take you close to the park entrance from the city of Phoenix itself. Check out the Valley Metro website for more details.

Attractions, Rides, and Slides

For those with younger family members, Wet ‘n’ Wild Jr. is a kid-sized water park that features kid-friendly versions of some of the park’s most thrilling attractions, as well as water toys and spray zones. The Soak ’em Playground also offers hours of fun with interactive water activities for kids of all ages.

Older thrill seekers will enjoy Maximum Velocity, a terrifying ride down tandem water slides that allows you to race your partner to the bottom. Adrenaline junkies will also love Tornado, where they will be catapulted through 160-foot tunnels into the eye of the storm.

For all-together family time, the Crazy Cactus Roaring River is a lazy river raft attraction complete with waves, tipping buckets, and waterfalls.

Seasonal Events

During the summer season, the park offers Friday Fun nights where you and your family can meet famous cartoon characters, enjoy a movie, or catch a band. They also offer Dive ’n’ Movie nights where you can float on the wave pool while watching your favorite films on the big screen.

Where to Stay

The park is close to Phoenix, meaning there are plenty of options for overnight stays, including:

Hilton Garden Inn Phoenix North Happy Valley – Located just a mile from the park entrance, this hotel has family-friendly suites, an outdoor pool and whirlpool, and an outdoor patio area with a 7-foot fire pit.

Residence Inn by Marriott Phoenix North/Happy Valley – A modern and comfortable hotel just 3 miles from the water park that offers an outdoor pool and a fitness center.

Homewood Suites by Hilton Phoenix North-Happy Valley – A contemporary hotel with good-sized suites perfect for families. The hotel also has an outdoor pool and a fitness center.

Where to Eat

There are lots of places to grab a bite to eat at Wet ‘n’ Wild. Point Break Café serves up hamburgers, hot dogs, corn dogs, chicken, and pizzas, while Sharky’s Subs & Suds offers cold beer, frozen margaritas, and wine for grownups. Surfer’s Sweets has a wide range of candy and root beer floats, and there are food carts available with other treats.

Ticket Info

Booking your tickets online in advance can help you save money, although you can also pay at the gate.

  • A single-day ticket starts at $34.65
  • Group tickets offer further discounts, and annual passes are available

To find out more about ticket prices and promotional discounts available, visit the Wet ‘n’ Wild Phoenix website.

12. Wet ’n‘ Wild Splashtown, Houston, TX

2017 Visitors: 476,000

Located just north of Houston, Texas, Wet ‘n’ Wild Splashtown is a popular water park that has been in the area since the 1980s. Over the years it has evolved to become the perfect tropical vacation destination with plenty of watery fun for the whole family.

How to Get There

Houston is easy to reach from all over the country.

By Plane:

The nearest airport is George Bush Intercontinental Airport. The airport also offers car rentals, taxis, and public transport for your journey. There is also a pay-per-use shuttle service that runs directly from the airport to the park.

By Road:

From Downtown Houston – Take IH-45 northbound Exit 70A for FM 2920-Tomball, and follow the signs to Wet ‘n’ Wild SplashTown, which is accessible from the northbound service road.

From IH-45 southbound – Use Exit 68 Louetta Rd, then cross over the interstate and come up the northbound service road to the park entrance.

By Public Transport:

There is a bus service that runs from downtown Houston toward Wet ‘n’ Wild. Details of routes, times, and ticket prices can be found on the Houston Metro website.

Attractions, Rides, and Slides

For families visiting with small children, the Blue Lagoon Activity Pool offers tons of swings, geysers, a diving rock, water stairs, and a glorious waterfall. The Wet’n’Wild Jr. children’s area has smaller versions of the parks bigger slides. Families will enjoy riding the Runaway Rapids together, or exploring 3 stories of interactive fun on Treehouse Island.

For older children and adults looking for some excitement, the Alien Chaser stands a sky-scraping 60 feet tall and takes thrill-seekers on 2-person tubes that speed through dark tunnels into the wide-open expanse of massive saucers. The Texas Freefall is the park’s flagship ride: a jaw-droppingly long, fast, and high water slide. The Brain Drain with its twin looping slides is also very popular.

Seasonal Events

The park offers a varied program of events that include live music concerts, promotional days for the armed forces, movie nights for youth groups, and BBQ’s.

Where to Stay

Houston is a large city with plenty of places to stay. Some of those closest to the park include:

Americas Best Value Inn & Suites – Spring / N. Houston – Family friendly, budget accommodations with rooms that have their own kitchenettes, just half a mile from the water park entrance.

Comfort Suites – More budget-friendly hotel rooms in a clean and well-equipped building close to local amenities and the park entrance.

Residence Inn Houston Springwoods Village – Upscale and contemporary accommodations in a resort-style hotel complete with a pool and fitness center just over a mile from the water park.

Where to Eat

Whatever you’re hungry for, you will find it here! The Paradise Grill serves up freshly made hamburgers, hot dogs, and chicken tenders, while the Ocean Grill offers great pizza and fresh salads. If you’re feeling spicy, the Taco Tent has tacos, nachos, and sausage on a stick, while Island Bob Funnel Cakes and Soft Serve offers funnel cakes and soft serve ice cream to keep the kids happy.

Ticket Info

Booking your tickets online in advance can help you save money.

  • A single-day ticket starts at $45.99
  • Group tickets offer further discounts, and annual passes are available from $64.99

To find out more about ticket prices and promotional discounts, visit the Wet ‘n’ Wild SplashTown website.

11. Splish Splash, Calverton, NY

2017 Visitors: 513,000

Splish Splash is a 96-acre water park in Calverton, New York. It is open from May until September and offers over 30 rides and slides for families to enjoy.

How to Get There

Being just 60 miles north of New York City, there are many ways to reach the water park from anywhere in the country.

By Plane:

The nearest airport is John F. Kennedy International Airport, which offers car rentals, taxis, and public transportation.

By Road:

From NYC, Nassau, or Western Suffolk – Take the Long Island Expressway Eastbound to Exit 72 West. Take the West ramp and turn left at the first traffic light onto Splish Splash Drive.

From the Hamptons – Take Sunrise Highway (Rt 27) Westbound to Rt 24 North to the traffic circle. Follow the signs for Main Street or Rt 25 West. Take Rt 25 West approximately 4 miles. Cross over the Long Island Expressway and turn left at the first traffic light onto Splish Splash Drive.

By Public Transport:

The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) offers a shuttle bus to the water park from various destinations in New York state. Information about times, prices, and routes can be found on the LIRR website.

Attractions, Rides, and Slides

The park has its very own children’s play areas, complete with cabana rental so you can sit back and relax while they play. Monsoon Lagoon is an interactive shipwreck with climbing ropes, water cannons, and slides, while the Octopus Pool lets little ones play on the arms of a giant octopus.

Older visitors may want to get their kicks on some of the more adrenaline-fueled slides and rides including the RipTide Racer for super fast sliding, Dr. Von Dark’s Tunnel of Terror for 40-foot drops and 360-degree spins all in complete darkness, or the Giant Twister that weaves through the tree tops.

Seasonal Events

The water park offers seasonal shows and attractions during the summer months. The 4 shows hosted daily by International Parrot Trainer Weldon Middlebrooks are particularly popular and fit with the pirate theme found throughout the attractions.

Where to Stay

Long Island has plenty of hotels, motels, and lodges all located close to the water park, including:

Hilton Garden Inn Riverhead – An upmarket hotel that offers spacious bedrooms, a fitness center, a heated indoor pool, and an outdoor holistic spa just 1 mile from the park entrance.

Hotel Indigo Long Island – East End – A classic Hamptons hotel that offers fine dining and upmarket accommodations for the more discerning family travelers, just 2 miles from the water park.

Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites East End – A well-presented modern hotel with a fitness center and an outdoor swimming pool located 2 miles from the park entrance and close to local amenities.

Where to Eat

There is a good choice of eateries available throughout the park. For burgers and hot dogs check out Johnny Rockets, or for first-class pizza pop into Tony’s Italian Feast. For sweet treats and ice cream, the Plaza Ice Cream shop has you covered.

The Snack Shack also offers organic food for little ones, and the Last Chance Grill has BBQ and cold beers.

Ticket Info

Booking your tickets online can save you money, and Splish Splash has discounts for off-peak visits and group bookings.

  • A single adult day ticket starts at $44.99
  • A single child day ticket starts at $34.99
  • Group tickets offer further discounts, and annual passes are available from $72.99

To find out more about ticket prices and promotional discounts available, visit the Splish Splash website.

10. Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, Arlington, TX

2017 Visitors: 533,000

As one of the biggest attractions in Texas, Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Texas offers a ton of body slides, speed slides, tube slides, wave pools, lazy rivers, and shopping areas. First opened in 1995, it has gone on to become one of the best water parks in the country.

How to Get There

Situated between Dallas and Fort Worth, there are plenty of ways to access the park.

By Plane:

The nearest airport is Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. Visitors can continue their onward journey using taxis, rental cars, and even public transport.

By Road:

From West Texas – Travel east on Interstate 20 toward Dallas-Fort Worth until you reach the exit for DFW Airport (State Highway 360 North). Travel north on 360 for approximately 6 miles and take the Lamar Blvd exit on your right. Follow signs to the park.

From East Texas/Shreveport – Travel west on Interstate 20 toward Dallas-Fort Worth until you reach the exit for DFW Airport (State Highway 360 North). Travel north on 360 for approximately 6 miles and take the Lamar Blvd Exit on your right. Follow signs to the park.

From Huntsville/Houston – Travel north on Interstate 45 until you reach Interstate 20. Travel west on Interstate 20 toward Dallas-Fort Worth until you reach the exit for DFW Airport (State Highway 360 North). Travel north on 360 for approximately 6 miles and take the Lamar Blvd Exit on your right. Follow signs to the park.

From Waco/Austin/San Antonio – Travel north on Interstate 35. When you get to the city of Hillsboro, I-35 will split. Take I-35W North until you reach Interstate 20. Travel east on Interstate 20 toward Dallas-Fort Worth until you reach the exit for DFW Airport (State Highway 360 North). Travel north on 360 for approximately 6 miles and take the Lamar Blvd Exit on your right. Follow signs to the park.

By Public Transport:

Greyhound Buses operate services that run to the park from all over Texas. You can find out more about routes, timetables, and prices on the Greyhound website.

Attractions, Rides, and Slides

Kids of all ages will love Surf Lagoon with its million-gallon wave pool, Hook’s Ship with its tiny slides, water sprayers, and shallow pools, and the massive interactive water playground at Splashwater Beach. For family time, the Lazy River offers a relaxing scenic raft cruise past all of the coolest harbors in the neighborhood.

Thrill seekers will certainly not be left wanting here either. The Dive Bomber is a 7-story free fall ride, the Tornado will send you 132 feet down a tunnel into the mouth of a gigantic funnel, and the Geronimo goes from a horizontal start to a dramatic 6-story slide into open water.

Seasonal Events

Throughout the summer the park offers regular Dive In Movie nights. Relax and float while you watch your favorite family movie on a giant screen next to their iconic wave pool. The park also hosts end-of-season swimming celebrations.

Where to Stay

Being close to both Dallas and Fort Worth, there is a huge selection of accommodations that offer easy access to the park, including:

Hilton Garden Inn Dallas Arlington – A family-friendly upscale hotel that offers flexible sleeping accommodations, as well as an outdoor pool and a fitness center.

Four Points by Sheraton Dallas Arlington Entertainment District – At the heart of the entertainment district in Dallas, this smart but laid-back hotel is close to Six Flags Hurricane Harbor and other attractions.

Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham Arlington/DFW South – Suite-based accommodations close to the water park, complete with an outdoor pool and communal grilling areas.

Where to Eat

There are plenty of great places to eat at Hurricane Harbor. At the Beachside Grill you can enjoy a hamburger or hot dog, while Peg Leg Pete’s serves up steaming hot pizza and pasta dishes. Healthy salads can be found at Pedro’s Pier, while your sweet tooth will fall in love with the goodies on offer at Dippin Dots Sundae Shop.

Ticket Info

Booking your tickets online and in advance can help you save money. Hurricane Harbor is also next to Six Flags Over Texas, so you may want to look at multi-park passes if you want to experience everything on offer.

  • A single adult day ticket starts from $38.99
  • A single child day ticket starts from $34.99
  • Group tickets offer further discounts, and annual passes are also available from $84.00

To find out more information about ticket prices and promotional discounts available, visit the Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Texas website.

9. Schlitterbahn, Galveston, TX

2017 Visitors: 545,000

Schlitterbahn is an American family-owned water park in the coastal resort of Galveston in Texas. First opened in 1979, the park offers over 26 acres of fabulous, family-friendly fun for everyone.

How to Get There

Based close to the popular holiday destination of Galveston, the park is easy accessible from all over the country.

By Plane:

Houston Hobby is the closest regional airport to the park itself, and the next closest is Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. Both airports offer taxis, car rental services, and access to public transport for your onward journey to the park.

By Road:

From Houston – Take I-45 South toward Galveston and exit at 61st Street. Then turn right on 61st Street, right on Seawall, right on 81st Street, and left to 2109 Lockheed Street.

From San Antonio – Take I-10 East toward Houston, then I-45 South toward Galveston. Exit at 61st Street then turn right on 61st Street, right on Seawall, right on 81st Street, and left to 2109 Lockheed Street.

From Dallas/Fort Worth – Take I-45 South toward Galveston and exit at 61st Street. Then turn right on 61st Street, right on Seawall, right on 81st Street, and left to 2109 Lockheed Street.

By Public Transport:

The public transportation system in Galveston is very good, and there are a variety of buses that stop close to the entrance to the park. You can find out more about timetables, routes, and ticket prices at the Island Transport website.

Attractions, Rides, and Slides

Younger visitors will love their time at Schlitterbahn. Kristle Bay with its man-made beach, huge pool, and access to the lazy river ride is a great place to relax as a family. Tiki Tikes is a dedicated kids area complete with 2 kid-sized slides, water sprays, a frog slide, a waterdrop shower, and a shallow-water pool.

If you want to ramp up the thrill factor, the park is also home to the Faust and Furious waterslides, the Soaring Eagle zip lines, and the Massive Monster Blaster, certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as the World’s Tallest Water Coaster.

Seasonal Events

The water park offers a range of charitable events and promotional days throughout the year. During the Winter, it opens its indoor water park on weekends and holidays, where you can enjoy indoor rides, slides, and even beaches.

Where to Stay

There are plenty of wonderful places to stay close to Galveston and Schlitterbahn Water Park, including:

Hilton Galveston Island Resort – An upscale resort hotel with outdoor pools and beach access, just 2 miles away from the entrance to the park.

The Inn at the Waterpark – A convenient and economical option for families looking to stay close to the park, this hotel offers comfortable and modern accommodation with a pool and outdoor play area.

Moody Gardens Hotel – Spoil yourselves at this luxury hotel right on the doorstep of the water park and other local attractions. Facilities include a living rainforest, a massive aquarium, and a lagoon with cascading waterfalls.

Where to Eat

The park has lots of places to stop and refuel where you can enjoy delicious cheeseburgers, crispy chicken strips, chilli cheese dogs, hand-made pizzas, and more. You can also find excellent BBQ Texas brisket, peppered sausage, and smoked turkey legs, as well as funnel cakes and exclusive Dippin Dots flavors.

Ticket Info

Booking your tickets online and in advance can help you save money, and there are discounts for multi-park tickets and 2- or 3- day passes.

  • A single adult day ticket starts at $50.99
  • A single child day ticket starts at $38.99
  • Group tickets offer further discounts, and annual passes are also available from $189.99

To find out more information about ticket prices and the promotional discounts available, visit the Schlitterbahn website.

8. Six Flags White Water, Marietta, GA

2017 Visitors: 559,000

Located just north of Atlanta, Six Flags White Water Park offers 69 acres of watery fun that regularly sees over half a million visitors a year.

How to Get There

Located in the heart of Cobb County, the park is easy to get to from neighboring Atlanta and further afield.

By Plane:

The nearest airport to the Six Flags White Water park is Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International. Here you will be able to find taxis, car rentals, and public transport for your journey to the park.

By Road:

From Atlanta – Take I-75 N/I-85 N and exit onto the Interstate 75 (North)/Interstate 85 (North) access road. Follow I-75 N to North Marietta Pkwy NE in Marietta. Take Exit 265 from I-75 N, then continue on North Marietta Pkwy NE to the park entrance.

From Birmingham – Take I-20 East to I-285 N to I-75 N. Take Exit 265 and follow the signs.

From Montgomery, Alabama – Head east on I-85 to Georgia. Go northeast on I-85 to I-285 N. Continue on I-285 N to I-75 N. Take Exit 265 and follow the signs.

From Greenville, South Carolina – Go southwest on I-185 to I-85 SW to Georgia. Go southwest on I-85 to I-285 West. Take I-75 N to Exit 265 and follow the signs.

From Augusta – Go west on I-20 to I-75/85 N to I-75 N. Take Exit 265 and follow the signs. You may also choose to bypass downtown traffic by continuing past I-75/85 to I-285 N. Follow I-285 to I-75 N. Take Exit 265 and follow the signs.

By Public Transport:

MARTA Trains operate services to the nearby Hamilton E. Holmes station, where you would then need to board the 201 bus to the park. Schedules, time, and prices can be found at the MARTA website.

Attractions, Rides, and Slides

For younger visitors, Buccaneer Bay is the perfect interactive splash park for little ones, as well as the Skull Island soaking zone and the Activity Pool. For families looking to play together, try the Atlanta Ocean Wave Pool, or work together to control your giant raft at the Bahama Bob Slide.

For bigger thrill seekers, Black River Falls sends you on a journey through a 400-foot twisting descent into total liquid darkness, and the Gulf Coast Screamer is a very fast, very slippery, high-walled open course that starts with an epic airborne launch.

Seasonal Events

The water park runs a series of events throughout the summer, including Dive In Movie nights where you can float on the Atlantic Ocean Pool while watching your favorite film. They also offer regular music events.

Where to Stay

Atlanta is a vibrant city with lots of great accommodations close to the park, including:

Wingate by Wyndham Atlanta/Six Flags Austell – Located just 300 yards from the entrance to the main Six Flags attractions, this hotel offers family-friendly accommodations with an outdoor pool and fitness center.

Days Inn by Wyndham Marietta White Water– Budget friendly, modern, and clean accommodations with a pool, located just 700 meters from the entrance to the Six Flags attractions.

Days Inn by Wyndham Marietta-Atlanta-Delk Road – More wallet-busting, this is a top-quality accommodation close to park entrance with its own outdoor pool and fitness center.

Where to Eat

As with all of the Six Flags parks, there are plenty of places to eat. Chicken tenders, foot-long corn dogs, and chili cheese dogs can all be found at Seaside Fries, while Sternwheeler Hamburgers serves up turkey legs, burgers, and grilled chicken sandwiches. For a healthier option, head to Beachside Smoothies or grab a filling bowl of pasta at Primo’s Pizzeria.

Ticket Info

Booking your tickets online in advance can help you save money, and there are discounts for multi-park tickets and 2- or 3-day passes.

  • A single adult day ticket starts at $46.99
  • A single child day ticket starts at $41.99
  • Group tickets offer further discounts, and annual passes are also available from $84.00

To find out more information about ticket prices and the promotional discounts available, visit the Six Flags White Water website.

7. Adventure Island, Tampa, FL

2017 Visitors: 631,000

Adventure Island is across the street from Busch Gardens and is part of the SeaWorld Entertainment group. With a pedigree like that, it’s no surprise that this park is one of the most popular in America.

How to Get There

Tampa is home to lots of fun family-focused attractions, and getting there shouldn’t be a problem.

By Plane:

The nearest airports to the park are Tampa International Airport and Peter O. Knight Regional Airport. You can pick up taxis, rental cars, and shuttles from the main airport, or catch public transportation to continue on your journey.

By Road:

From Orlando – Travel west on I-4 to I-75. Go north on I-75 to the Fowler Ave Exit 265. This is also the exit for the University of South Florida. Bear left on the exit ramp, and it will lead you directly onto Fowler Avenue. Proceed west on Fowler Avenue to McKinley Drive. (McKinley Drive is the first light past the main entrance to the University.) Turn left on McKinley. Proceed south on McKinley to parking and the main entrance to the park. Adventure Island will be on the left side of McKinley when proceeding south.

From St.Petersburg – Travel north on I-275 to the Fowler Ave exit. Turn east (right) onto Fowler Avenue and proceed 2.5 miles to McKinley Drive. Turn south (right) onto McKinley and proceed to the main parking lot entrance. Adventure Island will be on the left side of McKinley when proceeding south.

By Public Transport:

There are buses that run from Tampa out to the attractions at Tampa Bay. You can find schedules, routes, and ticket prices on the Hart Bus Service website. Alternatively, some local hotels offer shuttle services to and from the water park as well as Busch Gardens.

Attractions, Rides, and Slides

Adventure Island is perfect for families with younger children, with Fabian’s Fun Port offering lots of bubbly springs and jumping jets as well as a water-friendly jungle gym. Everything in Fabian’s Fun Port is sized just right for smaller hands and kid-size courage. There is also the Splash Attack maze with a huge tree house and more than 50 water toys.

Older (and braver) visitors will love the epic 70-foot free fall excitement of Vanish Point, the high-speed twists and turns of the Caribbean Corkscrew, and the epic waterfalls of the Colossal Curl.

There are also rafting experiences for the whole family to enjoy along the Key West Rapids.

Seasonal Events

The park offers a limited program of events that are usually centered around local holidays and special occasions.

Where to Stay

As the attraction capital of the world, Tampa (and Florida as a whole) has plenty of fabulous resort hotels for you to stay in. Some of the closest to Adventure Island include:

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Tampa – USF – Busch Gardens – Perfect for families of all sizes, this upscale hotel has good-size accommodations as well as a pool and fitness center.

Wingate by Wyndham Tampa/At USF – Straightforward but comfortable accommodations close to the park entrance and other attractions. Guests also have use of the pool and fitness center, and all rooms have their own kitchen facilities.

Baymont Inn & Suites Tampa near Busch Gardens / USF – Relaxed lodgings close to all the main Tampa attractions, which offers an outdoor pool and a casual bar close to all of the local attractions.

Where to Eat

Adventure Island offers a wide range of eateries to suit all tastes and ages. Duval Street Barbecue serves up tasty ribs, dry rubs, and big portions, while the Surfside Cafe has burgers and fresh salads. Colossal Snacks will keep you cool with ice cream sundaes, while Beachside Craft Brews has cold beers for the grownups to enjoy.

Ticket Info

Booking your tickets online in advance can help you save money, and there are discounts for multi-park tickets and 2- or 3-day passes.

  • A single adult day ticket for guests over 3 years old starts at $39.99
  • A single child day ticket with dining starts at $59.99
  • Group tickets offer further discounts, and multi-park tickets are an excellent value since you can visit any of the other SeaWorld attractions in Tampa or Orlando

To find out more information about ticket prices and promotional discounts available, visit the Adventure Island website.

6. Water Country USA, Williamsburg, VA

2017 Visitors: 711,000

As the Mid-Atlantic’s largest water park, Water Country USA offers a 700-foot lazy river and a wealth of water rides and attractions, all with a 1950s Americana theme.

How to Get There

Williamsburg is easily accessible from nearly everywhere in the country.

By Plane:

RIC (Richmond International Airport), ORF (Norfolk International Airport), and PHF (Newport News-Williamsburg International Airport) are all within a 45-minute drive of the water park.

Each of the 3 airports has taxis, car rentals, and access to public transport for your journey.

By road:

From Virginia Beach and Norfolk – Drive up I-64 West and take exit 242B to VA-199 E. Turn right onto Water Country Parkway and follow it until you reach the park entrance.

From Richmond – Get on I-64 East and take Exit 242B to VA-199 E. Turn right onto Water Country Parkway and follow it until you reach the park entrance.

From Washington, D.C. – From I-95 South, take Exit 84A for I-295 South. Take Exit 28A for I-64 East toward Norfolk/VA Beach, then continue to Exit 242B to VA-199 E. Turn right onto Water Country Parkway and follow it until you reach the park entrance.

By Public Transport:

Buses run from Williamsburg to the park entrance. You can find out more about timetables, routes, and pricing at the WATA website.

Attractions, Rides, and Slides

There are lots of kid-friendly rides, slides, and play parks at Water Country USA. The Cow-A-Bunga splash area is perfect for kids of all ages, while the H2O UFO is a space-themed play area with interactive slides and water fountains.

Older visitors can enjoy more thrilling rides and slides on the Colossal Curl mega slide, the twisting waterfall of darkness in the Aquazoid, and the 4-flume adventure of the Jet Stream.

There are also plenty of fun rafting experiences for the whole family on the Hubba Bubba Highway.

Seasonal Events

The park has a very limited program of events, but it does offer celebration days for its seasonal opening and closing, as well as some special additions for national holidays and celebrations.

Where to Stay

Williamsburg is a residential city in Virginia, and there are plenty of accommodation options close to both the city and the park.

Wyndham Garden Williamsburg Busch Gardens Area – Budget friendly, clean, and comfortable chain accommodations with an outdoor pool and garden space, close to the entrance of the park.

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Williamsburg – This modern hotel is close to the highway and offers easy access to both the water park and downtown Williamsburg.

King’s Creek Plantation – Set in a gated community, these homely cottages offer an alternative to hotels and have access to private decks, an outdoor pool, and an indoor aquatic center.

Where to Eat

When it’s time to take a break from the waves and the waterslides, there are plenty of places to grab a bite to eat in the park. The Boardwalk Southwest Grill serves up burritos and nachos with Mexican flair, while the Launch Pad Express Cafe offers subs, paninis, and wraps. If you fancy a burger, the Catalina Grille Diner has plenty on offer, and Coolsville has lots of different ice cream flavors to choose from.

Ticket Info

Booking your tickets online can help you save money, and there are discounts for 2- or 3-day passes.

  • A single day ticket for visitors over 3 years old starts at $45.00
  • Group tickets offer further discounts, and there are often online flash sales if you book through the website

To find out more information about ticket prices and promotional discounts available, visit the Water Country USA website.

5. Schlitterbahn, New Braunfels, TX

2017 Visitors: 1,006,000

Schlitterbahn New Braunfels is a family-owned water park located deep in the heart of central Texas. With more than 51 attractions spread across 70 acres, this is the flagship water park for the Schlitterbahn brand.

How to Get There

New Braunfels is a resort town in the Texas Hill Country, and it’s fairly easy to reach using various forms of transportation.

By Plane:

The nearest major airport is San Antonio International Airport (SAT). This airport is approximately 30 miles from the water park, and visitors can pick up a taxi, rental car, or public transportation there.

By road:

From the North on Interstate 35 – Take Exit 190A on the north side of New Braunfels. Go approximately 1 mile south on Business 35 to Highway 46/Loop 337. Turn right on Highway 46/Loop 337 to Common Street. Turn left on Common Street and go straight. To enter Schlitterbahn, stay on Common Street until you reach Liberty Street. Turn right on Liberty Street to the Castle Entrance.

From the South on Interstate 35 – Take Exit 184 on the south side of New Braunfels. Turn left on Rueckle Road/Loop 337. Stay on Loop 337 approximately 8 miles to Common Street. Turn right on Common Street. To enter Schlitterbahn, stay on Common Street until you reach Liberty Street. Turn right on Liberty Street to the Castle Entrance.

By Public Transport:

There is no direct link to the park from the nearest large city of San Antonio. However, you can use the Greyhound bus service to San Marcos or the VIA Metropolitan Transport Bus to Kitty Hawk Rd and then take a taxi to complete your journey.

Local company, Bella Luna Shuttles, also operates a shuttle bus that links the park with other local attractions in San Antonio.

Attractions, Rides, and Slides

Schlitterbahn New Braunfels is divided into 2 distinctly different sections. Kristal Cove has a large warm pool, and its manmade beach is perfect for spending time with the family. Blastenhoff Beach has a wave pool suitable for all ages, and the Tadpole Kiddie pool has slides, jets, and water blasters for the little ones to enjoy.

When it comes to higher-octane activities, Schlitterbahn New Braunfels has some of the most thrilling water rides and slides in the country. The Master Blaster Uphill Water Coaster combines the thrills of a roller coaster with a high-speed water slide that’s over 6 stories tall and 1,000 feet long, while the Black Knight sends you down totally enclosed flumes in complete darkness.

Whether you want to relax in the Texas sunshine or spend the day screaming with delight and fear, there is plenty for the family to enjoy at Schlitterbahn New Braunfels.

Seasonal Events

Throughout the summer, the park offers a number of musical events. Every Saturday night visitors can enjoy live music around the lagoon as part of their Rock the Bahn programme. Entrance to the concerts is free.

Where to Stay

New Braunfels is a tourist destination in the Texas Hill Country, so there’s no shortage of good hotels available, including:

The Schlitterbahn Resort – Located in the park itself, this resort offers a variety of accommodation types including Treehuas Luxury Suites, Riverbend Cabins, and traditional hotel rooms and studios.

Hilton Garden Inn New Braunfels – Family-friendly accommodations in a sophisticated hotel, complete with its own outdoor pool and American-style restaurant.

Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott New Braunfels – A bright and modern hotel with an indoor pool and fitness center located close to the water park’s main entrance.

Where to Eat

There are plenty of food outlets available across both sections of the park. From smoked BBQ, half-pound foot-long chilli cheese dogs, or their very own Bahn Burgers, you and your family will never go hungry here! Sweet lovers will also enjoy the park’s funnel cakes, hand-scooped ice creams, and Dippin Dots. There is also a designated picnic area if you wish to bring your own food.

Ticket Info

Booking your tickets online can help you save money, and there are discounts for booking a specific date in advance.

  • A single day ticket for adults starts at $50.99
  • A single day ticket for children aged 3-11 starts at $41.99
  • Groups of 15 more more are eligible for further discounts, and season passes start at $149.00

To find out more about ticket prices and promotional discounts available, visit the Schlitterbahn New Braunfels website.

4. Aquatica, Orlando, FL

2017 Visitors: 1,382,000

Aquatica Orlando is owned by the SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment group and offers 59 acres of the fabulous fun and attractions you’d expect from one of the world’s biggest theme park brands. Catering to visitors of all ages, you and your family will find plenty of ways to keep cool at Aquatica.

How to Get There

As part of the attractions and resorts in Orlando, you should have no problem getting to Aquatica.

By Plane:

The nearest airport to the park is Orlando International Airport, which also services most of the other big attractions in the area. The airport offers plenty of taxis, rental cars, shuttle services and public transport for your onward journey.

By Road:

From Tampa or Highway I-92 – Jump on I-4 eastbound, then get off at Exit 71 (SeaWorld Exit). Take a right off the ramp onto Central Florida Parkway (follow signs toward SeaWorld), then turn left onto Sea Harbor Drive. Aquatica is just past SeaWorld across International Drive.

From downtown Orlando – Jump on I-4 westbound, then get off on Exit 72 (Highway 528/Beachline Expressway). Get off on International Drive (Exit 1), then take a left at the bottom of the ramp (follow signs toward SeaWorld). Aquatica is just across the street from SeaWorld on International Drive

By Public Transport:

Because of the sheer volume of attractions in the Orlando area, there are many ways to reach the water park using the free or low-cost shuttle buses that carry visitors around the resorts. Two of the best companies to use are Lynx Buses Public Transportation or the iRide Trolley, as well as numerous shuttle services operated by local hotels.

Attractions, Rides, and Slides

For the youngest members of your party, Kata’s Kookaburra Cove has beginner’s body slides, water spouts, and pools, while the Walkabout Waters offer junior slides, splash pools, and squirting water. If you’re looking for a lazy day on the beach, there are plenty of white sandy beach areas and wading pools for you to sit back and relax in.

If you want something more thrilling, Ihu’s Breakaway Falls is the steepest capsule drop water ride in Orlando, and the Taumata Racer is a high-speed competitive mat ride where 8 racers rip head first down a staggeringly steep hill. Most of the rides at Aquatica are designed with families in mind and are suitable for riders of all ages.

Seasonal Events

Because this park is part of the SeaWorld group, most shows and events can be found within SeaWorld. You can check the Aquatica website before you visit or call them to see if the park itself has any additional entertainment or celebrations planned during your visit.

Where to Stay

Orlando is home to some of the finest family-friendly resort hotels in the world, so whatever your budget, you won’t struggle to find somewhere to stay.

Doubletree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld – Large family hotel situated just a mile from the park itself. With 2 pool areas and plenty of other facilities, this is a great base from which to explore the Orlando attractions.

TownePlace Suites by Marriott Orlando at SeaWorld – Suite-based accommodation with large rooms and separate kitchens close to Aquatica and SeaWorld. The hotel also offers an outdoor swimming pool and an onsite gym.

Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld – An upscale hotel perfectly situated for exploring the water park and other local attractions, as well as offering an enormous pool area, restaurant, and bar.

Where to Eat

The park’s main eatery, The Waterstone Grill, serves up succulent sandwiches, juicy hamburgers, specialty wraps, salads, kids meals, and delicious desserts. Banana Beach Cookout offers BBQ chicken, pulled pork, and a selection of sausages. If you want something quick and easy, the Mango Market has sandwiches, salads, fruit, desserts, snacks, and sweet treats.

Ticket Info

Booking your tickets online can help you save money, and there are discounts for booking multi-park tickets (which is usually the preferred option in Orlando).

  • A single-day ticket for guests 3 years and older starts at $49.99 bought in advance
  • There are additional options you can purchase, including queue jumper passes and all-day dining
  • Season passes start at $149.00

To find out more about ticket prices and discounts available, visit the Aquatica Orlando website.

3. Universal’s Volcano Bay, Orlando, FL

2017 Visitors: 1,500,000

Universal’s Volcano Bay is a themed water park at the world-famous Universal Orlando Resort in Orlando, Florida. The park is based around an amazing 200-foot tall man-made volcano called “Krakatau.” Just opened in May 2017, Volcano Bay is already one of the most popular water parks in all the U.S.

How to Get There

Getting to and from the attractions at the Universal Orlando Resort is easy, and there are plenty of ways to do so.

By Plane:

The nearest airport to the park is Orlando International Airport, which also services most of the other big attractions in the area. The airport offers plenty of taxis, rental cars, shuttle services, and public transport options.

By road:

From Orlando International Airport – Take SR-528 West 11 miles to I-4 East, then continue for 2 miles to exit 75A. Follow the signs to Universal Orlando’s main parking garage or any of the 3 main attractions.

From I-4 Eastbound – (Disney/Lake Buena Vista/Kissimmee) – Take I-4 East to exit 75A, then follow the signs to Universal Orlando’s main parking garage or to one of the attractions

From I-4 Westbound – (Downtown Orlando) – Take I-4 West to exit 74B, then follow the signs to Universal Orlando’s main parking garage or to one of the 3 resort hotels

By Public Transport:

Because of the sheer volume of attractions in the Orlando area, there are many ways to reach the water park using the free or low-cost shuttle buses that carry visitors around the resort. Two of the best companies to use are Lynx Buses Public Transportation and the iRide Trolley, as well as any one of the numerous shuttle services operated by local hotels. There are also shuttles that run between Universal Studios and Volcano Bay.

Attractions, Rides, and Slides

The park offers a ton of watery fun for everyone. At the forefront of theme park technology, they also offer the Tapu Tapu wearables that let you wait in virtual lines, pay for your food, and play in the water without getting your wallet wet.

For the younger visitors in your family, Volcano Bay offers Waturi Beach with golden sands, lush landscapes, and a huge lagoon where you can all swim, splash, and relax in the warm waves. Tot Tiki Reef offers pint-sized slides and water play areas, and it’s carefully watched by lifeguards at all times.

More adventurous guests will enjoy the Krakatau Aqua Coaster, which sends you on a thrilling adventure through the belly of the volcano in 4-man canoes before plunging through a shimmering waterfall. There is also the Ko’okiri Body Plunge, a near-vertical (70-degree drop) speed slide with a trap-door start that passes through the Krakatau volcano before falling 125 feet into a beautiful pool at its base.

Seasonal Events

There are no specific events held in the water park, but the neighboring Universal Orlando has a full program of events and celebrations all year round, including Mardi Gras, Halloween nights, and Christmas holiday festivities as well as concerts, live music, and daily shows.

Where to Stay

Orlando is home to some of the finest family-friendly resort hotels in the world, so whatever your budget, you shouldn’t struggle to find somewhere to stay.

Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn and Suites – Billed as one of the best value hotels in the Universal Resort, visitors get good-sized family accommodations as well as a large pool and easy access to both Universal and Volcano Bay.

Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort – Retro-style accommodations and amazing architecture await at this signature Universal Resort hotel complete with 2 massive pools, a winding lazy river, a bowling alley, and much more.

Loews Sapphire Falls Resort – The ultimate Orlando hotel, Loews is a tropical paradise with a Caribbean-theme, numerous pools, and easy access to all of the resort attractions.

Where to Eat

There are plenty of fabulous eateries dotted throughout the water park, including The Feasting Frog for big burgers and plantain chips, Whakawaiwai Eats for BBQ pizza and freshly made salads, or the Kohola Reef Restaurant & Social Club for pulled pork and Edamame burgers. If you fancy a cocktail, the Kunuku Boat Bar offers specialty drinks and cold beers.

Ticket Info

Booking your tickets online can help save money, and there are discounts for booking multi-park tickets, which is usually the preferred option in Orlando.

  • A single-day ticket for guests 3 years and older starts at $80.00 in advance

To find out more information about ticket prices and promotional discounts available, visit the Volcano Bay website.

2. Blizzard Beach at Disney World, Orlando, FL

2017 Visitors: 1,945,000

Opened in 1995, Blizzard Beach is a wonderful water park located at the Disney World Resort in Orlando. The park sees over 2 million visitors come through its gates every year to enjoy all of the rides, slides, and attractions centered around Mount Gushmore. The park was once a ski resort, and now has a snow-based theme throughout.

How to Get There

Getting to and from the attractions at Disney World Resort Orlando is easy, and most hotels in the area also offer their own shuttles to the resort.

By Plane:

The nearest airport to the park is Orlando International Airport, which also services most of the other big attractions in the area. The airport offers plenty of taxis, rental cars, shuttle services, and public transport options.

By road:

From Interstate 95 – Take U.S. Highway 1 or travel southbound on Florida’s Turnpike, then take I-4 West to the Walt Disney World Exits.

From Southbound Interstate 75 – Take Florida’s Turnpike South to Interstate 4 West to the Walt Disney World Resort Exits.

From Northbound on Florida’s Turnpike – Take Osceola Parkway, which connects with U.S. Highway 192 and the Walt Disney World Resort Exits.

From the Daytona Area – Take I-4 West to Walt Disney World Exits.

From the Tampa Area – Take I-4 East to Walt Disney World Exits.

From Miami or Ft. Lauderdale – Take Florida’s Turnpike North to Osceola Parkway West (Exit 249) to Walt Disney World Exits.

From Orlando International Airport – Take OIA South Exit (FL 417S – Toll) to Osceola Parkway West (Exit 3) to Walt Disney World Exits.

By Public Transport:

Because there are so many great attractions to enjoy in the Orlando area, there are many ways to reach the water park using the free or low-cost shuttle buses that carry visitors around the resort. Both Lynx Buses Public Transportation and the iRide Trolley offer low-cost services to the parks, as do the numerous shuttle services operated by local hotels to the Disney World Orlando Resort.

Attractions, Rides, and Slides

As you would expect from a Disney World Resort attraction, there is plenty here to entertain visitors of all ages. Tike’s Peak is the perfect kid-friendly water play park complete with miniature snow-banked slides, side-by-side downhill slides, a mini inner-tube ride and mini chutes tunneling through the snow. There is also a wading pool featuring “melting” snow sculptures, including Ice Gator with his leaky umbrella, and a snowman-manned igloo fortress with spouting pop-up jets.

Those looking for high-octane thrills will enjoy racing against their friends on the side-by-side waterslides of the Downhill Double Dipper, or the near-vertical drop on one of the tallest, fastest free-fall body slides in the world on the Summit Plummet.

Families can also join together to ride the waves on the Steamboat Springs, or ride the rafts on the Runoff Rapids.

Seasonal Events

The water park does have some limited seasonal events that run separately to the main parades, celebrations and show at Disney World Resort. The park holds DJ dance parties on weekends and select weekdays, as well as themed giveaways and duck races, obstacle courses, and scavenger hunts for kids.

Where to Stay

Disney World Resort Orlando has a wealth of hotels that are close to all of the attractions:

Disney’s Pop Century Resort– A family-friendly hotel that celebrates fads from the 50s right up to the modern day, including yo-yos, Play-Doh, Rubik’s Cube, and rollerblades, with good-sized rooms, the Hippy Dippy Pool, and onsite shops and restaurants.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – A magnificent resort hotel that takes you deep into the heart of Africa. The hotel has access to exotic animals, a pool with a waterslide, and an award-winning children’s activity center.

Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort – An enchanting resort hotel with a Southwest theme. Every room is unique, and the resort offers a pool with slides, a fitness center, and the Latino Grill.

Where to Eat

Park visitors can enjoy hot dogs, salads, and chips at the Avalunch, rice bowls and chicken strips at Lottawatta Lodge, or sandwiches at the Warming Hut. Those with a sweet tooth can fill their boots at IC Expeditions sundae bar, while grownups can relax with a cold beer at the Polar Pub.

Ticket Info

Booking your tickets online and in advance can help you save money, and there are discounts for booking multi-park tickets.

  • Tickets for guests 10 years and older start at $115.00 per day
  • Tickets for guests 3-9 years old start at $109.00

To find out more about ticket prices and promotional discounts available, visit the Disney Blizzard Beach website.

1. Typhoon Lagoon at Disney World, Orlando, FL

2017 Visitors: 2,163,000

Typhoon Lagoon opened on June 1, 1989, and is home to one of the largest outdoor wave pools in the world. The park is themed around the Disney legend of a typhoon that wreaks havoc on what was once a pristine tropical paradise. This is the most popular water theme park in the U.S., and it regularly records over 2 million visitors every year.

How to Get There

Getting to and from attractions at Disney World Resort Orlando and Typhoon Lagoon is easy, and there are plenty of ways to do so.

By Plane:

The nearest airport to the park is Orlando International Airport, which also services most of the other big attractions in the area. The airport offers plenty of taxis, rental cars, shuttle services, and public transport for your onward journey.

By Road:

From Interstate 95 – Take U.S. Highway 1 or go southbound on Florida’s Turnpike, then take I-4 West to the Walt Disney World Exits.

From Southbound Interstate 75 – Take Florida’s Turnpike South to Interstate 4 West to the Walt Disney World Resort Exits.

From Northbound on Florida’s Turnpike – Take Osceola Parkway, which connects with U.S. Highway 192 and the Walt Disney World Resort Exits.

From the Daytona Area – Take I-4 West to the Walt Disney World Exits.

From the Tampa Area – Take I-4 East to the Walt Disney World Exits.

From Miami or Ft. Lauderdale – Take Florida’s Turnpike North to Osceola Parkway West (Exit 249) to the Walt Disney World Exits.

From Orlando International Airport – Take OIA South Exit (FL 417S – Toll) to Osceola Parkway West (Exit 3) to the Walt Disney World Exits.

By Public Transport:

You can reach the water park and other attractions at Disney World Resort in Orlando using the free or low-cost shuttle buses that run between attractions. There are also paid services including Lynx Buses Public Transportation and the iRide Trolley, as well as any of the numerous shuttle services operated by local hotels to the Disney World Orlando Resort.

Attractions, Rides, and Slides

Typhoon Lagoon has the largest wave pool in the world, but that’s just the start of the fun on offer here. For younger visitors, Ketchakiddee Creek has scaled-down slides that give big-kid-style thrills: side-by-side mini slides, mini inner-tube rapids rides, crawl chutes, and a cave with a waterfall. There are also the Bay Slides near the wave pool, where kids under 5 can play on miniature versions of the thrilling Storm Slides.

Bigger kids of all ages can get carried away on the Miss Adventure Falls family raft ride, or enjoy the caverns and waterfalls of Keelhaul Falls.

If you’re looking for faster thrills and spills, Humunga Kowabunga zooms 214 feet downhill in the dark at a 60-degree angle, while the Mayday Falls is an intense raft ride that takes you on a solo inner tube ride.

Seasonal Events

From June until August, Typhoon Lagoon holds regular H20 Glow Nights in the water park. Join Rex and his Toy Story pals for a luminous event that is great fun for the whole family. The park also offers DJ dance parties on weekends as well as themed giveaways, duck races, obstacle courses, and scavenger hunts for the children.

Lilo and Stitch are also regular visitors to Typhoon Lagoon during the summer months.

Where to Stay

There are plenty of fabulous family-friendly hotels at Disney World Resort Orlando, including:

Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel – A deluxe resort hotel offering first-class family accommodations as well as elaborate fountains, towering palm trees, an onsite spa, and a swimming pool with slides.

Walt Disney World Swan Hotel– A gorgeous resort hotel that offers luxury rooms and suites, a large pool with waterslides, and a supervised children’s activity center.

Disneys All-Star Music Resort – Budget-friendly Disney accommodation with a musical theme throughout, which offers family suites, a guitar-shaped pool, and its very own Intermission Food Court.

Where to Eat

If a long day playing in the water has made you hungry, grab a burger from Leaning Palms, a wrap or sandwich from Lowtide Lou’s, or fried shrimp and BBQ pork from Typhoon Tilly’s. If you just fancy a quick ice cream or a cold beer, Happy Landings and The Snack Shack have you covered.

Ticket Info

Booking your tickets online can help you save money, and there are discounts for booking multi-park tickets.

  • Tickets for guests 10 years and older start at $115.00 per day
  • Tickets for guests 3-9 years old start at $109.00
  • Buying tickets that cover different attractions over a number of days can dramatically reduce the daily ticket price

To find out more information about ticket prices and promotional discounts available, visit the Disney Typhoon Lagoon website.

Hot Tip: Travel hacking Disney is certainly doable – check out our piece on How to Visit Disney World for Cheap by Using Points & Miles

Final Thoughts

It will probably come as no surprise that the Disney World Resort water parks are ruling the waves, with Universal Resort running close behind them.

These parks really are the creme de la creme of water attractions, offering once-in-a-lifetime holiday experiences for you and your family. But if you aren’t visiting Orlando (or want to try somewhere different), every one of these top 20 water parks will have you splashing about in no time.

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