6 Must-Visit Water Parks in the U.S.
Looking for some wet and wild family adventures? How about plunging down a 120-foot tall free fall, hanging ten on a surfboard or racing through a playful pod of dolphins? America’s top water parks offer surf-worthy waves, incredible plunges, amazing surprises and nonstop fun under the sun. With more than 1,200 to choose from, it can be difficult to decide which to add to your travel agenda.
Our Picks for the Best Water Parks for Kids in the U.S.A.
Holiday World’s Splashin’ Safari
Santa Claus, Indiana
Did you know that Santa Claus doesn’t really live in the North Pole? He calls a little corner of southern Indiana home, and he even gave the town his name. Yes, Santa Claus, IN really does exist, and a trip to Santa Claus is a fun adventure for families looking for a more affordable theme park experience.
The main attraction of this small vacationers’ village is Holiday World, the nation’s first theme park, family run since 1946. Relive a year of holidays in a single day by visiting each block of the park: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Fourth of July and Christmas.
Splashin’ Safari, the park’s on-site water attraction rounds out the festive fun. TripAdvisor named Splashin’ Safari the nation’s #1 Water Park, and its water coasters, family raft rides, wave pools, rivers, children’s water slides, and interactive play areas offer plenty of fun under the summer sun. Free sunscreen and soft drinks make for an even more affordable (and comfortable) day.
Typhoon Lagoon, Walt Disney World
According to an old Disney legend, a typhoon once hit this Orlando area tropical paradise, leaving boats, surfboards, and fishing gear strewn about the area. The storm supposedly even threw a shrimp boat into the air, and it landed on the top of Mount Mayday, which to this day blasts out a 50-foot geyser of water every half hour.
Today the legendary area of destruction has morphed into Typhoon Lagoon, one of the most visited water parks in the world. A day at Typhoon Lagoon will give you the chance to perform unparalleled feats. Snorkel with sharks, stingrays and tropical fish at the Shark Reef, surf the Surf Pool’s six-foot high waves, or zip through hairpin turns and drop offs on the Crush ‘n’ Gusher. When you need a break, take a relaxing float down the 2,100-foot lazy river that winds its way around the entire park.
Blizzard Beach, Walt Disney World
Yet another Disney legend explains the presence of a ski resort in central Florida. Long ago, a freak snowstorm led to the construction of a magnificent ski resort. When the snow later melted, never to return again, the ski resort owners turned it into the best water park/snowless ski resort ever.
You won’t have to worry about snowy conditions at Blizzard Beach, where all water areas are heated to about 80° F year round. The flagship attraction here is the 120-foot tall Summit Plummet, the third tallest and fastest free fall slide in the world. Teamboat Springs is another record breaker; it’s the world’s longest family white water raft ride at 1,400 feet long. Little ones will want to hit the slopes of Tike’s Peak, where they’ll find downsized versions of the park’s big attractions as well as a snow castle fountain play area.
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New Braunfels, Texas
With its name meaning “slippery road” in German in honor of the city’s heritage, Schlitterbahn has won Amusement Today’s Golden Ticket Award for 15 years straight. Nestled along the beautiful banks of the Comal River near San Antonio, this awesome water park has been a family favorite since 1979.
Six Flags White Water
Located northwest of Atlanta, Six Flags White Water is a 69-acre water park located just 15 miles from the popular theme park Six Flags over Georgia. Several attractions here just might make you lose your swim trunks. The high-speed 400-foot long Black River Falls will whip you downwards through totally blackened walls, while the Dive Bomber will have you plummeting down more than 10 stories from a capsule that opens up unexpectedly from the top. Calm down on the tree-lined Little Hooch lazy river, named in honor of the nearby Chattahoochee River.
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Seaworld’s Aquatica offers more than your average water park. It’s also home to amazing marine life that you’ll have the chance to encounter throughout the day. Head to the Conservation Cabana where the education team hosts meet and greets with the park’s unique residents. The most popular ride in the park is the Dolphin Plunge: two side-by-side enclosed tube slides that plunge down into the depths and past a playful pod Commerson’s Dolphins.
You may also enjoy:
- 5 Best Beach Vacation Spots
- 5 Cool Water Parks to Beat the Atlanta Heat
- Hidden Gems: Discover the Secrets of Disney World
- A Christmas Story Comes Home in Hammond, IN
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Amy is an avid traveler and enjoys exploring the world with her two travelin’ kids, ages 5 and 13. Based in Chicago, Amy has voyaged as far…