Summer isn't over yet, so you've still got time to plan a trip to one of this country’s many incredible water parks. By combining water activities with heart-pounding fun, water parks offer the ultimate summer entertainment. While some parks make our list for their impressive - and sometimes record-breaking - attractions, others offer the sweet simplicity of fun rides and impeccable facilities. Dive into our list below of the top 10 Water Parks the US has to offer!
1. Aquatica - Orlando, FL
Opened in 2008, this Seaworld-operated park quickly gained popularity, and it’s easy to see why: the park offers numerous unique attractions to its visitors, such as the Dolphin Plunge, a slide that carries its rider through underwater tubes into waters where Commerson’s dolphins frolic and play, often swimming alongside sliders. Then there’s Breakaway Falls, the only ride of its kind in Orlando, which sends its rider into a free-fall down a twisting tower of tubes. Kids will enjoy Aquatica’s turtle and dolphin attractions, as well as kids-only areas of the park like Walkabout Waters, a 60-foot tall 'rain fortress' that expands out to cover 15,000 square feet of space. Another bonus of visiting Aquatica is the plethora of diversions in Orlando, Florida, home to Universal Studios, and, of course, Walt Disney World. Do be sure to take full advantage of all that Orlando has to offer by visiting Aquatica this summer!
2. Noah’s Ark Water Park - Wisconsin Dells, WI
As the country’s largest water park, Noah’s Ark offers 51 attractions across 70 acres to delight guests of all ages and swimming abilities. For the more adventurous there are rides like Black Anaconda, the park’s touted water coaster, which whips its riders through its quarter-mile track at 30 miles per hour. There is also Scorpion’s Tail, a slide that drops its riders down a nearly 90-degree incline. Noah’s Ark also offers the world’s largest bowl ride, the Time Warp, which plunges riders into darkness filled with twists and turns. Noah’s Ark offers over 13 kid-friendly rides, and provides free life vest rentals at all of the park’s wave pools. Wisconsin Dells is touted as the Waterpark Capital of the World, so make sure you plan an extended trip and take time to explore its many indoor and outdoor water parks, amusement parks, and other numerous outdoor pursuits.
3. Dollywood’s Splash Country - Pigeon Forge, TN
Any summer pilgrimage to the southern gem Dollywood isn’t complete without a visit to Splash Country! Many of the park's rides are designed to mimic the natural splendor of the environment in the Tennessee Smoky Mountains. Take in the views the park offers by grabbing a tube and moseying along the park’s 1,500-foot Downbound Float Trip. The park recently added to its repertoire RiverRush, the state’s first and only water coaster. Treat yourself by renting a luxury cabin in Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg with sweeping views of the Smoky Mountain sunrises and sunsets.
4. Raging Waters San Dimas - San Dimas, CA
Raging Waters faces off against stiff competition, as California is home to more water parks than any other state in the country, but this park squashes the competition due to its enormous size—at 50 acres, this is the largest water park the state has to offer! Fifty seems to be this park's magic number, as its most thrilling attraction, The Bermuda Triangle, reaches speeds up to 50 miles per hour. Raging Water San Dimas also offers four parks just for kids: Kids Kingdom, The Little Dipper, Splash Island Adventure, and Volcano Fantasea, featuring a forty-foot volcano hiding a maze of slides that descend into the waters below. Just make sure to purchase the somewhat pricey H2go pass, or you’ll face long lines at this popular park as Los Angelenos flock in from the city, a mere 25 miles away.
5. Water Country USA - Williamsburg, VA
Season: May- September
Water Country USA, the largest water park in all of Virginia at 43 acres, is constantly rated the cleanest and best maintained water park in the country. If clean waters aren’t enough to entice you, perhaps the park’s eleven rides and slides, and four kid-friendly attractions will pique your interest? Water Country USA also touts a 23,000 square foot wave pool. This park is all about non-stop fun, evinced by the not-so-lazy river, the Hubba Bubba Highway, 1,500 feet of fast-moving currents and surprise geyser action. Looking to diversify your visit? Busch Gardens amusement park is just three miles away and is one of the best in the country, while Colonial Williamsburg is the place to go to slow things down and learn about life in colonial America.
6. Splashin’ Safari - Santa Claus, Indiana
Season: May- September
Yet another record breaker, Splashin’ Safari is home to the world’s two longest water coasters. Mammoth drops its riders an impressive seven stories over a series of drops, while Wildebeest’s toboggan-style sleds carry their four riders on an underground adventure of dim tunnels and steep descents, reaching a breathtaking 36 feet-per-second in speed. Of course, Splashin’ Safari is just one of Santa Claus, Indiana’s attractions; adjacent Holiday World Theme Park is a must for those with kids in tow! The park’s holiday-themed rides will delight young and old visitors with their whimsical designs. The town of Santa Claus offers ample accommodation, from motels to hotels and and of course vacation rentals for its year-round visitors.
7. Pump House Indoor Water Park - Jay, VT
New England has certainly adapted to optimize its water park months in the face of unreliable spring and fall weather. Pump House Indoor Water Park represents the crème de la crème of east coast indoor water parks. If you find it hard to believe an indoor water park can rival its open-air competitors, wait until you experience La Chute, a 65-foot tall slide that sends its rider in a full 360-degree rotation at 45 miles per hour. The Pump House also boasts a flow-riding area to learn some surf skills, as well as the Big River, which far surpasses its lazy river roots! Jay, Vermont is the epitome of a vacation haven, so rent a house to share with friends and hit the slopes, the golf course, and, of course, Pump House!
8. Water World - Denver, CO
Covering an expansive 64 acres with an impressive 49 attractions, you should plan to arrive early and stay late at this world of water! The parks most famed attraction, Voyage to the Center of the Earth, takes place entirely inside a network of twisting caverns, past animatronic dinosaurs and other prehistoric figures, and takes five minutes from start to finish. The Storm is another of the park’s attraction to capitalize on dark tunnels and unseen twists and turns, all the while creating a storm-like environment complete with booming thunder and lightning claps. If you’re looking for a more kid-friendly experience, fear not: nearly half of the park’s attractions are fit for kids. Another perk of this park: free parking and easy access from downtown Denver, located just 15 minutes away.
9. Schlitterbahn Kansas City Water Park - Kansas City, KA
Schlitterbahn Kansas City Water Park jumped onto the scene in 2007 and has been making news ever since, most recently by opening the world’s tallest waterslide, Verrückt, in May of 2014. This ride towers above the park, rising taller than the Statue of Liberty from her toe to her torch, according to the ride’s website. Just make sure you head to this park early and with a couple of friends, as you must reserve your three-person trip down Verrückt early in the day to ensure a chance to take on the behemoth. If the initial 168-foot, 7-inch drop, sharp incline, and final 50-foot descent seems crazy, well… it should! Verrückt literally means crazy in German!
10. Six Flags White Water - Marrieta, GA
If there’s an adrenaline junkie in your group, Six Flags White Water is a must-do on your summer bucket list! Head to this park to experience the Dive Bomber, an attraction that drops you out a trap door at a nearly vertical angle into the water 10 stories below. Not your cup of tea? How about a 400-foot tube slide that twists and turns before descending into total darkness? For those not seeking thrills, this park offers ample family rides, as well as five play areas specifically for kids. After drying off, explore downtown Atlanta or journey to Chatanooga, TN, just an hour and a half away.
This article was written by content contributor Tej Reddy and edited by Tripping.com Content Specialist Lexi Perman.