Best Water Parks in the U.S. for Summer Fun

The heat is picking up in many parts of the country, and kids can get restless around the house. These two factors are great excuses for planning family fun at a water park. Recently, a panel of experts for one of the country’s most popular publications set up a poll to see which facilities people liked best. These are some of the top options from different parts of the country.

First will be indoor water parks. Indoor parks can be a great option, particularly in certain parts of the country where it’s still chilly in the spring. In other places, indoor parks are also a great option because the heat is too much to handle. You can, more or less, avoid painful sunburns at these facilities. Sometimes, though, these spots are known for questionable pool odors. Regardless, these are some of the top options you can choose from this spring and summer.

Then we’ll look at outdoor water parks. You have to come a bit better prepared for these facilities when it comes to the amount of sunscreen you bring. Spring may be the best time to plan a trip to outdoor water parks. That’s especially the case in some parts of the country where summer is too hot. Plus, a weekend trip in early spring when school’s not out yet could mean fewer crowds. The problem is that some of these parks start their season later in the year.

Epic Waters Indoor Water Park – Grand Prairie, Texas

Kid having fun sliding in water amusement park.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / FamVeld

This park is open all year round, undoubtedly one of the biggest upsides to indoor parks. It features various slides, a lazy river, and a wave pool. Expect to find pizzas and all sorts of kids’ favorite meals that you can enjoy in one of their cabanas. That part of the place still has a 90s vibe, with the arcade on campus.

Massanutten Indoor Water Park – Massanutten, Virginia

Multi-colored slide in the indoor water Park
Image Credit: Shutterstock / KELENY

It’s always 84 degrees inside this park, which is great because you can forget you’re in Virginia for a while. That’s especially the case if you come here in the winter months. Everything is within walking distance here. That can be a problem on a crowded day, but it’s great for parents who can keep an eye on their kids from anywhere in the park.

Splash Lagoon – Erie, Pennsylvania

Green water slide splash
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Ra17

This park has a little bit of everything, including a virtual reality dark ride and bowling alley. The entire complex features more attractions than the other two options. Slides at Splash Lagoon cater to both kids and teens. There are two hotels outside the complex, which the company uses to their advantage. It regularly offers travel packages that include a nightly stay and tickets to the park.

DreamWorks Water Park – East Rutherford, New Jersey

Dreamworks Water Park, Rutherford, NJ USA
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Adonis Page

Themed to Shrek and other popular DreamWorks characters, this park claims to be the largest indoor facility of its kind in America. As is the case with Splash Lagoon, there’s a decent variety of slides, kids’ games, and good lounge areas for adults. You can even rent a skybox here to have a commanding view of the entire dome.

Aquatopia Indoor Waterpark – Tannersville, Pennsylvania

View of the Aquatopia indoor waterpark at the Camelback Mountain Resort
Image Credit: Shutterstock / EQRoy

It’s not a surprise that some of the top indoor water parks are located in the northern part of the East Coast. Aquatopia is part of a large complex that includes an outdoor water park. That facility, of course, is open seasonally. This summer, you could enjoy both. When it comes to thrilling rides, this place may have some of the best in the country!

Splashway Waterpark – Sheridan, Texas

Child on water slide at aquapark.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Poznyakov

Sheridan is a small town between Houston and San Antonio. It may not be where you’d expect to find a massive water park. The site features a large campground for families to enjoy the whole experience. It could be a good idea to stay on the property because there are few options elsewhere. The variety of slides and pools have made this place a fan favorite despite the seemingly remote location and rather short operating season.

Aquatica Orlando – Orlando, Florida

Water park Aquatica - Sea World
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Mia2you

There are 14+ different slides, pools, and attractions here. Last year, this park topped the poll as the favorite outdoor water park for people nationwide. The facility offers multiple dining options and bars, making it one of the most complete facilities on the list. It’s also one of the few places where you can still swim with dolphins, an experience quickly disappearing across the country.

Island H2O Water Park – Kissimmee, Florida

Joyful boy descends from the water slide in the water park
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Gerain0812

Kissimmee is located on the outskirts of Orlando. If you’re driving to Orlando from the Tampa Bay area, you’ll likely pass through the park. It’s a smaller, less expensive version of Aquatica featuring similar slides but much fewer amenities. Its location can make it a good first stop on an Orlando trip to visit multiple theme parks. The only issue with that is being sunburned throughout the rest of the trip. That can be a real problem!

Lost Island Waterpark – Waterloo, Iowa

Cool people having fun on the water slide
Image Credit: Shutterstock / MAD.vertise

The water park has 16 rides between kids’ play areas and actual slides. Guests can also enjoy miniature golf and go-karts in an area a bit off to the side. There’s also an amusement park right next door! If we’re honest, there’s not a ton to do in this part of the country. A two-day stay to enjoy both parks can be worth it. The big issue is that the water park has a very short operating season due to the local weather.

Cowabunga Bay Water Park – Henderson, Nevada

Water Park in Las Vegas
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Kong Yew

This park outside of Vegas caters to the type of traveler the area gets. You can rent a cabana by the pool and enjoy food and drinks all day, plus the slides. The park, of course, also features plenty of family-friendly fun options. It can be a significant change of pace for anyone who’s already spent a few days on the strip. Plus, with the heat you can feel in the summer months here, taking a dip in one of these pools is something everyone can appreciate.

Mario Perez

Author: Mario Perez


Mario is a seasoned journalist who’s worked with multiple publications over the years. He has a passion for looking for that story within the story itself. When he’s not actively looking for breaking news, he enjoys playing and watching sports.

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