The 20 Best Water Parks Across America

Noah's Ark, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin


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Noah's Ark, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

A Splash of Summer Fun

Ready to get wet? If an affordable beach vacation isn't in the cards this summer, water parks across the country offer quick and easy access to all the aquatic thrills — or relaxation — that you need. Slap on some sunscreen, because we've rounded up some of the best water parks in the nation, with ticket prices and attractions to fit all budgets and thrill levels.

Related: 25 Amusement Parks: Then and Now

Big Rivers Waterpark & Adventures
Emi J./Yelp

Big Rivers Waterpark & Adventures

New Caney, Texas
One-day admission: $40

About 40 minutes northeast of Houston, Big Rivers Waterpark & Adventures opened in 2019. It has new attractions opening all summer, including the Gator Splash, Texas' largest interactive play structure with over 300 water play elements, multiple slides, and sprayers. If you start feeling water-logged, you can take a pool break to check out the park's zip lines, rope courses, and other "dry" adventures. The online-only $40 ticket is $5 less on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays.

What's worth the lines: Surrounded by nature, the family-friendly Wild Isle lake features a massive inflatable challenge course. Race your friends, or just chill in the cool, spring-fed water.

Related: The World's Oddest Theme Parks

Noah's Ark, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

Noah's Ark

Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
One-day admission: $40

Wisconsin Dells is known for its water parks, and Noah's Ark is king of 'em all. There are 70 acres of attractions, making this the biggest water park in the U.S. Buy your tickets before you go: $40 is an online-only price that lets park-goers save $15 off the gate price. There is also a four-pack discount. Hand sanitizer is available throughout the park.

What's worth the lines: Raja, a new 335-foot tube slide into the mouth of a cobra that includes twists, turns, and a 37-foot plunge.

Related: Fascinating Facts About Waterparks

Raging Waters Los Angeles San Dimas, California
Jocelyn L./Yelp

Raging Waters Los Angeles

San Dimas, California
One-day admission: $49

Have a blast splashing your way through 50-acre Raging Waters, one of the biggest water parks on the West Coast. It even boasts an H2Go ride reservation system, which lets visitors pay more to reserve times on popular rides and skip the line. Be sure to buy tickets in advance, as $49 is discounted up to $21 from gate prices. Members of the military and juniors get discounted tickets. Hand sanitizer is available throughout the park.

What's worth the lines: Bombs Away, one of the nation's tallest vertical slides st 300 feet. You'll hit close to 25 feet per second during the blisteringly fast drop.

Water Country USA Williamsburg, Virginia

Water Country USA

Williamsburg, Virginia
One-day admission: $35 (online only); $75 (gate)

Once you've had enough history lessons in colonial Williamsburg, cool down at Water Country USA, the largest water park in the Mid-Atlantic. Highlights include Surfer's Bay, a massive wave pool, and the nearby Kritter Korral, perfect for little ones who want to splash. Though $62 may seem steep, you can actually snag all-day dining plus entry for $70 when purchased online.

What's worth the lines: The Cutback Water Coaster, new in 2019, is a ride merging a water jet propulsion system and exhilarating saucer feature that combine to create a steep, smooth ride through over 850 feet of slide.

Water World, Federal Heights, Colorado

Water World

Federal Heights, Colorado
One-day admission: $38 Monday through Thursday; $44 weekends

You'll have tons of choices for fun at Water World, a 64-acre park that has 50 rides ranging from high-speed thrill slides to family-friendly tube rides and play areas. Need a cheaper ticket? Children and seniors pay reduced rates, and there are a variety of other money-saving promotions — for instance, you can save $10 by picking up a coupon at Top Dog Car Wash.

What's worth the lines: Lost River of the Pharaohs, which sends large, circular rafts down a twisting white-water slide and into an ancient pyramid where adventure awaits.

The Crush 'n' Gusher in Typhoon Lagoon @ Walt Disney World Orlando
The Crush 'n' Gusher in Typhoon Lagoon @ Walt Disney World Orlando by JZ85 (CC BY-SA)

Typhoon Lagoon

Orlando, Florida
One-day admission: $69

Anyone who's underwhelmed with the concrete-jungle feel of most water parks will want to check out Typhoon Lagoon, where the Disney touch is obvious (Blizzard Beach is temporarily closed). At Typhoon Lagoon, you're a castaway in a tropical paradise ravaged by a storm. Tickets are pricey — this is Disney, after all. Kids get a $6 price break, and tickets are slightly cheaper if you don't go during summer months. Planning on visiting the rest of Disney World, too? Look into Park Hopper Plus tickets.

What's worth the lines: Gather your family (or three friends) for Miss Adventure Falls, a white-water, fast-paced ride on your own raft.

Lost Island, Waterloo, Iowa

Lost Island

Waterloo, Iowa
One-day admission: $32

Budget-friendly Lost Island is a hit with families who love being able to splash around with the kids for a lower price than they can at many other water parks. For an extra fee, kids can towel off and enjoy adventure golf or Go-Karts. Discounts are available for kids, seniors, and military.

What's worth the lines: Molokini Crater, which sends up to four riders shooting through an enclosed tunnel and into a massive 60-foot funnel, then under a waterfall before splashdown.

Splashin' Safari, Santa Claus, Indiana

Splashin' Safari

Santa Claus, Indiana
One-day admission: $60

Paying for a ticket at Splashin' Safari gets you double the fun, because you can also use it at holiday-themed Holiday World, a traditional theme park with wooden coasters, shows, and other favorites. Though anyday tickets are $60 online, look up "pick your price" tickets. If you can go on a non-peak day (for instance, the middle of the week), you can save a tidy sum.

What's worth the lines: Mammoth, the world's longest water coaster, propels six-passenger rafts up and down a 1/3-mile path that can leave riders facing sideways or backwards, or plunge them into darkness.

H2OBX, Powells Point, North Carolina
H2OBX Waterpark


Powells Point, North Carolina
One-day admission: $39

In the Outer Banks, the relatively new H2OBX — it opened in 2017 —gives vacationers a thrilling alternative to the Atlantic surf. With a manageable size and a balanced blend of thrill rides, family rides, and kiddie attractions, it's a good pick for all ages. Discounts are available for local residents, military, and those staying in partner vacation rentals. Just want to splash away the evening? Twilight tickets, good after 3 p.m., are only $29.

What's worth the lines: Rogue Wave, a six-story raft ride that sends circular rafts down a large chute and slipping and sliding up and down a massive wave feature.

Kalahari Resort Poconos, Pocono Manor, Pennsylvania

Kalahari Resort Poconos

Pocono Manor, Pennsylvania
One-day admission: Up to $110

If you despise getting all lathered up with sunscreen, Kalahari Poconos is for you. It's home to the country's largest indoor water park, with roughly two dozen slides and water attractions — more than many outdoor competitors. The admittedly steep day-pass price is probably meant to encourage visitors to stay at the attached resort, which allows free admission to the water park for registered guests. After 4 p.m. passes are available for $76 to $96.

What's worth the lines: Tanzanian Twister, which sends single riders around ... and around ... and around a giant funnel flume at up to 40 mph.

Splish Splash Calverton, New York
Kim C./Yelp

Splish Splash

Calverton, New York
One-day admission: $70 

City dwellers who want to cool off during a stifling NYC summer can cool off on Long Island at 96-acre Splish Splash. Buy online for the $50 price; seniors and kids 48" and under are $10 cheaper than the adult price, and season passes start at $80. Visitors should also check the park's promotions page for limited-time deals.

What's worth the lines: Bootleggers Run, a water coaster that hits up to 30 mph as up to four riders in a toboggan-style raft slide up, down, and around hairpin turns.

Aquatica Orlando, Orlando, Florida
Phil P./Yelp

Aquatica Orlando

Orlando, Florida
One-day admission: $95

Aquatica Orlando, Sea World's first water park, offers a colorful array of attractions with a lush, tropical-themed look. Most rides are named after animals, of course — and the Dolphin Plunge ride even sends riders racing through a clear tube that takes them straight through a pod of dolphins. If you can buy your ticket online at least a day in advance, you'll nab tickets for $47 — much cheaper than same-day tickets. Planning on heading to SeaWorld or Busch Gardens Tampa Bay? Combo passes are discounted online, too.

What's worth the lines: The KareKare Curl, which uses a "curve-shaped wave" to shoot riders up a vertical wall, delivering an adrenaline-pumping, weightless thrill.

Dollywood's Splash Country

Dollywood's Splash Country

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
One-day admission: $55

Spend some time at 35-acre Splash Country, and you'll feel like you found your own little mountain hideaway. This sister park to Dollywood even lets you rent 200-square-foot retreats or 65-foot canopies to truly unwind. Visitors planning on spending time at Dollywood will want to look into combo passes for modest savings. Kids and seniors get $10 discounts; there are also a range of limited-time promotions most years.

What's worth the lines: The new five-story TailSpin Racer, which lets riders on rubber mats race each other to the bottom through twists, turns, and drops.

Wings & Waves, McMinnville, Oregon

Wings & Waves

McMinnville, Oregon
Half-day admission: $35

Wings & Waves is smaller and cheaper than a lot of the entries on our list, making it a great place for a fun family afternoon that won't break the bank. This unique indoor water park features plenty of cool aviation details, including attractions that let riders slide out of a roof-mounted Boeing 747. Admission to the water park is only $35 ($30 if bought online) for all ages (though you must pick a 10 a.m.-2 p.m. or 3 p.m.-7 p.m. window or buy two tickets) though kids two and under are free. When you dry off, you can also visit the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in the same complex, for a separate admission fee.

What's worth the lines: Mach 1, a traditional enclosed tube slide that one or two riders tackle without rafts.

Six Flags White Water, Atlanta, Georgia
Brent Y./Yelp

Six Flags White Water

One-day admission: $33

The 69-acre Six Flags White Water is the Southeast's largest water park and has a little something for everyone, including a huge kids' water playground with an interactive pirate ship and a 700,000-gallon wave pool. Buying tickets online in advance can save you a few bucks on the any-day gate price; kids also get in at a reduced rate.

What's worth the lines: The multi-lane Wahoo Racer, which sends six riders screaming down a colorful maze of tubes on a head-first, stomach-down race to the finish line.

Cowabunga Las Vegas Waterparks

Cowabunga Las Vegas Waterparks

Summerlin and Henderson, Nevada
One-day admission: $45

Cowabunga Bay (previously Wet 'N' Wild) and Cowabunga Canyon prove there's plenty of fun to be had off the Strip in Vegas. The two parks  (which can both be entered with one pass) have more than 25 slides and attractions, including family favorites and thrill rides like the Zuma Zooma, which has a 73-foot drop into a 360 degree loop. Buy online to get tickets for as low as $24 depending on the day. 

What's worth the lines: Point Panic, a pitch-black, fully-enclosed water slide for those who aren't afraid of the dark.

Splash Lagoon, Erie, Pennsylvania
Arthur H./Yelp

Splash Lagoon

Erie, Pennsylvania
One-day admission: $45-$65

Indoor Splash Lagoon boasts the largest indoor wave pool in the eastern U.S. and so much more: nine slides, several pools and splash zones, and even a ropes course above it all. Visitors can save by coming in the warmer months and after 4 p.m. There are also plenty of rotating promotions.

What's worth the lines: Hurricane Hole, which shoots riders out of a tube at 40 mph and into a huge funnel, ultimately plunging them into a 6-foot-deep splash pool.

Zoombezi Bay

Zoombezi Bay

Powell, Ohio
One-day admission: $39

Cheerful, family-friendly Zoombezi Bay near Columbus has just over a dozen slides and attractions, putting it among the smaller water parks on this list, but it also comes with a smaller price tag. And there's another big perk: Your admission includes access to the massive Columbus Zoo and Aquarium right next door, regularly recognized as one of the nation's best zoos. Seniors and kids get a $5 price break., and local Kroger grocery stores often carry discounted tickets for everyone.

What's worth the lines: SoundSurfer: King of the Beats lets riders choose from eight different themes with different lights and sounds to enhance their ride down to a misty splashdown.

Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Arlington, Texas

Six Flags Hurricane Harbor

Arlington, Texas
One-day admission: $35

Dallas-area residents can take a break from the area's brutal summers at Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, which spreads out on 50 acres and includes two million-gallon pools for frolicking. On certain summer nights, you can even catch a "dive-in movie" on a big screen over the wave pool. Buy tickets online at least three days in advance and you'll save a couple bucks on the online any-day price of $35.

What's worth the lines: The covered tube slides of Black Hole, which keep riders twisting and turning in near-total darkness, save for tiny lights along the way.

Enchanted Forest Water Safari Old Forge, New York

Enchanted Forest Water Safari

Old Forge, New York
One-day admission: $38

Tucked away in the Adirondacks, Enchanted Forest Water Safari boasts 32 heated outdoor water rides as well as some traditional amusement rides like bumper cars, a tilt-o-whirl, a giant arcade, and more. Kids' tickets are $3 off, and the $38 price reflects a small discount over gate prices. Park-goers who arrive after 2 or 3 p.m., depending upon that day's park hours, receive a pass valid for re-admission any one day during the current operating season.

What's worth the lines: Up to five riders can kick back on the Amazon, a jungle-themed, 1,100-foot family tube ride that twists and turns through the trees.

Discover more fun travel destinations right here.