When the summer heat has you seeking shade and an ice-cold treat, it's time to cool off at one of the best water parks in the country. Sure, you could cool down in your backyard sprinkler, but where's the fun in that? Take a ride down a waterslide instead. We've scoured the country to find the largest, most-popular and best-rated water parks in each state to give you the insider park secrets you need to know.
Alabama — Alabama Splash Adventure
Alabama Splash Adventure is the largest outdoor water park in the state, with nine water attractions. Try Upsurge, a slide that will have you holding on tight as you twist and turn 216 feet down. The park is also home to the Wipeout Adventure Course — a 360-degree interactive obstacle water course where guests can create their own wet and wild experience.
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Alaska — H2Oasis
Anchorage indoor waterpark H2Oasis is the largest in the state. The more daring guests should check out Master Blaster — a water coaster that’s 43 feet high and 505 feet long. Or, simply enjoy the nearly 600-foot-long lazy river that circles the park. Children will enjoy the seven-slide pirate ship featuring water cannons and more.
Arizona — Big Surf Waterpark
Big Surf is home to the first wave pool — it opened in 1969. Waikiki Beach Wave Pool holds 2.5 million gallons of water and is certainly the park’s main attraction. Big Surf is also one of the oldest water parks in the Phoenix area. For thrill-seekers, this outdoor water park won’t disappoint. Check out the Black Hole if you’re not afraid of the dark, as you’ll zip along on a tube through an enclosed slide. Be ready for a wild ride.
Arkansas — Wild River Country
Wild River Country is Arkansas’ largest outdoor water park. If you like speed, be sure not to miss Vertigo. This waterslide will launch and spin you around before you free-fall into the splash pool below. Or, ride Pipeline and slide through 500 feet of twists and turns on a roller-coaster-style water ride. If you're not looking for action-packed waterslides, there’s the lazy river and Wild River Rapids.
California — Knott’s Soak City
Knott’s Soak City is Orange County’s largest outdoor water park. The park recently added seven thrilling waterslides. At Shore Break, there are six different waterslide experiences, where guests can start their journey inside the Aqua-Launch chamber, waiting for the floor to drop from underneath their feet and put them into an almost-vertical free fall. There’s also the new Wedge slide tower, a family raft ride.
Colorado — Water World
Enjoy nearly 50 attractions for any type of water activity imaginable at this park located just north of downtown Denver. Race down slides, relax on a lazy river, or take the Pirate's Plunge. If you're looking for something more thrilling, check out the Mile High Flyer, a hydromagnetic water coaster. TripAdvisor and USA Today have named Water World as one of the country’s best water parks.
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Connecticut — Quassy Splash Away Bay Water Park
Soak up the water activities at Quassy Splash Away Bay, located on beautiful Lake Quassapaug in Middlebury. Slide City, the newest attraction at the park, is specifically designed for kids who can’t ride the larger slides. The park is also home to Saturation Station — an interactive modular play unit. Watch out for the big tipping bucket that dumps more than 300 gallons of water on guests below. The family fun park also includes an amusement park that’s been around since 1908.
Delaware — Jungle Jim’s River Safari Water Park
Jungle Jim’s is Delaware's largest water park. The outdoor park features six giant slides, some over 580 feet long, as well as a 900-foot lazy river that circles the park. There’s also a wave pool and exclusive kid areas. Families can also take a break from water activities and enjoy go-karts, mini golf and bumper boats.
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Florida — Typhoon Lagoon
Disney's Typhoon Lagoon is an outdoor water theme park located at the Walt Disney World Resort. The park was recently named the best water park in the country by TripAdvisor.
Guests will feel like they’re on a secluded island just after a typhoon hit, where a shipwrecked boat dangles from the top of a mountain. Young kids will enjoy Ketchakiddee Creek, which is equipped with kid-friendly slides and other water activities. One of the park's main attractions is Crush ‘n’ Gusher, a roller-coaster-like raft ride.
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Georgia — Six Flags White Water
Enjoy over 700,000 gallons of water at the White Water wave pool. For those seeking even more thrills, head over Caribbean Plunge, the fastest drop in the park. It will drop you 50 feet in just three seconds! If you’re feeling especially adventurous, don’t miss the Dive Bomber — the tallest waterslide at the park and named one of the best attractions. You’ll be dropped through a trap door and then descend 10 stories in an almost vertical drop.
Hawaii — Wet ‘n’ Wild
Wet 'n' Wild is the only water park in Hawaii. The park features rides for people of all ages. If you’re feeling brave, be sure to check out the Tornado. If the name is any indication, this is an extreme water experience. You’ll be thrown 50 feet in the air through a 130-foot tunnel before freefalling to the water below. You’ll also catch a stunning view of Oahu. Just watch out for these hidden expenses when vacationing in Hawaii.
Idaho — Roaring Springs Water Park
Come to beat the heat at this water park destination and see the latest attractions. Among them is the Corkscrew Cavern, the first 360-degree looping waterslide in the Northwest. Be prepared for a wild ride, as you slide through an enclosed tunnel, covering 38 feet per second! Another newcomer is the Cliffhanger, where you’ll plunge from six stories up — and fall for four seconds down.
Illinois — Raging Waves Waterpark
Raging Waves offers 20 waterslides and a quarter-mile-long lazy river. The water park is the largest in the Chicago area, located in suburban Yorkville. For a heart-pounding ride, check out The Boomerang — a thrill ride on a raft, where you’ll twist, turn and drop 40 feet! Thrill-seekers will be pleased with the many speed slides, which include enclosed slides and tube rides.
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Indiana — Splashin’ Safari
Where is the best outdoor water park? According to USA Today, it’s Splashin’ Safari in Indiana. The nearly 40-acre outdoor water park is home to the world’s longest water coaster, the Mammoth, as confirmed by Guinness World Records. TripAdvisor also lists the park as one of the top five water parks in the nation.
Iowa — Lost Island Waterpark
Lost Island is one of the best water parks in the nation, according to USA Today. The outdoor water park took second place on the newspaper’s 2017 list. Thrill-seekers will enjoy Lost Souls Falls — a waterslide that will drop you 28 feet per second. Kids will love the water attractions, including the newly designed Tahiti Village, an interactive area that includes several slides, a tipping bucket, water sprayers and more. After visiting Lost Island, extend your family vacation at one of these spots.
Kansas — Great Wolf Lodge
The Great Wolf Lodge is a family friendly indoor water park in Kansas City. For an exhilarating ride, try the Triple Twist and experience why it’s a favorite among guests. The waterslide will have you zipping and twisting through a funnel at lightning speed. The little ones will love the water play at Whooping Hollow, a kid-sized pool filled with perfectly sized waterslides and dips.
Kentucky — Hurricane Bay
Daredevils will take delight in Deep Water Dive — the country’s tallest body slide. Running 377 feet long with a 12-story drop, this is not for the faint of heart. You only have three seconds to prepare before you’re off. Vanishing Falls is another body slide sure to thrill with its fast turns and drops. For a water adventure the entire family can enjoy, head to the 12,000-square-foot Family Wave Lagoon. There are 19 total water attractions at the park.
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Louisiana — Splash Kingdom Waterpark
If you’re into thrilling waterslides, then take an exhilarating ride down Bonzai — an open waterslide with steep drops and high speeds. Splash Kingdom’s Shreveport location has a few other body slides, like Brett’s Blaster, which is also known for its quick acceleration and serious adrenaline rush. For those looking for a relaxing activity, head over to the lazy river and float for a few laps, or hang out at the activity pool.
Maine — Aquaboggan Water Park
Aquaboggan is Maine's first water park. Located in Saco, Maine, near Old Orchard Beach, the park offers high-speed waterslides, a wave pool, a toddler water playground and bumper boats. For a unique and adrenaline-pumping experience, try Stealth 5, where you’ll climb into a tube and zip about a 45-foot-tall hydro half-pipe. You can also test your agility at the Aquasaucer, where you’ll have to make your way up a water-soaked dome by rope. The whole family will love this kid-friendly summer destination.
Maryland — Splash Mountain Water Park
Jolly Roger’s Splash Mountain in Ocean City is a family-friendly water park that offers a water coaster, half-pipe slide, lazy river, wave pool, splash pad and more. The Aqualoop was rated the best waterslide in the country by Popular Mechanics; it is the only one of its kind on the East Coast. This 360-degree looping ride will have you sliding 480 feet before splashing down.
Massachusetts — Six Flags Hurricane Harbor
If you want an adrenaline rush, Hurricane Harbor will not disappoint, with waterslides like Cannonball Falls. This tower will have you coming back to try all three of its steep tubes. For the most daring ride, try the fully enclosed blue tubes where you’ll hit maximum velocity in no time. For another thrilling water adventure, check out Typhoon — a waterslide that turns into a water coaster on a three-person raft.
Michigan — WildWater Adventure Water Park
For the ultimate family experience, head to the water park at Michigan's Adventure. Half-Pint Paradise is a newly designed water attraction that will appeal to all ages, but specifically the little ones. There are seven new waterslides for kids, water dumping buckets, bubbling geysers and other interactive water play areas. The water park also has plenty of thrill slides, like Mine Shaft, where you’ll plunge through a tunnel of darkness on a three-person raft.
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Minnesota — Cascade Bay Waterpark
Home to seven waterslides, Cascade Bay is the largest outdoor community water park in the Upper Midwest, according to the park. Popular attractions include shooting down the Twin Falls or braving the Typhoon and Hurricane waterslides. The zero-depth pool is also a family favorite. The little ones should head to Shipwreck Cove, where they can explore the sprays and bubblers.
Mississippi — Gulf Islands Water Park
The rides to check out this season at Gulf Islands Water Park include The Horn Island Blaster and Riptide Racer — they're park attractions that are totally worth the money. As you can tell from the names, both entail speed. The Blaster is the Gulf Coast’s first water roller coaster, which will take you for a ride through more than 500 feet of twists and turns and drops at 45 degrees. At the Riptide Racer, challenge friends or family to a headfirst plunge-off from 45 feet high.
Missouri — White Water Branson
Head to Branson and the water park at Silver Dollar City. White Water is a tropical-themed outdoor water park with 13 acres of water rides and slides. KaPau Plummet is considered the biggest thrill at the park. It features two dueling 245-foot slides that start riders from a drop floor into a 70-degree fall. Expect to descend at a rate of 26 feet per second.
Montana — Big Sky Waterpark
The largest water park in Montana is an ideal place to cool off this summer. Located in Columbia Falls, this action-packed water park has 10 slides with twists and turns and big drops. Speed lovers will enjoy the Geronimo Speed Slide, and the Shredder Xtreme is the perfect family thrill ride.
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Nebraska — Fun-Plex
Fun-Plex is Nebraska’s largest ride and water park. For the thrill-seekers who don’t mind extreme heights, twists and turns, check out Typhoon Falls — a five-story mountain waterfall. If you're looking to get wet and soak up the sun, check out the lazy river, the wave pool or get caught by the 317-gallon bucket of water at Makana Splash. Fun-Plex is also home to the state’s only roller coaster.
Nevada — Cowabunga Bay
Located just outside Las Vegas, you know you’re in for a wild and wet adventure. Cowabunga Bay has the world’s largest man-made wave — the journey starts on a four-person raft that drops from 60 feet in the air to the enormous wave below. From there, you’ll be tossed about before a final big splash. When you're in Vegas, listen to the locals to get the Las Vegas vacation secrets only insiders know.
New Hampshire — Whale’s Tale Waterpark
Have a wet and wild time at Whale’s Tale, where you’ll find speed slides and calm coves. One of the most thrilling rides at the park is Poseidon’s Voyage. Riders begin their journey in a skybox, waiting for the floor to drop for an epic ride that will reach top speeds of 38 feet per second. The ride includes a 360-degree loop.
New Jersey — Morey’s Piers
Explore the two water parks at Morey’s Piers and find out why TripAdvisor ranked the park eighth in the country. At the Ocean Oasis Water Park, take the plunge on the Cliff Dive, where you’ll slide and drop five stories in three seconds. The water excitement continues at Raging Waters, a shipwreck-themed water park. Raging Waters offers two kiddie play areas along with speed slides, Shotgun Falls and an activity pool full of challenges for the whole family.
New Mexico — Carlsbad Water Park
Come check out Carlsbad Water Park, now in its second season. A favorite of guests is the slide nicknamed Big Blue. At 50 feet high, it’s the tallest waterslide at the park. In all, the park features three waterslides, a lazy river and a children’s play area.
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New York — Enchanted Forest Water Safari
Have a wild and wet adventure on one of the 32 water rides at Enchanted Forest Water Safari this summer. The park, located in Old Forge, has the perfect combination of tubing and body slides. If you crave speed, try Killermanjaro — it's one of the park’s tallest and fastest speed slides, totaling 280 feet in length. Be prepared for a wild ride, as speeds reach over 45 feet per second.
North Carolina — Carowinds Carolina Harbor
Splash away at the Carolina Harbor water park, the newest addition to Carowinds. USA Today ranked the park as the fourth-best in the country. The park features something for all water lovers, from steep slides to wave pools. For the ultimate thrill ride, step onto the pirate plank at Blackbeard’s Revenge, a six-story-tall waterslide complex where you’ll wait to plummet in a near-total free fall when the floor drops underneath. Expect a lot of twists, including four 360-degree turns!
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North Dakota — Raging Rivers Waterpark
Raging Rivers offers four acres of water entertainment. The most daring rides are two speed slides standing 66 feet above the park. Riders start out in total darkness and fall to a double drop when they reach daylight. With kid-sized waterslides and a 500-gallon dump bucket ready to soak guests, the Aqua Play Area will be a favorite with the little ones.
Ohio — The Beach Waterpark
Cincinnati is far from the tropics, but The Beach won’t disappoint with its island-vibe ambiance. There are live palm trees, ocean sand and a lot of thrashing water. In the midst of everything, you’ll find thrill and chill water rides. For the brave, there’s The Cliff — just be sure you’re ready to drop five stories in three seconds. The park says the slide is rated as one of the best in the country.
Oklahoma — White Water Bay
From speed slides to family rides, White Water Bay will appeal to everyone. If you’re ready for an exhilarating ride, try the Mega-Wedgie — a 277-foot-long speed slide that includes a 64-foot near free fall. If that’s not enough thrill, try plunging from the Acapulco Cliff Dive, another near-free-fall slide. Visiting a water park like White Water Bay is just one way to keep kids entertained without spending a fortune.
Oregon — Wings and Waves Waterpark
Trust us when we say there’s not another water park like Wings and Waves — it's part of an air and space museum. If you’re an aviation buff or have a future pilot under your watch, you might consider this the best indoor water park yet. The Sonic Boom slide is one the entire family will enjoy. You'll feel like you're soaring through the park in an open cockpit.
Pennsylvania — Splash Lagoon Indoor Water Park
TripAdvisor named Splash Lagoon the seventh-best water park in the nation. It's home to the largest indoor wave pool on the East Coast, with 200,000 gallons of water and 6-feet waves.
One of the most popular attractions at Splash Lagoon is The Cyclone — a bowl-shaped slide that has guests swirling around before they exit the chute. Guests will also enjoy the Tiki Tree House, which offers 12 stories of interactive wet activities — go ahead and see how long you can stay dry.
Rhode Island — Water Wizz of Westerly
Located near Misquamicut State Beach, Water Wizz is a Rhode Island landmark. It's smaller in scale, but it delivers quite a splash. Thrill-seekers will rejoice at Water Wizz. The park has three waterslides standing 35 feet tall that will have you racing around bends and dips. The two speed slides are 50 feet tall, with a glorious view of Block Island in the distance.
South Carolina — Myrtle Waves
Myrtle Waves is the largest water park in South Carolina, and it delivers 20 acres of splashing fun. One of the more recent additions to the park is the Tsunami. On this water ride, guests get a surfing-like experience of riding a wave. Also check out Rockin' Ray — a half-pipe slide two guests can ride together.
South Dakota — WaTiki Indoor Waterpark Resort
Guests can enjoy WaTiki all year long at this indoor water park. The 30,000-square-foot water park is the largest indoor water park in the Dakotas. Attractions include the Sink Hole, Funky Frog Slide, Koko’s Kingdom, activity pool, lazy river and more. All ages will enjoy.
Tennessee — Dollywood’s Splash Country
Enjoy 35 acres of water attractions, from zipping slides to crashing wave pools. New for the 2017 season is the TailSpin Racer. This is a six-lane racing slide that stands five stories tall with many twists and turns to thrill. Fire Tower Falls is another park favorite, featuring the tallest and fastest slides at the park. USA Today voted the park as the eighth-best water park in the country.
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Texas — Schlitterbahn
At the Galveston Island Schlitterbahn location, guests can enjoy 26 acres of thrilling water park adventures with more than 33 attractions. The water park is home to the award-winning and Guinness World Records-certified tallest water coaster, the MASSIV Monster Blaster. Riders start their journey at a height of nearly 82 feet before they’re blasting through turns and hills. The park was recently named the sixth-best water park by USA Today.
Utah — Lagoon a Beach
Located in Farmington, Lagoon a Beach offers thrilling waterslides and attractions, including five body slides, two tube slides, a lazy river and pool. You'll start 70 feet in the air before splashing down after a lightning-fast slide.
Vermont — Jay Peak Pump House
Enjoy the thrills of summer all year long at Jay Peak Pump House, an indoor water park at one of Vermont's premier ski resorts. Try La Chute, which towers 65 feet in the air. The body slide will have you traveling 66 feet per second while doing a 360-degree rotation before making a splash into the water below.
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Virginia — Water Country USA
If you ever wanted to know how it feels to travel over 320 feet in a few seconds, then Nitro Racer is the ride for you. This is a six-lane, high-speed racing slide where you’ll lie on a mat and race to the finish line. Water Country USA is the largest water park in Virginia, and TripAdvisor ranked it the fifth-best water park in the country.
Washington — Wild Waves
Wild Waves has mild- to high-thrill water attractions. For the highest of thrills, try the Riptide, where you’ll swoosh around a big water bowl before plunging to the water below. Try the Raging River Ride on a tube for a fast, exhilarating experience that's no lazy river.
West Virginia — Ace Wonderland Water Park
The five-acre water park is part of Ace Adventure Resort in Oak Hills. The park includes waterslides as well as zip lines and inflatable toys. The water park is best known for The Blob, a giant inflatable pillow in the water that turns into a human catapult.
Wisconsin — Noah’s Ark Water Park
You know a water park is good when it’s named after a flood and is listed as one of the best water parks in the country by both USA Today and TripAdvisor. With 70 acres of water action, the park says it's the largest water park in the U.S. The Scorpion's Tail, a looping waterslide, is the main attraction. Riders climb 100 feet up, then plummet down a 400-foot-long slide with a 360-degree loop while approaching speeds of 50 feet per second.
Wyoming — Star Plunge
This historic water park is located in Hot Springs State Park in Thermopolis and includes an indoor and outdoor pool, waterslides and more. The park is well-known for the Vapor Caves, a natural sauna heated with water from the springs.