America’s Most Thrilling Water Parks Offer Serious Family Fun
From the tummy tickle of a high-speed water slide to floating around a lazy river without a care in the world, nothing beats a day at the water park. Luckily, there are more than 1,000 indoor and outdoor options in the U.S., and we’re here to help you find the best water parks near you or those ones worth traveling for.
Let’s take a deep dive into the biggest wave pools, fastest aqua coasters and twistiest slides as we rank America’s 30 best water parks that make the biggest splash.
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
This Steel City attraction overlooking the Monongahela River has been a hometown favorite for more than three decades. Locals flock here in the summer to speed down 15 water slides, surf the wave pool and chill in the lazy river.
New for 2022 is the Bombs Away slide, featuring a heart-pounding free fall and inverted loop.
29. Pump House
Location: Jay, Vermont
Combine a day of skiing with a day of water slides at this indoor water park at the Jay Peak Resort. The mildly terrifying La Chute is a 65-foot slide where you enter a tube, cross your arms and anxiously wait for the floor to drop. Once it does, you’re speeding down the slide at about 45 miles per hour and have a full 360-degree rotation, reaching the bottom in just six seconds!
If that doesn’t sound like your thing, you can try simulating surfing or have a relaxing day in one of the hot tubs.
28. Zoombezi Bay
Location: Columbus, Ohio
This unique water park is the only one in America to be attached to a zoo, so you can get a two-for-one deal to also see animals.
Popular rides include Croctail Creek, a 21-and-over lazy river that features a swim-up bar; the Python Plunge, a water coaster that shoots you into a 70-foot landing pool; and the Sound Surfer, where you can customize a music and light show to play as you speed down a twisty water slide.
27. Cowabunga Bay
Location: Draper, Utah
Just 20 miles from Salt Lake City, this water park features a 1960s vibe with decor that includes surfboards, groovy colors and a Volkswagen Beetle.
There’s a beach area, lazy river, kids’ cove and high-octane slides like Mondo, which features 800 feet of twists, turns and drops in total darkness, and Bombora, where you’ll experience a figure-eight twist and 45-degree drop.
26. Whale’s Tale
Location: Lincoln, New Hampshire
In the heart of the White Mountains, this water park is known for its family-friendly atmosphere and attractions. Popular rides include The Plunge, a two-lane speed slide that reaches speeds of 40 miles per hour, and the Banzai Pipeline, a tube slide that’s sure to give you tunnel vision.
If you prefer to relax, Jonah’s Cove takes you on a gentle float through waterfalls, and Castaway Cove has heated pools and hot tubs.
25. Camelbeach Mountain
Location: Tannersville, Pennsylvania
Located in the Camelback Resort, this Poconos playground is Pennsylvania's largest outdoor water park. Younger kids love the Egyptian-themed area of Mummy’s Oasis and Pharaoh’s Phortress, which have gentle slides and the always-popular water bucket deluge.
Thrill-seekers can race one another to the finish line in the multi-lane Checkered Flag Challenge, while people of all ages enjoy the slow float of the Blue Nile Adventure River and the Dune Runner, a four-person adventure through twists, drops and a big splash into a pool.
24. Enchanted Forest
Location: Old Forge, New York
Located in the lovely Adirondacks, this water park features 32 heated outdoor water rides including Kiliminajaro’s Revenge, a 207-foot speed slide that begins with riders getting dropped through the floor, and the Serengeti Stampede, a four-lane, 293-foot race.
The park also has old-timey amusement rides like the tilt-o-whirl and bumper cars, plus a really big arcade.
23. The Boardwalk at Hersheypark
Location: Hershey, Pennsylvania
Visit Hershey Park in the summer for this sweet addition to your chocolate factory tour (at no additional cost), which includes 17 wet rides like the Breaker’s Edge Water Coaster, where riders experience splashes, intense turns, big drops and high-speed tunnels.
Other popular rides include Tidal Force, a log flume that has a 100-foot incline, reaches speeds of 50 miles per hour and concludes with a humongous splash. If that doesn’t sound like your idea of fun, just standing near the ride will get you equally soaked!
22. Morey’s Piers Ocean Oasis
Location: Wildwood, New Jersey
Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, this beachside water park is beloved by families. Keep the young ones entertained at Bonsai Beach, which includes sprayers and giant buckets, or seek out thrills on serpentine slides. On the Cliff Dive, you’ll drop five stories in three seconds.
There’s also a swim-up bar and an “endless” river for those who prefer something a bit easier.
21. Cedar Point Shores
Location: Sandusky, Ohio
Enjoy slides and other attractions while overlooking beautiful Lake Erie at this family-friendly water park that features 18 acres of summer fun. Ride Perch Plunge, Crosscurrent and Lake Erie Nor’easter for extreme twists and dips, then float around in the Cedar Creek Lazy River, or enjoy a beach stroll and some ice cream.
If you want even more adventures, check out the world-famous roller coasters at Cedar Point amusement park, located next door.
Location: North Richland Hills, Texas
Whether you’re seeking big thrills or a relaxing day, this Texas water park offers something for everyone. You can easily spend an entire day at Beachside Bay, which offers white sand and a 5,300-square-foot pool.
But adventurous spirits won’t want to miss the Green Hills Extreme, an 81-foot-tall water coaster, or the Viper, which features big twists and an extreme drop.
19. Disney's Blizzard Beach
Location: Orlando, Florida
You can’t talk about the best amusement parks without mentioning Disney, right? After running around The Magic Kingdom and Epcot Center in the hot Florida sun, families love cooling off at Blizzard Beach.
Resembling a ski resort and featuring the snow-capped Mount Gushmore, the park’s popular rides include the Summit Plummet, a 120-foot slide that reaches speeds of 55 miles per hour, and Teamboat Springs, a whitewater raft adventure for six people. There are also several play areas for the little ones and one of the country’s longest lazy rivers.
18. Six Flags White Water
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
The Southeast’s largest water park boasts 69 acres and more than 50 ways to get wet, including a 750,000-gallon wave pool, body flumes, a kids’ pirate ship play area, water slides and raft rides.
Get an adrenaline rush while plummeting down 10 stories on the Dive Bomber, or hang on to your tube for dear life on the Gulf Coast Screamer, one of the park’s slickest and fastest slides. This year will see the debut of Python Plunge, a five-story water slide with swirling discs and gasp-inducing drops.
17. Silver Dollar City's White Water
Location: Branson, Missouri
Relish a bit of Hawaii at this popular Missouri water park, which has more than 13 acres of rides and more than 2 million gallons of water to help you enjoy a fun-soaked day. Take it easy on classics like the Surf’s Up Wave Pool and Aloha River, or brave the KaPau Plummet, which features a 70-degree, 40-foot plunge and the Kalani Towers, where you freefall 75 feet and body surf at speeds over 40 miles per hour.
In Silver Dollar City, you’ll also find an amusement park, dinner cruise and campgrounds.
16. Adventure Island
Location: Tampa, Florida
A quick stroll from neighboring Busch Gardens, Adventure Island offers waterslides, pools, a lazy river, virtual reality snorkeling, tiki bars and a sand volleyball court in a Key-West-inspired atmosphere.
New for 2022 is the Rapids Racer, in which two-person rafts race down 600 feet of hairpin turns and high-speed tunnels, and Wahoo Remix, a family raft ride featuring synchronized lights and sounds, glowing tunnels and extreme party vibes.
15. Lost Island
Location: Waterloo, Iowa
Speed down waterslides, glide down a zipline and drive go-karts at this family-friendly park with a South Pacific theme. Fans of extreme thrills should beeline for Wailua Kapua, one of the world’s only magnetic water coasters; the Molokini Crater, which features a 60-foot funnel; and the Kiwi Koaster for lightning-quick, 360-degree turns.
There’s also a pristine wave pool and lagoon with water volleyball, basketball and plenty of deck chairs to lounge in the sun if you don’t feel like getting wet.
14. Boulder Beach
Location: Athol, Idaho
Enjoy beautiful Idaho scenery while spending the day getting soaked in two giant wave pools and family raft rides like Avalanche Mountain and Ricochet Rapids. Or experience the thrills of Riptide Racer, 400 feet of race slides, and Velocity Peak, which reaches speeds of 55 miles per hour.
Once you’ve dried off, head to Silverwood Theme Park (a sister park) and feel the Tremors, one of the county’s top-rated wooden roller coasters.
13. Splashin' Safari
Location: Santa Claus, Indiana
This safari-themed water park has low-intensity water slides and high-speed adventures like Mammoth, the world’s longest water coaster that reaches seven-stories tall. Fun for the whole family or a group of friends, you’ll embark on a six-passenger raft, head up a conveyor belt and then be whisked through dark tunnels. Riders love the fun spins and the ability to achieve some serious “air-time.”
There’s also the Cheetah Chase, a two-lane water coaster that has more than 1,700 feet of twists, turns and thrills, and Watubee, a popular group raft ride. Plus, your admission also includes access to Holiday World, the holiday-themed amusement park next door.
12. Kalahari Resort
Location: Poconos, Pennsylvania
You don’t need sunscreen and don’t have to worry about bad weather (or even cold weather) at the Kalahari Resort in the beautiful Pocono Mountains. With more than two-dozen slides and pools, it’s the country’s largest indoor water park, and popular rides include the Tanzanian Twister, in which you’re spun around a giant funnel at speeds up to 40 miles per hour.
The water park is free for resort guests, and day passes are also available. While there are also locations in Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin, we especially love this one for its natural setting.
11. Six Flags Hurricane Harbor
Location: Jackson, New Jersey
An easy day trip from New York, Philadelphia or other parts of New Jersey, Hurricane Harbor is next to Six Flags Great Adventure, so you can combine thrilling water slides with pulse-pounding roller coasters. The water park features over 25 slides including the tummy-tickling Tornado, featuring a 60-foot funnel, and Jurahnimo, which has an intense 76-foot drop.
Those who want something more relaxed can float in the half-mile lazy river or hang in the Caribbean Cove, a family-friendly water playground.
10. Dollywood's Splash Country Water Park
Location: Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Like Dolly Parton herself, this water park is shiny, lovable and great fun. Nestled in the Smoky Mountains near the famed Dollywood amusement park, Splash Country provides plenty of thrills while paying tribute to the area’s history and culture.
Scream your head off (or, better yet, sing your favorite Dolly Song) while going through the corkscrews and tunnels of the appropriately titled Mountain Scream, then speed down Fire Tower Falls, the water park’s tallest and fastest slide that rises 70 feet in the air and has a 280-foot track. Those brave enough to embark on this journey are rewarded with a plunge into a butterfly-shaped pool. Of course, there’s also plenty of places to chill in the water, get some sun and be grateful that you’re not at work.
9. Universal’s Volcano Bay
Location: Orlando, Florida
Feel like you’re in a tropical island oasis, complete with a gigantic volcano in the middle of it all, at this Universal mega park in sunny Orlando. Come for the inviting beach and pools, or brave the thrill rides like the Krakatau Aqua Coaster, in which four-person canoes speed through a dark volcano (sensing a theme yet?) and plunge through a waterfall and the Ko’okiri Body Plunge, a 125-foot slide that begins with the floor dropping out from under you and has a near-vertical drop.
As an added bonus, the park ditches standing in long lines for TapuTapu bracelets, which alert you when it’s your turn to ride and can also be used to buy food and drinks.
8. Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon
Location: Orlando, Florida
Another member of the Walt Disney World Family, Typhoon Lagoon goes big on the storms and shipwreck themes. In addition to shallow pools for the little ones and the largest wave pool in North America, the park has several fun slides such as Humunga Kowabunga, in which you are fully enclosed and drop five stories in total darkness, and Miss Adventure Falls, a whitewater thrill ride featuring animatronics and big drops.
The most popular slide is Crush ‘n’ Gusher, a 400-foot-long aqua coaster with a fruit theme (you get to pick a pineapple, banana or coconut) that has sudden dips and big twists.
7. Great Wolf Lodge
Location: Various locations
With 19 locations and counting across the United States and Canada, odds are you won’t have to travel very far to experience the wonder of The Great Wolf Lodge’s indoor water parks, which feature water slides, thrill rides, massive pools and soothing hot tubs. The best part: You’ll always get warm, sunny days no matter what the outside weather brings.
The latest one to open is the San Francisco/Manteca location in Northern California, and a Baltimore location is on the docket to open in 2023. While all of the parks have a lot in common, each is unique in its own way. In the Poconos, you’ll find the Hydro Plunge aqua coaster, which sends you down a steep 52-foot drop; the Wisconsin Dells is known for Lookout Mountain, a tandem tube rider in which you’re shot through massive boulders; and North Carolina has a gigantic water treehouse for the younger ones.
6. Water Country USA
Location: Williamsburg, Virginia
Easily coupled with Colonial Williamsburg and Busch Gardens, Virginia’s largest water park features a space-themed water playground that’s fun for kids and adults alike as well as the Hubba Hubba Highway, a 1,500-foot river ride.
There are also plenty of rousing rides. Favorites include Jet Scream, a 400-foot flume ride that reaches speeds of 25 miles per hour; Vanish Point, a terrifying drop slide; and the Colossal Curl, a mega slide with twists and turns galore.
5. Water World
Location: Federal Heights, Colorado
A 70-acre water park just 10 miles from Denver, Water World packs in the fun with over 50 attractions like the family-friendly Thunder Bay Wave Pool; Voyage to the Center of the Earth, which includes rapids and dinosaur encounters; and the Lost River of the Pharaohs, in which riders embark on multi-person rafts and get sent down a twisting water slide into an Egyptian pyramid.
Plus, there’s free parking, and kids under 40 inches receive complimentary admission.
4. Raging Waters Los Angeles
Location: San Dimas, California
There’s fun for everyone at California’s largest water park, just 30 miles from downtown L.A. You’ll find 50 acres of slides, tubes, rivers and waves, including a Kid’s Kingdom and quarter-mile lazy river.
There are also thrill rides like Aqua Rocket, a hydromagnetic water coaster that reaches speeds of 30 miles per hour, and Dr. Von Dark’s Tunnel of Terror, which features breathtaking drops and lots of spins.
Location: Orlando, Florida
SeaWorld’s first (and most popular) water park, the super-popular Aquatica blends sea life with exhilarating rides and a tropical landscape.
Enjoy a day in the sun at a white-sand beach, or go big on thrilling slides like the Dolphin Plunge, in which you speed through a clear tube and pass by a pod of dolphins along the way, and Riptide Race, the world’s tallest dueling water slide racer that begins 68 feet above the ground.
2. Schlitterbahn Water Park & Resort
Location: New Braunfels, Texas
A true Texas icon that’s been cooling off customers since 1979, Schlitterbahn Water Park & Resort is a German-inspired collection of rides, slides and chutes. You’ll find kitschy names like the Kinderhaven wading pool and Blastenhoff Beach, along with more modern titles such as the popular Master Blaster water coaster and Hillside Tube Chute, which begins at Schlitterbahn Castle.
The park’s original section is still powered by natural spring water from the Comal River.
1. Noah’s Ark
Location: Lake Delton, Wisconsin
Located in the Wisconsin Dells, also known as the "Water Park Capital of the World," Noah’s Ark holds the distinction of being America’s largest water park. You’ll find over 50 attractions spread across 70 acres, including thrilling water slides like Raja, which features 335 feet of twists and turns.
There's also Black Anaconda, America’s first water coaster that reaches speeds of 30 miles per hour, and Scorpion Tail, a looping waterslide in which riders travel 50 feet per second. No worries if extreme isn't your thing, though, as there are also wave pools, lazy rivers, a children’s play area and gentler water slides.