Summer fun for families surely includes a trip or two to a water park. Grab your bathing suits and swim goggles and have a blast a’splishing and a’splashing in the pools and on the slides at these water parks in Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina.
Kings Dominion may have roller coasters, but it is also home to Soak City, a water park with more than a dozen wet and wild rides. Little ones will enjoy swimming in Tidal Wave Bay and Lil’ Barefoot Beach or sliding down the slides of Splash Island, while the big kids will get a thrill on Tornado and the tubes and slides at Hurricane Heights. Or, the whole family can make memories playing and climbing at the Soak City Splash House and on the Zoom Flume raft ride.
Further down the interstate in Williamsburg, Water Country USA® has a similar set up with attractions for all ages. Get in line for Big Daddy Falls, a family raft ride, or, if you are up for slipping and sliding in the dark, try Aquazoid. Kiddie splash and slide areas include Kritter Korral, Cow-A-Bunga and H2O UFO. Tweens and teens will want to check out the waterslide rides Jet Scream, Malibu Pipeline, Nitro Racer and Rampage. Looking for something a little calmer? Float your morning away in the Hubba Hubba Highway pool or the lazy river in Rock n’ Roll Island.
Virginia Beach boasts Ocean Breeze Waterpark if you are looking for a break from the beach, or check out Splash Valley Water Park in Roanoke, an outdoor aquatic facility featuring two 34-foot high water slides, a current river, a children’s sprayground and other family fun. Splash Valley Water Park is adjacent to Roanoke County’s Green Ridge Recreation Center.
Families wishing to escape the summer heat, meanwhile, may opt for indoor water parks at Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, or the Massanutten Water Park, rated one of the best indoor water parks in the nation. Massanutten Water Park features many inflatable water rides, body slides, pools, hot tubs and a lazy river.
Cool off at Chesapeake Beach Water Park in Maryland, less than an hour’s drive from Washington, D.C. The park has eight water slides, fountains, waterfalls, kids’ activity pools and a lagoon, as well as pavilion and cabana rentals.
In Ocean City, spend some time at Jolly Roger Splash Mountain Water Park on 30th Street and Coastal Highway. Splash Mountain is home to Aqualoop, one of the top water slides in the country and the only one of its kind on the East Coast. Aqualoop is a semi-transparent, looping waterslide that drops riders through a trap door and sends them plummeting down feet-first 480 feet before splashing in the water below. Or, ride individually or with a partner on Stealth, an extreme water slide that gives you the feel of being shot uphill into the sky. Splash Mountain also has a water roller coaster, a cannonball water slide, a lazy river, rapids raft rides, kiddie rides and slides for smaller children, and other pools and play areas. You can also enjoy performances by the Splash Mountain Mermaids at the park, who are back five days a week this season.
Six Flags America has a water park in addition to its amusement park attractions. Take a daring ride on Shark Attack Hammerhead, Shark Attack Mako, Vortex/Riptide, Halfpipe or Tornado, or relax in the wave pool at Hurricane Bay or the Castaway Creek.
Whether you are vacationing at a beach or on a lake in North Carolina, you’ll find a water park nearby. Small children will enjoy the interactive wading pool and wet deck, kiddie slides, and bucket dumps at White Lake Waterpark in White Lake, while the older kids, as well as moms and dads, will find adventure on the Double Turbo Twister Slide, or in the wave pool and the bumper boat pool.
Meanwhile, families can plunge down six water slides at Jungle Rapids Family Fun Park in Wilmington. Little ones will have a blast in the Kids Splash and Warm Springs Spa.
Emerald Isle also has the waterpark Salty Pirate Water Slides while H2OBX Waterpark is slated to open this summer in the Outer Banks. The new water park will feature seven water slides, two family raft rides, a lagoon, a wave pool, an adventure river and a surf and boogie board attraction.
Last season, the largest water park in the Carolinas, Carolina Harbor Waterpark in Carowinds, underwent renovations adding several new attractions and amenities for families. If you prefer to beat the heat, there is always Great Wolf Lodge in Concord.
Most waterparks provide life jackets and recommend wearing water shoes on hot days. There are also plenty of lounge chairs and cabanas for downtime while relaxing in the sun. No matter where you go, there is sure to be a water park to fit your needs.