The 8 Best Water Parks in the USA
If it's summertime and you're starting to stick to your couch because the weather is so hot, consider visiting one of the country's many outdoor water parks to cool you down. You might think (correctly, in some cases) that some parks are so expensive that you might as well rent your own island, but many offer deals to make the experience affordable.
1. Noah's Ark | Wisconsin Dells
Best slide: Without question, it's the Black Anaconda, a quarter-mile roller coaster that reaches up to 30 mph as it goes up and down six times.
Also featuring: Noah's Ark has plenty to discover, including 10 other water slides, the Flash Flood roller coaster (which re-creates the feeling of going over the edge of Niagara Falls), two wave pools, three lazy rivers, multiple kiddie areas, bumper boats, and a 4D Dive-In Theater (where you can dry off).
Cost per person: $29.99 with our deal
Where to stay: Keep the water park theme going at the nearby Polynesian Water Park Resort.
2. Quassy Amusement Park | Middlebury, CT
Best slide: The FreeFALL Extreme Body Slides, whose dual-slide setup starts from a high point overlooking the nearby lake.
Also featuring: Unlike many water parks, Quassy Amusement Parks encourages visitors to go swim at an actual beach, with Lake Quassapaug just a short walk from the rest of the park. There's also Slide City, a five-slide playground for kids; a raft slide; and a tipping bucket.
Cost per person: from $22.99 with our deal
Where to stay: This DoubleTree by Hilton in nearby Bristol puts you within an easy drive of the park.
3. Slidewaters Lake Chelan Waterpark | Chelan, WA
Best slide: Purple Haze sends riders through a completely dark tunnel, plummeting them down a 400-foot slide while it's pitch black.
Also featuring: There are four other slide attractions, a lazy river that floats alongside Lake Chelan, "beginner slides" for kids, a zoo-themed kids' area, a 60-person hot tub, and a sand volleyball court.
Cost per person: $17.50 with our two-person deal, including 20% off food and gift-shop purchases
Where to Stay: If you're coming from Seattle, Chelan is a bit of a drive, so stay at Coast Wenatchee to make the trip more manageable.
4. The Beach | Mason, OH
Best slide: The Cliff, which is as death-defying as it sounds. You'll drop five stories in three seconds, and you might even glide over the slide in the process.
Also featuring: The Beach's other attractions include a 500-foot Big Kahuna water coaster, two other slide attractions, a heated wave pool, the palm-tree-lined Paradise Cove spa pool, and a Soaring Eagle zipline that takes you above the park.
Cost per person: $14.50 with our two-person pass deal
Where to stay: Check our Cincinnati hotel deals here to stay in nearby Cincinnati.
5. Raging Waters | Sacramento, CA
Best slide: On the Honolulu Half Pipe, a four-story tube slide, a wave pushes you down—straight down—producing a "free fall" sensation.
Also featuring: Aside from the Honolulu Half Pipe, there's the six-story Cliffhanger body slide, three other tube slides, three additional body slides, an 800-foot lazy river, and Breaker Beach, a treehouse-themed child's play area, and a wave pool that simulates realistic tides.
Cost per person: $29 with our deal
Where to stay: Check our Sacramento hotel deals here.
6. Fantasy Lake Water Park | Hope Mills, NC
Best slide: The short playground-style drop slides may look tame, but all of the sudden you're in the air and dropping fast from a surprisingly high height.
Also featuring: The water-park-in-a-lake has everything from rope swings that drop you into the water to enclosed tube slides that drop you into the water. Plus, there's a variety of playground staples IN the water, including see-saws.
Cost per person: from $8 with our deal
Where to stay: Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Fayetteville, where amenities include a full-service spa and complimentary pickup from the airport or train station.
7. Big Surf Waterpark | Tempe, AZ
Best slide: Kilauea Cove Slides offers gorgeous views of the park from the top...and a surprise drop into the pool at the bottom.
Also featuring: The first wave pool in America–the Waikiki Beach Wave Pool–was unveiled here at this 1969 landmark, considered one of the best water parks in the US. It also boasts a zipline over the pool, and six other slides.
Cost per person: $49. Yes we know this is breaking our rule, but it's for the ENTIRE SEASON, not just one visit. It also includes two bring-a-friend passes, plus other discounts on food, surf lessons, and raft rental.
Where to stay: See our Tempe, AZ hotel deals here.
8. Wild Adventures Theme Park | Valdosta, GA
Best slide: Bonzai Pipelines, which is actually three slides in one. There's the quick-drop blue slide, the curvy quick-drop green slide, and the enclosed orange tube slide.
Also featuring: Splash Island is a part of the Wild Adventures Theme Park, which also offers exotic animals, thrill rides, bumper cars, mini golf, and go-karts.
Cost per person: $19.50 per day with the two-day admission
Where to stay: Can't bear to leave your pup at home? Try the pet-friendly Courtyard by Marriott Valdosta.
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