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11 Best Water Parks in America


  • En español | You don’t need a beach in order to spend a steamy summer’s day splashing about in cool waters. You don’t have to be a thrill seeker, either; there’s always something for everyone. There are hundreds of water parks in the U.S. Here are 11 of the best.

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  • Gerardo Mora/newscom

    Universal’s Volcano Bay, Orlando, Fla.

    A 200-foot volcano at its center is the iconic marking of this high-tech park. The 30-acre park has 30 experiences and 18 attractions, including its signature ride, Krakatau Aqua Coaster, a four-person canoe that rockets through the volcano itself.

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  • Mary Ellen Botter/newscom

    Schlitterbahn, Galveston, Texas

    There may be disagreement over which of the five Schlitterbahn water parks is the best (there are three more in Texas and one in Kansas), but Schlitterbahn Galveston Island claims to have the world’s tallest "water coaster." MASSIV Monster Blaster is over 80 feet tall.

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  • Courtesy Disney

    Disney’s Blizzard Beach, Orlando, Fla.

    Leave your long johns at home — swimsuits are the proper attire at this “ski resort.” Whoosh down the Summit Plummet, one of the world’s tallest and fastest free-fall slides. Too terrifying? Try a family-friendly whitewater rafting adventure.

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  • Paul Efird/AP

    Dollywood’s Splash Country, Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

    There are water rides for everyone at this 35-acre water park. RiverRush races through the trees four stories in the air, while the newest ride, TailSpin Racer, is a five-story-tall, six-lane racing slide. For a rafting adventure, choose between the extreme Big Bear Plunge or the more laid-back Downbound Float Trip.

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  • Courtesy Wisconsin Dells

    Noah’s Ark, Wisconsin Dells, Wis.

    Thrill seekers will be drawn to the Black Anaconda, a combination water slide and roller coaster that spirals around the coils of the beast. Adventure River is a less hair-raising experience (although you may by surprised by a cascading waterfall or two).

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  • Getty Images

    Aquatica, Orlando, Fla.

    Zip down a see-through slide through a pod of dolphins, brave a watery free fall, or slosh through a six-story maze of twists, turns and tunnels in a raft with the whole family.        

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  • Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post/Getty Images

    Water World, Denver, Colo.

    With over 30 attractions, some of them thrilling, others just for the little ones and many of them family friendly, this park is perfect for all age groups. Have a friendly competition on the eight-lane Turbo Racer slide or enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the park on the Funhouse Express Gondola.

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  • SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc.

    Water Country USA, Williamsburg, Va.

    Colossal Curl swirls rafters through a funnel before shooting them through enclosed tubes to a near-vertical wave wall. To recuperate (or to avoid the ride altogether), reserve a poolside lounge or a cabana, and take a nap in the shade.

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  • WENN.com/Newscom

    Splashin’ Safari, Santa Claus, Ind.

    If you can’t decide between a traditional amusement park and a water park, you’re in luck here because your ticket includes admission to both. Prepare for some “air time” as you twist, turn and fly up and down hill after hill on the Mammoth water coaster.

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  • Peter Brooker/REX/Newscom

    Raging Waters, San Dimas, Calif.

    Blast off on the Aqua Rocket for an adrenaline rush as you speed through three exhilarating drops. Try the Dark Hole and Bermuda Triangle (with tunnels that speed you along in total darkness), then return to the light on Amazon Adventure, an endless lazy river.

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  • Stock Connection Blue / Alamy

    Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon, Orlando, Fla.

    Squeal with the kids at the “sonic boom” that signals the start of six-foot swells in North America’s largest wave pool. Bring down your heart rate tubing aimlessly along Castaway Creek as you soak up some rays.

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