Outdoor Water Parks Near DC in Northern Virginia
At the center of this Old West-themed water park in Lake Fairfax Park is Pete's Peak, a mountain with tunnels and slides of various sizes. There’s a large pool with animals to climb on, obstacles to cross, and various spray features, all surrounded by a lazy river families can tube or swim through. A baby pool called Tenderfoot Pond is perfect for the littlest swimmers, while toddlers and preschoolers will love the playground and splash pad. And the biggest and bravest can tackle three giant, winding water slides. Kids' life vests and puddle jumpers are available to use.
The centerpiece of this water park in Cameron Run Regional Park is its giant wave pool, where you can bob and float in ocean-like waves. There are also five large water slides to tackle. For little ones, the Kids Zone and the large splash pad offer gentler fun. When your kids are done swimming, check out the Paradise Play beach-themed play structure, play a round of mini golf, or take some swings in the batting cages.
Note: Great Waves is part of the Northern Virginia Regional Parks system, which operates five different water parks across the region with a variety of attractions for families. You can even buy an annual pass that will get you reduced admission to all of them.
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Soak up the fun at Ocean Dunes Water Park.
This beach-themed water park in Upton Hill Regional Park has loads of fun features, including two big water slides, several smaller slides, waterfalls, squirters, and a large main pool with plenty of space for swimming and splashing. At the center of it all is a large play structure, positioned on concrete with zero accumulated depth, that features a 500-gallon dumping bucket.
Next to the water park are a mini golf course and Climb UPton (a 90-element vertical climbing course), and there are batting cages and hiking trails nearby. Ocean Dunes is part of the Northern Virginia Regional Parks system.
Another Northern Virginia Regional Parks water park, Atlantis offers a large main pool featuring a play island with small slides, two large twisting water slides, a giant dumping bucket, water cannons, sprayers, and more. There's also a baby pool and a sand play area for the little ones. Atlantis Water Park is located within Bull Run Regional Park, which also has disc golf, a playground, and miles of hiking trails.
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Pirate's Cove's centerpiece is its large play structure.
The highlight of this pirate-themed Northern Virginia Regional Parks water park is its large play structure with a 300-gallon dumping bucket. There are also water slides, spraying palm trees, and a large pool for kids of all ages. Little ones will enjoy the spacious tot pool with a clam-shell slide, while older (and braver) kids and adults can tackle two large, winding water slides. When kids need a break from the water, they can dig for buried treasure at Buccaneer Beach, a large sand play area.
If you want to feel like you're at a tropical paradise, head to Volcano Island, a Northern Virginia Regional Parks water park in Algonkian Regional Park. It features a large main pool with a unique tree-stump slide; a shallow pool with a huge play structure full of slides, fountains, squirters, and a 500-gallon dumping bucket; a splash pad with water cannons, sprinklers, showers, and buckets; and two large, winding water slides. Algonkian Regional Park also offers a full golf course, mini golf, fishing, hiking, and more.
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Thrilling slides await at SplashDown Water Park.
SplashDown Water Park features four-story water slides, a log walk and obstacle course, a relaxing lazy river to tube down, and a zero-depth children’s area with gentle bubbling fountains and four small water slides. When you’re ready to relax, the Big Kahuna Beach has real sand with volleyball, lots of cabanas in the shade, tennis courts, and four concession areas to grab a bite to eat.
The Soak City water park at King’s Dominion amusement park is about a two-hour drive from DC, but it’s well worth the trip—especially if you have older kids looking for bigger rides and thrills. Attractions for bigger kids (48 inches and up) include the 65-foot slide tower Hurricane Heights, various winding and looping tube slides, and Paradise Plunge, a high-speed, almost vertical free-fall through a series of loops and curves. There’s also a lazy river, a splash pool, Splash Island (featuring small slides and a spraying fountain for younger kids), a multilevel water-play structure with two dump buckets, a four-person rafting adventure, and a mini wave pool with gentle one-foot waves.
Note: Admission to Soak City is part of the all-day general admission ticket to Kings Dominion, so your family can enjoy the rest of the theme park as well.
About a three-hour drive from DC, this massive water park near Busch Gardens is quite the hike. But it's worth the drive (and a weekend or overnight trip to Williamsburg) to visit Water Country, one of our favorite outdoor water parks in the US.
Water Country offers more than 40 rides and attractions. Little ones can enjoy plenty of themed, shallow-water playgrounds and activity pools. Older kids can body float with a life vest down the fast-moving Hubba Hubba Highway or catch a wave in the large wave pool. There are also over a dozen tube and body slides, from low-thrill slides to bigger ones for thrill seekers. These include the brand-new Riptide Race—open in summer 2023—on which people race in pairs on double tubes down 520 feet of twisting and turning slide.
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You'll find plenty to entertain you at Hurricane Harbor, one of the best outdoor water parks near DC. Photo courtesy of Six Flags America
Outdoor Water Parks Near DC in Maryland
Hurricane Harbor at Six Flags America is the largest water park in the immediate DC metro area, a roughly 45-minute drive from Washington, DC. For an adrenaline rush for kids over 48 inches tall, check out the Shark Attack Hammerhead and Shark Attack Mako slides, the curvy Paradise Plunge/Reef Runner tube slides, the brand-new RipQurl Blaster (a two-person raft ride through uphill rip currents), and more. There’s also a giant wave pool, multiple lazy rivers, a family rafting slide, a watery half-pipe, and a multi-level play structure with over 100 water features. For younger kids, the Buccaneer Beach pool is shallow with smaller slides and a pirate-ship climbing structure.
This local pool at Bohrer Park, Summit Hall Farm is one of the best outdoor water parks near DC for Montgomery County residents who don't want to travel far to cool off. It has several water-park features, including large and small water slides, fountains, a lap pool, and a playground. MoCo residents can purchase a daily pool pass on weekdays, which is cheaper for Gaithersburg city residents. On weekends and holidays, the pool is only open to city residents and those who purchase a season-long membership.
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Enjoy a tandem slide at Chesapeake Beach Water Park.
Chesapeake Beach Water Park makes for a wonderful day trip from DC. It includes a large tube slide, a raft slide, smaller slides for kids, a lap pool, and a lazy river. You can rent a cabana and enjoy food from the grill to make a day of it. It is strongly recommended that you purchase tickets ahead of time online to guarantee entry. Season passes are also available.
This pool has lots of fun features for kids and families, including a shallow water lagoon with slides, water play features, and a lazy river. The large main pool has six 50-meter lap lanes, a diving area with a one-meter diving board, a baby pool, a bathhouse with showers and First Aid areas, and a large lawn area with shade structures. Montgomery County residents can buy daily pool passes for themselves and non-resident guests, or opt for a 12-punch pass that gives them 12 admissions for the price of 10.
While this huge, pirate-themed water park is located about a three-hour drive from DC, we are including it on our list both for nostalgia's sake—it's been around since 1964—and because it is a great addition to a weekend in Ocean City and/or the Delaware beaches.
Splash Mountain Water Park is home to a shallow pool with a climbing structure and small slides, a kiddie pool with a pirate ship, a lazy river, a wave pool, and over a dozen large body and tube slides. Kids of all ages will love the Rain Forest Play Area, featuring a giant tree house with slides, rope walks, water guns, and various other spray features. Be sure to visit the park's resident mermaids!
Photos courtesy of the water parks unless otherwise noted