Best Outdoor Water Parks Near DC for Family Fun

Water parks are a fun way to beat the heat this summer. Photo courtesy of Splash City at Kings Dominion
Water parks are a fun way to beat the heat this summer. Photo courtesy of Splash City at Kings Dominion
6/21/24 - By Meredith Kiryakov

Outdoor water parks near DC will soon be opening up, and they'll be just in time—summer in the DC area often brings stifling heat and sticky humidity. From calm misters and lazy rivers to thrilling wave pools and water slides, these outdoor water parks near DC offer plenty of fun ways for kids of all ages—and their grown-ups—to cool off.

Here are 15 great outdoor water parks in Northern Virginia and Maryland that will keep families splashing, sliding, and laughing all summer long. For more fun ways to beat the heat outdoors, check out our lists of free public swimming pools, parks with beaches, and splash pads, splash parks, and water playgrounds near DC. Find even more thrills in our DC Theme Parks and Water Parks Guide.


Note: Some of these outdoor water parks near DC require or suggest that you buy tickets ahead of time online.​Check their websites before visiting for operating hours and ticket information.

Outdoor Water Parks Near DC: Water Mine Family Swimmin' Hole
Enjoy water slides, a lazy river, and more at the Water Mine.

Outdoor Water Parks Near DC in Northern Virginia

1. The Water Mine Family Swimmin' Hole — Reston

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. Little ones can enjoy the baby pool, called Tenderfoot Pond, as well as a playground and splash pad. And the biggest and bravest can tackle three giant, winding water slides. Kids' life vests and puddle jumpers are available.

2. Great Waves Water Park — Alexandria

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.

3. Ocean Dunes Water Park — Arlington

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.

RELATED: Amazing Indoor Water Parks Near DC for Families

Outdoor Water Parks Near DC: Pirate's Cove Water Park
Pirate's Cove's centerpiece is its large play structure.

4. Pirate’s Cove Water Park — Lorton

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.

5. Atlantis Water Park — Centreville

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.

6. Volcano Island Water Park — Sterling

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.

RELATED: Best Indoor Water Parks for Kids in the US

Outdoor Water Parks Near DC: SplashDown Water Park
Thrilling slides await at SplashDown Water Park.

7. SplashDown Water Park — Manassas

SplashDown—Northern Virginia's largest water park—features 70-foot water slides, a lily pad walk, a lazy river, a leisure pool, and a zero-depth children’s play area with gentle bubbling fountains and four small water slides. When you need a break from the water, the Big Kahuna Beach has real sand with volleyball and lots of cabanas in the shade. There's also a playground, tennis courts, and four concession areas to grab a bite to eat.

8. Waterworks Water Park — Dale City

Located in Andrew Leitch Park, Waterworks is a smaller water park with several water slides, wading pools with obstacles including a lily pad walk, a climbing structure with various spray features, shaded cabana areas, and a full-service snack bar. Admission is less than $10 for everyone, and kids 2 and under are free. 

9. Soak City at Kings Dominion — Doswell

Soak City 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. Attractions for those 48 inches and up include various winding and looping tube slides as well as Paradise Plunge, an 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.

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.

10. Water Country USA — Williamsburg

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 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 Riptide Race, on which people race in pairs on double tubes down 520 feet of twisting and turning slide.

RELATED: Best Outdoor Water Parks in the US

Outdoor Water Parks Near DC: Hurricane Harbor at Six Flags America
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

11. Hurricane Harbor at Six Flags America — Upper Marlboro

Hurricane Harbor is the largest water park in the immediate DC metro area and a roughly 45-minute drive from DC. Kids over 48 inches tall can get an adrenaline rush on the Shark Attack Hammerhead and Shark Attack Mako slides, the curvy Paradise Plunge/Reef Runner tube slides, 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.

12. Bohrer Park Water Park — Gaithersburg

This local pool at Bohrer Park, Summit Hall Farm is perfect 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, which is cheaper for Gaithersburg city residents. Only City of Gaithersburg residents are admitted on weekends from 11am-12pm and on holidays (May 27, June 19 and 29, July 4, and September 2, 2024).

RELATED: Great Wolf Lodge Maryland: An In-Depth Review

Outdoor Water Parks Near DC: Chesapeake Beach Water Park
Enjoy a tandem slide at Chesapeake Beach Water Park.

13. Chesapeake Beach Water Park — Chesapeake Beach

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.

14. Martin Luther King Jr. Outdoor Pool — Silver Spring

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.

15. Jolly Roger Splash Mountain Water Park — Ocean City

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

Places featured in this article: