12 Cool Outdoor Water Parks Near DC for Kids and Families

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

When the summer heat and humidity descend on the DC area, families don't have to hide out indoors in the air conditioning. There are plenty of fun ways to beat the heat outdoors—sprinkler parks, spraygrounds, and splash pads; free public swimming pools in DC; parks with beaches near DC; and more. But perhaps one of the most fun ways to cool off outside is to visit one of the many outdoor water parks near DC.

We've rounded up 12 outdoor water parks near DC that will keep kids of all ages and their grown-ups splashing, sliding, and laughing all day long. These water parks in Northern Virginia and Maryland offer a variety of fun features like wave pools, lazy rivers, and water slides of all shapes and sizes. They also all have concession stands and snack bars so families can make a day of it.

Check the water parks' websites before visiting for operating hours and ticket information. Some water parks require or suggest that you buy tickets ahead of time online.

Cool Water Parks in Northern Virginia for Kids

Enjoy water slides, a lazy river, and more at the Water Mine.

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 and ride, obstacles to cross, and more, all surrounded by a lazy river families can tube or swim through. The “tenderfoot pond” baby pool 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.

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 try. For younger kids, 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 the batting cages. 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.

Related: 11 Top Hotels with Outdoor Water Parks for Families with Kids

Soak up the fun at Ocean Dunes Water Park.

3. Ocean Dunes Water Park — Arlington

This beach-themed water park in Upton Hill Regional Park has loads of fun features, including two large 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.

4. 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.

Related: Outdoor Swimming Pools Near DC with a Daily Pool Pass Option

Pirate's Cove's centerpiece is its large play structure. 

5. 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.

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: 15 Amazing Indoor Water Parks Near DC for Families

Thrilling slides await at SplashDown Water Park.

7. SplashDown Water Park — Manassas

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.

8. Soak City at Kings Dominion — Doswell

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. 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.

Cool Water Parks in Maryland for Kids

9. Bohrer Park Water Park — Gaithersburg

This local pool at Bohrer Park, Summit Hall Farm has several water-park features, including large and small water slides, fountains, a lap pool, and a playground. Montgomery County 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.

Related: 10 Best Indoor Water Parks for Kids in the US

You'll find plenty to entertain you at Hurricane Harbor. Photo courtesy of Six Flags America

10. Hurricane Harbor at Six Flags America — Upper Marlboro

Hurricane Harbor at Six Flags America is the largest water park in the immediate DC metro area, just a roughly 45-minute drive from Washington, DC. For an adrenaline rush for kids over 48 inches tall, check out the Bonzai Pipelines slides, a free-fall drop of 50 feet followed by twists and turns, the Shark Attack Hammerhead and Shark Attack Mako slides, and the curvy Paradise Plunge/Reef Runner tube slides. 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.

Related: 11 of the Best Outdoor Water Parks in the US

Enjoy a tandem slide at Chesapeake Beach Water Park.

11. Chesapeake Beach Water Park — Chesapeake Beach

Attractions at Chesapeake Beach Water Park include 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.

12. 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.

Photos courtesy of the water parks unless otherwise noted

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