8 Great Water Parks for Kids in the DC Area

What's better than a water park on a hot day? Just don't forget the sunscreen.
What's better than a water park on a hot day? Just don't forget the sunscreen.

Memorial Day weekend is around the corner, and with it the unofficial start of summer season. There’s no better way to beat the DC-area heat and humidity than a day splashing and sliding at the water park. From toddlers to teenagers, every kid can enjoy some good, wet fun (and thrills) at these eight water parks near DC in Maryland and Virginia.

All these nearby water parks are ready to welcome your family for the 2021 season with COVID-19 safety precautions in place. Masks are required at most locations when you’re not in the water. Some attractions might be closed or operating at limited capacity. Be sure to call or check websites before you go; many are requiring reservations in advance this year to manage crowds.

Great Water Parks for DC Kids in Northern Virginia

The Water Mine — Reston

Little kids will love the watery playground and splash pad at Water Mine. Photo by Don Sweeney, courtesy of the Water Mine

Opening date: Open on weekends starting Memorial Day weekend (May 29-31). Open seven days a week beginning June 11
Hours: 11am-6pm
Cost: Weekdays: Under 48 inches, $13, over 48 inches, $16. Weekends: Under 48 inches, $13, Over 48, $17; 2 and under, free
This is a great water park for younger kids with a fun Old West theme. There’s a large pool with slides of all sizes and animals to climb on and ride, and you can tube down the lazy river. The “tenderfoot pond” baby pool is perfect for the littlest swimmers. The playground and splash pad are perfect for toddlers and young kids. There are kids' life vests and puddle jumpers available to use. This year, all admission passes have to be purchased online in advance through the Fairfax County Parktakes system.

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Thrill to the giant slides at Great Waves Water Park. Photo courtesy of NOVA Parks

Great Waves Water Park at Cameron Run Regional Park — Alexandria

Opening date: Open weekends starting May 29. Open seven days a week starting June 24.
Hours: 11 am-6 pm
Cost: On weekends, it’s $17 for individuals over 48 inches, $13.50 for individuals under 48 inches. $10.75 for those 55 and older, under age 2 is free. There are discounts for weekday admissions and Alexandria residents.
The centerpiece of this water park is the giant wave pool, where you can bob and float in the 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 hit the batting cages.

Great Waves is part of the Northern Virginia Regional Parks system, which operates five different themed water parks across the region with a variety of attractions for families, from wave pools to water slides, mini golf, and batting cages. Check out all five parks opening on Memorial Day weekend! You can even buy an annual pass that will get you reduced admission to all of them.

Take on the four-story water slides at SplashDown Water Park. Photo courtesy of the park

SplashDown Water Park — Manassas

Opening date: Memorial Day weekend
SplashDown 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 small water slides. When you’re ready to relax, the Big Kahuna beach has real sand, lots of cabanas in the shade, and four concession areas to grab a bite to eat.

Soak City Waterpark at Kings Dominion — Doswell

Opening date: Saturday, June 19
Hours: noon-6pm
Cost: Daily admission starting at $39.99 for both Kings Dominion amusement park and the water park. You can get a free annual pass for kids ages 3-5 if you register online in advance and show proof of their age.
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 drive, 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, the Thunder Falls 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 and for younger kids, a splash pool and Splash Island with small slides and spraying fountains. New for this summer, there’s also a multilevel watery play structure with two dump buckets, 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 park as well.

Great Water Parks for DC Kids in Maryland

Bohrer Park — Gaithersburg

Opening date: Open weekends, noon-6 pm, beginning May 29. Open seven days a week on June 18
Hours: 11am-7pm.
Cost: $4 for youths 3-17; $5 for adults; free for 2 and under. Weekday admission for City of Gaithersburg residents, Montgomery County residents and aquatics members only. Weekend admission for City of Gaithersburg residents and aquatics members only.
This local pool includes several large and small water slides, fountains, a lap pool, and a playground. The children’s splash pool will not open this year  due to COVID restrictions.

RELATED: The 10 Best Indoor Water Parks for Kids in the U.S.

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

Hurricane Harbor at Six Flags America — Upper Marlboro

Opening date: May 29
Hours: 11am-7pm
Cost: One-day admission starts at $29.99 when tickets are purchased in advance on the website. Includes admission to the amusement park and the water park.
Hurricane Harbor at Six Flags America is the largest water park in the immediate DC metro area, just a 15-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, and a watery half-pipe. For younger kids, the Buccaneer Beach pool is shallow with smaller slides and a pirate ship climbing structure.

RELATED: A Dozen Great Outdoor Water Parks in the U.S. 

Enjoy a tandem slide at Chesapeake Beach Water Park. Photo courtesy of the park

Chesapeake Beach Water Park — Chesapeake Beach

Opening date: Open for the season on weekends starting May 29. Open six days a week starting June 10 (closed on Mondays).
Hours: 11am-6pm weekends; 11 am-5:30pm weekdays
Cost: Weekdays $39 for guests 48 inches and taller, $36 under 48 inches. Weekends $49 for guests 48 inches and up, $45 under 48 inches. Discounts for Calvert County and Chesapeake Beach residents.
Attractions at Chesapeake Beach 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. The water park will only be at 25% capacity so be sure to purchase tickets in advance to reserve your spot.

Martin Luther King Jr. Swim Center — Silver Spring

Opening date: Schedule and hours of operation for the season will be announced May 29.
Cost: Daily admission for Montgomery County residents is $7 for adults; $6 for seniors 55 and older; $5 for children 17 and younger. Non-county residents must purchase a pass.
This Montgomery County pool features a shallow water lagoon with slides, water play features,and a lazy river. There is also a large pool with lap lanes, a baby pool, and a large shaded lawn with seating.

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