Splash pads and swimming pools are fun ways to cool off near home, but in three hours or less by car, families in Massachusetts or Connecticut can get to most of the following outdoor water parks for a wet and wild adventure with kids. Although there's no shortage of big slides at these amusement parks, you don't have to be a daredevil (or of a certain height) to enjoy yourself. There are wave pools, family raft rides, and lazy rivers for preschoolers (and those of us who don't need to plummet a down a very tall slide to have fun). Some of the parks are dedicated to water attractions, and others are part of a larger theme park, but they all offer plenty of chances to get completely soaked.
Outdoor Water Parks in Massachusetts
Geronimo Falls features four-person tubes for social sliding.
1. Hurricane Harbor at Six Flags New England—Agawam, MA
Six Flags is home to New England's largest water park, Hurricane Harbor, with has everything from one of the largest wave pools in the country to multi-passenger rafting adventures. Good to know: The water park is pretty serious about enforcing its rules.
2. The H2O at Cape Cod Inflatable Park—West Yarmouth, MA
With its grand opening in the summer of 2018, this splashy addition to the inflatable fun park scene has become a must-stop for many Cape-bound families. There's a lazy river and lily pad "walks," but thrill seekers will head straight for the four large, inflated slides. Hint: If you're heading for an overnight (or two), consider a stay at the Cape Cod Family Resort; booking entitles you to two free park passes each day of your stay.
3. Water Wizz—East Wareham, MA
Water Wizz is packed with watery fun ranging from a family pool with multi-age activities to super high thrill slides called the "Devil's Peak." If the place looks familiar, that might be because the park has been in two feature films!
4. Breezy Picnic Grounds—Douglas, MA
This little gem on the Massachusetts side of the Blackstone Valley delivers old-fashioned fun in a natural setting. The three 300-foot slides abut a swimming lake and spacious, grassy, beautifully maintained picnic grounds.
Outdoor Water Parks in Connecticut
5. Crocodile Cove at Lake Compounce—Bristol, CT
Lake Compounce's Crocodile Cove is home to multiple wave pools, water slides, and special areas designed for young children. There's even an actual lake.
6. Splash Away Bay Water Park at Quassy Amusement Park—Middlebury, CT
Along with giant water slides that you can ride solo or together, a rapid raft adventure, and a gigantic dumping bucket, there is also a great area for little water lovers to hang out at, with pint-size slides and pools.
Outdoor Water Parks in New Hampshire
7. Water Country—Portsmouth, NH
Water Country offers plenty of ways to stay cool and have fun, from the Adventure River Ride that takes you through waterfalls, fountains, and caves, to Triple Giant Slides, the Whirlpool, and whitewater adventures on Thunder Falls. Young children can have their own adventures as they slide down the arms of Ollie Octopus, climb on a pirate ship at Pirates' Lagoon, and explore the Tahiti Tree House.
Whale's Tale's 17 acres includes a lazy river and a 360-degree tube slide. Photo courtesy of the park
8. Whale's Tale Water Park—Lincoln, NH
There are a lot of bells and whistles at this White Mountain-area favorite, including a wave pool with "flow boarding" (sort of like surfing), loads of speedy slides and flumes, and a 360-degree tube slide. Rent a cabana for a more private experience.
9. Castaway Island at Canobie Lake Park—Salem, NH
Castaway Island at Canobie Lake Park has over 180 ways to get wet and features water cannons, nine water slides, waterfalls, and other entertaining activities. Check the website for specials, which include reduced evening rates. Bonus: Parking is free.
10. Ho Ho H20 at Santa's Village—Jefferson, NH
Christmas and summer collide at this cool water park located in Santa's Village amusement park. Kids can splash and play at this interactive splash pad area filled with slides, a dumping bucket, and multiple spray components. For daring kids, try out the JOY Ride Slides, three-story water slides filled with twist and turns. Be on the lookout for the parks newest addition Polar Paradise, opening this summer, for even more water fun.
11. Candia Springs Water Park—Candia NH
Cool off in the splash pad or go for a swim in the spring-fed swimming hole. If you've got a daredevil on your hands, this park has three crazy water slides to choose from that promise high speeds, lots of twists and turns, and big drops.
Outdoor Water Parks in Rhode Island
12. Yawgoo Valley Water Park—Exeter, RI
The Yawgoo Valley ski area transforms in the summertime to a fun-filled water park with crazy slides, pools, and a Tiki Bar with food and drinks. The best part: The water park is small enough that you can sit at the bar with an adult beverage while watching your kids go on the slides over and over again. Good to know: If you'd rather not share the park with 100 kids from a day camp, check Yawgoo's Group Schedule before you go to find out whether any groups are booked during the time you're planning to visit.
Yawgoo Valley Water Park has medium-sized slides that are fun for little and big kids alike.
13. Water Wizz of Westerly—Westerly, RI
Water Wizz of Westerly is right across the street from the beach and makes for a fun afternoon break from the sand scene. It offers giant water slides, a speed slide, and the Little Dipper, which is gentle enough for young riders to enjoy.
Outdoor Water Parks in Maine
Parents with little kids tend to park themselves close to the Family Fun Lagoon.
14. Funtown Splashtown USA—Saco, ME
If you're headed up the Maine coast for a family vacation, Splashtown's Family Fun Lagoon, thrilling slides, and pirate-themed play area beckon. Good to know: Separate tickets can be purchased for Funtown and Splashtown, but the combo tickets are only a few dollars more, and parking is free, so why not make a full day of it?
Looking to splash inside? Check out our indoor water parks guide.
All photos courtesy of the water parks mentioned