The water is fine (and fun!) at Raging Waves.
The water is fine (and fun!) at Raging Waves.

Best Outdoor Water Parks near Chicago

Chicago has some amazing beaches and splash pads, but a water park takes water play to a whole new level. If a day at the water park is on your summer bucket list, we’ve got you covered. From great local pools with amazing slides to giant water amusement parks, we’ve rounded up our favorite water parks near Chicago. These water parks are jam-packed with lazy rivers, slides, splash pads, beaches, and diving boards. There’s something for everyone, from thrill-seeking teens (and adults) to the smallest water-loving toddler. It's time to start splashing at the best outdoor water parks in Illinois. 

1. Splash Country—Aurora

Open June 12 - August 8. Guests must reserve a time for guaranteed admission during one of two time blocks.
Splash Country in Aurora is home to the second-largest lazy river in Illinois. There’s even a special section for kids under 48 inches tall. Highlights include a six-lane zero-depth pool with play zones and two winding tube/flume slides. Outside of the water, there is also a sand play area with shade and seating for swim breaks.

The enclosed kid-friendly area has a waterfall, interactive features, splash pad, and spray guns, all for kids under 48 inches tall. (You must be over 48 inches to ride the flume slides.) Outside food and beverages are allowed at Splash Country.

2. Coral Cove—Carol Stream

Open May 29 through Labor Day. Guests must reserve a time for guaranteed admission during one of two time blocks.
Coral Cove in Carol Stream has splash pads and play zones for kids of all ages. You’ll find the main pool with an adjacent lap pool for open swim. In addition, there’s the tot's splash pad and spray zone, a bucket spray area, slides, and a dive pool.

When kids need a water break, there are also two grass areas as well as a dry playground. Picnic tables are available, and families can bring their own food. There are also multiple shaded tent areas and open grass for picnicking. 

Best Outdoor Water Parks near Chicago: Lifeguard at hurricane harbor
Parents can relax a little as lifeguards are on duty at Hurricane Harbor.

3. Hurricane Harbor—Rockford

Open May 29 through Labor Day. All guests must purchase a ticket for the day.
Hurricane Harbor is run by Six Flags Great America. For the daredevils in the family, there are 75-foot plunge slides (there's a 48-inch height requirement to ride) with a near-vertical drop and the Screaming Lizard with a 45-degree loop. For a more relaxing time at the park, there’s a scenic raft river cruise.

Little ones can enjoy the Little Lagoon, featuring a splash pad and wading pool. Tiki Island is also a ride-free area with splash pads, bucket soakers, and waterfalls. For kids (over 36 inches tall, but not big enough for the thrill rides) there are some slides and rides they can ride with an adult. Because this is run by Six Flags, expect some major plunges, turns, and drops— so this isn't the right water park for the faint of heart.

Best Outdoor Water Parks near Chicago: White Water Canyon Water Park
White Water Canyon Water Park is a perfect first water park with a little something for everyone.

4. White Water Canyon Water Park—Tinley Park

Open June 5 through Labor Day. No reservations required.
White Water Canyon Water Park features 5-acres of pools, slides, a lazy river, multiple splash pads, and spray zones. There are drop slides, diving boards, water canyons, dump buckets, and interactive fountains throughout the park.

For the littles, there’s a splash pad as well as a triple sand and water table. When kids (or parents) need a little rest and relaxation, take a spin down the 600-foot lazy river. The concession stand is full-service with ice cream, pizza, and chicken tenders. (All the major food groups.)

Best Outdoor Water Parks near Chicago: boy at water park
Paradise Bay Water Park has water sports courts in addition to slides and splash pads.

5. Paradise Bay Water Park—Lombard

Open June 12 through August 15. No reservations required.
At Paradise Park, there's a zero-depth pool with fountains, sprays, and a whirlpool. There are also body slides, tube slides, and a water walk. If your family loves water slides, Paradise Bay has you covered. Kids must be 42 inches tall for the drop, yellow, and red slide. They must be 48 inches tall for the wipeout. For divers, there’s a 12-foot diving well with multiple boards and a drop slide.

Kids can keep playing with the 8-lane lap swim, water basketball, and volleyball in Dolphin Cove. Turtle Cove is great for little visitors looking for a zero-depth splash pool, water fountains, and slides built especially for toddlers. The concession stands are open for sweet treats and snacks. 

Best Outdoor Water Parks near Chicago: girl runs through sprinklers at waterpark
The slides are the main attraction at Atcher Island.

6. Atcher Island—Schaumburg 

Open May 29 through Labor Day. All guests must make a reservation. Every reservation is for a 2-hour time slot.
Atcher Island features water slides, a circular drop slide (known as the Bowl Slide), and spray ground. There's a large open swim area, drop slides, and a perfect splash pad for younger water babies. Little ones must be 42 inches tall to use the flume slides and 48 inches to ride the circular drop slide.

Concessions and eating areas are open this summer. Each party is required to make a 2-hour reservation.

Best Outdoor Water Parks near Chicago: kids float down lazy river
Take a spin down the lazy river at Mystic Waters Family Aquatic Center.

7. Mystic Waters Family Aquatic Center—Des Plaines

Open June 5 through August 22. Capacity limits in place on a first-come-first-served basis.
Mystic Waters had two 37-foot water slides in Otter’s Run and cliff dives and drop slides in Sea Lion Falls. For a break from the action, take a spin down the lazy River in Crocodile Cove. The lazy river runs 550 feet long. For young children, Dolphin Bay offers a zero-depth pool with sprays, jets, and a small dolphin slide.

The splash pad at Beluga Beach has a soft-non slip bottom, sprays, water fountains, and a jungle gym. Coolers are allowed in the grass area of the park and the Island Café is open with snacks and drinks available.

Best Outdoor Water Parks near Chicago: girl slides down water slide
Oasis Water Park has thrilling slides for big kids and zero-depth pools for little splashers.

8. Oasis Water Park—Niles

Open June 7 through Labor Day. Residents may reserve a 2-hour time slot or purchase tickets day-of. Non-residents may only purchase day-of passes.
Oasis Water Park in Niles is great for both big and little kids. There’s a zero-depth pool and splash pads for small children and 3 slides with diving boards for older kids. There are acres of water fountains, bucket sprays, splash pads, waterfalls, and open swim zones. The concession stand is open and guests can also bring their own snacks. Non-residents should call ahead to confirm availability of pool passes for the day.

Best Outdoor Water Parks near Chicago: two girl race down water slide
Ready, set, race at Raging Waves.

9. Raging Waves—Yorkville

Open June 5 through Labor Day. Purchase advanced or day-of tickets online
With miles of attractions, Raging Waves is more of a theme park that happens to have tube slides, drop slides, a lazy river, and multiple spray-and-splash pads. For thrill-seekers (who are 42-48 inches tall) attractions include slides like the Tasmanian Twisters, Platypus Plunge, the Cyclone, PJ’s Plummet, the Boomerang, and The Three Sisters. There’s also a mega-waterfall park known as Kangaroo Falls and a giant sandbox that’s great for little kids who can’t ride the slides and tube slides.

Great Barrier Reef has seven different water patterns to play in from the wave pool to the shallow beach water. Tube slides here are so large that there are rafts and tubes that fit up to four riders. Cabanas are available for purchase in person and are rented by the day and provide shade, seating, and a treat for groups of six to sixteen. You can also order food, and have it sent directly to your cabana.

Photos courtesy of the parks

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