Outdoor Water Parks in Connecticut for Kids and Family Fun
New England has plenty of big, splashy water parks, from Rhode Island to Maine, but if a nearby summer adventure suits your family best, look no further than Connecticut. Ranging from a large theme park to a sandy beach, these water parks offer both thrilling slides and little-kid-friendly fountains. For more ideas for cooling off this summer, check out our Connecticut Summer Fun Guide and Mommy Poppins Theme and Water Park Guide.
1. Lake Compounce Family Theme Park - Bristol
Lake Compounce is the oldest continuously-operating amusement park in North America. Among other famous attractions, Lake Compounce is home to Boulder Dash, which has been voted the world’s #1 wooden roller coaster, as well as Connecticut’s largest water park. The water park is the perfect size—not too big. It has water cannons and slides; Mammoth Falls, a high speed family raft adventure; Lake Plunge, a slippery tube slide into the lake; the Wave Pool & Pirate Ship; and Tunnel Twisters, which are three twisting and turning tunnel slides. To be certain which rides are operating (and whether there are any closures), check the operating calendar before heading out. There is no separate, water-park-only fee here, and children under three are admitted free.
2021: Guests who are not fully vaccinated should wear a facial covering and practice social distancing.
Colorful water slides are at the center of Quassy. Photo Courtesy of Quassy Amusement Park
2. Quassy Amusement Park - Middlebury
Splash Away Bay & Saturation Station are the interactive water play areas at Quassy Amusement Park. From cascading fountains to water cannons and bucket waterfalls, Saturation Station provides fantastic interactive water play fun for all ages. While Tunnel Twisters is an enclosed tube kids can slide down, Free Fall is an open, steep drop for brave souls. At center stage of the multi-tiered complex is a huge tipping bucket that sends more than 300 gallons of water onto the guests below. Little kids may like Slide City, which is the newest attraction at Splash Away Bay. This is ideal for youngsters who are feeling more cautious about water play. Lifeguards are always on duty.
2021: Masks are recommended indoors for non-vaccinated individuals.
3. Ocean Beach Park - New London
If what you are looking for is less amusement park and more low-key beach vibe with some splashing mixed in, then check out this half-mile of pristine “sugar-sand” beach, which offers plenty of room to spread out and enjoy a day in the sun before visiting the sprayground area (kids 8 and under). Along with a nature trail, a picnic area, amusement rides, an arcade, mini golf, and a playground, Ocean Beach Park has a 50-meter, Olympic-sized pool, a triple water slide, and a sprayground that's great for little kids. The price of parking includes park admission for everyone riding in the car; many attractions require a small fee but the sprayground is free.
4. Brownstone Exploration and Discovery Park - Portland
This is a water park of a different style. Located on a natural body of water, Brownstone has a lot of different things to do, many of them in the water. Are you a water skier? Check. Do you love inflatable water slides? Check. There are dozens of inflatable obstacles for all levels available for a day's worth of play. And don't forget the "extreme" rope swing into the water. If you have family members who aren't fans of water play, there is something for them to do, too: They might enjoy the zip-line or the rock climbing challenge. Day passes and season passes are available. An "Adventure Sports Daily Pass" includes access to the rope swing, rock climbing, scuba diving, water slides, cliff jumping, inflatables, and zip lines.
2021: Brownstone follows current Connecticut state guidelines regarding Covid.
Originally published August 1, 2011