Heading to a water park near Houston can help us survive an entire day of the Texas summer heat. There are several water parks near Houston that will make for an easy day trip, and even more that are just a few hours away. If you are looking for something closer and quicker to help cool down, then check out our list of the many great splash pads at local parks. There are also many free pools in Houston where kids and parents can keep cool.
For more ideas on kid-friendly activities this summer, like fun summer day trips or parks with the most shade, visit our Summer Fun Guide for Houston families.
On your water park outing, make sure to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats, along with towels, water shoes and water-slide-appropriate swimwear (no buckles, rivets, or zippers). Rash guards are allowed and provide extra sun coverage but many parks do not allow t-shirts or other non-swim fabrics in pools or on attractions. Most parks require swim diapers for children under 3 years old. Many water parks do not allow you to bring in your own food or drinks, although some will let you bring in plastic water bottles, so make sure to check the rules before you pack lots of goodies.
Houston-Area Water Parks
Big Rivers Waterpark is part of Houston's Grand Texas theme park and entertainment district. Located about 30 minutes north of Houston in New Caney, Big Rivers embraces both nature and fun with its array of attractions. There's Wild Isle, a series of slides and bounce platforms floating on a lake, zip lines and ropes courses, and, of course, water slides, splash pads, and spray structures.
Coconut Bay in Hurricane Harbor. Photo courtesy of Hurricane Harbor Splashtown
Hurricane Harbor Splashtown features tons of rides and attractions for kids of all ages. And some season passes purchased here can be used at other Six Flags properties across the state. No outside food or beverages are allowed, except plastic water bottles in a soft-sided cooler. Picnic tables are available outside the park at the main gates or people can picnic at their vehicles. Food and beverages are available for purchase and lockers, tubes, and private cabanas are available for rent. Check the calendar for special events throughout the season.
Pirates Bay has fun rides for all ages, including many different types of slides, a lazy river, a wave pool, a play structure, and water crossing activities. Lockers available for rent, limited life jackets available for use, swim diapers, sunscreen, towels, and more items available for purchase. See website for events such as "dive-in" movies at the wave pool on Thursday evenings, Itty Bitty Beach Parties for ages 5 and under on select Wednesday mornings, and pirate celebrations for children with special needs.
Typhoon Texas has the Gully Washer, a dream play land for children with 7 different slides, over 100 spray areas, a splash pad playground, and a massive water bucket that douses the entire play space. Lockers are available for rent. No food or drink permitted except for one plastic water bottle per person.
Enjoy a white-sand beach in Galveston located within Moody Gardens, where you can play beach volleyball and relax in a Texas-sized pool. Other attractions at Palm Beach include a lazy river, wave pool, two 18-feet-tall enclosed tower slides, and a splash pad. You may bring in plastic bottled water and there are beach and lounge chairs available for use. Lockers, beach cabanas, and bamboo lounges are available for rent. Check the calendar for music and movie events as a part of the "Beats on the Beach" summer lineup.
The famous Schlitterbahn has a location near Houston. Photo courtesy of the Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Galveston
Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Galveston has something for everyone including water slides, heated pools, a lazy river, exciting rides, and kids areas and pools. Picnics are welcome (no glass containers or alcohol). There are free inner tubes available and cabana and luxury loungers available for rent. Food and beverages are available for purchase.
Water Parks Within a Few Hours of Houston
Splashway is a campground and water park with lots of slides, a raft ride, an obstacle course, a lazy river, a wave pool, and toddler and kids areas. Splashway offers free life jacket and inner tube use and allows you to bring your own coolers with food and beverages (no alcohol, glass, or knives permitted). For an extra fee, you can rent personal cabanas or go on a zipline adventure. Food and drinks are also available for purchase.
Typhoon Texas Austin is just a few hours from Houston. Photo courtesy of the water park
Typhoon Texas has fun water rides for the whole family, from super-fast slides to kid-friendly attractions like Buckaroo Bayou and the Gully Washer. Lockers are available for rent. No food or drink permitted except for one plastic water bottle per person.
Schlitterbahn New Braunfels is the mother of all water resorts in Texas and is nestled along the beautiful banks of the Comal River. You'll find world-famous attractions and slides, wild river adventures, heated pools, kid’s water playgrounds, and beautiful spots to relax and share a picnic (no glass containers or alcohol). Free inner tubes and cabana rentals available. Food and beverages are available for purchase, and there is discounted admission as well as early park access if you stay within the resort. The resort has tons of accommodation options, from townhomes to houses.
Volente Beach, located on Lake Travis, offers a wide range of exciting rides for the whole family, from a Pirate Ship and the Texas Twister slide to the Gators Crossing and the fast-paced Sidewinder, there is something for everyone to enjoy. There is also an exclusive beach with volleyball courts. The attached restaurants, Beachside Billy's and Blu's Beach Bar, serve food and drinks.
11. Hawaiian Falls - Five locations in North and Central Texas
These family-friendly water parks (known as Hawaiian Waters at the Garland and The Colony locations) have a variety of amenities, including a wave pool, lazy river, and rides such as the Pineapple Express. You may bring in coolers with snacks and drinks for a $15 fee, no alcohol, glass, large cooked or prepared meals, or knives allowed. Food and beverages are available for purchase, and lockers and cabanas are available for rent.
This is an indoor water park located at a resort just outside of Dallas, which could be a great spot for a fun, weatherproof family getaway. This park is available to guests of the lodge but also offers full- and half-day passes. The park has many different slides, raft rides, hot springs, a lazy creek, a wave pool, activity pools, and areas for kids and toddlers. There is also an outdoor pool with slides, basketball, and more.
Top photo at Schlitterbahn New Braunfels by Carrie Taylor/Mommy Poppins