Houston-Area Water Parks: Cool Off at These Hot Spots

As we all painfully know, summer in Texas is HOT. Playing in the water isn't only a fun activity for the kids, it's almost a necessity. When it comes to water fun, nothing is more exciting for kids than visiting a water park! There are several water parks around 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, then check out our list of the many great splash pads at local parks. There are also many free pools throughout the city 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.

Also, in 2021 as water parks reopen, be sure to check the individual park's policies regarding COVID safety and social distancing protocols.

Houston-area water parks

Wild Isle at Big Rivers Waterpark. Photo coutesy Big Rivers

Big Rivers Waterpark - New Caney

23101 State Highway 242, New Caney

Big Rivers Waterpark is the newest to join Houston's water park scene as a part of the Grand Texas theme park and entertainment district. Located about 30 minutes north of Houston in New Caney, Big Rivers opened May 25, 2019 and 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 rope courses, and of course water slides, splash pads and spray structures.

Hurricane Harbor SplashTown - Spring

21300 I-45 North, Spring

After being acquired by Six Flags in 2018, Wet'n'Wild SplashTown is now Hurricane Harbor Splashtown featuring more than 40 rides and attractions for kids of all ages. Expect new rides and attractions with the typicaly Six Flags flair. And season passes purchased here can be used at other Six Flags properties across the state. No outside food or beverage 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 Water Park - Baytown

5300 East Road, Baytown

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 movies at the wave pool on Thursday evenings, itty bitty beach parties for ages 5 and under on Wednesday mornings, and pirate celebrations for children with special needs.

Typhoon Texas Waterpark Houston - Katy

555 S Katy Fort Bend Road, Katy

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 available for rent. No food or drink permitted except for one plastic water bottle per person.

Palm Beach Moody Gardens - Galveston

1 Hope Boulevard, Galveston

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 "Bands on the Sand" summer lineup.

Floating the Torrent River at Schlitterbahn Galveston. Photo courtesy Schlitterbahn Galveston.

Schlitterbahn Waterpark - Galveston

2026 Lockheed Road, Galveston

2017 Season: Opening weekends starting April 14 and run through August (indoor waterpark open year-round)
Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Galveston has something for everyone including water slides, heated pools, a lazy river, zip line, 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 near Houston

Splashway Water Park - Sheridan

(~1 hr 35 min from Downtown Houston)
5211 Main Street, Sheridan

Splashway is a campground and water park with lots of slides, a new 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, knives, or cooking devices permitted, free stationary grills available for use). For an extra fee, you can rent persona cabanas or go on a zipline adventure. Food and drinks are also available for purchase.

Typhoon Texas Austin/Photo courtesy the water park

Typhoon Texas Waterpark Austin - Pflugerville

(~2 hrs 40 min from Downtown Houston)
18500 TX-130 N Service Road, Pflugerville

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 available for rent. No food or drink permitted except for one plastic water bottle per person.

Schlitterbahn Waterpark - New Braunfels

(~2 hrs 50 min from Downtown Houston)
588 S Union Avenue, New Braunfels

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 Resort & Waterpark - Austin

(~3 hrs from Downtown Houston)
16107 Wharf Cove, Leander

Volente Beach located on Lake Travis offers a wide-range of exciting rides for the whole family, from a Pirate's Ship to a Lazy Lagoon to the Gator's Crossing and the fast-paced Sidewinder, there is something for everyone to enjoy. There is also an exclusive beach with three volleyball courts. The attached restaurant Shore Club serves food and drinks.

Hawaiian Falls - Five locations in North and Central Texas

These family-friendly water parks have a variety of amenities, including a wave pool, lazy river, and rides such as the Pineapple Express. You may bring in coolers with food and drinks for a $10 fee, no alcohol, glass, or knives allowed. Food and beverages are available for purchase, and lockers and cabanas are available for rent.

Great Wolf Lodge - Grapevine

(~4 hrs from Downtown Houston)
100 Great Wolf Drive, Grapevine

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 only available to guests of the lodge and does not offer 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

This post originally published in 2017.

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