17 Sprinkler Parks, Spraygrounds, and Splash Pads near DC for Kids

Enjoy the scenery on the Georgetown Waterfront while splashing in the fountain. Photo by Sam Kittner, courtesy of  georgetowndc.com
Enjoy the scenery on the Georgetown Waterfront while splashing in the fountain. Photo by Sam Kittner, courtesy of georgetowndc.com

DC isn't called a swamp just because it was built in a flood-heavy area. Anyone who lives in or has visited the area during the summer months knows it can be hot, humid, and sticky. And while heading indoors to explore the area's museums or indoor play spaces is always a great option, sometimes kids just want to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. Luckily, there are plenty of sprinkler parks, spraygrounds, and splash pads near DC that allow them to do just that and stay cool. And the best part is, most of them are free! 

Here are 17 great splash pads, spraygrounds, and sprinkler parks near DC to visit with kids on hot summer days.

Remember: Unless noted, all of these sprinkler parks, spraygrounds, and splash pads near DC are open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Always check venue websites before you go for additional information, including closures.

Splash Pads, Spraygrounds, and Sprinkler Parks in DC

The playful water jets at Yards Park are ideal for younger kids. Photo courtesy of Capitol Riverfront BID

1. Canal Basin at Yards Park

Whether families are looking to just get their feet wet or to be completely drenched, this spot has something for everyone. The multilevel fountain has water flowing from the upper level to the lower, creating a waterfall effect into a splash pool. No worries, though—the water is less than a foot deep and safe for the youngest of splashers. Visit the website for operating hours and rules of play.

2. Georgetown Waterfront Park

Georgetown isn't just for college kids. In addition to its beautiful labyrinth and gorgeous rain garden, the focal point of Georgetown Waterfront Park is the fountain. Families can enjoy the large arcing water spray that reaches from the Wisconsin Avenue end to the Potomac riverfront. Kids can splash around in the iconic fountain while parents enjoy the waterfront scenery. Bonus: The fountain is lit in the evenings.

3. Petworth Spray Park

Set in an otherwise traditional park, this splash pad is perfect for the smallest of splashers. Plenty of fountains large and small adorn the concrete space, which is enclosed to prevent little ones from wandering off. Not a lot of shade is offered among the colorful sculptures spewing water, however, so an umbrella is advised.

4. Canal Park Fountain

Not to be confused with the Canal Basin at Yards Park, Capitol Riverfront's Canal Park offers two fountains for kids to splash in. Regularly scheduled maintenance occurs twice a week, so check the website for a status update before heading out.

Related: 10 Parks with Beaches Near DC for a Day Trip with Kids

The splash pad is just one fun part of the playground at Turkey Thicket Rec Center. Photo courtesy of raindrop.com

5. Turkey Thicket

This playground and splash pad are so much more than meets the eye. The playground's design focuses on two themes: a mini village with mountains, playhouses, and a farmers' market; and a transportation section with trains, cars, and boats. The splash pad itself includes a lighthouse and a boat, a climbing hill, musical instruments, shade structures, and more. Kids love the sensory equipment, and the picnic area and bathrooms inside the recreation center make it a comfortable spot for parents, too.

6. Palisades Playground and Splash Park

Leave it to the nation's capital to turn everything into a history lesson. This park’s theme is centered around the Potomac and the American Indians who once lived in the area. From a mountain-climbing wall to slides and swaying bridges, the park is perfect for preschool-aged children. The splash pad offers a water slide, a fountain, and three raised fish that dump water onto the children. The park also provides a shaded pavilion, restrooms, and free parking.

7. Joseph Cole Recreation Center

The splash pad at this recreation center is simple but large. Four huge colorful bands spray kids, and families can also explore the large park, which offers two sections separated by age groups. The parking lot is located on the Neal Street side, while street parking is available on the Montello Avenue side of the park.

8. 14th and Girard Street Spray Fountains

This cool-down spot is perfect for those traveling by Metro—a quick stroll from the Columbia Heights Metro stop and families can enjoy all that this great park has to offer. In addition to the spray area, the facility offers picnic tables, chess tables, and—most importantly—clean bathrooms. While not as fancy as some of the others listed, this easily accessible place provides quick relief from the city heat.

Splash Pads, Spraygrounds, and Sprinkler Parks in Maryland

Cool off in Downtown Silver Spring's Interactive Fountain. Photo courtesy of the Downtown Silver Spring Facebook page

9. Interactive Fountain — Silver Spring

Get ready to get wet! The colorful mosaic-patterned fountain contains jets that shoot water at different intervals and at heights that thrill even the shortest of splashers. This fountain is a favorite in the downtown area, so it can get crowded, especially on weekends. Unlike other fountains, this one turns on mid-spring and stays open through the fall. The plaza often hosts live music and other special events for families. Check the Downtown Silver Spring website for a schedule.

10. Fountain on the Square — Rockville

This fountain in the heart of Rockville provides nonstop water fun. A large circle surrounds the 20 jets that continuously shoot water into the air, at heights that are about the size of an average adult. Kids can dry off while climbing the rocks on the nearby turf area, and parents can shop at the many stores that surround the square. This splash area is next to a street, so parents do need to pay extra attention while visiting the splash pad. Plenty of parking, a covered pavilion, and a vibrant atmosphere make this one of Maryland's most accessible cool-down destinations. The fountains are turned off during special events, so it's best to check the website for updates.

RELATED: 8 Great Water Parks for Kids in the DC Area

South Germantown Splash Park and Mini Golf
The South Germantown Splash Park features a 280-jet water maze. Photo courtesy of the park

11. South Germantown Splash Park and Mini Golf — Boyds

This popular splash park is not to be missed. Kids can explore the 280-jet water maze with a waterfall, water bucket drops, a slide, and spraying animals. There are also smaller fountains for younger splashers. With plenty of shade and the option to pay for a round of mini golf at the adjacent course, this cool-down spot provides all-day fun.

Splash Pads, Spraygrounds, and Sprinkler Parks in Northern Virginia

12. Fairfax City Splash Pad — Fairfax

From May through October (exact dates vary), the splash pad in Old Town Square is turned on and ready to help kids beat the heat. It's open daily from 8am to 10pm, except on certain Fridays, when it closes at 3pm for the free Rock the Block! concert series.

Related: 10 Great Lakes and Swimming Holes for DC Families

The splash pad at Virginia Highlands Park boasts bucket splashers and other fun features. Photo courtesy of the park's Facebook page

13. Virginia Highlands Park — Arlington

This nearly 20-acre park offers fun for the entire family. The splash pad has a water cannon, mini waterfalls, and bucket splashers and was designed with conservation in mind. A built-in recirculation system saves 82,000 gallons of water a month, making this spot one you can feel good about while enjoying a break from the heat.

14. Drew Park — Arlington

Located next to Charles Drew Community Center, this park includes a splash pad and other great features. The water shoots up from the ground, and there is a tall flower soaker that shoots water at different intervals. Hoops also spray water at alternating intervals, which means kids can spend their time guessing from where they will get soaked next. After children are done cooling off, they can enjoy the swings or rope climbing at the playground.

RELATED: Best Free Public Swimming Pools in DC

Our Special Harbor Spray Park
Our Special Harbor Spray Park is accessible to kids of all ages and abilities. Photo courtesy Kim Nguyen

15. Our Special Harbor Spray Park — Alexandria

This fantastic sprayground is fully accessible and has something for splashers of all ages. With a Chesapeake Bay theme, Our Special Harbor has fun features that include a spraying osprey nest, Chessie the sea serpent, misting sunflowers, and a lighthouse. For a quieter experience, the beach area provides more subdued fountains and a water table. The computerized water maze and dumping crab basket are perfect for older and more energetic children. The rules of this park are a bit more strict: For safety, children (15 years and younger) must wear aquatic shoes or sandals with a manufactured back strap at all times, except for non-standing and non-mobile babies. Admission is free for families on a first-come first-served basis, but there is a daily fee for groups.

16. Interactive Fountain at Reston Town Center — Reston

Reston Town Square Park, in Reston Town Center, offers two fountains: one to just watch and the other to play in. Mercury Fountain, the big fountain, is strictly for viewing pleasure. But on the west side, at Reston Town Square Park, the interactive fountain lets kids splash around and cool off. It's wise to bring an extra set of dry clothes for the fountains at shopping centers if you want to make a day of it splashing, shopping, and dining.

RELATED: 15 Amazing Indoor Water Parks Near DC for Families

Potomac Yards Interactive Fountain
Who wouldn't enjoy the water jets at the Potomac Yard Interactive Fountain? Photo courtesy Kim Nguyen

17. Potomac Yard Park Interactive Fountain — Alexandria

Situated between two playgrounds, Potomac Yard Park's splash area is so much more than just a sprayground. Its 36 water jets shoot H2O between two troughs, which also feature lights for evening playtime. The fountains are programmable, with sensors controlling the height of the water while taking wind speed into consideration. The fountain has a water-treatment system to keep things clean and supports the Eco-City Initiative by treating and recycling the water. Summer fun and Earth-friendly? Cooling down never sounded so perfect.

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