Keep Your Cool at Some of America’s Best Water Parks

“Remember January.”

That’s the mantra for many of us who wouldn’t dare complain about record-breaking heat waves across the country. Still, if the thought of winters that can break your spirit with cold isn’t quite enough to get you through this unexpected summer heat, a trip to a great water park may be exactly what the doctor ordered.

Not all water parks are created equal.

Choose one of these parks and you’ll be guaranteed the kind of vacation that will leave you feeling as cool as…well…a kid at a water park.

Schlitterbahn, South Padre Island

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There are some who refer to this 25-acre water park in South Padre Island and its sister properties across Texas as the best in the world. The beachfront location of South Padre Island only adds to the draw. Almost two dozen rides and attractions, 13 indoor and outdoor water slides and a lazy river you can float on mean you’ll run out of time before you run out of ways to keep cool. Free parking, free inner tubes and the fact you can bring your own picnic into the park help to make it a fantastic choice for families.

 While you’re there: San Antonio, Texas is well worth a dry land stop. Take the time to visit the Alamo and take in the gorgeous River Walk.

Where to Stay: On site of course. Being close enough to the action is part of the draw and the Schilitterbahn Beach Resort means you can’t get much closer.

Disney Water Parks, Florida

The iconic rides at theme parks like Magic Kingdom and Epcot are the ones that often steal all the attention at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida but on a really hot summer day, you’ll be looking for options that promise a mix of adrenaline and chill.

Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach to the rescue. The two Disney water parks offer different takes on a common goal: Keeping you wet and happy.  Thrill seekers will love the 12-story high Summit Plummet at Blizzard Beach; Little ones will be happy enough with Ketchakiddee Creek’s rides and splash areas made just for them.

Choosing between the two is as easy as deciding whether you like your water fun with a backdrop of snow and ice or tropical monsoon. You really can’t go wrong either way.

 While you’re there: Dry off with some land fun at Kennedy Space Center further south. The Center is a great day trip from the theme parks and offers plenty of hands on activities for all.

Where to stay: Choose from a wide variety of local hotels that offer plenty of temptation for those days you need to rest up

Water Park of America, Minnesota

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Sure, today it’s hot and you really want to find an outdoor water park to keep you cool. But as the summer turns to fall, the idea of spending the entire day in the hot sun might start to seem less appealing. That’s when you’ll be glad for a place like the Water Park of America. Ten floors inside one of the biggest indoor water parks in the country. You’ll stay a balmy 28 Celsius while tackling everything from the Cascade Falls Flow Rider to body slides and wave pools to family raft rides. A lazy river means you will also have a spot to catch your breath.

Little ones can skip the bigger thrills by enjoying a Zero-Depth Activity Pool. Best of all you can travel light: Towels, life jackets and tubes are included and food is sold inside.

While you’re there: Mall of America is the biggest mall in the USA and has plenty to offer the shoppers among you. If you can’t find it here, chances are it hasn’t been created yet.

Where to stay: Radisson Blu at the Mall of America keeps you close to all of the action while giving you a place to unwind each night with a boutique feel.  

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About Author

Heather Greenwood Davis

Heather Greenwood Davis is the award-winning writer behind GlobetrottingMama.com. Her photos, writing and personality are frequently found in international publications, radio programs and television shows including National Geographic Traveler (she's the FamilyTime columnist), O Magazine, Canadian Living, The Toronto Star, NPR, Canada AM and more. In 2012, Heather returned from a yearlong trip around the world with her husband and two sons (29 countries on six continents) and was named among National Geographic Traveler Magazine’s first “Travelers of the Year.” When not in an airport or on Twitter, Heather can be found in Toronto, Canada fighting for sunshine one travel itinerary at a time.

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