Treating your kids to a fun way to cool down this summer no longer requires a suitcase worth of pool supplies. With many spray grounds and splash pads scattered around the DMV, you can play in the spray, splash in the sun, and cool yourselves down with little more than a swim suit and some sunscreen.

Fountain on the Square

Twenty jets of water shooting up out of the ground in the center of a tiled circle. What’s not to love? Running from May through September, this fountain in the middle of Rockville Town Square is a kid-pleaser. Adults, be aware that the water does not interact or vary in speed, height, or timing. So if you need to rescue a little one, you’re going to get wet too. Before or after cooling down, soak up some of the square’s shopping and dining.

Rockville Town Square
12 N Washington St. (Rockville, Md)
Cost: Free
Dates: Memorial Day- first week in October
Open: Mon-Thu, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun, 12 p.m.-8 p.m.

 

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Petworth Spray Park

The Petworth Spray Park is a popular spot in D.C.’s up-and-coming Petworth neighborhood. A nice-sized concrete space is jam-packed with a combo of small and large fountains that manage to drench you from both above and below. The kids can’t seem to get enough, and parents can join in or sit back and listen to the laughter. Definitely think about bringing an umbrella, however, because shade is hard to come by here.

801 Taylor St., NW (Petworth)
Cost: Free
Dates: Memorial Day-Labor Day
Open: Daily, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.

Georgetown Waterfront Park

The water arcs above little ones’ heads, drenching the 50-foot space and anyone in it at the Georgetown Waterfront. Pass the time on a nearby bench, spread out a picnic blanket on the grass or join your kids as they play. All the while, enjoy views of water activities and boats on the Potomac or dry off on the River Steps with a perfect view.

Georgetown Waterfront
Wisconsin Ave. and K St. NW
Cost: Free
Dates: Memorial Day-Labor Day
Open: Daily

Virginia Highlands Park

Many say this addition to Arlington County's string of splash zones (that includes Hayes Park, Drew Park, and Lyon Village Park) is the best, featuring water cannons, mini-waterfalls, bucket dumps and more. And with a water recirculation system in place that saves 82,000 gallons of water a month, it's also eco-friendly.

1600 South Hayes St. (Arlington, Va)
Cost: Free
Dates: Memorial Day - Labor Day
Open: Daily, 10 am-8 pm

Ocean Dunes Waterpark

Want to try a water version of Disney World’s Space Mountain? You can do it at Ocean Dunes Waterpark, a feature of Arlington’s Upton Hill Regional Park, where you can slip down a 170-foot closed slide in complete darkness! Upton offers a nice mix of pristine wooded parkland and wild water fun, plus mini-golf and batting cages. Mix in a little civil war history to make this outing fun and educational!

6060 Wilson Blvd.  (Arlington, Va)
Cost: $5.25-$8.75
Dates: Memorial Day-Labor Day
Times: Daily, 11 a.m.–7 p.m.

Fairfax Corner Interactive Fountain

This cool spot gets crowded on hot days, but that just tells you how much the kids love it. Located in the central plaza of Fairfax Town Center, this easy-going fountain features smaller sprays that slowly build up, as opposed to nostril-burning geysers, which makes it perfect for younger kiddos. But have no fear if you’re looking to get lost in a maze of water streams, because everyone gets plenty wet here.

11900 Palace Way (Fairfax, Va)
Cost: Free
Dates: Memorial Day - Labor Day
Times: Monday-Thursday, 9 am–10 pm; Friday and Saturday, 9 am–11 pm; Sunday, 11 am–9 pm

Great Waves Cameron Run Park

If you’re looking to entertain both older kids and tiny tots, this might be the answer. Let the older kids loose to zip down the speed slides or body surf in the massive wave pool, while you relax with your toddler at Minnow Bay. Here you’ll find a shallow play pool, eight bubblers, a light cascading waterfall and a giant splash pad with a variety of colorful sprayers. There’s also flowing water, dumping bowls, twisting pipes and water tables. Whatever your water speed, there’s something here for everyone. It’s a win/win.

4001 Eisenhower Ave. (Alexandria, Va)
Cost: $8.25-$15.75
Dates: Memorial Day-Labor Day
Times: 11 a.m.–7 p.m.

Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole

This cool spot has more than an acre of slides, flumes, sprays, showers, floatables, and interactive play features, circled by a river with a 2.5 mile per hour current that gently nudges tubes along. It’s also a short drive to a mini-golf course called Woody’s.

1400 Lake Fairfax Dr. (Reston, Va)
Cost: $9-$15.95
Dates: Memorial Day-Labor Day
Times: Daily, 10 a.m.–8 p.m.

South Germantown Splash Ground

On summer’s hottest days when you just wish someone would dump a bucket of cold water onto your head, try the Splash Ground at South Germantown Recreational Park. The large outdoor spray ground boasts a 280-jet water maze, mist-spraying faux rock formations; a waterfall-enclosed cave; and, yes, buckets brimming with cold water that randomly dump. You’ll also find smaller fountains for the less enthusiastic kiddos. There’s also tables with umbrellas for shade and a mini-golf area.

18056 Central Park Circle (Boyds, Md)
Cost: $5.50
Dates: Memorial Day-Labor Day
Times: Daily, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Downtown Silver Spring Fountain

This fountain is located amid the bustle of Silver Spring’s popular downtown plaza. Its beautiful mosaic basin beacons little ones to spin through randomly spouting water jets. Surrounded by shops, restaurants and theaters, this is the place to make it an all-day affair. Add a rockin’ summer program of live adult music in the evenings and live children’s music every other Wednesday morning and you’ve found one of the best places to take the sizzle out of a hot day.

916 Ellsworth Dr. (Silver Spring, Md)
Cost: Free
Dates: Memorial Day–Labor Day
Times: 10 a.m.–8 p.m.

14th and Girard Street Spray Fountains

It’s nothing fancy, but it does the trick. A large concrete area surrounded by water sprays will quickly cool off the kids. There’s also basketball, soccer, picnic tables, chess tables, and clean, new bathrooms (always a plus). It’s just a short walk from the Columbia Heights metro stop on the yellow/green line. Hop on, hop off, get wet, cool down. Who could argue with that?

14th and Girard St., NW (Columbia Heights)
Cost: Free
Dates: Memorial Day-Labor Day
Open: Daily, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.

Yards Park

Fun, free and fantastically beautiful, that’s what we say about this 5.5 acre treasure tucked along the banks of the Anacostia river in D.C.’s Capitol Riverfront neighborhood. Yards Park pulls out all the stops for a family-friendly summer outing with plenty of space to spread out, a free moon bounce for kids, live music on Thursday and Friday nights, peaceful garden spaces, incredible views, and, oh yes, there’s water to play in! A fountain pours into a large canal where kids are free to splash and plunge. At 11 inches deep, the water is just high enough to keep kids safe and help parents stay relatively dry. Insider tip: though there are some shaded areas with benches, the canal is open and sunny so bring a hat and extra sunscreen.

355 Water St., SE (Navy Yards)
Cost: Free
Dates: Memorial Day-Labor Day
Open: Daily, 7 a.m.–10 p.m.

Our Special Harbor Spray Park

This spacious sprayground will feel like a staycation for your little one. The fully accessible complex features Chesapeake Bay-themed attractions including a spraying osprey nest, Chessie the sea serpent, misting sunflowers and a lighthouse. The beach area is quieter with softer bubblers and interactive water tables.

6601 Telegraph Rd. (Franconia, Va)
Cost: Free
Dates: Memorial Day-Labor Day
Open: Weekends, 9:30 a.m.-7 p.m.; Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Wednesday: 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Canal Park Fountain

A few blocks down from the popular Yards Park fountain, two more fountains dances at Canal Park on the Capital Riverfront. Stop by on Wednesday mornings and stick around for Kids in Canal when a weekly rotation of magic shows, kids songs, puppet shows, and science demonstrations will add to the entertainment.

Capital Riverfront
200 M St. SE
Cost: Free
Dates: Memorial Day-Labor Day
Open: Daily, 7 a.m.-10 p.m.

—Ayren Jackson-Cannady, Tricia Mirchandani and Jamy Bond

 

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