Just casually mention “water park” and your otherwise glacially-paced kids are dressed, primped and ready to race out the door. So why not channel their enthusiasm into a summer vacation destination? From giant slides with trap doors to steamy outdoor hot springs, indoor and out, there’s something for every water lover in your family at one of these amazing water resorts, in the US and beyond. Read on for our top picks!

photo: Atlantic Paradise Island

Atlantis Paradise Island – Nassau, Bahamas

Be prepared to be blown away at Aquaventure, a 141-acre water park that takes awesomeness to a new level. Twenty million gallons of water, extreme water slides, a mile-long river ride with swirling rapids, 11 swimming pools including three kids' pools, a kids' water-play fort and 20 swimming areas are just some of the incredible attractions that will provide non-stop fun for all ages. If that's not enough excitement, you'll find the largest open-air marine habitat in the world and there's also close encounters with dolphins, sea lions and even sharks. When you want some "me time", sign the kids into the kids' club and head to the spa for some pampering. There's so much to keep tots, tweens, teens and even grownups grinning from ear to ear, you won't want to leave.

Atlantis Paradise Island
One Casino Drive Suite #59
Paradise Island, Bahamas
online: atlantisbahamas.com

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photo: Gaylord Opryland Resort

Gaylord Opryland Resort – Nashville, TN

An exciting new water experience awaits at Gaylord Opryland Resort in Music City. SoundWaves offers four acres of combined indoor and outdoor attractions and activities, so you can go from inside to outside and back again all day long. As well as 11 water slides for all ages, indoor surfing and an activity pool with rock climbing and basketball, there are rapid and lazy rivers depending on your mood, a kids pool and splash pad and a wave pool with a humungous movie screen. There's live music from country, pop and classic rock artists too. Every. Single. Day.

Gaylord Opryland Resort
2800 Opryland Drive
Nashville, Tennessee 37214
Online: marriott.com/hotels/travel/bnago-gaylord-opryland-resort-and-convention-center 

photo: Kristina Moy

Perfect Day at CocoCay – The Bahamas

Maximum thrills await at Perfect Day at CocoCay, a 125-acre private island paradise just for Royal Caribbean cruise guests. The minute the ship docks, you have the whole island to explore. As well as stunning beaches to chill on, it is home to the Thrill Waterpark, which boasts 21 slides, a wave pool, a 1,600-foot-long zip line and the Caribbean's largest freshwater pool. Will you be brave enough to slide down the Dare Devil's Peak, the tallest water slide in North America? Or maybe you would prefer to race your young speed demons on Splash Speedway and then snap a selfie from a helium balloon 450 feet up in the sky. Littlest water babies can splash about on the pirate ship at Splashaway Bay. We got to check it out and you can read all about it here.

Psst…Overwater cabanas with private water slides and personal attendants coming soon.

online: royalcaribbean.com/cococay-cruises

photo: Nickelodeon Hotel and Resorts Punta Cana

Nickelodeon Hotel and Resorts Punta Cana - Dominican Republic

If you're looking for an all-inclusive resort that will wow even the most hard-to-please youngsters, Nickelodeon Hotel and Resorts Punta Cana is a dream come true. Along with swim-up suites and luxe villas inspired by Bikini Bottom, Spongebob's pineapple-shaped home, plus a rather gorgeous infinity pool, it has its very own water park, Aqua Nick offering all out fun for all ages. Here you'll find winding slides, splash pads and a lazy river. Add to this mass slimings, carnivals, a kids' club and being able to hang out with Dora the Explora or Paw Patrol, and your tribe will think they're in heaven. When you feel like ditching them for some adult-only time at the spa or maybe the bar, there's a huge kids' club with an impressive activity program. Check out our guide to everything the hotel has to offer here.

Nickelodeon Hotel and Resorts Punta Cana - Dominican Republic
Punta Cana 23002, Dominican Republic
online: nickresortpuntacana.com

photo: The Kartrite Resort

The Kartrite Resort & Indoor Waterpark – Monticello, New York

A brand new resort with a brand new water park--and it's the biggest indoor water park in New York! An easy drive from several major cities in the Northeast and minutes from the ski slopes, it offers non-stop fun come rain, shine or snow. The water park is covered by a transparent roof for year round tanning, and the temperature stays at a balmy 84 degrees, so it feels more like the Caribbean than the Catskills. After you've zoomed down the Krakken or Nor'Easter, sit back, relax and enjoy a ride along the lazy river. There's also a FlowRider surf simulator, toddler-friendly pools, several hot tubs and a spa. If your crew have got any energy left, there's plenty of other exciting entertainment options at the Kartrite Resort including an arcade, bowling alley and ropes course.

The Kartrite Resort & Indoor Waterpark
555 Resorts World Drive
Monticello, NY 12701
online: thekartrite.com

photo: Camelback Resort

Camelback Resort Lodge and Aquatopia Hotel - Tannersville, PA

There’s a reason why Camelback Resort made our list of best water parks in America—it’s built for families who love to play! Because its two water parks, plus a whole lot more, will guarantee your kids go to bed worn out each and every day you stay. Between the 52 water slides, 12 pools and two flow riders, they can enjoy water play all day long indoor (or out when the sun is shining). Then if they need a break from the water, simply book time on the zip lines, aerial obstacle course or pottery painting studio. If that's not exciting enough, head to the new Arcardia Adventures, which has an escape room and 7D sensory immersive ride. And did we mention this resorts offer year-round indoor/outdoor activity? So if you want to add skiing, snowboarding and tubing to your water drenched adventures, think winter vaycay spot.

Camelback Resort
193 Resort Dr.
Tannersville, PA 18372
online: camelbackresort.com

photo: Oasis Water Park at Arizona Grand Resort & Spa

Arizona Grand Resort & Spa, Oasis Water Park - Phoenix, AZ

Your kids will probably spend most of the day trying to duck, dodge and ride the waves at the Oasis Water Park’s wave pool, we think the eight-story-tall tower water slides are more your speed. Or would lounging side by side down the rolling Zuni River be your trip? Either way, families will find plenty of ways to get and stay wet in the sunshine at the Arizona Grand. Even the tot lot can get in on the action with their very own splash pad, Wild Cat Springs. Add in a poolside cabana, so the kids stay shaded, and everyone knows where to meet for lunch, and you’ve got an easy summer vaycay planned. 

Arizona Grand Resort & Spa
8000 S. Arizona Grand Parkway
Phoenix, AZ 85044
online: arizonagrandresort.com/#oasis-water-park

photo: courtesy Wilderness Resort

Wilderness Resort—Wisconsin Dells, WI

With four indoor and just as many outdoor water parks, you need a whole week to pack it all in at the Wilderness Resort. The only question is where to start? If adventure is what the kids are looking for, try Klondike Kavern where thrill slides like the Hurricane and Mine Shaft Drop will get their adrenaline pumping. For baby beach bums and their parents, the country’s largest indoor wave pool, Wild WaterDome is the place to plant your beach towel. And everyone in the fam will find ways to get wet at Cubby’s Cove and the Wild West water parks that combine sports, rides and typical splash pad fun for the whole fam. Don't forget the tube slides, body slides and banana slides at Lake Wilderness and the five story Lunar Loop at Lost World, which are both outdoors. Swim, splash, repeat is the way vacation rolls here!

Psst … Don’t forget to check out some of the area’s other cool attractions, like unbelievable water slides.

Wilderness Resort
511 E. Adams
Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965
online: wildernessresort.com

Lava Hot Springs - Lava Hot Springs, ID

Try the natural hot springs experience at the Idaho Springs natural mineral pools. They pump over 2.5 million gallons of water through the pools each day, keeping them clean and odor free so you and your crew can soak in the relaxing hot water. The area features five natural pools with water slides and diving platforms, and the nearby Sunken Gardens add a little more nature to your afternoon. Featuring native and colorful imported plants nestled along pebbled paths, the park is a natural extension of your already nature-filled day.

430 E. Main St.
Lava Hot Springs, ID 83246
online: lavahotsprings.com

photo: courtesy Kalahari Resorts & Conventions

Kalahari Resorts - Multiple U.S. Locations

Whether you live in the Midwest or traveling there is on your summer adventure list, staying at a Kalahari Resort (in the Wisconsin Dells; Sandusky, Ohio or Pocono Mountains) makes it worth the trip! Each resort is African Safari themed, and in addition to eye-popping water features like Crocodile Cove’s water walk or the trap door that leads riders down the Extreme Rush water slide, there’s too much additional fun to be had. We’re talking escape rooms, virtual reality experiences and traditional kid-tastic sports like bowling and mini golf. So whether your crew wants to don their swim gear and find adventure poolside or towel off and thunder through the resort, they’ll stay busy all week long.

Psst … a Texas location is coming soon!

Online: kalahariresorts.com

photo: courtesy Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts

Schlitterbahn Waterpark & Resort - New Braunfels, TX

Situated in the heart of Texas, Schlitterbahn’s New Braunfels location (the original!) sits on the banks of the Comal River, and now has over 51 attractions on 70 acres that include the original section’s famous black tubes (powered by the Comal’s current), as well as the Boogie Bahn and Sky Coaster, thrill rides guests can find in the Blastenhoff and Surfenburg sections. But you don’t have to be a daredevil to have fun here. The pace is just right for pint-sized pool goers too when you hit Kinderhaven, with its soft play structures and gentle waves or Han’s Hideout that turn your neighborhood spray park into a five-story funhouse experience. Check out our insider's guide by clicking here

400 N. Liberty Ave.
New Braunfels, TX 78130
Online: schlitterbahn.com/new-braunfels

photo: courtesy Fairmont Kea Lani

Fairmont Kea Lani - Maui, HI

If you want somewhere that perfectly blends me-time with family time, schedule your next vacation at the Fairmont Kea Lani, located on Maui's Wailea Coast. It's Hawaii's only all-suite and villa resort where you can luxuriate in island life at the foot of one of Maui's premier beaches. Drop the kiddos at the Keiki Lani Kids Club or better yet, enroll them in Mermaid University, while you hit the spa. Then take on the resort's water features together, including the epic 140-foot water slide, play around with pool toys and shoot some hoops.

Fairmont Kea Lani Maui
4100 Wailea Alanui Dr.
Wailea, HI 96753

Online: fairmont.com

photo: TradeWinds

TradeWinds Island Resorts – St. Pete, FL

You want something beachy, but they never want to get out of the pool. TradeWinds Island Resorts, located on Florida’s Gulf of Mexico side, is calling your name. The property is actually 25 acres, with two resorts connected by the fine white sand of St. Pete Beach. Not only do you get pools with sweet features like Dive-In Movie Nights and a smaller pool just for smaller kids, but you’ll also have a chance to take on the High Tide Slide: a three-story inflatable waterslide. There’s an entire floating water park, too, with floating trampolines and climbing structures, a jungle gym, splash mats, runways, balance beams and even floating cabanas for the parents to chill while the kids are all thrill. And if you happen to tire of this, you’ll find paddle boarding, diving, kayaking, pirate play and more.

TradeWinds Island Resorts
5500 Gulf Blvd.
St. Pete Beach, FL 33706
Online: tradewindsresort.com

photo: Omni Rancho Las Palmas

Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa – Rancho Mirage, CA

This Palm Springs resort is known for its world-class spa, but with 240-acres to wander, you’ll soon find the grounds feature a whole lot more. There are three pools including Splashtopia—a two-acre water playground that includes a lazy river, two giant water slides, a cliff-side Jacuzzi, sandy beach and a splash pad full of fountains and sprinklers. The resort also features a 27-hole golf course and five different restaurants so you really don’t need to leave.

Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa
41000 Bob Hope Dr.
Rancho Mirage, CA 92270
Online: omnihotels.com/palm-springs-rancho-las-palmas

photo: Allison Sutcliffe

Suncadia Resort – Cle Elum, WA

The secret is out for Pacific Northwest families' favorite resort: Suncadia. Their indoor pool boasts two, two-story-high water slides so rain or shine, the fun is on! The outdoor pool’s backdrop is hard to beat: mountain views and poolside activities including arts and crafts and snacks from the resort’s own food truck. For water play of a different kind, rent a kayak, canoe or paddleboard to try out on the on-site alpine lake. It’s perfect for kids and newbies thanks to the calm waters. You’ll also find adventure packages, outdoor hikes, evening s’mores and much more. Click here to read our family guide to all they offer.

Suncadia Resort
3600 Suncadia Trail
Cle Elum, WA 98922
Online: suncadiaresort.com

photo: JW Marriott

JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa – San Antonio, TX

If everything’s bigger in Texas, this resort is no exception, and we promise you won’t mind that one bit. Not only will you find a 36-hole golf course and adults-only infinity pool, you can go wild with the kiddos at the on-site nine-acre water park that includes an 1100-foot long lazy river, water slides, a 650-foot rapid river ride, a children’s pool with toddler-sized slides, fountains and splashy fun, a beach-entry swimming pool which includes a sandy spot to build sandcastles and play. When you’re tired out from playing all day, fill up on some Texas BBQ and make s’mores at the fire pit before passing out in your deluxe room and then waking up to do it all over again.

JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa
23808 Resort Pkwy.
San Antonio, TX 78261
Online: marriott.com

photo: Erin Lem

The Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa – Koloa, HI

It’s not surprising that this resort in Kauai made the list: lush gardens and hidden grottos are abundant in this 50-acre beachfront property. There’s a 150-ft water slide, a salt-water lagoon (that is shark and riptide free) and a lazy river that you will probably never want to leave. If you ever do manage to get the fam out of the water, there’s no shortage of activities including hula lessons, lei making, twilight ocean-view yoga, a kid’s club, a massive spa, and more. Read our insider’s guide to exploring all Poipu, Kauai has to offer.

Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa
1571 Poipu Rd.
Koloa, HI 96756
Online: kauai.grand.hyatt.com

photo: Glenwood Resort

Glenwood Hot Springs Resort – Glenwood, CO

For something a little different, check into the Glenwood Hot Springs Resort. Located between Aspen and Vail, Colorado, people have been flocking to this hot spot since 1888 to soak in the fifteen mineral springs and take in the view of the surrounding mountains. Home to the World’s Largest Hot Springs Pool, you’ll find the pool open year round and into the night so you can soak under the stars. There’s also a kiddie pool and two waterslides, a poolside grill, a renowned spa and comfy rooms, although day passes are an option if you just want to head into the pool.

Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge
415 East 6th St.
Glenwood Springs, CO 81601
Online: hotspringpool.com

photo: Hyatt Newport Beach

Hyatt Regency Newport Beach – Newport Beach, CA

With three pools, two spas, a splash pad, waterslide, shuffleboard, ping-pong and a giant chess board, you won’t want to leave the pool area once you check in. Guess what? You don’t really have to: there’s a poolside restaurant, too. The pool stays open until 10 p.m. which means you’ve got plenty of time to stay soaked. And did we mention this place offers day passes? So, if you happen to be just passing through...

Hyatt Regency Newport Beach
1107 Jamboree Rd.
Newport Beach, CA 92660
Online: newportbeach.regency.hyatt

photo: Great Wolf Lodge

Great Wolf Lodge – Multiple U.S. Locations

From wild rides like the Howlin’ Tornado and the epic Coyote Cannon water slide to toddler splash zones and lazy rivers, the Great Wolf Lodge offers something for everyone at their indoor water park. With 15 locations throughout the country (plus one in Canada)  including Boston, Atlanta, Kansas City, Wisconsin Dells, Colorado Springs and Anaheim the chances are there’s one driving distance from you. The resorts offer themed rooms like Wolf Dens and Kid’s Cabin Suites featuring a log-cabin-like sleep area just for your half-pints and upgraded deluxe rooms with fireplaces. Get the inside scoop on the new Atlanta, Georgia location here and the deets on the soon-to-open Scottsdale, Arizona location here (including some savings!)

Online: greatwolf.com

Club Med Sandpiper Bay - Port St. Lucie, FL

The only Club Med in the U.S., for families who love the all-inclusive vibe but want to stay stateside, Sandpiper Bay is a sure bet. Packed with activities including sports and children’s programs for kids as young as four months and up to 17, and a luxe spa, you can find something for all ages and interests. But let’s talk about the pool—we mean pools! There are three and there’s even a splash park just for the kids. And because it’s all inclusive the only thing you need to haul around is sunscreen!

Club Med Sandpiper Bay
4500 SE Pine Valley St.
Port St. Lucie, FL 34952
Online: clubmed.us/Sandpiper-Bay

—Janine Clements, Allison Sutcliffe & Amber Guetebier

 

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