Best Outdoor Water Park (2020)


Note from 10Best: Someday, we'll all be ready to pack our suitcases again and head out on our next adventures. In the meantime, we'll keep supporting the places that inspire us.

  • Lost Island Waterpark

    Lost Island Waterpark
    Waterloo, Iowa

    At Lost Island Waterpark in Waterloo, Iowa, park-goers can take the plunge at Lost Soul Falls, catch a wave in Tsunami Bay, float the Kailahi River, play some volleyball in Blue Iguana Lagoon or ride one of the world's only hydromagnetic water coasters, Wailua Kapua.
    Photo courtesy of Lost Island Waterpark

  • Splashin' Safari

    Splashin' Safari
    Santa Claus, Ind.

    It may be in Santa Claus, Indiana, but Splashin’ Safari’s about as far from the North Pole as you can get, offering myriad thrills to cool guests off in the summer heat. Families who thrill-ride together will revel catching actual air on Mammoth – a water coaster so massive its seven-story bulk takes up more than three acres! Multiple drops employ cutting edge technology, lifting up to six passengers to plunge again and again and again.
    Photo courtesy of Holiday World & Splashin' Safari

  • Aquatica Orlando

    Aquatica Orlando

    SeaWorld’s first and most popular water park, Aquatica Orlando, draws 1.5 million visitors per year while seamlessly integrating sea life into rides. Its signature attraction, Dolphin Plunge, is an enclosed tube slide that passes through a pool of playful, black and white Commerson’s dolphins. Guests can also take a leisurely raft ride down Loggerhead Lane, through colorful exotic fish. Aquatica's South Seas theme is further enhanced by 60,000 lush, tropical plants covering its 60 acres.
    Photo courtesy of Aquatica Orlando

  • Dollywood's Splash Country

    Dollywood's Splash Country
    Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

    Dolly’s Smoky Mountain oasis offers up more than 24 slides and thrill rides for all ages at Splash Country. The littlest guests enjoy loads of interactive play time in places like the Cascades – a lagoon-style pool where hidden misters, bubblers and secret slides make for fun discovery. Thrill seekers, on the other hand, revel on rides like the RiverRush. It’s four stories of family fun on a water coaster with multiple drops, twists and turns.
    Photo courtesy of Dollywood

  • Water Country USA

    Water Country USA
    Williamsburg, Va.

    Welcome to Virginia’s largest water park, where little ones enjoy colorful oases like the Critter Corral and the space-themed H2O UFO interactive water playground while the big kids (adults included) feed their need for speed on serious drop slides like Vanish Point. On Jet Scream, single riders soar on 400-foot flumes, reaching speeds of 25 miles per hour.
    Photo courtesy of Water Country USA

  • Cowabunga Bay

    Cowabunga Bay
    Henderson, Nev.

    Cowabunga Bay is the best place to cool off in Las Vegas, with 23 acres of fun featuring more than 20 slides, pools and attractions. Highlights include Wild Surf, the world’s largest man-made wave, and Point Panic, an enclosed, pitch-black water slide that’s not for the faint of heart.
    Photo courtesy of Cowabunga Bay

  • Carolina Harbor

    Carolina Harbor

    Carolina Harbor, the water park at Carowinds in Charlotte, is home to a state-of-the-art wave pool capable of producing waves up to 6 feet tall, as well as a six-story water slide complex, 2-acre family area and a four-person family raft slide. A 1,000-foot lazy river sets the scene for relaxation. Entry to the water park is included with Carowinds admission.
    Photo courtesy of Carowinds

  • Adventure Island

    Adventure Island

    In Tampa, thrill seekers can tackle Colossal Curl, a thrill slide at Adventure Island bringing up to four riders high above the action for a weightless experience that merges funnel and wave for an action-packed descent. Back on the ground, Paradise Lagoon’s 9,000 square feet of slides and waterfalls offer lots of adventure on terra firma – unless you choose to cliff jump off its 20-foot platform, of course.
    Photo courtesy of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment

  • Universal's Volcano Bay

    Universal's Volcano Bay

    Orlando theme park goers have a new way to cool off in the Sunshine State with the opening of Universal's Volcano Bay in 2017. This new water park at Universal Orlando Resort debuted with 18 new attractions and a wearable that lets visitors hold a place in ride lines with no more than a wave of their wrist.
    Photo courtesy of Universal Orlando Resort

  • Schlitterbahn

    New Braunfels, Texas

    Over three miles of tubing and seven kids' areas complete this popular water park between Austin and San Antonio. It sets itself apart with three uphill water slides (a novel concept invented by Schlitterbahn) as well as The Falls, a 3,600-foot-long lazy and not-so-lazy river: the world's longest water park ride. 
    Photo courtesy of Schlitterbahn

When the heat of summer descends, millions of visitors head to America's water parks to cool off. We asked our readers to vote for their favorite outdoor water parks in the country for the ultimate day of sun and fun.

The top 10 winners in the category Best Outdoor Water Park are as follows:

  1. Lost Island Waterpark - Waterloo, Iowa
  2. Splashin' Safari - Santa Claus, Ind.
  3. Aquatica Orlando - Orlando
  4. Dollywood's Splash Country - Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
  5. Water Country USA - Williamsburg, Va.
  6. Cowabunga Bay - Henderson, Nev.
  7. Carolina Harbor - Charlotte
  8. Adventure Island - Tampa
  9. Universal's Volcano Bay - Orlando
  10. Schlitterbahn - New Braunfels, Texas

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

Congratulations to all these winning water parks!

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