Aquatica wins title of Best Outdoor Water Park

10Best readers choose the Orlando park as best in the U.S.

When the heat of summer descends, millions of visitors head to America's water parks to cool off. We asked a panel of experts to nominate their favorite outdoor water parks in the country for the ultimate day of sun and fun. For the past four weeks, 10Best readers have been voting. 

  • 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

  • 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

  • Six Flags White Water
    Atlanta, GA

    Six Flags White Water in Atlanta – the Southeast's largest water park – is home to one of the world’s tallest free-falls, the Cliffhanger. Other notable thrill rides include the Tornado (where four riders board a raft to plummet down seven stories into a funnel) and the Typhoon Twister (which hurls four tube mates around a 67-foot bowl).  Because thrill seekers come in all sizes, three interactive kids' areas feature kid-only and family rides.
    Photo courtesy of Six Flags White Water

  • Lost Island
    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

  • White Water
    Branson, Mo.

    There’s plenty to do in Branson – but come summertime few would argue that White Water Park is the city’s coolest offering. Entertain your competitive side on KaPau Plummet’s dueling 245-foot slides, enjoy a relaxing Polynesian respite amid fountains and bubblers on Aloha River at Hula Bay, take on fast and furious inner-tube action on the Pipeline Plunge and much, much more.
    Photo courtesy of Silver Dollar City

  • 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, turns.
    Photo courtesy of Dollywood

  • Schlitterbahn New Braunfels
    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

  • 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

  • Water World
    Denver

    For those who like their attractions big, Water World is a definite contender. At roughly 70 acres, it’s one of the nation’s largest – with wave pools, towering slides, interactive offerings and winding rivers from mild to wild. While rides like the Funhouse Express Gondola take guests high above the winding slides for a birds-eye view reminiscent of winter’s ski lifts, Warp Speed allows riders to cool down with a journey through an interstellar wormhole that’s both game and ride in one.
    Photo courtesy of Water World

  • Hurricane Harbor
    Austell, Ga.

    Hurricane Harbor, a Caribbean-themed water park inside Six Flags Over Georgia, represented the largest expansion in the park's history when it opened in 2014. Facilities include a 38,000-square-foot wave pool, the world's first zero-gravity hybrid single slide, a 2,000-square-foot interactive play area with six kid-sized slides and a 41-foot slide tower.
    Photo courtesy of Six Flags Hurricane Harbor

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

  1. AquaticaOrlando
  2. Splashin' Safari - Santa Claus, Ind.
  3. Six Flags White WaterAtlanta
  4. Lost Island - Waterloo, Iowa
  5. White Water - Branson, Mo.
  6. Dollywood's Splash Country - Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
  7. Schlitterbahn New Braunfels - New Braunfels, Texas
  8. Water Country USAWilliamsburg, Va.
  9. Water WorldDenver
  10. Hurricane Harbor - Austell, Ga.

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Robb Alvey (ThemeParkReview.com), Doug Barnes (Season Pass Podcast), Austin Carroll (Fastpass to the Past: The Theme Park History Podcast), Monet Massa-Sena (The Theme Park Princess), Clint Novak (In the Loop), John Stevenson (Coaster101.com) and Josh Young (Theme Park University) were chosen based on their knowledge and experience of amusement parks in North America.

Congratulations to all these winning water parks!

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Robb Alvey

Robb Alvey

Doug Barnes

Doug Barnes

Austin Carroll

Austin Carroll

Monet Massa-Sena

Monet Massa-Sena

Clint Novak

Clint Novak

John Stevenson

John Stevenson

Josh Young