Best Outdoor Water Park (2022)


When the summer is at its hottest, 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.

  • Aquatica Orlando

    Aquatica Orlando
    Orlando, Florida

    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

  • 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

  • Water Country USA

    Water Country USA
    Williamsburg, Virginia

    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

  • Hurricane Harbor New Jersey

    Hurricane Harbor New Jersey
    Jackson, New Jersey

    Hurricane Harbor, midway between New York City and Philadelphia, is part of the Six Flags collection of fifteen water parks in the United States. Adjacent to Six Flags Great Adventure, this Hurricane Harbor features eleven attractions ranging from a massive wave pool and lazy river to a 75-foot high water slide for kids of all ages. Fourteen food venues offer burgers and cheesesteaks to pretzels, beer, and other cold drinks.
    Photo courtesy of Six Flags Great Adventure

  • Adventure Island

    Adventure Island
    Tampa, Florida

    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

  • Splashin' Safari

    Splashin' Safari
    Santa Claus, Indiana

    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

  • Dollywood's Splash Country

    Dollywood's Splash Country
    Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

    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 playtime 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

  • Cedar Point Shores Waterpark

    Cedar Point Shores Waterpark
    Sandusky, Ohio

    Ohio's legendary Cedar Park opened its all-new sister waterpark, Cedar Point Shores, in 2017. This 18-acre splash zone took the place of the old Soak City and includes four completely new water attractions, new cabanas and upgrades to the park's food and retail offerings.
    Photo courtesy of Cedar Point

  • Cowabunga Bay Las Vegas

    Cowabunga Bay Las Vegas
    Henderson, Nevada

    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

  • Universal's Volcano Bay Water Theme Park

    Universal's Volcano Bay Water Theme Park
    Orlando, Florida

    Whether you're looking for a few more thrills or simply to chill out, Universal's Volcano Bay has you covered. This tropics-themed waterpark is full of lush tropical landscape and centers around a volcano. Not to be missed are the Krakatau Aqua Coaster and the Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides. And if you're looking to save time, be sure to get a TapuTapu™. These.waterproof wearables let you hold your place in line, one ride at a time, while continuing to explore the park.
    Photo courtesy of Universal Orlando Resort

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

  1. Aquatica Orlando - Orlando, Florida
  2. Lost Island Waterpark - Waterloo, Iowa
  3. Water Country USA - Williamsburg, Virginia
  4. Hurricane Harbor New Jersey - Jackson, New Jersey
  5. Adventure Island - Tampa, Florida
  6. Splashin' Safari - Santa Claus, Indiana
  7. Dollywood's Splash Country - Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
  8. Cedar Point Shores Waterpark - Sandusky, Ohio
  9. Cowabunga Bay Las Vegas - Henderson, Nevada
  10. Universal's Volcano Bay Water Theme Park - Orlando, Florida

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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10Best Editors

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John Stevenson

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Robb Alvey

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Nikky J

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Catherine Smith

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