When summer heat really hits and the temperatures start to soar, you have a few options.
Some people crank the AC all the way up, close the blinds and count the days until fall; others head for the beach or, if they’re lucky, a nice private pool; and then there are those who aren’t content with sitting still in the height of summer. The thrill-seekers, adventure-junkies and overly-energetic kids head for water parks—and you should too.
Don’t just go to any water park, though, head to the very best that America has to offer. To simplify your options, we crunched some numbers, reviewed a few lists and came up with the best water parks in the country. To compile the list we considered visitor statistics from the 2014 Global Attractions Attendance Report, Trip Advisor’s 2015 Traveler’s Choice Awards and USA Today’s 10Best American Water Parks.
From Hawaii to Vermont, these are the top 11 water parks in America.
Wet ‘n Wild Orlando—Orlando, Fla.
With so many parks in Orlando, it takes a lot to set one apart from the rest—Wet ‘n Wild is a stand-out park with many multi-rider attractions. Race your friends down the Aqua Drag Racer, pile into a group tube for The Surge or experience a straight drop together on Brain Wash. When you’re ready to go solo, test your wits on Bomb Bay, where the floor falls from beneath your feet right before you plunge six stories down.
Schlitterbahn Waterpark—Kansas City, Kan.
Home to the tallest water slide in the world, called Verrückt (which, in German, means “insane”), Schlitterbahn Waterpark packs in the thrills. The slide is a gut-wrenching 17 stories high (168 feet tall) and riders take the plunge in a three-person raft. The ride is so popular that the park is taking reservations. Those looking for something a little less terrifying should check out Boogie Bahn, a surf ride, or check out the heated pool in Henry’s Hideout, which features a swim up bar.