Every Day Is Summer at the 10 Best Indoor Water Parks in America
Summer may come and go, but that doesn't mean we have to let summer vibes slip away when it starts to get colder. And while much of the country won't be hitting the beach when they days get shorter, we can still chase those memories of long, warm days at an indoor water park.
From hotels with indoor water parks that are totally over-the-top to ski resorts with water parks — so you can spend the morning on the slopes and warm up in the afternoon with some extra thrills — these parks offer fun for every age.
These are the 10 best indoor water parks in the U.S. so you don't ever have to give up the best of summer.
Kalahari Resort — Wisconsin
This 125,000-square-foot Wisconsin Dells indoor water park is the largest in the state (and that's saying something for an area that is overflowing with water parks). Float down the 920-foot lazy river or take the whole family on the Victoria Falls water slide, a 504-foot group raft ride. Later, adults can grab a drink at the park's swim-up bar while kids try swimming with the fish at the park's underwater virtual reality experience.
Kahuna Laguna — New Hampshire
This New Hampshire water park offers 40,000 square feet of slides, wave pools, and splash pads that will entertain just about any kid (and their parents too, for that matter). Start on one of the four slides that make up the 3-story slide tower before heading over to the 67,000-gallon zero-entry wave pool. And the youngest adventurers won't be left out: they can check out the Little Kahuna Play Area, including a 12-inch deep pool and a 3-person slide.
Splash Lagoon Indoor Water Park Resort — Pennsylvania
This Pennsylvania water park is kept at a balmy 84 degrees so it feels like summer all the time. Get your thrills with the Cyclone slide, where you're spun around four times before you're shot out into a pool. Want more thrills? Try out the Black Hole, a pitch black slide where you won't know where you're going until you're shot out at the end. Later, jump inside the Aqua Tumbler — a giant inflatable ball that shoots water at you while you run inside it — then take a break from getting wet and hit the 3-story-high Tree Tops Ropes Course.
Great Wolf Lodge — Wisconsin
Race your friends on the toboggan-style slide at this Wisconsin Dells water park with 13 different slides and nine pools. Afterwards, experience the twists and turns of Lookout Mountain, which shoots you through big boulders. If the 84-degree temperature inside the park isn't warm enough for you, soothe your muscles in the South Hot Springs warming pool.
Aquatopia Indoor Waterpark — Pennsylvania
This Pennsylvania water park gives you the best of both winter and summer: you can ski outside and then go inside to the water park to play at Penguin Play Bay, a (warm) shallow adventure lagoon. If you're looking for a little more excitement, try the Skydive Plummet, a free-fall body slide with a 360-degree figure eight loop. Later, slow down with a float down the The Lost River, made to look like the site of ruins, or simply relax in the Mystic Springs hot pool.
Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark — Michigan
This huge indoor water park clocks in at 88,000 square feet, with slides, pools, and thrills perfect for kids of all ages (and kids at heart). Young swimmers will love the zero depth Kitz Pool complete with sprinklers, basketball hoops, and a mini-slide, while bigger kids will gravitate to the The Big Couloir, where riders are launched from a capsule through a trap door into a narrow tunnel where they accelerate to 38 feet per second.
WaTiki Indoor Waterpark Resort — South Dakota
More than 30,000 square feet of fun await visitors inside this glass-enclosed water park that stays a nice 82 degrees, even in the dead of South Dakota's brutal winters. Speed down several giant water slides that are all connected to the park's lazy river. Younger kids will love KoKo's Kingdom, where they can shoot water and stand under a big bucket that dumps a whole heap of water down every eight to ten minutes.
Massanutten Resort — Virginia
Who needs a regular playground when you can have a water-powered playground? Climb to the top of the Massanutten Meltdown for a good overview of all the water cannons, waterfalls, and the giant tipping bucket before making your way over to the Blue Ridge Rapids to float past even more waterfalls. Adventure seekers can then check out the park's body slides, 39 feet above the ground, or try surfing the Pipeline, which pumps 48,645 gallons of water each minute.
Wilderness at the Smokies — Tennessee
You can tan all year long at this resort's 66,000-square-foot Wild WaterDome indoor water park with its Foil Tech glass roof that allows the sunshine in year round. Gather the whole family for the Runaway Canyon, a five-story-high raft ride that sends you shooting through 450 feet of tunnels and loops before dropping you nearly 60 feet. Looking for an even greater thrill? Try the Storm Chaser Thrill Ride that sends you into a zero gravity fall before shooting you into a funnel and then a pool below.
Jay Peak Pump House — Vermont
Take a break from skiing this mountain's slopes and relax in the park's indoor and outdoor hot tubs — you can even watch the snow fall while you sit in 100-degree-plus water. Later, test how brave you are with the resort's La Chute slide, which stands 65 feet in the air and shoots you down at 45 miles per hour, or float down the Big River where you'll encounter rapids and strong currents (so the resort doesn't exactly call it a lazy river).