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Best water parks

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More from Outdoor Living Newsletter July Outdoor Living Newsletter

Summer is already upon us. Many of us are thinking of going someplace wet to cool down, have fun, and escape the heat of the sun. While the beach may be the first place that comes to mind when it comes to swimming and having fun in the water, not all of us have easy access. Fortunately, water parks come to the rescue and offer more besides with many slides and fun water games too!

So to help, we've put together our pick for the best water parks across the USA that have campgrounds or RV parks nearby:

Raging Waters - San Jose, California

Located off Tully Road just inside San Jose's Lake Cunningham Regional Park, Raging Waters San Jose claims to be the largest water park in California. The 23-acre park has many high-speed, heart-stopping water slides that both you and your kids will enjoy. Among the favorites in Raging Waters are:

  • Dragon's Den, a ride where you and another person sit in a two-person tube, get thrown into the darkness of the den, and then get catapulted into the water.
  • Blue Thunder/White Lightning, a 60-foot slide with dizzying twists and turns. Recommended only for strong swimmers.
  • Wacky Water Works, a feature designed for kids where they have safe fun on slides with water splashing over them.

Find campgrounds and RV parks near Raging Waters San Jose.

Young boy enjoying a ride on a water slide
Escape the summer heat by taking your family to a water park

Water World - Denver, Colorado

Water World combines the best elements of a water park and a theme park and squeezes them all inside 64 marvelously landscaped acres. Situated just 15 minutes north of Denver's downtown area, Water World has 46 rides and slides guaranteed to give the most fun for kids and the kids at heart. If you're going to Water World, you should try out these rides:

  • Voyage/Center of the Earth, a dinosaur-themed ride where you get to glide through a dark tunnel and confront animatronic dinosaurs, including a T-Rex 15 feet high.
  • The Lost River of the Pharaohs, another tunnel ride where you travel through a tunnel filled with Egyptian sarcophagi and other treasures before plunging into the water at high speeds.
  • Turbo Racer, a slide where you get to race with your friends while lying on your stomach on a toboggan.

Find campgrounds and RV parks near Water World.

Blizzard Beach - Orlando, Florida

Blizzard Beach is one of the two water parks located inside the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. This place is unique in that it is the only water park built around a winter skiing theme in the US. It also has some of the tallest and fastest water slides in the world. Some of the best attractions of Blizzard Beach are:

  • Summit Plummet, a slide that is 120 feet high and 360 feet long. It will send you sliding on freefall at 50 to 60 miles per hour through flumes and a darkened tunnel.
  • Slush Gusher, a tamer version of Summit Plummet at only 90 feet in height. It is nonetheless a high-speed ride that will get you zipping down a couple of rolling hills on your way to the bottom.
  • Melt-Away Bay, an oasis for those who prefer to relax and float lazily on water. It has a strip of white sand dotted with beach chairs.

Find campgrounds and RV parks near Blizzard Beach.

Typhoon Lagoon - Orlando, Florida

Typhoon Lagoon is the other water park that you will find inside the Walt Disney World Resort. Where Blizzard Beach is built around a winter ski theme, Typhoon Lagoon is a tropical adventure. The slides and rides in this water park are just as tall and just as thrilling as those in Blizzard Beach. If you care for some adrenalin rush on water, you should try:

  • Mayday Falls, the fastest raft ride in Typhoon Lagoon where you get to speed through an inner tube on rapidly rushing water.
  • HumungaKowabunga, an enclosed, near-vertical ride where you get to drop 214 feet in only five seconds.
  • Shark Reef, an underwater world mimicking a coral reef environment where you get to swim with real sharks, stingrays and tropical fish.

Find campgrounds and RV parks near Typhoon Lagoon.

Wet 'n Wild Emerald Pointe - Greensboro, North Carolina

With more than 36 rides and slides and three million gallons of water to power them, Wet 'n Wild Emerald Pointe promises some great summer fun in the water no matter what age you are. You don't have to stay in the water to enjoy yourself in this water park, though; Emerald Pointe also has hang-gliding and bungee jumping facilities. When you visit this water park, you should not skip these attractions:

  • Daredevil Drop, a slide 76 feet tall and so steep that you get the sensation of freefall when you ride it.
  • Dr. Von Dark's Tunnel of Terror, a ride where you get to slide, swirl and turn 360 degrees at high speeds through a tunnel 40 feet high. What's scary about it is you stay in total darkness during the ride.
  • Bonzai Pipeline, an enclosed slide that mimics a rollercoaster. You get to drop five stories in five seconds at 40 miles per hour on this ride.

Find campgrounds and RV parks near Wet 'n Wilde Emerald Pointe.

Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort - New Braunfels, Texas

Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort is one of the most exciting attractions of New Braunfels. It has miles of high-speed slides and numerous rides that are perfect for some great family fun. The water park is divided into three mini-parks: Schlitterbahn West, Blastenhoff and Surfenburg. Blastenhoff and Surfenburg are sometimes referred to as Schlitterbahn East. You should try out these attractions when you visit Schlitterbahn:

  • Raging River Tube Chute, a 45-minute ride that will let you float around the different areas of Schlitterbahn West.
  • Dragon's Revenge, one of the newest attractions of Surfenburg where you get to ride through creepy caverns, get blasted uphill and drop two stories in a freefall while being chased by an angry dragon.
  • Master Blaster, an old favorite in Blastenhoff that combines the thrill of a high-speed water slide with that of a rollercoaster. It has been selected several times as one of the best water rides in the US.

Find campgrounds and RV parks near Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort.

Noah's Ark Water Park - Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

Wisconsin Dells is considered by many to be the water park capital of the world. That is not surprising, given that it is home to three gigantic water theme parks. The largest of these three parks is none other than Noah's Ark Water Park. Noah's Ark sits on 70 sprawling acres and boasts of at least 60 rides, slides and non-water attractions. You should not miss these attractions when you visit Noah's Ark:

  • The Point of No Return, a hair-raising 10-storey slide that will force you to freefall in under five seconds.
  • Black Anaconda, the longest water coaster ride in the US. Get tossed, turned and terrified in this 1/4 mile-long tunnel with some wicked twists and loops.
  • The 4-D Dive-In Theater, a theater where you don't just get to watch what is on screen but you get to interact with what you are watching as well.

Find campgrounds and RV parks near Noah's Ark.

Summer is already upon us, and most of us will want to go someplace wet and cool to escape the summer heat. For those of us who won't have easy access to the beach, water parks are the next best thing. So pack your bags, rev up your RV and take your family to the water park nearest you this summer.

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