America's Top Family-Friendly Water Parks

There's no better way for parents and kids to cool off on a hot summer's day than with a plunge down a water slide. Here are some of our favorite family water parks around the country.
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Schlitterbahn (New Braunfels, TX)
Schlitterbahn places at or near the top of almost every list of top water parks, and for good reason. Conveniently located outside of San Antonio, and only a short drive from Austin, Schlitterbahn features an amazing assortment of aquatic attractions for all ages. The biggest star: the "Master Blaster," a long, twisting water coaster with as many uphill sections as down. (Open May through mid-September)
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Water Country (Portsmouth, NH)
New England's premier water park is an easy drive from anywhere in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, or Maine. Water Country features a gigantic wave pool, a long and relaxing lazy river, and the "Geronimo," one of the highest and steepest water slides you'll find anywhere. (Open early June through early September)
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Disney's Blizzard Beach (Orlando, FL)
One of two water parks at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, Blizzard Beach is notable for its remarkable, cartoon-like design. It's as though an alpine village has suddenly melted, turning ski slopes into dozens of fun, kid-friendly water slides. (Open all year)
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Wet 'N Wild (Orlando, FL)
Disney doesn't have a lock on Central Florida water parks. The world-famous Wet 'N Wild park boasts no shortage of best-in-class thrills. Perhaps its most unique attraction is the "Bomb Bay" - guests step into a hatch and wait a few agonizing seconds before the floor drops out from under them, sending them plummeting straight down. (Open all year)
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Noah's Ark (Wisconsin Dells, WI)
Really, you can't go wrong anywhere in Wisconsin Dells. It's the water park capital of the country, featuring 21 separate parks within city limits (18 are indoors, while the remaining three - including the biggest, Noah's Ark - are outdoor parks). Noah's Ark features an almost endless list of themed rides, including four separate water play areas for young children. (Open late May through early September)
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Water Park of America (Bloomington, MN)
The Water Park of America bills itself as the country's largest indoor water park. Among its tempting attractions is the "Flow Rider Surf Simulator," which means the surf's always up, even thousands of miles from the ocean. This park is located at a Radisson hotel, so family travel packages are convenient and affordable. (Open all year)
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Raging Waters (San Dimas, CA)
Raging Waters is a chain, with additional locations in Sacramento and San Jose, but the San Dimas location, in Los Angeles County, is the most famous, thanks to its appearance in the film Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. While you're not likely to encounter Socrates or Abraham Lincoln if you visit the park, you will find tons of slides, including the massive "High Extreme" and the kids-only "Volcano Fantasea." (Open mid-May through mid-September)
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Water World (Denver, CO)
What's better than a day at a water park? How about one of America's biggest water parks, with a view of the Rocky Mountains on the horizon? Water World, located 15 minutes outside of Denver, is one of the country's biggest parks, boasting 64 acres of splashy entertainment, including family fun zones like the circus-themed "Big Top." (Open late May through early September)
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Kalahari (Sandusky, OH)
Sandusky, Ohio, is known as the roller coaster capital of the world, thanks to the world-famous Cedar Point amusement park. But it may soon be known as the waterslide capital of the world, too, thanks to a recent expansion of the Kalahari water park. This enormous, African-themed resort boasts top-of-the-line wave pools, lazy rivers, water coasters, and much more. (Indoor park open all year; outdoor park open Memorial Day through Labor Day)
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Splish Splash (Calverton, NY)
Splish Splash is notable for many reasons, particularly its size, but what really stands out is the high-concept nature of its attractions. "Alien Invasion" and "Abyss" are disorienting, snaking slides, and the new "Tunnel of Terror" is a pitch-black thrill ride with sudden drops and rapid spins. Teens will love this park. (Open late May through early September)