Water Parks in Florida
Florida is considered The Sunshine State thanks to its incredibly warm weather. Unsurprisingly, the hot weather makes water parks very popular in the area. Whenever you feel like the heat is too much, just visit one of the water park spots in practically any city and spend the day there cooling off! Tourists even visit Florida specifically to enjoy the beaches and large water parks in the state.
As much as they may want to, visitors to Florida can’t tour every single one of these water parks. With a limited time to spend in the state, you want to make the most out of your time there. Part of the experience includes finding the best water park near you and spending some time there — preferably during the hottest part of the day. But which park is best to visit? In this article, we’ll talk about the basics of Florida water parks and how to choose the perfect water destination.
Map of Waterparks in Florida
Best Water Parks in Florida
There is no scarcity of water parks in Florida. Each one is unique so it can be hard to pick the best one. The Sunshine State takes full advantage of its perpetually sunny season, which is why its water parks feature some of the best rides and most relaxing waves. If you’re visiting Florida specifically for the weather, be sure to visit at least one of the water parks on this list. Pick a city — any city — and there’s a good chance you’ll find a water park just around the corner!
Adventure Island in Tampa
Covering close to 30 acres of water rides, attractions, and even restaurants, Adventure Island has been operating since June 7, 1980. It has a total of two pools with 10 different rides and a water area designed specifically for the kids. There’s also an on-site shopping center so you can buy anything you forgot to bring with you including slippers, sunscreen, shades, and more.
There are lots of popular rides in the water park including the Rapids Racer. It’s the first-ever dueling saucer section for riders, allowing participants to be a little competitive as they slide down the water and try to race one another. There’s also the Caribbean Corkscrew which takes you down a long and completely enclosed 230-foot water slide before exiting out into a pool. This has been one of the more popular attractions in the park since it was opened in 1989.
Currently, Adventure Island is offering a brand-new experience in their park: VR Snorkeling! Participants are immersed in water for five minutes, equipped with a virtual reality headset, snorkel, and a flotation device that makes them feel weightless. You can choose one of three adventures: Ocean Experience, Space Experience, or Dragon Experience!
Adventure Landing in Jacksonville Beach
Adventure Landing was first opened in 1995 and covers around 4 acres of space. It’s in a fairly prominent part of the city, making it incredibly easy to find during your stay. There are several other Adventure Landing sites, including locations in New York, Texas, and North Carolina, but Florida’s is the first of its kind.
Aside from the water park, Adventure Landing also hosts several out-of-water games including video arcades, a prize counter, and laser tag. There’s also miniature golf, go-karts, and batting cages onsite so you can keep yourself entertained once you finish swimming. Note that the amusement park requires you to pay per ride or attraction, and there is no general admission available.
The water park side, on the other hand, only has an admission payment and you can enjoy any of the slides and rides available. Some of the biggest features are the Typhoon Lagoon, Splash Cove for the kids, and Eye of the Storm.
There’s something about riding down a tube next to dolphins that just makes the water park experience more appealing. Aquatica has exactly that with its Dolphin Plunge Water Slide. You will slide down a clear enclosed slide that is adjacent to a dolphin enclosure. This gives you a clear view of the aquatic animals and gives the impression of swimming alongside them.
Aquatica offers a host of facilities on site, including dining options, lounge chairs, and a small gift shop where you can buy souvenirs. The park itself is large and perfect for families with kids. There are two attractions specially made for children while the adults can enjoy exhilarating rides like the Taumata Racer or Breakaway Falls with a free-fall drop. There are also lazy rivers and raft slides that fit the whole family in one water-filled adventure.
Big Kahuna’s Water and Adventure Park, Destin
The Big Kahuna Water Park caters to all kinds of guests. You can come as a family or visit as part of a corporate event. In any case, you’ll find that the attractions within the area are extensive and exciting. There are a total of 40 attractions in the park, consisting of slides, racers, 300-feet plunges, and splash zones. The word “Kahuna” actually means wave so it’s not surprising that one of their features is a surfing simulation. Here, you can ride and go through the Honolulu Half Pipe where you’ll be riding huge waves in a safe setting.
There’s also the Hammerhead that forces you to jump off from the top of the Temple of Doom. The name is enough to leave you breathless and excited. For a tunnel slide with twists and turns, check out the Monkey River Slide.
Kids have special slides where they can enjoy themselves with few risks, like the Tiki River Run or the Maui Pipeline Slide where you drop down from an enclosed tube without any ride! You can also try out the dry attractions like the Mini-Golf Course in the attached amusement park.
CoCo Key Water Resort, Orlando
If you want to make things easy for the family during this vacation, CoCo Key Water Resort may be your best option. It’s not just a resort, it also doubles as a hotel. You can drop off your luggage and take a walk down the water slides. The resort is home to both an outdoor pool and a canopy-covered pool, a jacuzzi, an activity area for the kids outside the water, and a fitness center. The water park itself primarily offers waterslides as the main attraction. When everyone’s tired, you can head on to the shops for a full and delicious meal.
The CoCo Key Water Resort is also available for guests who are not staying in the hotel. You can walk in and pay a flat fee that covers up to four people as part of a package deal. The park is a fun option for birthday parties and other events and provides a separate space for relative privacy.
Daytona Lagoon, Daytona Beach
Daytona Lagoon offers a combination of dryland and water park attractions, allowing you to visit all year, with the water park features available from March to September. There’s a total of 12 rides and even an 18-hole miniature golf course. Other attractions include a go-kart raceway, laser tag, and even a rock wall. As for the water features, Blackbeard’s Revenge and Poseidon’s Pass are both thrilling rides that go through dark tunnels before sliding deep into a pool. There are also shallow water attractions specially made with kids in mind. For visitors who want to relax, there’s a leisurely lazy river ride.
Perhaps one of the more active and popular attractions in Daytona Lagoon is the ProRacer series that takes you through a 55-foot tower. The park also has dining options and welcomes special events like birthdays, anniversaries, and parties. They have an online calendar where visitors can quickly view the best time to visit.
Disney’s Blizzard Beach, Bay Lake
Anything with the “Disney” name on it promises to be a memorable experience, and Disney’s Blizzard Beach is no different. They do everything big, with Blizzard Beach boasting several acres worth of attraction. Melt-Away Bay alone is an entire acre dedicated to a relaxing wave pool.
Blizzard Beach is themed as a “melting” ski resort, so it features unique attractions that other water parks don’t have. The ski lift takes you up 120 feet to have you ride down at a heart-stopping 55 mph speed. As a family destination, Blizzard Beach guarantees there are different attractions for all ages. For the kids, they have Tikes Peak, while Ski Patrol is more attractive for the teens. Adults who want something more relaxed can go to the Slush Gusher for their share of the thrill. The site also offers multiple food options plus several tourist shops where you can get souvenirs.
Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon, Lake Buena Vista
Another Disney water park project is Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon. This one is located in Lake Buena Vista. The Disney water park in Bay Lake is fairly close by so with the right hotel choice, you can visit both locations in one day if you want!
The Typhoon Lagoon is a more traditional water park, rather than focusing on the theme of being a melting ski resort. It has multiple attractions built for all members of the family. One of the more popular sites is the Typhoon Lagoon, which creates towering 6-foot waves every 90 seconds! You can also learn to surf with three-hour private surfing lessons at an additional cost.
Aside from the water slides, slopes, and beach area, there are also dry attractions in Typhoon Lagoon. For example, there’s the Forgotten Grotto, a cave walkway that takes you through Mt. Mayday. There’s also Overlook Pass, a walkway across the same mountain complete with a beautiful waterfall.
Flamingo Waterpark Hotel & Resort, Kissimmee
The Flamingo Waterpark Resort offers its visitors a host of rides, totaling around 500 square feet of slides and plunges. There are six attractions, two pool areas, and six slides for the kids. The Flamingo Waterpark is part of a hotel so it’s the perfect place to stay during your Florida vacation. The only downside is that park access is exclusively available to hotel guests. If you want to enjoy the crazy Flamingo rides, you need to book one of their rooms.
One of the featured attractions is the 30-foot Slide Tower. It has a total of three body slides with 20 drops, twists, and turns. There’s also the DripDrop speed slide that simulates a falling sensation for a heart-pumping experience. When you’re tired, you can check out their dry attractions or visit the dining area for some snacks. Note that each ride has strict height requirements so always check before letting the kids play.
Island H2O Live! in Kissimmee
Also located in Kissimmee, Island H20 Live! offers a little bit of everything for their visitors. There are lazy rides, plunges, races, and pools for the little ones. Depending on your thrill level, you can choose vertical slides or just chill out in their water rafts for a leisurely look over the property. There are even pools that incorporate various sports activities if you prefer attractions that include the whole group. For the adults, there’s a private pool where you can relax in the cabanas and drink your Margarita for a moment of peace and quiet.
Food and souvenirs are also available in their shops. As a nod to the tech generation, Island H20 Live! has a selfie station where you can get the best backdrop and lighting for your Instagram vacation uploads. You can also go live on social media while on some of their rides to share the experience with your followers!
LEGOLAND Water Park, Winter Haven
LEGOLAND Water Park in Winter Haven is just one of the many parks under the LEGO brand name. This one in Florida offers a variety of rides and incorporates LEGO’s imaginative building aspect. For example, there’s the build-a-raft ride where you can design your raft before taking it down the lazy river slide.
There’s also the wave pool — perfect for younger kids who want a part in the excitement. Parents can relax on land, knowing that their kids are safe. Older guests can enjoy the Twin Chases or the Splash Out — both are fast slides with a thrilling downward ride. For dry activities, there’s the Botanical Garden, Trains, Tractors, and more DIY playrooms.
Paradise Cove, Pembroke Pines
With more than 400 gallons of water powering the park, it’s not surprising that Paradise Cove is always packed with tourists. The park has implemented varied schedules, so be sure to check their site before visiting.
The park features several rides, races, and attractions, perfect for visitors falling within different age ranges. Note that the park requires payment for the use of the poolside umbrellas so consider that when creating a budget. There are also interactive features for the kids in the children’s pool area. Adults can try the more exciting ride features or just enjoy the food offered at the concession hall.
Rapids Water Park, West Palm Beach
One of the more popular water parks in Florida, Rapids Water Park covers more than 30 acres of property. You’d need more than a full day to fully explore this park! There’s a total of 42 slides and the lazy river goes on for a quarter of a mile. A wave pool for adults reaches up to 6 feet in height, and there’s a separate swimming area available for the kids.
To make the most out of your visit, make sure to try out some of their most thrilling rides. There is Big Thunder, a ProSlide ending in a 60-foot funnel. If you want to make things more exciting, try the Black Thunder, a tornado slide that runs through a completely dark tube. Safe rides that are perfect for kids include the Pirate Plunge with its two-speed slides and the Tubin Tornadoes. Note that the park is only open from March to November.
Reunion Resort Water Park, Kissimmee
Another water park located in Kissimmee, the Reunion Resort Water Park offers a variety of activities for adults and kids. The park itself covers around five acres of space and is complete with a bar and restaurant. There’s even space where guests can play volleyball or rest in the lounge while drinking something cool.
Featured rides include inner tube floats down a lazy river or you can try their rapid slide down a high slope. For the children, there’s a zero-entry pool where parents can feel confident in allowing their kids to frolic. When you’re done with the water activities, you can try renting a bike and exploring the rest of the resort grounds. Unlike other water parks, Reunion Resort is open all year round due to its temperature-controlled water.
Sailfish Splash Waterpark, Stuart
Sailfish Splash Waterpark is an amazing place to visit for all the benefits of a family-oriented park. The site doesn’t just welcome walk-in guests, they also host birthday parties, summer camps, and other private events. For your experience, you can choose from a variety of passes from Day Passes, Seasonal Passes, and even Lap Swim Annual Passes.
The park features a combination of exciting and leisurely rides. It has a lazy river featuring a 1000-foot ride, where you can just sit back and enjoy the cool water as you drift. There’s also the Speed Slide with a 253-foot drop and the zero-entry walk-in pools for the little ones. For food, you have access to the restaurants or just bring your own and eat it at the shaded picnic area. Free internet is available across the space and there’s a gift shop for souvenirs!
Splash City Adventures, Pensacola
Previously Sam’s Fun City, Splash City Adventures is the only water park in Pensacola and is a great place to visit. This park is family-oriented and operates from May to September.
It offers a combination of activities from dry to wet ones. There’s an extensive arcade to keep you entertained if you don’t feel like swimming in the pool. As for the water activities, there are a total of 12 water slides and a seemingly endless river. There’s also a kiddy pool and small water slides for the young ones. You can buy tickets just for the water park or get a combo price for admission to the amusement park rides, too.
Shipwreck Island Waterpark, Jacksonville Beach
Note that there’s another Shipwreck Island Waterpark located in Panama City. Both parks feature incredible rides and enough attractions to keep everyone entertained during the day.
The water park in Jacksonville has an online calendar that tells you when it will be open. Make sure to check that before heading out to the location. Once you’re there, you’ll be treated to an array of attractions including 4Xtreme slides: Hydro Half-Pipe, Eye of the Storm, The Rage, and The Undertow.
There’s also a wave pool with more than 500,000 gallons of water! The kids will enjoy the Splash Cove where they can play in relative safety. For adults, check out The Rage, an uphill water coaster that can get you to a speed of 18 mph!
Ship Wreck Island, Kissimmee
Another water park located in Kissimmee, Ship Wreck Island is slightly different from the Shipwreck Waterparks in Jacksonville and Panama City. Ship Wreck Island is a pirate-themed water park that’s suitable for all ages. Paradise Cove is for the kids and the Pirate’s Plunge Drop Slide is for more adventurous adults. There’s also a Lazy River, as well as Cannon Ball Falls, a ride where you drop from a high height inside of tube slides.
Kids can walk the plank and stay entertained for hours while the adults have fun too! When you feel hungry, just go to the dining area and take a pick from an array of delicious choices. Lifeguards are available at all times to keep guests safe.
Splash Harbour, Indian Rocks Beach
Splash Harbour offers vacation packages for all its guests. If you stay in their partner hotel, you can get discounts on their entrance tickets, giving you the chance to make the most of your budget. You’re also getting a lot with their water park. It features some of the most exciting attractions in Florida, including the Great White Lazy River, the Pirate Plunge, and the Smuggler’s Run. A Splash Zone for the kids’ keeps parents secure knowing that their little ones are playing in the park’s safe zone.
Splash Harbour offers its guests an extensive array of extra-large sun decks to relax on, and you can head to Iguana Falls for a relaxing water massage. For dry activities, there’s a miniature golf course and a game room. Situated close to the beach, the water park offers boat slips so you can experience a night aboard a yacht.
Sun Splash Family Waterpark, Cape Coral
This water park has a variety of rides from relaxing lazy rivers to multiple-foot drop attractions. Kids will also love the pools and attractions specially created for them like the Pirate’s Cove or the Pro Racers. For the grown-ups, the most thrilling ride would be the Terror Tube where you get to pick from three different heights for an amazing drop.
If your nerves aren’t up for it yet, why not try the 457-foot Electric Slide and Power Surge where you’ll be riding a raft through a tube? You’ll end in a 27-second plunge into a refreshing pool. There’s also Cape Fear which takes you through a series of darkened pipes starting at a 30-foot high platform.
The water park also hosts private parties and events where you can have the whole place to yourself or just reserve a small section. Restaurants and snack areas are available throughout the park to keep you energized for all your activities. Cabanas are also available for rent if you want a space for all your items.
Sun-N-Fun Lagoon, Naples
Sun-N-Fun Lagoon is a hotspot for families who want to burn a little of their kid’s energy while on vacation. Note that the park’s hours may vary so it’s always a good idea to check their site before planning a visit.
The attractions are primarily built for the kiddos. There’s the lazy river, Family Falls, Tadpole Pool, and Dolphin Dive. Lifeguards are available at all times so you have a sense of security when letting the kids play. The little ones will enjoy Tadpole Pool and Family Falls, shallower pools that can accommodate kids of all ages.
For adults, the Sting Ray Slide is perhaps the best choice. It extends up to 350 feet in length, with riders splashing downwards in an enclosed pipe. There’s also an open slide where you can appreciate the view as you drop down to an open pool. Dolphin Dive and the lap pool are other options for adults. Dolphin Dive is a 14-foot deep pool with three- and one-meter diving boards and a lap swim area.
Volcano Bay, Orlando
Universal Studios is another company that does everything big. Volcano Bay is under Universal’s management and is a dream of a water park. This tropical-themed park spans roughly 27 acres of property and is open all year with heated pools.
You will find tons of attractions within Volcano Bay. Some of the most popular include the Krakatau Aqua Coaster which takes you through a water ride inside the Krakatau Volcano before ending at a waterfall’s deep plunge. It’s the first ride of its kind and propels you upward before taking you on a speedy downward slide.
The water park is sectioned into small villages, the Wave Village, River Village, and Rainforest Village. Each section offers a variety of themed attractions and you can spend most of the day in just one section! The Wave Village is where you want to go for a few hours of relaxing in the sun. If you prefer exciting rides, however, check out the Rainforest Village where you’ll find raft drops, slides, and whitewater rafting simulations.
Visiting Florida Water Parks
All water parks offer a unique experience. However, whether this is your first time or not, there are a few things you’d want to consider before the day. Here are some tips to remember:
- Find out what time the park opens and arrive early. This way, you can choose good seats and grab a cabana — premium spots that fill up by the afternoon.
- Make sure you know where lifeguard stations are located and be aware of the ones closest to you. Water parks are incredibly fun, but being mindful of safety is important too.
- Aside from swimwear, be sure to bring a towel as well. Some water parks will provide you with a complimentary towel, but if they do, the quality may not be satisfactory. It’s best to bring your own, for comfort and hygiene purposes.
- Always wear sunscreen. It’s easy to get caught up in the fun, but make sure to stop at least every two hours to reapply sunscreen and make sure you don’t end the day with a painful sunburn. Wait 15 minutes after applying to make sure the product won’t immediately wash off in the water.
- If the water park allows it, bring your own snacks or a packed lunch. Water park food can be expensive and having fun in the sun can work up an appetite. Don’t forget to bring a lot of water, too! Despite the amount of water around you, frolicking in a water park can be very dehydrating.
- Wear swim shoes or waterproof sandals to protect your feet against the hot concrete or tile. You may not look as glamorous, but your feet will thank you!
- Bring water wings or other flotation devices for the kids’ safety. If you happen to forget, try asking a lifeguard if they provide complimentary safety gear. Many water parks have floaties or life vests to make sure kids of all ages can swim safely.
Looking to explore Florida? Here are some other great things to do in the state: