When the weather starts to heat up, water parks are the ideal destination to cool down and catch some fun. With slides, rides, and surf to enjoy, they promise plenty of family-friendly entertainment with enough scream-inducing rides and stomach-churning slides to keep even the most extreme thrill-seeker happy. If you're ready for some watery fun, here are the 10 best water parks in North Carolina.
10. Jungle Rapids Family Fun Park, Wilmington
As Trips to Discover says, just because Jungle Rapids Family Fun Park is on the smaller side, it doesn’t mean there’s any less fun to be had here. Along with four twisting slides and two body water slides to ride, there's a splash area for the kids and a warm springs spa for the grown-ups to enjoy. If you want a bit of privacy as you relax, you can call ahead to book a cabana. Once you're ready to dry off, there's a ton of fun to be had on dry land with mini bowling, mini-golf, go-karts, laser tags, and arcade games.
9. Ray’s Splash Planet, Charlotte
Ray’s Splash Planet in Charlotte is small but fun-packed, with a lazy river to float along, a current pool to splash around in, and a mammoth 3-story high “Blue Comet” water slide to get your adrenaline pumping. If you're in the state capital and looking for a place to cool down, it's perfect.
8. H2O-BX Waterpark, Powell's Point
H2O-BX Waterpark is one of North Carolina's newest water parks, but it's already become a firm favorite with families looking to enjoy some watery fun. Boasting over 30 different slides and attractions, there's enough to keep you going for hours. Check out the beach-themed water slides, the epic seven-story tube slide, the nine-story free-fall slide, and, for the truly adventurous, the 50-foot-tall tube slide with its near-vertical 35-foot wall. If you get peckish, you'll find plenty of good eats on offer, with the fish tacos and Carolina barbeque being especially tempting. For the adults, there's a great selection of craft beers to wash it all down with.
7. The Salty Pirate Waterpark, Emerald Isle
The Salty Pirate Waterpark isn't huge, but it's the only park on the Crystal Coast, so you're kind of stuck with it. Fortunately, it makes up for what it lacks in size with a bucketload of variety and a boatload of fun. Kids will love the 3 level Kid Zone, while the 6 giant slides promise kicks and spills for even the biggest thrill-seeker. After you've had your fill of the water, hit the snack bar for a few slices of Hunt Brothers pizza and some old-school entertainment on the arcade games.
6. Lions Water Adventure, Kinston
As one reviewer on Trip Advisor explains about what to expect from Lions Water Adventure "...slides, floats, pool, music, eatery, sun, fun and at the end of the day ...... you will be done !!" As they suggest, there's a little bit of everything here, from shallow pools for the little ones to splash around in, to a 550-foot lazy river to float down, an eight-lane lap pool to race up and down, and enough slides and rides to keep everyone from the tiniest toddler to the oldest senior in thrills and spills. If all the excitement gets too much for you, there's a two-level pavilion area you can rest up at.
5. Fantasy Lake Water Park, Hope Mills
Fantasy Lake Water Park is one of Hope Mills' most popular family-friendly destinations. Visitors can expect enclosed tube sides, banana slides, jump slides, paddleboards, and Tarzan swings. But the park does more than just water-based fun. There are also volleyballs courts, ping pong tables, arcade games, and a bunch of other entertainment options to make sure you have as much fun on dry land as you do in the water. If you get tired, make your way over to the beach to take a rest on the warm sand.
4. White Lake Water Park, Elizabethtown
White Lake Water Park in Elizabethtown is the kind of place the whole family can enjoy. Small kids will love splashing around the 5,000 square foot wading pool, which comes complete with a bunch of inflatables and interactive games. Older kids meanwhile, should check out the waves at the 100,000 square foot gallon wave pool. For the truly adventurous, the 50 foot tall 2010 foot long Double Turbo Twister Slide is unmissable.
3. Wet 'n' Wild Emerald Pointe, Greensboro
Recommended by onlyinyourstate.com as one of the best water parks in North Carolina, Wet 'n' Wild Emerald Pointe in Greensboro is heaven for adventure lovers. As one of the biggest water parks in the state, it has everything you need to enjoy a day of fun and adventure, including extreme body slides, wave pools, a lazy river, a water play area, tube slides, and a play area called Happy Harbor for the little ones. If all the activity gives you an appetite, head to the snack bar for some hot dogs or pizza.
2. Carolina Harbor Water Park, Charlotte
Set within the Carowinds amusement park in Charlotte, the Carolina Harbor Water Park boasts a ton of attractions. Adrenalin junkies will love the scream-inducing Fury 325, a 325 high water roller coaster that reaches speeds of up to 95 mph. Blackbeard’s Revenge, a six-story water slide complex, is a must-do, as is Surfer's Swell, an angled wall that replicates the feeling of surfing. There's also a lazy river, splash pools, a 27,000 square foot wave pool, and more besides.
1. Great Wolf Lodge, Concord
Water parks aren't just warm-weather destinations. If the sun forgot to put his hat on, escape the chill at Great Wolf Lodge, Concord, a heated indoor water park that's kept at a balmy 84 degrees all year round, regardless of what the weather outside is doing. Other than a warm reception, visitors can expect plenty of fun by way of the numerous slides, four-story-high rides, family raft rides, waterfront treehouse, and activity and wave pools. For adults, there's a spa saloon and poolside cabanas to grab a peaceful few minutes away from the kids, and for the kids, there's a separate, kid-friendly spa area to enjoy a blissful few minutes away from the adults. Once you're ready to hit dry land, there's an adventure park, a bowling alley, an arcade, and even a mini-golf course to enjoy.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson