When the Sunshine State's famous rays become scorching, you need somewhere to cool off.
Luckily, Florida is blessed with an abundance of superb waterparks where you can also find a splash of excitement or simply slide into relaxation...
For a grandiose experience, Orlando boasts waterparks that match the magic of its famous theme parks. However, further afield you will find hidden gems for every kind of aquatic interest. So grab your goggles, leave the armbands, and let's dive into this Essential Guide to Florida's Greatest Waterparks!
Voted the USA's best waterpark, SeaWorld’s
Aquatica has everything you need to splish, splash, spray and play in style. For getting drenched, head to the exhilarating Reef Plunge slide, where you’ll zoom through a dynamic underwater habitat. Or, for the ultimate free-fall thrill, experience Breakaway Falls. Alternatively, when you're ready to chill the lazy river and wave pools have you covered. And for any little ones in the clan, the towering kids' playground, Walkabout Waters, stretching over 15,000 square feet, is sure to leave them in awe.
Blizzard Beach, Walt Disney World
What would a Walt Disney World
waterpark be without a theme? Yet this one might catch you by surprise. It's ice cool but we're not talking about Frozen. Instead, Blizzard Beach is imaginatively based on the concept of a ski resort, blending tropical landscapes with simulated melting snow. The waterpark is also home to such attractions as Summit Plummet, one of the tallest and fastest body slides in the world. And Toboggan Racers, where you can enjoy some family competition along an 8-lane waterslide. Though everyone's a winner at Lottawatta Lodge, where you can find some R&R and cocktails (we recommend the Frozen Blue Raspberry Lemonade). That's why all-in-all, this is truly one of Florida's most whimsically fun waterparks.
Volcano Bay, Universal Orlando Resort
After being voted 'hands down the best waterpark in Orlando' by our Theme Park Tester, Universal's Volcano Bay
was always going to make this list. Themed as a tropical getaway, its design is so well done that you instantly slip into its secluded island vibe. Yet be more precise, the park is built around a central volcano-like structure with lava-like waterslides, winding rivers, and wave pools that are true to the park's go-with-the-flow feel. Plus, its virtual queuing system - via the Tapu Tapu bracelet - lets you explore the park while still holding your place in the line at the slides. Leaving you plenty of time to hit the shops or grab a bite to eat. And after one shot on the Krakatau Aqua Coaster and you’ll realise it was worth the wait.
Buccaneer Bay, Weeki Wachee
Florida’s only spring-fed waterpark, Buccaneer Bay, has been entertaining audiences since 1947. Sitting around 35 miles from Tampa, it's part of the Weeki Wachee Springs State Park and boasts two water slides falling into natural Weeki Wachee Springs. And with names like Cannonball and Pirate’s Revenge, these slides mean business. You can even go kayaking down the pristine waterway of the Weeki Wachee River. Still what makes this waterpark stand out is the unmissable daily mermaid show. Billed as "the only place in the world where you can see real live mermaids", it's an underwater performance you'll want to bring your camera for!
LEGOLAND Waterpark, Winter Haven
An extension to the popular LEGOLAND Resort
, this enticingly colourful waterpark is worth blocking out a day for. You can take on the Twin Chasers slide or see who can build the best LEGO raft. Then head over to Joker Soaker, an interactive play area filled with slides, climbing areas, and a giant 300-gallon bucket for the ultimate splash experience. If you’re after theme park adventures too, just head next door to LEGOLAND Resort. And for those primarily planning an Orlando holiday, there's even a Legoland Hotel on-site that's ideal for making this 50-odd mile trip to White Haven an overnight stay.
Discovery Cove, Orlando
When visiting SeaWorld parks, why not feel as though you’ve stumbled upon an untouched island gem as well? Discovery Cove
is an all-inclusive resort and a haven for wildlife. Here, you can swim with dolphins, feed exotic birds, and snorkel with playful otters. Not to mention the immaculate Serenity Bay, where scenic white sand, palm trees, and even a few flamingos are there to greet you. Overall, you can move at your own pace through this sun-soaked oasis, doing as much as you want or as little as you’d like. Yet better still, free unlimited parking, breakfast, lunch, snacks and drinks are all included in the price.
Tidal Cove, Miami
With one day of recorded snow in history and near-guaranteed sunshine all year round, the Magic City of Miami
is perfect for waterparks. Tidal Cove also comes with a touch of luxury at Aventura’s JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort and Spa. With seven water slides, a lazy river, a kid’s cove, and a surf house bar and grill, it’s got something for all the family. If you're feeling brave, you can also ride the surf simulator, FlowRider. And when it’s time to dry off, cabana rentals let you do it right. Equipped with flat-screen TVs, a stocked mini fridge, and pristine poolside views, it’s the perfect way to end your fun-filled day.
Adventure Island, Tampa
Located just across the street from Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Adventure Island combines idyllic landscapes with all-action attractions. It's also Tampa's
biggest waterpark, offering 30 acres filled with waterfalls, wave pools, racing rapids and relaxing cabana-covered areas. Yet what sets this park apart is the all-new Wahoo Remix, Adventure Island's first water slide to feature synchronized light and sound elements – your very own raft disco. Though please note, Adventure Island is a seasonal park - opening from March through to November.
PS. an honourable mention goes out to Disney's Typhoon Lagoon that is temporarily closed for maintenance. We are hopeful that this iconic waterpark will reopen in 2023, and when it does you can enjoy one of the world's largest outdoor wave pools - so big you can even body surf!
Ready to splash out on a Florida holiday? Get in touch with our Travel Specialists today for a truly personalised package.