Not only do Florida’s water parks provide a fun place for families to play and cool off, but they’re also typically cheaper than a day at the theme park. At these top water parks in Florida, you can enjoy the water, eat lunch together, and catch some rays before heading back to your vacation rental or onto the next leg of your vacation. These are the best water parks in Florida.
1. Typhoon Lagoon – Walt Disney World, Orlando
Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon is nestled behind a lush tree line near Disney Springs. The water park boasts dozens of rides including family raft rides, a lazy river, waterslides, and kids’ splash zones. The park is themed like a tropical oasis with its icon Miss Tilly set atop a mountain overlooking the wave pool. For real water park aficionados, be sure to check out the surf classes that take place at Typhoon Lagoon before the park opens. The classes are small, and you’re pretty much guaranteed to be standing on a surf board before the class is over.
Typhoon Lagoon is open year-round, except for a few weeks in winter when the park gets its annual refurbishment. The park is a separate ticket from the four traditional Walt Disney World theme parks, but the water park ticket does allow you to visit Disney’s other water park, Blizzard Beach.
Recommended Hotel: Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista
2. Blizzard Beach – Walt Disney World, Orlando
Disney’s Blizzard Beach is one of the more uniquely themed water parks with the idea that a blizzard came through central Florida and now the melting snow has created all of the slides, lazy rivers, and wave pool waters. Real thrill seekers will want to climb or ride on the chair lift to the top of Mount Gushmore to take a turn on Summit Plummet, one of the fastest and tallest free-fall slides in the world! At Blizzard Beach your family can also rent a cabana, where you’ll have free drinks, a locker for valuables, beach chairs, and a host or hostess to help you out all day.
Blizzard Beach requires a separate ticket, which can also be used to get into Typhoon Lagoon. The water park is open year-round, but closes a few weeks in the winter for its annual refurbishment.
Recommended Hotel: Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort
3. Volcano Bay – Universal Orlando Resort, Orlando
Universal’s Volcano Bay features an icon of the Orlando skyline, Vol, the Spirit of Krakatau, which can be seen miles away. The water park features speedy body slides, family raft rides and a tranquil lazy river. One of the biggest perks at Volcano Bay is not having to wait in an actual line for anything. The park utilizes an RFID band called TapuTapu, allowing you to tap on each water ride you want to experience and be alerted to the optimal time to head to the ride. When it comes time to ride, just return to the slide, hike up the steps, and a raft will be waiting for you. All of the rafts at Volcano Bay are taken up to the top of each slide by a conveyor.
Volcano Bay requires a separate entrance fee from Universal’s other theme parks. It’s open year-round, weather permitting.
Recommended Hotel: Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort
4. Aquatica – SeaWorld Orlando, Orlando
SeaWorld’s Aquatica is blurring the line between water park and animal experience. While there are a lot of waterslides, splash areas, raft rides and more for the family to experience, there’s also animal encounters and exhibits for families to enjoy. Visitors can even combine the water park and animal experience with a ride down Dolphin Plunge, where you’ll glide through enclosed racing tubes and see dolphins swimming right alongside you.
Aquatica is open year-round and requires a separate ticket from SeaWorld. You can combine your Aquatica visit with a day at SeaWorld with a discounted vacation package.
Recommended Hotel: Renaissance Orlando Resort at SeaWorld
5. LEGOLAND Florida Water Park – LEGOLAND Florida Resort, Winter Haven
If your kids love building things with LEGO toys, then you’re going to want to check out LEGOLAND Florida Water Park. While the park is teeming with waterslides, splash zones and pools, kids can also let their creativity and imagination soar. One of the biggest attractions at the park allows kids to build their own LEGO boat and race it against other kids.
LEGOLAND Florida Waterpark operates seasonally. Tickets also have to be purchased in combination with tickets to the theme park.
Recommended Hotel: LEGOLAND Beach Retreat
6. Adventure Island – Tampa
Just across from Busch Gardens Tampa is Adventure Island water park. The park offers more than a dozen thrilling attractions including a massive wave pool, four-lane waterslide, free-fall slides and a family raft ride. The best part about Adventure Island is that kids under age 5 get in free with a Preschool Card (also free), and all you have to do is register for it online!
Adventure Island is open seasonally, March through October.
Recommended Hotel: Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk Hotel
Related: 12 Best Theme Parks in Florida
7. Discovery Cove – Orlando
The only all-inclusive water park in Florida is Discovery Cove. This water park offers a connection with nature, allowing guests to snorkel with tropical fish and stingrays, learn about birds in the aviary, encounter dolphins, and swim alongside otters. Since Discovery Cove is all-inclusive, all dining throughout the day is part of the park admission price. The amount of guests let in to the park each day is small, with about 1,300 people.
Discovery Cove is open year-round and reservations are highly recommended.
Recommended Hotel: DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld
8. Buccaneer Bay – Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, Spring Hill
One of the original water parks in Florida is Buccaneer Bay, which is part of Weeki Wachee Springs. This is one of the only water parks that uses spring water to power its waterslides. Each of the slides ends up right in the head waters lagoon of Week Wachee Springs, where occasionally wild animals like otters, turtles, manatees or alligators will swim through. The water park is small with only a few slides, but you can also rent a raft and float down the springs, making for an all-day adventure.
Buccaneer Bay and Weeki Wachee Springs operate seasonally, filling to capacity quickly on most summer days. Getting in line to enter the park early is the best way to guarantee you get a spot inside.
Recommended Hotel: Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Spring Hill
9. Rapids Water Park – Riviera Beach
With 20 different attractions including a FlowRider surf simulator, Rapids Water Park is a real hidden gem amongst all of the big-name parks. The park also features a raft ride that’s done in complete darkness. There are also plenty of family-friendly attractions like wave pools and lazy rivers that anyone can enjoy.
Rapids Water Park is open seasonally, and offers discounted tickets later in the afternoon.
Recommended Hotel: Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa
Megan duBois is a theme park expert and frequent traveler to magical places. She covers all things Disney and Universal and runs marathons for fun. She thinks you can tell a lot about someone by the name of their signature lipstick, and hers is NARS Dragon Girl. You can follow her adventures on Instagram and Twitter.
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