9 Best Water Parks Near Washington DC For Families

Several kids play at a turtle water feature at Soak City at Kings Dominion, one of the best water parks near Washington DC for families.
Photo Courtesy: Kings Dominion

Water parks are a great way to beat the heat or escape indoors on a rainy day, and there are several excellent options within a short drive of Washington, DC, for families. With slides, pools, and splash pads galore, your little ones will be entertained for hours. The thrill of a water slide, the joy of a water playscape, the relaxation of a wave pool – all these benefits await families looking for a water park adventure. And here, we recap some of the best water parks near Washington, DC, for families. We look at options for year-round fun with indoor facilities and outdoor-only options perfect for the summer months. Wondering which one to go to first? Read on and plan your mid-Atlantic water park adventure! 

Best Indoor/Outdoor Water Parks near Washington DC for Families

If you’re looking for a fun-filled day for the whole family, look no further than one of these great water parks near Washington, DC! From indoor options to visit on a rainy day to hybrid indoor/outdoor choices, you’ll love one of the choices on this list. Keep reading to learn more about the best indoor water parks near Washington, DC, for families! 

Indulge your sweet tooth at one of these Desserts Escapes: 17 Best Dessert Spots In DC For Families!

Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg

Williamsburg, VA

The entrance to Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg, flanked by large wolf statues on either side, one of the best water parks near Washington DC for families.
Photo Courtesy: Great Wolf Lodge

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A few minutes from the attractions at Colonial Williamsburg, the Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg provides a destination in itself. Plus, it’s less than three hours from the nation’s capital. Whether your family has babies, toddlers, elementary-aged kids, or teens, all ages are bound to have fun here. It is undoubtedly one of the best water parks near Washington, DC. 

And when it’s time to rest your head, many suites offer separate sleeping areas for the kids. Not to mention, helpful amenities like outdoor drying racks, refrigerators, and microwaves. 

Why Kids Love It

More than a dozen features entertain families in the indoor water park, including a zero-entry wave pool, toddler pool and play area, lazy river, and slides for all ages and abilities. Hot tubs, water basketball, a fort structure, and an obstacle run provide further variety for kids looking to stay active or perhaps catch their breath. Racoon Lagoon offers outdoor fun during the warmer months, including a pool, tub slides, and mini-golf. No wonder this is one of the best indoor water parks near Washington, DC!

When the family wants a break from splashing around, the attractions provide the thrill of video games at the Northern Lights Arcade, sifting for gems at Oliver’s Mining Sluice, duckpin bowling at Ten Paw Alley, and laser tag at the Laser Trail. Those into exploration will also appreciate MagiQuest. This attraction turns the lodge into a live-action game filled with fantastical adventures around the resort. And don’t forget about the daily activities schedule, including yoga, character encounters, evening story time, a dance party, and even arts and crafts. 

Why Parents Love It

Dining options on-site mean families don’t have to dry up and head out of the resort for every meal. Loose Moose Bar & Grill offers breakfast and dinner buffet meals, while Dunkin’, Freshwoods Market, and Hungry as a Wolf offer takeaway breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. Want to fuel up inside the water park? Buckets Incredible Craveables has the food covered, while Grizzly Rob’s Bar offers beverages.

And if you’re looking for more fun than rest, Williamsburg offers so many activities for kids of all ages that bring a sense of history, adventure, and education. 

Massanutten Resort

Massanutten, VA

An aerial view of the main resort building at sunset at Massanutten Resort, one of the best water parks near Washington DC for families.
Photo Courtesy: Massanutten Resort

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Check Expedia.com for great rates for a family stay at Massanutten Resort.

Gather the whole family and head to Massanutten Resort for a fun adventure! Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, this family-friendly destination is home to a fantastic indoor-outdoor water park. Not to mention, a host of other activities on-site. Plus. since it’s only two and a half hours away, it’s truly one of the best hotels with indoor water parks near Washington, DC, for families!

Why Kids Love It

There are more than a half-dozen types of activities at the indoor water park, including a hot tub, not-so-lazy river, tube and body slides, water playhouse, surfing, and toddler playscapes. With so many options inside, you’ll quickly see why this is one of the best indoor water parks near Washington, DC. The outdoor water park, open Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day, boasts even more giant and more daring slides, a wave pool, and a splash pad with game areas. 

Why Parents Love It

One of the biggest perks of this water park is how spoiled for choice families are with the additional activities and lodging options at Massanutten Resort. From technology-focused fun inside (think: arcade and virtual reality) to the great outdoors (think: skiing, biking, golf, and ropes course), parents could easily plan weeks’ worth of family fun.

As an extra bonus, the spa gives adults and teens a chance to refresh and relax. It’s just steps from the water park. And the several sit-down restaurants, more casual eateries and coffee shops, and seasonal dining cater to all tastes

COMING SOON: Great Wolf Lodge Baltimore/Perryville

Baltimore, MD

If one Great Wolf Lodge adventure isn’t enough, families can visit Maryland for an epic day in the water! Opening August 2023, this new outpost of the Great Wolf Lodge franchise offers Washington, DC-area families another excellent option for indoor and outdoor fun in the water at Great Wolf Lodge Baltimore/Perryville! Plus, it’s less than an hour and a half away by car. 

Like other Great Wolf Lodge locations, the suites are spacious and offer separate sleeping areas for kids if you book the Family Suite option. No wonder this is one of the best indoor water parks in Maryland for families! 

Why Kids Will Love It

Similar to the Great Wolf Lodge in Virginia, this resort boasts a wide variety of indoor water park attractions. This includes a wave pool, water-filled fort, and lazy river – with more attractions to be announced. Racoon Lagoon gives an outdoor waterpark option when the weather is warm enough. There are also more than a half dozen places to play outside the pool, including daily programming activities with counselors and their famous woodland characters. Unlike the outpost in Williamsburg, Great Wolf Lodge Baltimore/Perryville will have an indoor mini-golf course, an indoor ropes course, and a mirror maze on top of the arcade, bowling, and mining. Undoubtedly, it will prove to be one of the best hotels with indoor water parks near Washington, DC, for families!

Why Parents Will Love It

Leave your car keys in your room with all the resort dining options. Campfire Kitchen is the on-site sit-down restaurant, while four other options offer takeaway meals. Of course, there are food and beverage options in the water park, too!

Camp H.O.W.L. Kids Club is designed to be a family space during the day. But on select evenings, there are kids-only programming options, allowing parents to check out some of the area attractions (think: everything from a casino to scenic drives) or relax in the room. And like the Williamsburg resort, this Great Wolf has several themed suites that provide some separation for families with differing bedtimes.

Best Outdoor Water Parks Near Washington DC for Families

The summer heat can be intense in Washington, DC, making a water park an ideal way to cool off. Fortunately, several outdoor water parks are located within a short drive of the city. Here are some favorites!  

Splash Mountain

Ocean City, MD

An aerial view of the outdoor waterpark at Splash Mountain on a sunny day, one of the best water parks near Washington DC for families.
Photo Courtesy: Splash Mountain

This summer, cool off at Splash Mountain in Ocean City, MD! Less than three hours from Washington DC, Ocean City, MD makes a great vacation destination outside of the city.

But there’s more fun in the water than just the beach. With over 15 slides and attractions, Splash Mountain is a reason in itself for families to visit. There’s something for everyone, from the little ones in the kiddie pool to the thrill-seekers on the slides.

Why Kids Love It

The area’s largest water park boasts 16 slides and attractions for everyone in the family. The adventurous will get a rush from the water roller coaster, Master Blaster, the 360-degree trip around Aqualoop, and the 45-foot-tall half-pipe slide. Closer to the ground, families can try their hand at “river” rafting. The tiniest travelers will still be able to have fun in three kiddie pools, the Lazy Lagoon Family Activity Pool, and a water playscape! And no water park would be complete without a wave pool. 

Why Parents Love It

Parents looking to come prepared can bring their own food and non-alcoholic beverages into the park, though there is food also for sale on-site. And the water park prides itself on not adding hidden costs. Tubes, chairs, life jackets, seating areas, and cabanas are always free of charge on a first-come-first-served basis.

Looking to make a day or two of it? Splash Mountain sits adjacent to two mini-golf courses, a go-kart track, and a mini-amusement park. There will be no shortage of fun, steps from this fantastic water park near Washington, DC!

Hurricane Harbor at Six Flags Great America

Bowie, MD

An aerial view of the fast waterpark grounds of Six Flags Great America in Maryland, one of the best water parks near Washington DC for families.
Photo Courtesy: Six Flags Great America

No trip to Washington, DC, is complete without a visit to one of the area’s many water parks. And Hurricane Harbor at Six Flags America is one of the best! Located just outside the nation’s capital in Prince George’s County, Maryland, this sprawling outdoor water park has something for everyone in the family during the warm summer months. It’s undoubtedly one of the best water parks near Washington, DC, for families! 

Why Kids Love It

A family of four shoots down an outdoor water slide on a large yellow tube at Six Flags Great America in Maryland, one of the best water parks near Washington DC for families.
Photo Courtesy: Six Flags Great America

When the weather is warm, Hurricane Harbor at Six Flags Great America is great for kids to cool off and have a blast. There are plenty of attractions and rides to keep them entertained, including a lazy river, a wave pool, several slides, and a play area for little ones. Plus, when older kids are looking for a little extra excitement, there are also thrill rides like the Vaasa Drop Slide and the Aqua Loop! 

Why Parents Love It

Parents can relax in the pool or catch some rays on the sundeck. A cabana rental service is also available, so adults can relax in the shade while their kids enjoy the water. When you need a break from the water, head over to Splashdown Grill for some delicious food. 

Plan your next lake getaway to one of the 6 Best Lake Getaways Near Washington DC For Families!

Chesapeake Beach Water Park

Chesapeake Beach, MD

An aerial view of the cozy outdoor waterpark at Chesapeake Beach Water Park.
Photo Courtesy: Chesapeake Beach Water Park

Water parks are always a great option if you’re looking to cool off in the summer heat or want a fun day out with the family. And if you’re in the Washington DC area, you’re in luck because there are quite a few water parks to choose from. If you’re visiting with kids, Chesapeake Beach Water Park is a great option. Located just a short drive from Washington, DC (around 45 minutes), this Maryland water park has something for everyone, from thrill-seeking young ones to parents looking to relax in the sun.

Why Kids Love It

Though it’s a bit smaller than other nearby water parks, Chesapeake Beach Water Park has two main sections: an action-packed water park with slides and pools for all ages and a cabana area perfect for sunbathing. If you’re visiting with young kids, they’ll love exploring the kiddie pool area with its splash pads and gentle slides. They’ll love the Pirate-themed slide or the frog slide! Older kids and adults can take on more thrilling rides, like the high-speed body slides or the drop slide. And everyone can cool off in the lazy river. For the tiniest visitors, there’s a special Baby Pool too. There are also plenty of places to grab a bite or a drink so that you can stay fueled up throughout the day. 

Why Parents Love It

Parents love Chesapeake Beach Water Park because it is an excellent place for kids to play and have fun. There are also plenty of chairs and lounges for parents to sit in, while their kids play. Another plus is that it’s not too big, so you don’t have to worry about your kids getting lost or overwhelmed. Plus, it’s more affordable than nearby water parks in the Washington, DC, area. ​​

Water Country USA

Williamsburg, VA

Left Image: A large, colorful waterslide at Water Country USA, with someone going down the slide. Right Image: Two of the large, colorful waterslides at Water Country USA.
Photo Courtesy: Busch Gardens

Looking for a nearby water park to take the kids to cool off this summer? Water Country USA in Williamsburg, VA, is a great option! Virginia’s largest water park is less than three hours from Washington, DC, making it fantastic for families traveling to or near the nation’s capital. Plus, with multiple attractions for all ages, it’s definitely one of the best water parks near Washington, DC, for families.

Why Kids Love It

Four teens enjoy a waterslide together on a large orange tube at Water Country USA, one of the best water parks near Washington DC for families.
Photo Courtesy: Water Country USA

There are more than 13 slides and water play areas on-site, from the high-thrill drop of Vanish Point to the toddler-friendly Cow-A-Bunga play area. The park’s latest addition is a new dueling pipeline slide – Riptide Race. And it’s only fitting that the state’s largest water park boasts the state’s largest wave pool. It’s sure to be a hit with everyone in the group! 

Why Parents Love It

Not a fan of waiting in line? Parents can purchase Quick Queue for priority access to get to the fun faster. But even with extra time on your hands, there’s no reason to necessarily leave with three restaurants on-site, five snack shops, two bars, a candy store, and – of course – an ice cream shop. Families can also combine their visit with a day (or more) at nearby Busch Gardens – and can save with a combo ticket for both parks. 

Soak City at Kings Dominion

Doswell, VA

One of the large roller coaster at Soak City at Kings Dominion.
Photo Courtesy: Kings Dominion

For an amusement park and water park, all in one, families can’t go wrong with Soak City at Kings Dominion. Just north of Richmond, around an hour and a half from DC, the water attractions are open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. The amusement park is open year-round as of 2023. 

Why Kids Love It

The 14 water attractions at Soak City leave families spoiled for choice – with two wave pools (including one designed for kids), a lazy river, and several slides and water playscapes. Another considerable benefit is families are surrounded by Kings Dominion, which offers an additional 48 rides and attractions – from roller coasters to spinning rides, Ferris wheels, bumper cars, and more. This surely helps position Soak City as one of the best water parks near Washington, DC, for families! 

Why Parents Love It

Need some space to stretch out by the main pool? Cabana rentals give groups of up to 8 people or up to 30 people a covered area with seating, towels, water, and a tube of sunscreen. Families who want to spend less time in line can purchase a Fast Lane pass. This allows users to skip the regular line at some attractions. And for those who love capturing memories, there are professional photographers on-site. Soak City also features nine eateries. Not to mention, dozens more throughout the amusement park – so fueling up is never more than a few steps away. Stroller and wheelchair rentals are an added benefit for guests as well. 

Also, read: The Best Hikes Near DC For Families

Ocean Breeze Water Park

Virginia Beach, VA

An aerial view of Ocean Breeze Water Park on a sunny day, one of the best water parks near Washington DC for families.
Photo Courtesy: Ocean Breeze Water Park

Being a beach destination, water parks may not come to mind for families visiting Virginia Beach. However, Ocean Breeze Waterpark offers dozens of reasons to enjoy time away from the sand and surf. Plus, it’s less than four hours away from Washington, DC!

Why Kids Love It

More than a dozen water slides will send kids flying down to the water below of varying thrill levels. There are several play areas for all ages – toddler to teen – and two lazy rivers, including one specifically designed for smaller kids! Families can leave the sand from the beach behind and hit the waves in the million-gallon wave pool, too. 

Why Parents Love It

With a VIP seating option and three sizes of cabanas, families can secure a spot with shade. Plus, this area has key amenities to beat the heat, including cold water, cushioned furniture, and a fan. With five food stands serving up everything from chicken to tacos, no one will be left hungry. And for those looking for a cold drink or quick snack, five snack stands serve up cool treats and even funnel cake. If planning ahead, parents can buy meal vouchers for a discount on certain meal options. 

Happy Swimming, Surfing, and Splashing!

Two teenagers play water basketball in a pool at Massanutten Resort, one of the best water parks near Washington DC for families.
Photo Courtesy: Massanutten Resort

We hope you enjoyed this round-up of the best water parks for families near Washington, DC for families! These destinations ensure kids of all ages can enjoy fun in the water while offering family-friendly amenities to make the most of your time together. Pack your swimsuits and enjoy!

*Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of this list’s attractions, accommodations, or things to do may be closed. Please ensure availability before making your decision. 

*This post may contain affiliate links that may earn us a small commission at no additional cost to you. Affiliate links in no way inform the hotels, sights, products, or other recommendations included in our articles. All opinions and recommendations expressed here are compiled from submissions submitted by the generous members of our Families Who Love To Travel community.

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Megan Tucker

Megan Tucker is a public relations professional, wife, mom and lover of all things travel and travel planning, based in Arlington, Virginia. While she grew up in New England, she's lived in the Washington, DC area, London and Abu Dhabi, and has traveled across the United States, the Caribbean, Western Europe, South America, Asia, Africa and Oceania with and without her husband and two sons.