Escape the full heat of summer — without breaking the bank — at a regional water park. From California to Upstate New York, here are a dozen of our favorite parks that cost less than $30 per person, if you know where and when to book.
1. The Beach at Adventure Landing: Mason, OH
This 35-acre water park features 22 waterslides and attractions, and is themed after a tropical paradise. Guests can relax on real white sand and sip cocktails under the shade of 150 live palm trees. Admission: $24.99 if you purchase online.
2. Big Surf Waterpark: Lake of the Ozarks, MO
Centrally located between Kansas City, Springfield, and St. Louis, Big Surf Waterpark is within easy driving distance from all major cities in Missouri. Float down a 600-foot-long lazy river; swim in a 375,000-gallon wave pool; or zoom down Zambezi Falls, a four-story half-pipe slide. Admission: $20.95 after 3 p.m.
3. Cowabunga Bay: Draper, UT
This '60s-surf-themed water park near Salt Lake City features 11 waterslides and a lazy river. Poolside cabanas are available to rent and come with a waitstaff; plus a couch, chairs, table, and chaise lounges that accommodate up to eight guests. Admission: $21.99 for all-day general admission; $12.99 if you arrive during the last two hours of operation (only valid during the summer months, and times vary — check their hours for more information).
4. Myrtle Waves: Myrtle Beach, SC
Myrtle Beach's largest water park offers 30 waterslides and attractions. Highlights include a surf simulator; Turbo Twisters (an enclosed body slide that sends riders spiraling in the dark at 50 feet per second); and Racin' River, a not-so-lazy, 250-foot river ride. Admission: $26.98 if you purchase online.
5. Nashville Shores: Nashville, TN
Located on the shores of Percy Priest Lake, Nashville Shores is the city's largest water park. Fly down eight waterslides, including the 57-foot tall family raft slide, Big Kahuna. Tamer options, like a wave pool and lazy river, are also on tap. Admission: $28.99 for weekdays tickets purchased online. Show up after 4 p.m. on weekdays and score tickets for $19.99 ($21.99 on weekends).
6. Noah's Ark Water Park: Wisconsin Dells, WI
Noah's Ark is the biggest water park in the United States by acreage (the park spans a whopping 70 acres). Families will enjoy two wave pools, two lazy rivers, and four children's water play areas. Many high-adrenaline slides — like Scorpion's Tail, a ten-story-high body slide with America's first near-vertical waterslide loop — will satisfy thrill seekers. Admission: Ranges from $21.99 to $29.99 if you purchase online; prices vary by date.
7. Roseland Waterpark: Canandaigua, NY
In the heart of the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York, Roseland Waterpark is named after Roseland Park, a small amusement park that closed on the shores of Canandaigua Lake back in 1985. Two high-speed body slides, a family raft slide, three inner-tube slides (and more!) cool off park-goers every summer. Admission: $23.95 if you purchase online at least three days before your visit.
8. Sandcastle Waterpark: Pittsburgh, PA
Overlooking the Monongahela River, Sandcastle Waterpark lures Pittsburgh locals and visitors alike with 15 waterslides, a wave pool, lazy river, and two kiddie pools. Looking for a fuss-free way to set up camp all day at the park? Book a cabana near the wave pool or boardwalk for an additional charge. Admission: $19.99 for same-day tickets purchased online.
9. Six Flags Magic Waters: Rockford, IL
One of the most affordable Six Flags-branded parks in the country, Magic Waters, offers dozens of ways to relax or catch a thrill. Double Dare Drop plunges guests down a 75-foot near-vertical drop, while Screaming Lizard takes sliders through a free-fall and 45-degree loop. Admission: $19.99 if you purchase online at least one day before your visit.
10. Water World: Denver, CO
Water World opened in 1979, and is home to Colorado's first two waterslides. Today, the park has grown to encompass over 50 attractions, including a hydromagnetic water-coaster and three six-story speed slides. Admission: $19.99 for mid-day admission (after 1:45 p.m.).
11. WaterWorks Park: Redding, CA
WaterWorks Park is home to common attractions like a wave pool and lazy river, as well as unique thrill slides. Brave guests may conquer The Cyclone, a five-story slide that shoots into a vortex-like bowl, as well as The Awesome Avalanche, a half-pipe-style tube slide. Admission: $15.95 to $18.95 for twilight passes (which starts three hours before closing, hours vary depending on the day of the week); $22.95 to $26.95 for all-day passes (also depending on the day of the week).
12. Zoombezi Bay: Columbus, OH
Zoombezi Bay is the only water park on our list that's situated within a major zoo (Columbus Zoo and Aquarium). The water park offers a two-for-one family fun day and tons of value, as admission to both the water park and zoo is included in the price. Here, you'll find many animal-themed slides and attractions including Otter Banks, Big Boa Falls, and Baboon Lagoon. Admission: $29.99 when you purchase online.