Which water park should your family go to this summer?

Northern Virginia is home to nine different water parks spread across the region, and yes, all of them have slides, but depending on your kids’ ages and interests, there’s likely one park particularly suited for the perfect day spent splashing around.

SplashDown Waterpark
Photo courtesy of SplashDown Waterpark

It’s tough to argue that anything feels better than jumping into a pool on a hot summer day. With all the water parks in Northern Virginia, residents have plenty of options to choose from when deciding how to spend a day cooling off with the kids. Some parks feature massive water slides, while others house everything from play areas to artificial beaches. Take a look at the most popular attractions at each water park to help you decide which is the best fit for how you and your family want to spend the day.

Atlantis

Dumping bucket: The kid’s play area at Atlantis is full of slides, water cannons and things to climb on, all with a massive 500-gallon dumping bucket overhead that’s constantly soaking anyone caught below. There are also two water slides plus a main pool area that helps make the day a relaxing one for parents while the kids explore the park. // 7700 Bull Run Drive, Centreville

Great Waves

Wave pool: Great Waves offers the chance to wade and body surf in its 17,500-square-foot wave pool—the only one in NoVA. The park has five water slides as well, including two speed slides that shoot riders into the water. // 4001 Eisenhower Ave., Alexandria

Ocean Dunes

Swimming lanes: While most parks concentrate on slides and play areas, Ocean Dunes doesn’t deprive its visitors of the opportunity to practice swimming laps or put each other to the test and have races. But don’t worry—there are still water slides and a play area for the kids, but with three different pools, guests have plenty of options. // 6060 Wilson Blvd., Arlington

Pirate’s Cove

Buccaneer Beach: Another park geared toward younger kids, Pirate’s Cove is well-known for Buccaneer Beach, its sandy play area. With plenty of shovels, buckets and sandcastle-making materials to go around, the sand pit will assure parents of plenty of time to relax while their kids build the next Tower of London. There’s also a play structure boasting two slides. // 6501 Pohick Bay Drive, Lorton

Signal Bay

Lazy river: Water depths are shallow throughout the park, with the lazy river as the deepest at 3 feet. Children must be taller than 43 inches in order to go in the river, but the park is well-suited for kids ages 5-8. // 9300 Signal View Drive, Manassas Park

SplashDown

Pipeline Tower: The Pipeline Tower at SplashDown is a four-story tower with two slides that wrap around the structure, giving kids and adults alike an exciting ride to the bottom. There are also slides dedicated to making the biggest splashes possible and an adventure pool that tasks kids with making it across lily pads and logs without falling in. // 7500 Ben Lomond Park Drive, Manassas

Volcano Island

Splash pad: No water park would be complete without a massive play area, and Volcano Island’s play space is fully equipped with a splash pad with slides, fountains, water cannons and sprinklers. // 20015 Volcano Island Drive, Sterling

Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole

Pete’s Peak: Designed to mimic a mountain with closed-off mine shafts, Pete’s Peak features several low-intensity water slides as well as three slides that sit three stories above the ground. The park is the perfect place for families with young children, but thrill-seeking older siblings might find themselves bored after their first few trips down the tall slides. // 1400 Lake Fairfax Drive, Reston

Waterworks

Pool deck: While Waterworks is more of a pool area with slides than a water park, the main area is full of plenty of things to keep the kids busy. Slides, wading pools and an adventure pool make for a perfect location to host birthday parties and summertime get-togethers. // 5301 Dale Blvd., Woodbridge

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