Cooling off in the Sunshine State: The Best Water Parks in Florida

The weather in the state of Florida is HOT with an average annual temperature exceeding 70 degrees with average temperatures exceeding 80 degrees during the summer months. Central and South Florida are even hotter with temperatures easily exceeding 90 degrees on most summer days.

With weather this warm Florida is the perfect place to visit a water park with several of the best water parks throughout the entire world are located here. 

Since theme parks like Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando drive millions to visitors to the state, its no wonder that they have built water parks for themselves. 

Although there are a number of water parks throughout the state, following is what we consider the best major water parks in Florida.

The Best Water Parks in Florida

  • Volcano Bay at The Universal Orlando Resort, Orlando
  • Typhoon Lagoon at The Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando
  • Blizzard Beach at The Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando
  • Aquatica at SeaWorld, Orlando
  • Adventure Island, Tampa
  • Rapids Water Park, Riviera Beach
  • Big Kahuna’s Water & Adventure Park, Destin
  • Sun Splash Family Waterpark, Cape Coral

Volcano Bay at The Universal Orlando Resort

Volcano Bay at the Universal Orlando Resort in Orlando was opened in 2017 and is the newest major water park in the state.  This fifty-three acre Polynesian themed park is part of Universal’s expansion and is adjacent to the Cabana Bay and Aventura hotels.

Volcano Bay at the Universal Orlando Resort

Volcano Bay has the latest in high-tech rides, is centered around a 200-foot tall volcano called “Kratkau” that has eruptions on a regular basis.  There are three individual “Village” sections which are as follows:

Rainforest Village at Volcano Bay

The Rainforest Village is the largest section with respect to the number of slides, raft rides and dining venues.

  • Kala and Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides:  These are “drop” slides so when the trap door opens, you are practically vertical on this 125-foot slide.
  • Ohayh and Onhno Drop Slides:  Two of the most fun slides in all of Volcano Bay, you slide along and at the end shoot out into a deep pool of water.
  • Puka Uli Lagoon:  A perfect spot to sit by the pool and just relax.
  • Maku and Puihi Round Raft Rides:  Exciting multi-passenger raft rides which have a variety of funnels, banks, tunnels and drops.
  • TeAwa The Fearless River:  A “fast” version of a lazy river.  Sit back and let the water do all the work.
  • Hammerhead Beach
  • Taniwha Tubes – Tonga & Raki:  Four individual raft rides that can be ridden as a single rider or in pairs.
  • Punga Racers: Grab your friends and race on this four lane mat slide to see who gets to the finish line first.
  • Bambu: Quick service dining features burgers, chicken fish and more.
  • The Feasting Frog: Quick service dining featuring tacos and nachos.
  • Kunuku Boat Bar: A full service bar where you can grab a cocktail and relax.

River Village at Volcano Bay

The River Village is perfect for families and some of the younger guests with a variety of slides and play areas.

  • Krakatau Aqua Coaster:  This is a water version of a roller coaster ride.  Board your raft and ride through the volcano on this amazing ride.
  • Runamukka Reef: A three-story water fortress with slides and play areas.
  • Tot Tiki Reef: Play area for the younger guests full of fun water features.
  • Kopiko Wai Winding Rider:  The traditional lazy river – grab a tube and float around the park, through the volcano.
  • Honu and ika Moana: Exciting multi-passenger raft slides with a two different slide experiences.
  • Whakawaiwai: Quick service dining features pizza, hot dogs, salads and more.

Wave Village at Volcano Bay

Wave Village is the perfect spot for relaxing, sunbathing and just enjoying an amazing day in sunny Florida.  But there is some excitement to it as well!

  • Ko’okiri Body Plunge:  Fall 125 feet at nearly 70-degrees in the amazing drop slide.
  • Waturi Beach:  The main wave pool just in front of Krakatau.
  • The Reef: A calm pool that is perfect for the little ones.
  • Dancing Dragons Boat Bar:  A full service bar for cocktails.
  • Kohola Reef Restaurant and Social Club:  The perfect spot for a nice lunch.

Private Cabanas are available at Volcano Bay and this park uses a virtual queue waiting system called Tapu Tapu.

Typhoon Lagoon at The Walt Disney World Resort

Typhoon Lagoon opened in June of 1989 and is Disney’s second water park after River Country in Orlando, Florida.  This water park is very large with 61-acres themed as the aftermath of a tropical paradise that was just hit by a typhoon.  It even features a boat (“Miss Tilly”) stranded on top of a mountain called Mount Mayday.  Mount Mayday erupts every hour hour sending a 50 foot stream of water into the area.

The centerpiece of Typhoon Lagoon is a three million gallon wave pool that is 2.5 acres in size and produces a six-foot tall wave every 90 seconds.  It’s so large you can get surf lessons in this pool before the park opens.

Typhoon Lagoon Rides & Attractions

  • Typhoon Lagoon Surf Pool:  Six-foot waves in a massive three-million gallon pool – enough said!
  • Castaway Creek: Get your tube and take a lazy river ride around Typhoon Lagoon.
  • Ketchakiddee Creek:  The perfect play area for younger kids containing a number of slides, fountains and play features.
  • Keelhaul Falls:  An inner tube ride on a fast moving river!
  • Mayday Falls: The longest water slide in the park, slide through caves and waterfalls.
  • Gangplank Falls: A giant four-person inner tube raft ride on a 300 foot long slide.
  • Humunga Kowabunga: A free-fall type water slide with a five-story drop.
  • Storm Slides:  Three, 300-foot curving body slides.
  • Shark Reef: You can actually swim in a saltwater pool with real sharks and other fish.
  • Bay Slides: Slides for kids 60 inches and less.
  • Mountain Trail
  • Crush ‘n’ Gusher:  Typhoon Lagoon’s water coaster.  Prepare for a very fun ride.

Typhoon Lagoon Dining, Beverages and Gifts

  • Leaning Palms: Quick service dining featuring burgers, pizza and more.
  • Happy Landings Ice Cream
  • Typhoon Tilly’s: Quick service dining featuring sandwiches and salads.
  • Lowtide Lou’s: Snacks and drinks.
  • Let’s Go Slurpin’: Frozen drinks.
  • Getaway Glen: Picnic area at Typhoon Lagoon.
  • Crush Hot Dog Cart
  • Hideaway Bay: Picnic area at Typhoon Lagoon.
  • Singapore Sal’s: Apparel and gift shop.
  • High ‘N’ Dry: Photo pickup, gifts and lockers.

Blizzard Beach at The Walt Disney World Resort

Blizzard Beach opened in April 1995 and is currently one of two water parks at The Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.  Blizzard Beach consists of 66-acres themed as the aftermath of a freak snowstorm that hit Florida, leaving some of the world’s “longest, slushing, gushing, downhill thrills”.

The centerpiece of Blizzard Beach is the ski jump ramp which stands well above the entire park. The rides and attractions at Blizzard Beach are separated into categories: Green Slopes (thrill rides), Purple Slopes (moderate rides) and Red Slopes (easy rides).

Blizzard Beach Rides & Attractions

Green Slopes:

  • Summit Plummet: Fall 120-feet in this amazing body slide (for riders 48 inches and higher).
  • Slush Gusher: A speed slide along the snow banked mountain (for riders 48 inches and higher).
  • Teamboat Springs: A 1,200 foot family raft ride full of twists and turns.
  • Chairlift: Ride to the top of Mt. Gushmore on the chairlift.  Provides easy access to the green slopes.

Purple Slopes:

  • Toboggan Racers: An eight-person mat slide that is a race to the bottom so make sure you challenge your friends.
  • Snow Stormers:  Three slalom-style mat slides with twists and curves.
  • Downhill Double Dipper: Fall into a black hole and plummet 50 feet downhill on this amazing inner tube ride.

Red Slopes and Other Rides:

  • Runoff Rapids: Inner tube rides in both open and fully closed slides. A perfect spot for the younger riders.
  • Melt-Away Bay:  Enjoy floating in this one-acre sized wave pool.
  • Cross Country Creek:  Blizzard Beach’s version of the lazy river that fully encircles the park.
  • Ski Patrol Training Camp: This is the pre-teen area with slides, an iceberg walk on the water and a zip-line type ride.
  • Tike’s Peak: For children 48 inches and under, this play area features a number of slides, jets and fountains.

Blizzard Beach Dining, Beverages and Gifts

  • Avalunch: Quick service dining.
  • Warming Hut: Quick service dining with seating available.
  • Lottawanta Lodge: Quick service dining with seating available.
  • Cooling Hut: Grab a snack and a beverage.
  • Polar Pub: Enjoy a cocktail at the Polar Pub.
  • I.C. Expeditions: Get your ice cream here.
  • Frostbite Freedy’s: Drinks and adult beverages.
  • Beach Haus: Gift shop with souvenirs and apparel.
  • Snowless Joe’s: Lockers, towel rents and life jackets.
  • Sunglasses Hut


Aquatica at SeaWorld Orlando

Aquatica was ranked the “Best Water Park” by the Orlando Sentinel Best Bests for 2018 and 2019.  It was also ranked #2 of the “Top 10 Water Parks in the U.S.” by Trip Advisor’s Reader’s Choice Awards for 2018.

Originally opened in March 2008 as a compliment to SeaWorld Orlando, this 59-acre park has something for just about everyone from high speed thrill slides, a massive white sandy beach, children’s play areas and of course an area to watch the parks Commerson’s dolphins.

Aquatica Rides & Attractions

  • KareKare Curl: KareKare Curl is Aquatica’s newest ride where you will slide along up an a large curve-shaped wall.  The ride is 361-feet long and you slide down 50 feet than up the 35 foot wall.
  • Riptide Race: Side-by-side flume rides where you will race down an exciting tube slide.  (Opening Spring 2020)
  • Ray Rush:  A family raft slide that is one of Aquatica’s newest rides.  Take twists and turns and spin inside a water sphere.
  • Dolphin Plunge: An exciting body slide from high up that takes you through a pool of Commerson’s dolphins.  
  • Ihu’s Breakaway Falls: A super fun drop from three different slides, two of which are trap door slides where the bottom falls out.
  • Omaka Rocka:  Two tube water slides with massive funnels.  SEE OUR VIDEO BELOW.
  • Tassie’s Twisters:  A raft ride where you will get shot into a massive bowl spining round and round before falling back into the lazy river.
  • Taumata Racer: Challenge your friends on this high-speed mat ride.  First to the bottom wins!
  • Walhalla Wave: Another great family raft ride where you go through a six-story maze of twists and turns.
  • Whanau Wave: Try all four different experiences on this exciting tube ride. SEE OUR VIDEO BELOW.
  • Cutback Cove and Big Surf Shores: Massive side-by-side wave pools that have different experiences.
  • Kata’s Kookaburra Cove: Perfect for the little ones with beginner body slides, fountains and play areas.
  • Loggerhead Lane
  • Roa’s Rapids: Aquatica’s version of a “fast” moving lazy river.
  • Walkabout Waters: A 15,000 square foot, 60-foot tall family play area fountains, slides and more.

Aquatica Dining, Beverages and Gifts

  • Banana Beach Cookout: An foodie’s paradise where there is an amazing barbecue with chicken, pulled pork, ribs, pizzas, kids meals and more.
  • Mango Market: Grab and go market with sandwiches, salads, hot dogs and more.
  • Waterstone Grill: An Endless Summer favorite at Aquatica, this quick service dining restaurant serves a variety of burgers, sandwiches, kids meals and more.
  • Adaptations: Name brand swimwear, accessories, jewelry and more.
  • Kiwi Traders:  Family apparel, toys, gifts and more.

Aquatica has a number of premium offerings including private cabanas, one price all-day dining and Aquatica’s priority boarding pass called “Quick Queue” where you bypass the standby lines.

Click here to check prices on Orlando theme park tickets including water parks

Adventure Island

Located in Tampa, Florida, Adventure Island is a 30-acre water park that opened in 1980 and is adjacent to Busch Gardens Tampa (part of SeaWorld Entertainment). 

Adventure Island has more than 10 slides & attractions as well as two  pools, a kids area and a lazy river.

Adventure Island Rides & Attractions

  • Solar Vortex 
  • Vanish Point drop slide
  • Colossal Curl
  • Aruba Tuba
  • Calypso Coaster
  • Caribbean Corkscrew
  • Riptide
  • Runaway Rapids
  • Water Moccasin
  • Endless Surf: A 17,000 square foot waver pool.
  • Paradise Lagoon: A 9,000 square foot pool and play area.
  • Rambling Bayou lazy river

Like Aquatica, Adventure Island offer a priority boarding pass also called “Quick Queue”.

Rapids Water Park

Located in the West Palm Beach area of South Florida, the Rapids Water Park which originally opened in 1979 and features more than 40 slides and attractions on a 35-acre centrally located property.

There are more than 30 slides, a lazy river, wave pool and a “FlowRider” surf machine.

Rides & Attractions include:

  • Big Thunder
  • Black Thunder
  • Raging Rapids
  • Riptide Raftin’
  • Brain Drain
  • Baby Blue
  • Big Red
  • Body Blasters
  • Old Yellar
  • Pirate’s Plunge
  • Tubin’ Tornadoes
  • Alligator Alley
  • Big Surf
  • Criss Crossing
  • FlowRider
  • Lazy River
  • Splash Hill
  • Splish Splash Lagoon
  • BareFootin’ Bay

Legoland Water Park

Located at the back side of the Legoland Florida Theme Park in Winter Haven, Florida, the Legoland Water Park is a smaller, but fun water park.  The park has a lazy river, wave pool and a number of slides.

Click here for more information about the Legoland Water Park

Island H2O Live! at the Margaritaville Resort

Click here for more information about Island H2O Live!

Located at the Margaritaville Resort in Kissimmee, Florida, Island H2O Live! is one of the newest water parks in the greater Orlando area.  Although smaller than the other major central Florida water parks, H2O Live! features a wave pool, lazy river and a number of water slides.


Shipwreck Island Water Park

Located in Panama City Beach, Shipwreck Island Water Park has been entertaining families since 1976.  Attractions include a 500,000 gallon wave pool, a “fast’ lazy river and a lazy river, a number of slides and a children’s play area.

Click here for more information about Shipwreck Island

Big Kahuna’s Water & Adventure Park

Originally opened in 1986 Big’ Kahuna’s Water & Adventure Park has over 40 water attractions and also features several thrill rides and a miniature golf course. Major rides & Attractions include Kowabunga Racer, Hammerhead, Monkey River, Cobra Twister, Honolulu Half Pipe, Jumanji and the Maui Pipeline Slides.

Click here for more information at Big Kahuna’s.

SunSplash Family Waterpark

Rides & Attractions at the SunSplash Family Waterpark include Cape Fear (a single or double tube ride from a 30-foot high platform), Fun-L- Tunnel (a fun slide where you will drop 30-feet without a tube on a 200 foot ride), Zoom Flume (a 200-foot open air body slide from a 30-foot high platform) and Electric Slide & Power Surge (two five-story tube rides for 457 feet of twists and turns).

 Click here for more information at SunSplash. 


River Country at Walt Disney World

River Country was Walt Disney World’s original water park which opened in 1976 along the shore of Bay Lake, just behind the Contemporary Hotels and adjacent to Disney’s  Wilderness Resort & Campground.  Resembling an old-fashioned swimming hole, this water park features five water slides, two pool and two children’s play areas.

Having closed in 2001, Disney announced that a new hotel will be built on the site.  This hotel will be called Reflections – A Disney Lakeside Lodge.

Wet n’ Wild

We sure miss Wet n’ Wild and still remember our last trip in December 2016 just a few days before it closed.  Wet ‘n Wild was an Orlando water park icon which originally opened in 1977 at the corner of International Drive and Universal Boulevard.  

The park featured a wave pool, lazy river, a kid’s area, water ski area and a number of slides. Some of our favorite rides at Wet ‘n Wild included The Blast, Brain Wash, Disco H2O, The Flyer, Der Stuka and The Black Hole.

Jerry Joyce

Jerry Joyce has been a Florida resident since 1988 and has lived in a variety of places in the South Florida area. Jerry is an avid boater & water sports enthusiast, beach aficionado, a lover of great food, muscle car fan and a theme park annual passholder for many years. Some of his favorite places in Florida include the Florida Keys, Walt Disney World, Cedar Key, the Loxahatchee River, St. Augustine and Ten Thousand islands.

Recent Posts