Best Indoor Water Parks

  • 01 of 09

    Castaway Bay

    Unknown-2.jpg
    ••• Castaway Bay is one of North America's best indoor water parks. Cedar Fair.

    There are dozens of indoor water park hotels. But not all parks are created equal. And the biggest ones aren't necessarily the best. Conversely, relatively small indoor water parks can pack a lot of watery fun into a tight space. Which ones make the biggest splash? Before you go shopping for a new pair of Speedos, dive in to these picks for North America's best indoor water parks.

    Castaway Bay

    • Location: Sandusky, Ohio (located next to and operated by Cedar Point)
    • Indoor Water Park Square Footage: 38,000

    The compact indoor water park features plenty of activities, including the Rendezvous Run indoor water coaster (the resort is run by coaster-crazy Cedar Point after all), an interactive water play center, and a wave pool. Even in the middle of winter, as you gaze longingly at the snowed-in coasters in the distance at the closed amusement park, you could at least have some indoor park fun.

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  • 02 of 09

    Six Flags Great Escape Lodge

    Waterslides in the Tall Timber Treehouse structure
    ••• Sébastien Champoux/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0
    • Location: Queensbury (near Lake George), New York. Located next to and operated by Six Flags' The Great Escape theme park.)
    • Indoor Water Park Square Footage: 38,000

    The Great Escape Lodge is the indoor water park from the Six Flags folks. Located across from The Great Escape theme park, the hotel and indoor water park is open year-round and provides off-season (as well as in-season) fun. Although it is comparatively small, the water park packs in a lot of fun including Boogie Bear Surf, a FlowRider wave simulator, a (surprisingly long) lazy river, and a family raft ride. You can catch some rays year round since the park's roof is made from transparent materials.

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  • 03 of 09

    Splash Lagoon

    Splash Lagoon is one of North America's best indoor water parks.
    ••• © Jeremy Levine, 2006. Licensed to About.com.
    • Location: Erie, Pennsylvania
    • Indoor Water Park Square Footage: 102,000

    The park has a great assortment of slides and water rides. Its colorful tropical theme offers an inviting atmosphere, especially during the area's long, cold winters. Unlike most indoor water parks, which are connected to a hotel, Splash Lagoon is affiliated with four adjacent motels and hotels.

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  • 04 of 09

    Great Wolf Lodge in Multiple Locations

    Howlin' Tornado at Great Wolf Lodge Garden Grove
    ••• Howlin' Tornado at Great Wolf Lodge Garden Grove. Photo courtesy of Great Wolf Resorts
    • Locations: Williamsburg, VA, Wisconsin Dells, WI, Fitchburg, MA, Charlotte, North Carolina, Grand Mound, Washington, Garden Grove, California, and Grapevine, TX
    • Indoor Water Park Square Footage: 67,000 to 80,000

    The Great Wolf Lodge chain of indoor water park resorts features a rustic, woodsy theme and a multi-faceted resort experience. The properties vary in size and amenities, and the indoor water parks also vary in size and types of attractions. Instead of the uphill water coasters that are featured at some of the other Great Wolf Lodge locations (which are listed below and are ranked a bit higher), the indoor water parks in this group of resorts feature giant funnel rides (which the parks call "Howlin' Tornado"). Otherwise, they offer the same high quality and immersive experience as the other properties in the chain.

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  • 05 of 09

    Chula Vista Resort

    Chula Vista Resort is one of North America's best indoor water parks.
    ••• © 2004 Jeremy Levine. Licensed to About.com.
    • Location: Wisconsin Dells, WI
    • Indoor Water Park Square Footage: 110,000

    In the water park capital of the world (a title Wisconsin Dells can rightfully claim), the Chula Vista stands out as one of the best. It is one of the largest indoor parks in the town (and in the world for that matter) and is among the pioneers in the concept of merging watery fun with a family resort.

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  • 06 of 09

    Tie: Great Wolf Lodge Niagara Falls, Kings Island, and Poconos

    Great Wolf Lodge Niagara Falls is one of North America's best indoor water parks.
    ••• © Arthur Levine, 2006. Licensed to About.com.
    • Locations: Niagara Falls, Canada; Mason, OH (near Cincinnati and adjacent to Kings Island; and Scotrun, PA (in the Pocono Mountains)
    • Indoor Water Park Square Footage: 78,000 to 82,000

    Compared to the Great Wolf Lodge resorts found earlier in the rankings, the indoor water parks in Niagara Falls, in the Poconos, and next to Kings Island feature uphill water coasters instead of giant funnel rides. They also offer wave pools and a more rounded complement of water slides and other rides.

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  • 07 of 09

    Kalahari Wisconsin Dells

    Kalahari Wisconsin Dells is one of North America's best indoor water parks.
    ••• Kalahari Wisconsin Dells
    • Location: Wisconsin Dells, WI
    • Indoor Water Park Square Footage: 125,000

    One of Wisconsin Dells' mega waterpark hotels, the original Kalahari features a cavernous indoor water park that includes all kinds of watery fun such as one of the industry's first indoor water coasters. There are plenty of other things to do, including a 10-screen movie theater, an indoor theme park, a day spa, fitness center, arcade, and a host of daily kids activities such as karaoke, scavenger hunts, and live animal encounters.

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  • 08 of 09

    Wilderness Resort

    Wilderness Resort is one of North America's best indoor water parks.
    ••• © 2004 Jeremy Levine. Licensed to About.com.
    • Location: Wisconsin Dells, WI
    • Indoor Water Park Square Footage: 240,000

    The sprawling Wilderness complex includes four separate indoor water park buildings which, combined, rank the Wisconsin Dells facility among the biggest indoor water park hotels in the world. The parks boast almost everything water lovers would find at an outdoor water park. And the Wilderness offers some outdoor water park attractions for warm-weather fun as well. The hotel features a wide variety of room sizes and configurations. Its restaurants are among ​Wisonsin Dells' finest.

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  • 09 of 09

    Kalahari Sandusky

    Swahili swirl ride at Kalahari Sandusky
    ••• ih/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0
    • Location: Sandusky, OH
    • Indoor Water Park Square Footage: 173,000

    The huge African-themed hotel boasts one of the world's biggest indoor water parks. But it's not just the size of the property that makes it the best water park resort. It has an incredible assortment of slides and rides, and the Kalahari offers a host of activities beyond its world-class water park. It is a veritable family vacation paradise.

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