It’s hot, hot, hot in South Florida—usually all year ‘round—and sometimes the only relief comes from taking a dip in a deep, blue body of water. Luckily, there are many options here, including beaches, canals, and even lakes. But what about when you want to add a little adventure to your swim? Head to a water park, of course! There are quite a few in the Miami area, all of which are perfect for cooling off when the weather is just a little too warm.
Located in Riviera Beach, this 30-acre water park has 42 slides and attractions, and has even been featured in music videos. Attractions consist of rides for thrill-seekers and families, including a wave pool, Black Thunder, Pirates Plunge, and a quarter-mile lazy river. Monday through Friday, admission is set at $43.99, and weekend and holiday admission costs $48.99 a person. Alternatively, you could get a 2020 Gold Season Pass for $99.95. Children under the age of two are admitted for free here. There are cafés, tiki bars, and a trading post on the premises.
Not far from Miami International Airport, Allapattah, and Little Havana, Grapeland Water Park is a family-friendly place that features four pools, slides, and tube rides. Then there's Pirates Plunge for the little ones; Shipwreck island, which boasts fast and fun slides for kids over the age of six; and Captain’s Lagoon, a big recreational pool perfect for the whole family. Open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily all summer long, Grapeland remains open but with varying hours (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.) October through April. There is an admission fee here, but it’s super affordable at $7 for City of Miami residents 14 and older, $5 for children ages four through 13, and free for children under three. Non-residents 14 and older will be charged a $10 admission fee.
In neighboring Broward County, you’ll find the largest water park in the Fort Lauderdale Area. Paradise Cove Water Park has four separate play areas (Sharky’s Lagoon, Parrot’s Point, Crazy Creek, and H-2 Whoa!), plus two concession stands offering up food, snacks, and soft drinks. On the weekends, you can rent boats, canoes, and kayaks, and if you’re planning a get-together with a large group, it’s possible to secure Funbrellas ahead of time. The park charges $8.50 for admission, with the price dropping to $5.50 after 3 p.m. Admission is free for children under three, and parking is free as well.
This 17-acre, city-run park located in Hialeah is open seasonally with limited hours (weekends from 12:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.)—but it’s a great place to visit as a local or a visitor to the area. Here, you’ll find a lake, reservable pavilions, a playground, and racquetball and tennis courts. Within the park, there is McDonald Aquatic Center, home to a wave pool, lazy river, waterfalls, and lots of shady areas to lounge around. Funbrellas are available to rent for private parties and swim lessons are even offered at McDonald. Admission to the water park is $10 for adults and $7 for children. Hialeah residents will receive a discount.
Not quite a water park—but too beautiful to leave off the list—this 820,000-gallon swimming pool is located in Coral Gables. Almost 100 years old, the recently renovated Venetian Pool features two waterfalls and cave-like grottos for swimming, lounging, and more. The historic pool is closed December through February, and hours vary so be sure to check opening dates and times before visiting. The admission policy here is a little stricter than other water parks; children under three years of age are not allowed, and rain checks, refunds, and re-entry are not permitted. The cost of admission is $20 for adults and $15 for kids between the ages of three and 12.