The Tallest Water Slides in North America

  • 01 of 07

    Number 7: H2 Oh No

    ••• Action Park Mountain Creek.

    It's a bit hard to pull together a list of the tallest water slides. Unlike roller coasters, which are notorious for their height (as well as their speed) and generate plenty of data to keep the statistics straight (you can check out those record-breakers at my rundown of the world's tallest roller coasters), the stats are a bit, um, slipperier for water slides.

    I'm confident about the top-ranking slides that are listed at the end of this list. They are well documented. But for the first few slides, I'm making a bit of an educated guess based on my research and years of experience visiting and writing about water parks.

    The tallest slides all top out at about 100 feet (approximately 30.5 meters) and higher. There is a practical reason why there aren't many that make the cut. In addition to budget, construction, and engineering considerations, there is the matter of all those stairs. Guests typically have to climb stairs to take a ride on a water slide (as opposed to riding up a lift...MORE hill on a coaster). Trudging up ten or more stories is no small feat -- not to mention what it does to guests' bare feet.

    If you know of other water slides that should be on this list, or want to offer any clarifications, please contact me. Ok, on to the list.

    Number 7: H2 Oh No- 99 Foot Drop

    • Action Park, Vernon, New Jersey
    • Type of slide: Speed slide

    One of the water park pioneers, Action Park used to be notorious for its wacky, sometimes dangerous slides and rides. Since there were no water park ride manufacturers in the early days of the industry, it had to develop its own attractions and sometimes created accident-prone ones.

    It has since removed the worst offenders, but remnants of the early slides remain. Many, including H2 Oh No, use the natural topography of the mountain onto which the park is built. At 99 feet, the speed slide (which refers to a slide that is designed for speed and generally doesn't include any turns or dips), is quite imposing

    Continue to 2 of 7 below.
  • 02 of 07

    Number 6: Turbo Twisters- 100 Foot Drop

    ••• © Jeremy Levine, 2005.
    • Myrtle Waves in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
    • Type of slide: Enclosed body slides

    Not all of the tallest water slides are necessarily speed slides or designed to feature fast, thrilling rides. Not that Turbo Twisters isn't fast or thrilling. It is. (Or, rather they are; it is actually two, interconnecting slides.) By including twists and turns (as its name implies), riders don't get the sheer adrenaline rush of a speed slide's straight shot to the bottom. But since sliders have to face the disorienting darkness of Turbo Twisters' enclosed, opaque tubes, the thrills come more from not knowing which way is up. And at 100 feet, riders also have to contend with a long, disorienting ride to the bottom.

    Continue to 3 of 7 below.
  • 03 of 07

    Number 5: Eagle's Nest- About 100 Feet Tall

    ••• © Arthur Levine, 2006

    This ride is a bit deceptive. While Eagle's Nest does, indeed, start some 100 feet above the ground, it ends at about the fifth-floor level, so it really only descends about 50 feet.

    Speaking of deceptive, Water Park of America has billed itself as  "America's biggest indoor water park," when there are parks that are much bigger in total size. Eagle's Nest does give the park bragging rights for having the tallest slide at an indoor park, however (and among the tallest at any park, including outdoor locations).

    Continue to 4 of 7 below.
  • 04 of 07

    Number 4: ZOOMbabwe- 102 Foot Drop

    ••• ©Arthur Levine, 2009.

    Like Eagle's Nest, ZOOMbabwe is a family raft ride that uses circular rafts to send up to five riders plummeting down its twisty, enclosed tubes. Unlike the Water Park of America ride, the Splashin' Safari slide actually does go over 100 feet all the way down to ground level and takes almost a minute to complete. It is one of many slides and attractions at the well-appointed water park that is included with admission to Holiday World theme park.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Number 3: Summit Plummet- 120 Foot Drop

    ••• © Arthur Levine, 2006.

    The Tower of Terror, Expedition Everest, Space Mountain, and other Disney World rides may be more popular, but the sheer terror of dropping 120 feet and reaching speeds up to 60 mph makes Summit Plummet, in my estimation, the most thrilling attraction, by far, at the Florida resort. Looking down from the the summit before the plummet is beyond nerve wracking. It's nerve jarring and takes a fair amount of courage to make the plunge.

    Remember at the beginning of the rundown, I wrote that guests typically have to climb stairs to take a ride on a water slide? Summit Plummet offers the option of taking a "ski lift" to the summit. It's a lot of fun, but generally so crowded that most riders opt for the stairs.

    Continue to 6 of 7 below.
  • 06 of 07

    Number 2: Deep Water Dive- 121 Foot Drop

    ••• Kentucky Kingdom.
    • Hurricane Bay at Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville, Kentucky
    • Type of slide: Speed slide

    When Kentucky Kingdom reopened in 2014, it expanded its water park and added Deep Water Dive, an enormous speed slide. It seems designed for bragging rights in that it is a mere one foot taller than Disney World's Summit Plummet. The park's attempt to make waves in the record books, however, backfired. The same year that it opened its slide, another park opened an even taller one -- a considerably taller one. Read on.

    Continue to 7 of 7 below.
  • 07 of 07

    Number 1: Verruckt- About 170 Foot Drop

    ••• Schlitterbahn.

    There are tall water slides, and then there are insanely tall water slides. At 17 stories tall, Verruckt (which, conveniently, translates from German into "insane") is decidedly insanely tall. It's also quite unique. Using Schlitterbahn's patented uphill water coaster system, the ride sends passenger-filled rafts down about 170 feet and then up a camelback hill for some coaster-like airtime.

    Upon its opening, Verruckt not only took top honors as the tallest water slide in North America, it earned its status as the tallest water slide in the world.