By Carrie McLaren
Florida water parks, both man-made and natural, keep you cool under the sun.
As the land of endless summer, it's no surprise that there are more family water parks in Florida than anywhere else in the United States.
Doesn't it sound like it'd be fun to spend your summer bobbing in wave pools, sliding down speedy slopes, drifting on man-made rivers and generally beating the heat while having an awesome time?
Here’s a look at the best water parks in Florida.
1. Adventure Island, Tampa
At Adventure Island in Tampa, begin your water odyssey on the Rambling Bayou, the park’s lazy river and then head to the Endless Surf wave pool. Other popular attractions are the tube rides and mid-range waterslides, including the Calypso Coaster, the Runaway Rapids and the Wahoo Run. Experience weightlessness on the new Colossal Curl, combining funnel and wave experiences.
2. Aquatica, Orlando
Aquatica, SeaWorld Orlando’s waterpark offers thrill rides, animal encounters and rides for the family to experience together. The Dolphin Plunge sends riders through enclosed tubes racing through the dolphins' environment. Ihu’s Breakaway Falls is a free-fall, drop slide that offers the ultimate thrill. For little ones, Walkabout Waters is a playground of water with colorful slides and excitement for all. Roa’s Rapids takes rides through an action-filled river complete with high tides and geysers.
3. Disney's Blizzard Beach, Lake Buena Vista
There's something totally cool about a Florida water park that's designed to look like a ski resort. Disney’s Blizzard Beach waterslides look like slush cascading down mountain toboggan runs; the "ski jump" is the tallest and fastest water slide at the park; and a "ski lift" carries guests to the top of Mount Gushmore. Blizzard Beach is huge, and virtually packed with thrilling rides. With a large wave pool, as well as two areas specifically designed for children: Tikes Peak for young children, with fountains and mini slides; and Ski Patrol, a pre-teen area with slides, bobbing "icebergs" and a rope drop into the water. Blizzard Beach has something to offer the whole family.
4. Disney's Typhoon Lagoon, Lake Buena Vista
Along with plenty of sliding thrills, Disney's Typhoon Lagoon boasts one of the world's largest surfing lagoons at 2.5 acres, with the biggest waves of any Florida water park, up to six feet high. There's also Shark Reef, a 362-gallon saltwater reef environment where guests snorkel amidst fish, coral and plant life typically found in Caribbean waters. You can even swim with sharks. Gangplank Falls takes families through the rapids of a 300-foot-long waterslide aboard a four-person intertube.
5. LEGOLAND Florida Water Park, Winter Park
Located next to the adjacent LEGOLAND Park in Winter Haven, the LEGOLAND Water Park in Florida is designed for families with children under the age of 12. The Joker Soaker is a family-favorite with three levels of slides and a 300-gallon water bucket. The DUPLO Splash safari is for little ones ages five and under featuring shorter slides and larger than life DUPLO creatures. The Build-A-Raft River is the park’s version of a lazy river where families can build their own LEGO creation.
6. Buccaneer Bay, Weeki Wachee
About 35 miles northwest of Tampa, you'll find Weeki Wachee Springs - Florida's only spring-fed family water park with cool 72-degree water. Buccaneer Bay is a nice add-on to the attraction that features the legendary Weeki Wachee mermaids. With a lazy river, a children's water play area, and three slides including the Pirates Plunge waterflume, it's a hot spot during warmer months. The daily mermaid shows are included with admission to Buccaneer Bay.