Things to do in Orange County

Water Parks in Orange County

Splash and slide the heat away at Orange County’s best aquatic parks.

California's sweltering temperatures can creep up on you, especially in the summer. If you’re looking for things to do in Orange County to beat the heat, the region's aquatic parks will cool you off in no time. Here are a few of our favorites.


Anaheim might be known for Disneyland, but it’s also loaded with aquatic park adventures.

1. Great Wolf Lodge

Great Wolf Lodge in Southern California is one of the best aquatic parks in Orange County for families. This indoor park is kept at 84 degrees all year and encourages nonstop excitement.

Fort Mackenzie is a towering, four-story treehouse fort with interactive sprays, slides, and toys. Listen closely for the bell and heed its warning—it means the big bucket on top of the fort is about to tip. Younger children prefer the Cub Paw Pool, a height-restricted kiddie pool.

Take a break in Crooked Creek, the lazy river that leisurely drifts you around a set path. It’s a gentle ride that's suitable for all ages. A series of wet slides brings even more adrenaline, with options such as the Coyote Canyon, which shoots you through a 40-ft. drop into the pool below.

If the weather’s nice, head outside and play in Racoon Lagoon. From Memorial Day until Labor Day, the pool features games, fountains, and aquatic slides. Whether playing indoors or outdoors, visiting this attraction is one of the best things to do with kids in Orange County.

Source: Great Wolf Lodge

2. Howard Johnson Anaheim Hotel & Water Playground

If your vacation in Orange County includes a stay at Howard Johnson Anaheim Hotel, head to the hotel’s dedicated aquatic park. Castaway Cove inspires all-day fun while beating the California heat. You'll be given a wristband pass for the facilities when you check in for your stay.

A shallow wading pool with beach-style entry and spray fountains encourages toddlers and preschoolers to join the action.

Speedy, a whimsical turtle fountain, is particularly beloved by the younger crowd.

Older children have a blast spraying each other with cannons aboard the Pirate Ship attraction. The top of the ship also features a 200-gal. drench bucket, which steadily fills up before soaking all who happen to be standing underneath.

3. Ponderosa Park Water Play Zone

Anaheim’s favorite public splash pad is at Ponderosa Park. Whimsical sprayers stretch overhead, shaped like flowers and leaves. Vibrantly colored hoops create a spraying tunnel children dash through. Fountains shoot from the ground, and gun squirters invite playful games.

Next to the splash pad, an extensive playground and skate park encourage other playtime shenanigans. Pack up some snacks or a meal along with your towels. There’s a shaded area with several picnic tables next to the play areas.

4. Pools at the Disneyland Hotel

The pools at Disneyland Hotel offer exclusive guest access to a retro-themed aquatic park. The E-Ticket Pool is a throwback to the park's earliest days, featuring a theme evocative of old park tickets. Overhead, a vintage-style Disneyland sign reminds visitors they're in one of the most wonderful places on Earth. This pool is supervised by a lifeguard and sits at the northern end of the courtyard plaza.

Amidst the smattering of wet slides, the two largest are replicas of the Mark 1 Monorail trains. The red one is about 25 ft. high and 180 ft. long, and the yellow one is about half the size. Kiddie slides splash into a shallower pool surrounded by jets, fountains, and a small waterfall.

For a more traditional swimming experience, head to the D-Ticket Pool to swim laps or enjoy the whirlpool spas. Poolside cabanas and nearby access to food and drinks make it a convenient place to relax.

Source: Disneyland Hotel.

5. Surfside Waterpark at the Courtyard Anaheim Marriott

As a perk for staying at the Courtyard Anaheim Marriott hotel, you get exclusive access to its Surfside Waterpark. This outdoor adventure is open year-round and thrills children with bright colors and a wacky surfer theme.

Two 30-ft. aquatic slides send those who are at least 40 in. tall spiraling before they slide into the shallow wading pool. The medium and small slides accommodate heights of 36 in. or taller.

An expansive wet deck structure with vibrant blue tiling and whimsical marine patterns sprays into the air. It’s surrounded by spray cannons and other interactive equipment. If you don't want to get soaked, look out for the 400-gal. drench bucket.

If you want more leisure time, enjoy the 3.5-ft.-deep pool or the huge hot tub. A kid’s wading pool reaches depths of just one ft. and has a beach-style entry. Because this park fills up quickly, reservations are strongly recommended. You can make them up to 30 days in advance with a hotel confirmation number.

6. The Adventure Lagoon

In the pristine Miraloma Basin, where lake temperatures rarely drop below 74 degrees, The Adventure Lagoon attracts a lot of fanfare—and we can see why. It has the fourth-largest inflatable obstacle course in the United States. The lake is continually pumped, purified, and reused, so you can rest assured you’re playing in clean conditions.

The kids' area of the lake features themed slides and sports that are typically played on land. Try your hand at volleyball and tetherball, or jump aboard a small paddleboat. Tubes, floating seats, and drench buckets add to the excitement.

Several floating obstacles encourage guests to create their own adventures. While you have to pay extra to enter the obstacle course, it’s well worth it for daring children and those who are young at heart.

Swings, slides, monkey bars, floating trampolines, and other challenging equipment accommodate a range of fitness and skill levels. All participants in the obstacle area, regardless of age, must wear a life vest.

The backside of the lake is reserved for other aquatic sports, such as kayaking, swimming, and paddleboarding.

Head to Orange County's beaches if you crave sand between your toes.

7. Water Park at the Cambria Hotel & Suites

If you reserve a stay at the Cambria Hotel & Suites, you’ll also get to enjoy its water park. Expect dreamy settings, where colorful characters spray you as you run through the splash pad and pop-up jets. Guests must be at least 44 in. tall to ride the two big wet slides that wind around each other.

If you’d rather swim, a full-sized main pool is open to all hotel guests. A smaller wading pool features a gradual beach entry to allow younger guests to join in on the action safely.

Parents can relax in the seating on the deck or around the firepits. Green spaces encourage dryer activities like yard games, mini golf, and basketball. In the evenings, a projection wall plays movies next to the pool to help you wind down at the end of the day.

Source: Cambria Hotel and Suites.

Buena Park

Head to Buena Park for an unforgettable day of scream-inducing thrills, gentle pools, and everything in between.

8. Knott’s Soak City

Soak City sits next to Knott's Berry Farm, and it's jam-packed with rides and attractions. Nearly 30 aquatic slides demand attention from virtually every direction. The lazy river ride, Sunset River, is particularly popular.

For the smallest members of your family, head to Gremmie Lagoon. This section is reserved for children under 54 in. tall. With a one-ft. deep wading pool and plenty of interactive attractions to spray each other, it’s sure to please.

On the opposite end of the thrill spectrum, head to Calico River Rapids, where you'll raft through rough terrain that takes you and five others on an adrenaline-pumping journey.

Get the entire surfing experience without setting foot in the sea at Tidal Wave Bay, where you'll be splashed with impressive force. It’s surrounded by rentable private cabanas, where you can relax and stay dry while your children splash the day away.


In Irvine, you'll find a park that invites big splashes with slides that do as many flips and twists as our best performers.

9. Wild Rivers

Brightly colored wet slides throw you for a loop at Wild Rivers in Irvine. This aquatic park caters to all ages and thrill levels across over 20 acres. of space. If you’re a thrill-seeker, head to the Tiki’s Revenge ride.

You'll climb 41 ft. before hopping into an inflatable tube. Then, you’ll be shot down the slide, sent spiraling around the bowl at high speeds and dropped into the pool below.

Younger children live their best swashbuckling dreams at Cook’s Cove, a massive rain fortress with smaller wet slides, spray areas, and shallow pools. The huge 800-gal. drench bucket is a thrilling addition.

More moderate thrill rides encourage family expeditions, such as the Tortuga. This six-person raft spins and glides through a tube slide. You’ll line up along six slides on the five-story Tomcat Racers attraction. As soon as the attendant permits, the race is on. You’ll slip, slide, and curve through the tubes before splashing into the pool.

Source: Wild Rivers

Laguna Niguel

In Laguna Niguel, the fun keeps kids on their toes.

10. Sprayground at Crown Valley Park

All-out adventures at the Crown Valley Park Sprayground unfold as your children run through the bright play equipment. Cute characters spray passersby while splash fountains, jets, and spray guns encourage constant excitement. It’s a quick, free way to beat the California heat.

It’s open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Memorial Day to Labor Day. It is also available to rent for private events, so it's a good idea to check the venue's website or call before you go.

Mission Viejo

Venture into the Mission Viejo area to join the fun at an exclusive aquatic park.

11. Terramor Aquatic Park

Terramor Aquatic Park is located just outside Mission Viejo in the municipality of Ladera Ranch. However, this park is only open to residents. If you don’t live in Ladera Ranch, you need an invite from a resident to enter.

If you get in, you’ll be welcomed by a shallow wading pool. Large and small drench buckets slowly fill before drenching unsuspecting victims below.

Source: Terramor Aquatic Park.

Newport Beach

Prepare to bounce and splash around with inflatable attractions in Newport Beach.

12. Newport Dunes Summer Inflatable Aquatic Park

Newport Dunes Summer Inflatable Aquatic Park sits on the surface of Back Bay. This fleet of inflatables includes a 17-ft. slide that shoots you down into the bay. Two trampolines encourage aerial acrobatics akin to our own.

Climbable icebergs bobble on the bay as you attempt to clamber up them. Monkey bars threaten to soak you if you miss the next bars, while teeter-totters make extra-large splashes as you bounce up and down.


In Westminster, one of the cutest splash pads delights younger crowds.

13. Sigler Park Splash Pad

Adorable marine life-themed spray cannons and fountains make the perfect tools for a phenomenal day of splashes and laughs. At the Sigler Park Splash Pad, children discover constant lighthearted fun. It’s also fully gated, giving parents peace of mind.

Kids can spray each other or run underneath the sprinklers to cool off after exploring the adjacent playground. It’s loaded with play equipment to encourage climbing, sliding, and swinging.

Yorba Linda

Yorba Linda encourages play of all kinds at one of its most popular parks.

14. Yorba Linda Adventure Playground

The Yorba Linda Adventure Playground is a child’s paradise with climbing net tunnels, slides, and sports fields. However, the aquatic portion of the park makes it particularly appealing.

Twin wet slides offer a brief reprieve from the heat while playing. However, they lead into a 3.5-ft.-deep pool, and non-swimmers aren't allowed in. A splash pad with pumps and spray cannons can keep younger children and those without swimming experience cool and entertained for hours.

Making a Splash in Orange County’s Water Parks

If high temperatures get to you, cool off at the area’s best aquatic parks. Once you're cooled down, keep the adrenaline pumping at one of our shows.

Our compelling stories are filled with dramatic twists and turns that will have you on the edge of your seat in anticipation. We'll draw you into our world, where anything can happen. Sit back and relax as our performers dazzle you with their daring moves and athletic prowess.

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