Vacation Vibes! 8 Indoor Water Parks for Family Fun

Vacation Vibes! 8 Indoor Water Parks for Family Fun

Another weekend, another stormy forecast. We’re not sure what happened to the spring season DC is famous for, but we do know where you can get some sunny vibes while you wait for summer to start. Since the rain (rain!) won’t go away, jet off to one of these near-by water parks for a quick vacation without the air fare. You don’t need to pack a thing except a swimsuit and some towels; it’s the easiest way to enjoy a staycation (some of the water parks even feature palm trees!). From a relaxing float in a lazy river at the Dulles South Recreation Center to a toddler-friendly in-water playground at Claude Moore, scroll down for the best places to escape a gloomy day in the DMV. Splash on!


Germantown Swim Center

A swim meet hot spot, this aquatic venue comes with a whopping 60,000 square feet of lap pools, hydrotherapy pools, diving platforms and springboards. But the biggest attraction for the play-seeking set is the two massive water slides that go from one side of the lap pool to the other. There's also smaller slides and a shallow wading area for the little fish in your school.

Insider tip: If the sun is out, enjoy a game of putt putt at the South Germantown's SplashPad & Mini Golf. 

Where: 18000 Central Park Cir., Boyds, MD
Cost: $6-$8/adults; $4-$7/kids

North Arundel Aquatic Center

You know a water park is the real deal when there's a two-hour play limit per person. But, trust us, the cut off time is totally worth it. The water park is part of a massive swim center that, in addition to two pools, features a 134-foot water slide, splash down area, water buckets, preschool slide, vortex area and a poolside spa for grown-ups. Good to know: Kids must be 3 years old and completely potty trained to swim here.

Insider tip: If you want to watch planes literally jet off, head to Dixon Observation Park to watch the flight traffic in and out of BWI. It's a 10 minute drive from the aquatic center. 

Where: 7888 Crain Highway, Glen Burnie, MD
Cost: $6-$8/adults; $4-$6/kids

Rollingcrest-Chillum Splash Pool

The preschool set will fall in love with this year-round splash spot. In addition to a trio of 25 yard lap lanes and a family pool, this community center offers a water play area complete with slides and sprays. Why not make it a playdate to remember? Book a party ($200-$240) and you can invite up to 20 guests for unlimited swimming. PARTY TIME!

Insider tip: Pre or post-swim, head to Franklin's where you can shop a General Store while you wait to eat. If you go during evening hours, be sure to check out this kinetic light mural

Where: 6122 Sargent Rd., Chillum, MD
Cost: $4-$6


Cub Run Rec Center

This indoor chill spot features a leisure pool with a 30-foot-high slide that exits the building in an enclosed tube, a 20-foot-high slide with an open tube, a spa, a vortex, a current channel, an open shallow water area. Plus, tinier tots will work their wiggles out on the smaller slide and zero depth entry temp-controlled pool.

Insider tip: If you make the trek out to this epic water park, be sure to make a stop at the Smithsonian's near-by Udvar Hazy Center to catch a glimpse of planes from yesteryears. 

Where: 4630 Stonecroft Blvd., Chantilly, VA
Cost: $6.50-$10/kids and adults; free/kids under 4

Dulles South Recreation and Community Center

Skip the airport lane and make a detour for one of the largest slides in the DMV. With a 125-feet of fun, this massive blue slide dumps you into a lazy river for floating fun. Little ones can splash and play on a playground in the water. And don't forget the hot tub for a quick dip into relaxation.

Insider tip: On select days in the spring and summer, Sully Historic Site hosts Dairy Days where you can see old fashioned ice cream being churned and sample the goods. 

Where: 24950 Riding Center Dr., South Riding, VA
Cost: $4/kids; $6/adults; $16 for a family pass

Claude Moore Recreation Center

Keep your little one out of the splash zone of bigger kids by heading to this indoor water park with a dedicated toddler area. You can float down the lazy river while you keep an eye on your bigger kids (48 inches and up) as they zip down the big blue slide. Or take a relaxing dip in the hot tub (for guests 16 & up).

Insider tip: Don't forget to stop by the Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum, located in the same complex,

Where: 46105 Loudoun Park Ln., Sterling, VA
Cost: $4/kids; $6/adults; $16 for a family pass

Worth the Drive

Great Wolf Lodge

Make a weekend of it at this indoor water park resort that's just a few minutes from Colonial Williamsburg. Spend the day zipping down River Canyon Run water slide, taking a turn on the Howlin’ Tornado, splashing in the zero-depth wave pool, or relaxing on the lazy river. And then wake up and do it all again the next day. 

Where: 549 East Rochambeau Dr., Williamsburg, VA
Cost: $200/night

Massanutten via Yelp WaterPark at Massanutten 

Massanutten Indoor WaterPark

Surfing in the Shenandoah Valley? Why not! Big kids ride the waves of this water park's Pipeline—the largest indoor surf park in Virginia—while little ones slip and slide at the Frog Pond's 12-inch deep pool.  From water cannons and body slides to tipping buckets and wading pools, there's really something for everyone at this water-lovers oasis. And the best part? It's a toasty 84 degrees all year long!

Where: 1822 Resort Dr., McGaheysville, VA
Cost: $38/adults; $26/kids; free/kids under 2

—Meghan Yudes Meyers and Ayren Jackson-Cannady

featured photo: iStock


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