Water parks are a hot place for families to cool off when summer sizzles in North Carolina. Find the slides and water rides that match your thrill level, or simply retreat to a poolside cabana. Here are nine of North Carolina’s man-made watery destinations that are sure to be among the highlight of your vacation or day trip.
1 H2OBX Waterpark
1 H2OBX WaterparkPowells Point (Currituck Outer Banks)See on map
H2OBX brings more than 30 rides, slides and attractions to the Outer Banks, including Dune Runner, Riptide, Wild Horse Run, Calico Jack's Cove and many others with names that honor the region's storied coastal history.
2 Jungle Rapids Family Fun Park
2 Jungle Rapids Family Fun ParkWilmingtonSee on map
It’s a jungle out there at this family fun park between Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach. Enjoy go-karts, laser tag, mini golf and an arcade – but in the summertime, the big draw is the water park, which includes a million-gallon wave pool, a half-pipe waterslide and the Jungle Rapids Superbowl, a slide that winds riders around a giant bowl and down into a lazy river.
3 Carolina Harbor at Carowinds
3 Carolina Harbor at CarowindsCharlotteSee on map
The largest water park in the Carolinas, Carowinds' Carolina Harbor entices for hours on end, inviting you to slide through the three different attractions that make up the six-story Blackbeard's Revenge, or watch your kids frolic in Kiddy Hawk Cove. Or spend most of your time catching sun on one of the luxury cabanas, or cooling off in Tidal Wave Bay, the 400,000-gallon wave pool.
4 Lions Water Adventure
4 Lions Water AdventureKinstonSee on map
As the Kinston area continues to grow as a destination for grown-up fun, you'll appreciate being able to take the kids out to Lions Water Adventure. Let them soar through the zebra and lion slides, while the low-splash slide and Kiddie Lagoon are great for the little ones. There's also an eight-lane lap pool that's perfect for competitive swimmers and fitness buffs.
5 Great Wolf Lodge & Resort
5 Great Wolf Lodge & ResortConcordSee on map
Bad weather is no problem at Great Wolf, where there are a variety of slides, multiple pools, a wave pool and a giant water fort, all indoors. You can also enjoy an outdoor water park that’s open when weather permits. To make the most of your visit, you can book a room right at the lodge. If you’re not keen on getting wet, head for the games, arcade and tech center.
6 Ray’s Splash Planet
6 Ray’s Splash PlanetCharlotteSee on map
Operated by the Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation Department, this indoor water park is a tidal wave of fun in all weather conditions. The 117,000-gallon park includes the three-story "Blue Comet" slide, a beach-like entry pool and "Saturation Station," where you’ll find four slides, interactive water play and a tumble bucket.
7 Sun Crest Water Park
7 Sun Crest Water ParkTaylorsvilleSee on map
An outdoor facility north of Hickory, Sun Crest Water Park bills itself as an "affordable day of fun in the sun," complete with an old-fashioned swinging rope and a water slide. There’s also plenty of room to find a place to hang out in the summer weather and enjoy the relaxing scenery of the North Carolina foothills.
8 Wet 'n Wild Emerald Pointe Water Park
8 Wet 'n Wild Emerald Pointe Water ParkGreensboroSee on map
As one of the most popular water parks in the South, Wet ‘n Wild Emerald Pointe offers a full day of family fun with more than 38 rides and attractions containing 3 million gallons of watery thrills. It might take a dare to get you to try Dr. Von Dark’s Tunnel of Terror, where riders experience a 40-foot drop, back-to-back vertical banks and two high-speed, 360-degree spins, all in complete darkness. There are also tamer choices for smaller children, plus a variety of food and snack options.
9 White Lake Water Park
9 White Lake Water ParkWhite LakeSee on map
Located about 30 miles east of Lumberton, White Lake Water Park boasts a number of fun attractions for kids of all ages. There’s the Double Turbo Twister Slide, a 2,000-square-foot interactive wading pool and wet deck, and a 100,000-gallon wave pool. Attractions also include a lazy river and a bumper boat pool.