By Maria del Cisne Vital

Beat the heat and grab the kids—it’s time to make a splash at these local waterparks. They have all the fun of a classic amusement park, with a twist that involves water slides, lazy rivers, and more refreshing and adventurous family fun. Put on your sunscreen, and dive in!

Great Wolf Lodge

This unique spot is a great place to play and stay with the whole family. It’s a luxury resort and a waterpark all in one. If you just want to splash around for the day, you can purchase single-day passes to the waterpark online. Some fun attractions include the Howlin’ Tornado (a funnel that sends you on a six-story spiral into a pool), the Wolf Tail (a launch pod that takes you on an adrenaline-pumping free fall), and many more slides and tubes that get your heart racing. While the kids are riled up with energy, you can relax in a poolside cabana.

12681 Harbor Boulevard, Garden Grove, (888) 960-9653,

Aquatica San Diego

Grab the whole gang and get ready to have some good ol’ family fun. The four-seater ride Tassie’s Twister is a high thrill adventure with plenty of twists and turns. Grab some mats and race down the colorful slides at the Taumata Racer. One unique feat is that you can come face to face with flamingos right in the park!

2052 Entertainment Circle, Chula Vista, (619) 222-4732,

Raging Waters

Thrill seekers will feel right at home here at Raging Waters. With ominous rides like the Tunnel of Terror, The Bermuda Triangle and the Dragon’s Den, the brave and fearless of the bunch are encouraged to have a blast. Looking for something with a chiller vibe? Grab an inner tube and cruise down the lazy river.

111 Raging Waters Drive, San Dimas, (909) 802-2200,

Six Flags Hurricane Harbor

Known for its colossal coasters, Six Flags’ take on the waterpark is just as daring. Some slides drop you nearly six stories, while others catapult you into a pool after a dizzying funnel experience. If you aren’t one for adrenaline-pumping rides, seek solace with your kiddos at Splash Island, a 30,000-gallon pool made just for kids. Lounge nearby as your kids take a dip. 

26101 Magic Mountain Pkwy, Valencia, (661) 255-4100,

Knott’s Soak City

Picture the sweltering sun beaming down on you, but then the refreshing cold water from Soak City’s massive water bucket that pours out on the regular saves you. Across the street from Knott’s Berry Farm, this waterpark is great for kids as it has adventures for all ages. From kiddie pools to towering tube slides, there’s no shortage of fun at this park.

8039 Beach Blvd., Buena Park, (714) 220-5200,