Looking for the best waterparks in Jacksonville Fl?
Florida is famous for many things; it has beautiful beaches, magnificent palm trees, and of course, heat and humidity. One of the best ways to deal with that heat and humidity is water, and since we are talking about Florida here, you need a lot of it, and that’s where Florida’s water parks come into play.
There are the grandiose water parks with water-slides and wave pools galore. There are endless lakes and waterways for boating, fishing and swimming, and there are even those old-school river experiences with people perilously swinging from ropes tied to trees, or trying to stay afloat on top of rolling logs! What is also wonderful about Florida and its water parks is that there is usually much more to do than water activities. You can be cooling off in the lake one minute and then climbing a rock wall the next.
You can be maneuvering along the river’s edge on a water craft and then pull over, hop out and go on a hike in the nature trails. And you can either relax in a lounge chair at one of the giant water parks, or you can lounge on the side of the lake with your barbeque and a tent.
To help you in choosing your next water adventure, we’ve compiled a list of 14 of the best waterparks in Jacksonville Florida (or nearby)
14 Best waterparks in Jacksonville Fl (or nearby!)
Located just 30 minutes west of Jacksonville, Shipwreck Island Waterpark is one of Florida’s go to venues when it’s time for some slipping and sliding. Not only is the Shipwreck Island Waterpark cock full of your waterslide favorites, it is the only water park in the area with its own zip line!
One minute, you’re standing on “The Great Shipwreck,” the next, you’re flying through the air, suspended only by a bar and your bare hands until it’s time to let go for your high dive into the waiting waters below! Looking for that white water rapids experience, look no further than “Raging Rapids” where you and your friends will bump and spin your way propelled by the fast rushing water?
Need a bit more of an adrenaline rush, the Tree Top Drop will deliver with a six plus story, heart-pounding dive into the abyss! Are your little guys and gals looking to get in on the action, then the long and winding medium tempo slides, Rapid River Run and Zoom Flume, will deliver just what they need?
And the very small crowd can find a variety of scaled back slides and pools over at Tadpole Hole. Don’t forget to refuel with some old-school burgers and fries at the Shipwreck Island Grill.
- See more: Best restaurants in Jacksonville FL
A short 45-minute drive up Interstate 95 will drop you right at St. Mary’s Aquatic Center, a boutique water park with many of the attractions of the larger ones, but on a smaller scale.
You can get your day going with Orange Crush, the medium-sized enclosed slide that twists and turns its way down to the waiting pool below. Take it back a notch with Splash Mountain, a playground of slides and water cannons where the kiddos can run around till their heart’s content, and when they’re not slipping and sliding, they’ll be taking out the enemy one water stream at a time.
If you’re looking to get a work out in, head on over to the lap pool where you’ll cover 25 yards for every lap you make? Need to recover from your workout, stop by the Oasis Lazy River where you’ll be carried along a journey into utter relaxation? Check out Snack Shack for everything from hot dogs and burgers to pizza and nachos (Of course don’t forget the snow cones)!
And feel secure in the knowledge that there are lifeguards on duty throughout the park so that you and your little ones can splash around all day!
3. Nona Adventure Park
The Nona Adventure Park is not your average water park, it’s more of a water sports paradise complete with water adventures galore along with a six-story climbing tower.
You get start of at the Union Aqua Park, a thousand-foot-long, floating platform made up of obstacles like Mt. Rainiers, the Ninja Jump and the all-encompassing whirlpool, all while getting blasted with water cannons designed to knock you off your game and into the lake. If you do make it through the Aqua Park, you can push things up a notch with the Nona Wake, a wake boarding adventure where you’re pulled along on a cable as you fly over ramps and slide over rails for the ultimate spectacle.
Looking to get in touch with your inner-Spiderman, scale the six-story wall at the climbing tower or maneuver along the “rope course” that covers the very top. And when it’s time to eat, the Splash Bistro will satisfy your apatite with a wide array of meals from pizza and burgers to sandwiches and wraps.
For those adults looking to enjoy an “adult” beverage, there are both draft beers along with a variety of wines to enjoy. And if you’re looking to celebrate your next birthday party, Nona Adventure Park has you covered.
Although this destination is a bit further out from Jacksonville, it is definitely worth the trip. Located inside the “Wild Adventures Amusement Park,” Splash Island Waterpark has everything to satisfy your need to cool off in the most spectacular or ways.
Begin with the Bonzai Pipelines its three heart-pounding slides. Then there’s the Hakini Rapids whisking you and your family along a never-ending journey of twists and turns. Pull up a two-person raft and make your way down Kalani Blasters at breakneck speeds. The whole family can jump into a giant raft for the bumps and falls of Kona Cliffs.
Ride the waves at Catchawave Bay wave pool or, if the parents need to relax a moment, head on over to Ohana Bay where the kiddos will navigate the smaller Oma Oma O Racers, the Polu Plunge and the Uli Uli Twisters! Of course, everyone can grab an inner tube and float along the Paradise River.
If the adults are looking for a drink and a snack while the young ones are slipping and sliding, check out Water’s Edge Brews & Bites where you’ll be treated to live music as you enjoy locally brewed beers along with a wide variety of wine; they even have gourmet pretzels. And of course, you can reserve your own private cabana for some privacy!
In what the Summer Waves Water Park labels as its “High Thrills” category, you have your choice of Man ‘O’ War, a slithering creation of colorful tubes that will run you through your paces; Pirate’s Passage, a tube ride that will drop you and a friend straight down for five stories of pure terror and adrenaline; and Force Three, where you’ll barrel down one of three, action packed slides and into the waiting pool below.
If you want that bumpy and fun wavy experience, look no further than the Frantic Atlantic wave pool, or if a medium intensity slide is on the menu, jump on Nature’s Revenge.
If you’ve got little ones in tow, then check out Shark Tooth Cove, Splash Zone, and Turtle Creek for that lazy river experience that is so the rage these days. If all this tubing, splashing, twisting and turning have worked up an appetite, head over to Larry’s Giant Subs where you’ll have a wide variety of food options that are both healthy and tasty.
And of course, don’t forget their legendary surf shop where you’ll find everything from swimsuits, sandals and sunscreen to beach towels and memorabilia.
6. Buccaneer Bay Waterpark
While there are many waterparks on this list, Buccaneer Bay is the only one where the waterslides drop you into natural springs the natural Weeki Wachee Springs! Start off with the exhilarating Cannonball, a steep drop enclosed slide that sends you hurtling to earth! Follow this up with the Pira
te’s Revenge where you and your family will be treated to an experience of turns and drops that will have you screaming with joy! Need a break, lay back in your comfortable inner tube as you take a lazy drift along the natural river, or just relax the day away on the white sandy beach surrounding the crystal-clear water springs?
You’ve got the little ones in tow, no worries, The Buccaneer Bay Water Park also provides the Lil’ Mates Caribbean Cove stock with both a wading pool and play area along with Lifeguards on duty to ensure that you’ll enjoy your time in the safest way possible.
And once you’ve gotten that appetite going, stop by any of the concession stands for food and snacks or the Seasonal restaurant for a nice, sit-down meal. You’ll be able to enjoy this wonderful natural waterpark between the hours of 9:00 am to 5:00 pm every day of the week!
Legoland is an all-inclusive resort with roller coasters, shows, shopping and even a hotel right at the front gate, but one of the most popular attractions, especially in the summer, is the water park. You can start out by racing, side by side, with your friends and family on Riptide Racers.
After you’ve taken home the first-place trophy, it’s time to prove your nerve with Splashout, with the 60-foot, open air, straight drop. Of course, if that’s a bit intimidating, you can choose the closed tube version and if that is too much, then the more forgiving, closed tube spiral may be for you?
Next, you and a friend must jump on Twin Chasers, a long and winding dual tube ride that has you slipping and sliding up the sides of the walls delivering that “out of control” experience. Make sure to ride the big one at the Legoland Wave Pool and follow that up with a trip around the Lazy River.
Parents, relax in the plethora of fully extendable lounge chairs as your offspring enjoy the “Joker Soaker” as they dodge the water crashing down from his giant bucket. And finally, satisfy that hunger with a visit to “Beach Street Tacos” or a burger, fries, and a coke at the “Beach n Brick Grill.”
8. Volcano Bay
Volcano Bay’s centerpiece is the volcano itself, Krakatau, standing twenty-stories above the Waturi Beach wave pool for what can only be described as a very menacing site. Want an intimate view, hop on the Krakatau Aqua Coaster as it snakes its way right through the heart of the volcano.
Looking for a straight dose of adrenaline, the Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slide will gladly oblige? Or for an even crazier experience, get in line for Ko’Okiri where one minute, you’re standing there, the next, the platform drops out from underneath and you’re freefalling from the top of Krakatau volcano at break-neck speeds, only to be spit out the bottom into a waiting pool below!
Need a break from all the adrenaline, hop onto a tube and slowly float along the Kopiko Wai Winding River? At Krakatoa Katy’s, little ones can take advantage of the Tot Tiki Reef and it’s scaled back water slides and pools.
Getting thirsty, the Dancing Dragons Boat Bar will take care of that and if you’re still need more, the Waturi Marketplace has everything you for lunch or dinner. And when it’s time to relax in privacy, Volcano Bay maintains a wide variety of single and family cabanas.
Island H2O likes to label their rides according to intensity which brings us to our first ride that they consider “Max Thrill Level,” the Live Streaming drop body slide. This is one of those slides with the shortest lines in the park because it is simply that intense. As the name implies, you drop directly out of the chute at and almost 90-degree angle and into the water below. For something only slightly less intense, check out Profile Plunge, a tube slide that guides you on a steep dive down a long open tube at break neck speeds.
Follow this up with Hashtag Heights Boomerang a circular raft that navigates a world of turns and spins, drops and dips. Follow this up with Follow Me Falls, a two-person raft that traverses along an open-aired slide providing never ending thrills and excitement. In the “moderate thrill ride” category, try Reply Racers, a fast-paced, side by side down a steep slope where the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finishers actually win points redeemable towards food and drink in the park! And for the younger crowd, there is the “Youth Splash Zone” an area chock with small to medium sized slides along with giant water bucket drenching the helpless victims below. And with most water parks these days, enjoy a private cabana for you and the family and take advantage of the many food and dining options available.
10. Daytona Lagoon
Hop on Highway 1 south for an hour or so and you’ll find yourself at Daytona Lagoon, the 2022 Daytona Beach “Visitor’s Choice” award winner for “Best Family Entertainment”!
Once there, you can race against your friends and family down the five story drop of Kraken’s Revenge! Follow this up with a maze of twists and turns of Shaka Halfpipe, or let “Blackbeard: get his “Revenge” by tossing you down a never-ending labyrinth of mayhem. Feeling competitive, Adventure Mountain is yet another exciting “racer” slide spinning you down a corkscrew of excitement?
Looking to channel your inner surfer, look no further than the Treasure Lagoon Wave Pool? And don’t forget to take your little one with you on a double tube as you careen down the twists and turns of Poseidon’s Pass!
Need to get your heart rate back to normal, take a slow cruise along the always relaxing Pelican’s Drift Lazy River. And for the parents who need to recharge, pull up a chair and relax while your little ones explore the milder slides and pools of the Castaway Children’s Play Area.
When it’s time to chow down, hit up the Paradise Grill for some pizza and cold drinks followed by a frozen ice cream treat!
Upon arrival at Aquatica in Orlando, the first slide that you must try is “Reef Plunge”, an enclosed tube that carries you down an array of twist and turns before passing through what can only be described as a giant aquarium where you’ll be visible to both the wildlife and the humans from outside!
Next, take your pick of “KareKare” Curl and Ray Rush, two slides that carry you up the side of a giant wall where you’ll feel a moment of weightlessness only to drop you back down. There is “Riptide Race” where you’ll race against others to the checkered flag, or you can hop on “Cutback Cover” or “Big Surf” for even more side-by-side adventures!
There it is, now it’s gone! Welcome to “Ihu’s Breakaway Falls” where, one minute, you’re standing on a secure platform; the next, you’re free-falling six plus stories only to be rescued at the last moment by the waiting pool below. Of course, you can get your body surfing in at one of two wave pools, and The Zippity Zappity, Slider Rider, Kata’s Kookaburra Cove and the Racer Chaser will bring hours of entertainment to your tiny tots as you relax in one of the many lounge chairs that surround the area.
The title might be deceiving, but make no mistake, Ragan’s Family Campground is full of water park activities and fun. Start off with the six story drop of the Tornado Water Slide Ride which spins you around and around before dumping you into the waiting pool below.
Follow this up with the Splash Pad where the little guys and gals can careen their way through water fountains galore! Afterwards, you can take it back a notch on the Inner tubes of Lazy River for a never ending, pleasurable drift where the body can relax and the mind wanders. After a few times around the river, pull up one of the comfortable lounge chairs that run along the Lazy River Beach.
And of course, being a campground, take advantage of a nice cabin, a space in the RV Park, or if you’d prefer a more authentic outdoors experience, pack that sleeping bag and pitch your own tent for a night under the stars. And campsite rentals come with admission to the water park as well as passes for the miniature golf course and GaGa Ball!
\Looking to have some fun out of the water, bring your motorcycle or quad and take advantage of the many scenic ATV trails that snake through the grounds, and if you’re looking to unwind in peace and quiet, bring your fishing pole, bait, and a cooler of refreshments over to the catch and release fishing lake where you’ll have the opportunity to reel in everything from Sterile Grass Carp and Large Mouth Bass to Blue Gill and Catfish.
Looking for more of an old school, on the river experience with a wonderful back story, look no further than Bob’s River Place. Almost fifty years ago, Bob and his wife were navigating the river and came upon this plot of land for sale.
They scooped it up as just a place for family and friends until the internet came along and made it one of Florida’s most popular destinations. Located on the Sewanee River in Branford, Bob’s River Place is a throwback to the time before today’s extravagant water parks with all the hyped slides and death-defying drops.
At Bob’s, you’ll still get to slide from great heights, but you’ll also swing from long ropes and dive off of high platforms into the river below! And don’t forget the log roll. Need some time on dry land, look no further than the volleyball court or the many, many hiking trails.
Want some faced-paced action, blaze up the river on your wave runner. Want to take an impromptu dip, pick a tree, any tree, climb to the top and take a wild leap into the cool water below? Wave runner to fast-pace, slow it down with a canoe and a paddle as you spy wildlife making their way through the water and along the trees. One of the best waterparks in Jacksonville Fl for sure.
Out on the road and looking for a place to pull up the RV and camp out along the water, look no further than Flamingo Lake RV Resort! Spanning over 17 acres, Flamingo Lake provides you the space you’ll need for all your favorite lake activities. Have a boat in tow, drop it in the lake and enjoy hours on the water where you can fish for “the big one,” or maybe just lay back and relax on the deck to work on that tan.
Don’t have a boat, you can take out one of the many paddleboats and experience the lake in a laid back, leisurely manner. The resort comes with everything one needs including laundry facilities, a bath house, a recreation hall, and a general store for camping and RV supplies as well as snacks and drinks. There’s even a fitness center for those looking to stay in shape as well as a pool and a playground for the kids.
The quant Sunrise Café has everything on the menu and if that’s not enough, there are regular activities from live music, to karaoke to bingo. You can even order something from the café and have it delivered right to you on the beach. Attentive staff will take care of your every need and there is also a wonderful sense of community within the campgrounds.