The Southern Waterparks You'll Want to Cool Off at This Summer
For the full U.S. list, visit Travel + Leisure
In the minds of children (and children at heart) everywhere, there is only one proper destination when temperature starts to rise: the water park.
Ever since waterslides became popular in the 1940s, Americans have been spending their summers crowding waterparks. And although some naysayers may write off the aquatic attractions as swirling fungus incubators, they have probably never experienced the thrill of racing down a multi-story slide and then landing with an exuberant splash in a warm pool.
For travelers who love diving and sliding around, here we honor the best waterparks in the South.
Water Country USA — Williamsburg, Virginia
The largest waterpark in the Mid-Atlantic area has 11 rides and slides, including the Vanish Point, a 300-foot speed slide that drops guests completely straight down, and the Colossal Curl, a multi-person tube ride that shoots guests high above the rest of the park.
Dollywood Splash Country — Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Dolly Parton’s waterpark has 35 acres of aquatic attractions. This year, the park is opening an all-new water ride, the Tail Spin Racer. Up to six guests can race through five stories of drops, twists and turns to see who finishes first.
Carolina Harbor Waterpark — Charlotte, North Carolina
Carowinds Boomerang Bay underwent a transformation last year to become the Carolina Harbor Waterpark. Although the park retained all of its old rides, it also added a six-story tall water slide complex, a new area for toddlers and a 27-000 square-foot wave pool.
Six Flags White Water — Atlanta, Georgia
Competitive water parks enthusiasts will be hard-pressed to find a better destination. Six Flags White Water is home to the tallest mat race slide in the world. Guests can challenge up to five friends to lay down on water toboggans and race down from a height of 60 feet.
Typhoon Texas — Katy, TX
Put the old maxim to the test that “everything is bigger in Texas.” Typhoon Texas in Katy, which only opened last year, bills itself as Texas’s most state-of-the-art waterpark. In addition to a 25,000-square-foot wave pool, the park also has a system that pumps 70,000 gallons of water per minute, making for faster slides and shorter rides.
NRH20 Family Water Park — North Richland Hills, Texas
The world’s largest uphill water coaster, the Green Extreme, lives at NRH20 Water Park. There’s also a waterslide that’s completely in the dark, a mat race slide that’s three stories tall and a water slide that drops riders straight down 20 feet. For those looking for something a bit less extreme, there’s a wave pool, 660-foot-long lazy river and water playground.
Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park — Orlando, Florida
It gets hot in Florida. For those spending a few days exploring Disney World, be sure to take one of the days in Typhoon Lagoon to cool off. Although Disney fans go back and forth whether Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach is a better place to spend your day, check out Typhoon Lagoon for this year’s brand-new ride Miss Adventure Falls. The white water ride takes a raft (of up to four people) up and around for two minutes — one of the longest rides in either park.
5 Ways To Make A Vacation House Pay For Itself
We can't resist waking up to a gorgeous Southern coastline with the sand between our toes and a mimosa in hand. Owning a vacation home along Gulf Shores or the Atlantic Coast can be a definite plus when it's time to take a vacation, but may seem a bit intimidating as a long-term investment. Lucky for us, our friends at Coinage have rounded up some great reasons to buy a vacation home – you can make the home pay for itself. On average, rental property owners make over $27,000 extra each year. So, how do you become one of those owners? There are a few ways that you can make your vacation home a popular rental spot for vacationers coming through town (when you're not sipping margaritas on the beach, obviously!). An easy place to start is listing your property on various rental property sites, like VRBO and Airbnb. Being active in the promotion of your home is the best way to get the word out that you've got a great place to stay. You can also offer single-night rentals, instead of requesting full-week rentals. Although there's a little more work in planning the renter's stay, you'll be able to cash in on extra days.
Aquatica — Orlando, Florida
SeaWorld’s water park boasts several unique rides and attractions, but one of the most memorable is the Dolphin Plunge. The ride is made up of an enclosed, clear tube slide that cuts through a pool with real live Commerson’s Dolphins. Guests feel like they’re actually swimming with dolphins until the water slide brings them back up on dry land.