15 Best Water Parks in California (CA)

Source: Flickr / Owen Allen | CC BY 2.0

California is an ideal place for the existence of water parks, thanks to its warm climate, as it is perfect for this type of leisure. In each park there is always an area prepared for the little ones and another for adults, in this way, it becomes a place full of fun for all ages.

Overall, water parks are the perfect day activity for families with children. Not to mention, a great place to go cool off in the heat of the day, especially on those hot summer days of California.

Interactive Map of 15 Best Water Parks in California

Source: Map data @2022 Google

1. Knott’s Berry Farm

Knotts Berry Farm-1
Source: Flickr / Jeremy Thompson | CC BY 2.0

The Los Angeles tradition of parks dates back to the 1940s, when farmers Walter and Cordelia Knott founded Knott’s Berry Farm, considered California’s first theme park. Created from the replica of a ghost town, within the family farm, the park currently occupies 160 acres of area. 

Inspired by American traditions, it is divided into five sessions: Ghost Town, Fiesta Village, The Boardwalk, Camp Snoopy (Snoopy class themed), and Indian Trails. Today Knott’s Berry Farm is among the 15 most visited parks in the US. This is a great option for those who want to escape the most famous and popular parks and looking for rides that provide strong emotions.

2. Legoland California

Legoland California
Source: Flickr / wiredforlego | CC BY-SA 2.0

More than just an amusement park, Legoland California Resort is an entertainment complex with two themed hotels, the Legoland Hotel and Castle Hotel. There are also two amusement parks, Legoland California and the water park, and an aquarium, Sea Life. At Legoland, there are more than 60,000 Lego blocks that give life to beautiful and hyper-colored amusement parks, full of attractions for the little ones. Lego fans on duty are going to freak out!

The water park is an excellent choice for hot days. Especially for those moments when you do not even want to stand in line under the hot sun and prefer to be seated in a buoy down a slide or enjoying the wave pool.

3. California’s Great America

Californias Great America
Source: Flickr / Jeremy Thompson | CC BY 2.0

California’s Great America is an amusement park in Silicon Valley, located in the city of Santa Clara. It is next to Levi’s Stadium, the stadium of the San Francisco 49ers football team. One of the most interesting areas of the park is, without a doubt, the toys of the Snoopy and Charlie Brown gang, which also have many characters that interact with visitors.

Founded in 1976, California’s Great America is an amusement park with almost 60 toys and attractions on its premises. It houses what is considered one of the best wooden coasters, the Golden Striker. In all, the park is home to 8 different roller coasters, including one, the Vortex, on which visitors stand.

4. Great Wolf Lodge Water Park | Southern California

Great Wolf Lodge Water Park
Source: Flickr / Roger Ahlbrand | CC BY 2.0

Great Wolf Lodge is a hotel with all the infrastructure of a resort with an indoor water park, perfect for winter days. It has a wave pool, an area for the little ones, and more radical slides for adults and older children.

In addition to the water options, there are arcade games, a mini-bowling alley, there are also treasure hunting missions for the bigger ones, stories for the little ones, and more. Finally, this is a super complete resort with a snack bar and restaurants for all types of tastes. And if nothing pleases you, you can dine outside the hotel in the city of Anaheim which has all the major restaurant chains.

5. Knott’s Soak City

Knotts Soak City
Source: Flickr / Smart Destinations | CC BY-SA 2.0

Located in Orange County, Knott’s Soak City is a water park with multi-person raft slides, lazy river, and toddler areas as well as shops and snacks. The enclosure has 25 attractions prepared to make anyone enjoy and have fun. Also, its entrance is one of the cheapest you will find and value for money is very good.

The park has all kinds of attractions and slides, there is even a slide with six lanes for racing. Besides, Knott’s Soak City has a children’s area so that the little ones can also enjoy the water attractions.

6. Roseville Golfland Sunsplash

Roseville Golfland Sunsplash
Source: Flickr / ray_explores | CC BY 2.0

Roseville Golfland Sunsplash is part of an amusement chain featuring mini-golf courses and arcades, and some branches with water slides and laser tag. The water park itself is very fun with an abundance of water slides. Some of them are in the dark and some include group rafts. Most of the water slides are pretty intense, but they are still really fun.

The park’s highlight is the wave pool that produces waves that go in criss-cross directions. There is even a kiddie pool with little slides including a mini area for ages below 5. And as a bonus, they have amazing ice cream and pizza.

7. Raging Waters Los Angeles

Raging Waters Los Angeles
Source: Flickr / Owen Allen | CC BY 2.0

Also referred to as Raging Waters San Dimas, Raging Waters Los Angeles is the largest water park in California. And from this same company there are two more parks, one in San Jose and the other near Sacramento, however, the most important one is San Dimas. In this park, you will find a lot of attractions: long slides, water rapids, dark slides, tropical rivers with different tests, and wave pools and obstacles, among many others.

If you go to the park with infants there will be no problem, since there is a special section for children, with suitable and fun attractions for the smallest of the family.

8. Hurricane Harbor Los Angeles

Hurricane Harbor Los Angeles
Source: Flickr / Jirka Matousek | CC BY 2.0

Open June to September, Hurricane Harbor Los Angeles boasts steep slides, a lazy river, a wave pool, and a beach. With water slides for all ages, there is a kids’ area as well as radical and adventurous slides.

The main attraction is a looping waist-deep river that you walk/float/swim along with entrances and exits all along the way. The wave pool is also a great option for those looking for an area to relax at the beach. And best of all, the water park is adjacent to Six Flags Magic Mountain, an amusement park with many roller coasters and radical rides.

9. Cowabunga Bay Water Park

Cowabunga Bay Water Park
Source: Unsplash / Brandon Hoogenboom

Cowabunga Bay Water Park is a sprawling seasonal water park with multiple slides, a wave pool, and a kids’ area, plus a snack bar.  The park has a perfect location right outside of the city featuring ginormous water slides with some outstanding scary and fun rides. They also have a nice wave pool that every few minutes stop so you can relax in it too.

While overall the park is fun, it is a bit small. There are only about 9 rides and a kids’ play area. There are numerous lifeguards around the park, and they also provide life jackets for free. 

10. Aquatica San Diego

Aquatica San Diego
Source: Flickr / Jeremy Thompson | CC BY 2.0

The Aquatica San Diego park has attractions of all kinds, from very long, dark, and fast slides to attractions with an outdoor fall. Also, the Aquatica San Diego ticket is combinable with the SeaWorld San Diego ticket. It is recommended to combine the two tickets since at SeaWorld San Diego you will be able to see a great variety of aquatic animals, shows, and even bathe with one of their animals.

If you intend to travel with children to California this can be a great option to see a great variety of marine animals such as dolphins, killer whales, and other fish.

11. Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Concord

Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Concord
Source: Flickr / anjanettew | CC BY-SA 2.0

Featuring attractions such as thrill slides, a lazy river, and play areas for kids, Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Concord is a large water park half an hour from San Francisco. With a Hawaiian theme, the park offers a great amount of shade and spacious park areas. There, you will find both thrilling and moderate experiences, and scary but also fun rides.

There are plenty of slides to choose from that will please all ages, including a family tube ride that is outstanding. Overall, it is a well-organized park with very helpful staff.

12. Raging Waters San Jose

Raging Waters San Jose
Source: Flickr / Don DeBold | CC BY 2.0

Founded in 1985, Raging Waters San Jose is actually Northern California’s largest water park. Located in Lake Cunningham Regional Park, the park boasts high-speed waterslides, a wave pool, and an interactive themed water fort. Raging Waters offers a few hours’ worths of entertainment with the various water attractions, such as the Dragon’s Den, Great White Shark, Barracuda Blaster, and the Endless River. 

Interestingly, they seem to have made the wave pool kid-friendly with smaller waves but still fun. The kids’ area has several water attractions, including a pirate ship with a cannonball gun and a rope circuit.

13. Island Waterpark

Island Waterpark
Source: Unsplash / Jeremiah Lawrence

Open during the summer, Island Waterpark offers water rides, pools, slides, and kids’ play areas. There is the lazy river which keeps kids and adults entertained for hours. The slides are all so different that anyone can find a great one to ride on. If you like thrills or just simple slides, they have it all.

Overall, the slides and pools along with the lazy river are all so much fun. And if you choose a decent time to go the lines are not that long. You can bring in your own food or get food there. The lifeguards are all really friendly, they wave and high-five the little kids and are not interested in trying to take away your fun by being overzealous.

14. Wild Water Adventure Park

Wild Water Adventure Park
Source: Pixabay / Michelleraponi

With an old-school water park feeling, Wild Water Adventure Park is a 52-acre water park with a wave pool, kiddie area, mat slides, a rapid ride, and more. The wave pool is the main attraction and every hour they turn on the waves. Overall, the park offers a good variety of swimming rides and a large spacious layout.

The younger ones might enjoy it more than the big kids, but the entire family is guaranteed to have fun. Besides having fun at the water park, you can also choose to go fishing and have a barbecue. And if you get to visit it during a national holiday, you will have the chance to watch their exceptional fireworks show.

15. Raging Waters Sacramento

Raging Waters Sacramento
Source: Flickr / DebMomOf3 | CC BY-ND 2.0

Raging Waters Sacramento is a spacious seasonal park offering a variety of waterslides, plus a wave pool, lazy river, and casual cafes. It is a smaller water park than the other Raging Waters, but they have plenty of slides and play areas for the kids that are not interested in rides.

So, even though the park does not have the most radical rides, it has many slides. The lazy river goes everywhere around the park so you can float around from one ride to the next.