San Diego is a water-loving town and in addition to 70 miles of beautiful coastline, the destination has built a handful of awesome water parks, providing fun alternatives to a beach day. Here are a few of our favorites.
The largest man-made aquatic park in the country, Mission Bay Park encompasses 4,235 acres with 27 miles of shoreline many offering sandy beaches. On shore, the park features miles of bike paths, a number of playgrounds, grassy picnic areas, volleyball nets and public restrooms, some with shower facilities. Water park activities include sailing, stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, wind surfing, water skiing and fishing. Boat and bike rentals are readily available from many of the resort hotels and aquatic centers that line the bay. There are also two boat launch ramps at Ski Beach and South Shores. The park regularly hosts spectator events such as the Crew Classic and Over the Line Tournament. And when the sun goes down, a number of park beaches feature bonfire rings where making memories is only a s’more away.
Recently opened, Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Waterpark has transformed the former Knotts Soak City site into a water park paradise. A terrific family-friendly facility, the park offers water slides for every age -gentle slopes for little ones, medium slides with speed for teens and tweens, and thrill seeking drops for adrenaline junkies. The park also offers a classic wave pool, bordered by a large sandy beach, complete with ample seating, some shady spots and cabanas for rental. The park also features a four-story interactive play structure, lazy river and a few interactive animal encounters. One nice feature of this water park is the food. In addition to typical amusement park fare, they offer some healthier choices like wraps and salads. They also serve strawberry and lemon lime margaritas and beer on tap. The park is seasonal, open June through Labor Day.
Tucked inside LEGOLAND California Resort you’ll find the LEGOLAND Water Park. This is the perfect park for toddlers and tweens, particularly LEGO aficionados. The park features more than 20 LEGO models, including a 45-foot-tall tower with multiple slides and a shallow wading pool. There are two sandy beach wading areas, a splash zoo for little tikes and a lazy river, complete with giant LEGOs that allow you to customize your own raft. Park entrance to LEGOLAND is required with the Water Park adding an additional fee. The insider tip here is to buy the two-day Water Park Hopper ticket -- spend one day at LEGOLAND and the second day at the Water Park. The park is seasonal, opening at the end of May through Labor Day.
A truly unique water park located in Belmont Park on the boardwalk at Mission Beach, the WaveHouse’s signature feature is an artificial barreling wave attraction pumping 100,000 gallons of water per minute for high-energy boogie boarding and surfing plus a large indoor swimming pool. In addition, the WaveHouse offers a number of oceanfront bars, with scheduled live music and a party-centric local crowd. The WaveHouse is part of Belmont Park, a family-friendly amusement park featuring the historic Giant Dipper Roller Coaster, bumper cars, laser tag, an arcade and more.
When you think water, fun and sun, think The Wave water park located in the City of Vista. The Wave offers a variety of waterslides and pools including the Slide Tower, which features four exciting slides – the Salsa Twist, the Tubulation, the Flash Flood and the Slam Dunk. Or for a challenge, try the Flow Rider, a simulated wave machine for body boarding. There’s also a continuous lazy river for tubing, and for little ones, there’s Rippity's Rainforest, the park's newest area just for kids under 48 inches. Children under 3 years old are free, parking is free and the park is open May through September.