Splash around at Texas waterparks
By Sydni Ellis
Starting with lazy summer sunshine and ending with the chaotic energy of back-to-school season, August is such a unique month. In Texas, it’s also one of the hottest, with temperatures ramping up just before fall. August is a time of lasts — last time at the swimming pool, last bottle of sunscreen, last school-free days for your kids for a while. The best way to truly enjoy every last second of this scorching summer is by visiting a waterpark! Capture a true vacation-like sense of calm, adventure, and fun at one of the super cool waterparks right here in Texas. From giant inflatables on the lake to luxury rooms overlooking the water, there is an experience for everyone.
Lake Obstacle Courses
Floating in regular inner tubes on the lake is relaxing, of course, but if you are looking for something more adventurous, check out WhoaZone in Meadowmere Park in Grapevine. Jump, climb, run, slide, and splash your way through the giant inflatable obstacle course laid out on the lake. WhoaZone is made up of an award-winning Wibit obstacle course designed for swimmers at least 7 years old, and a special KidsZone for little ones aged 4-7. Need a break from the crazy course? You can also rent kayaks and SUP boards, play lawn games, or lay back on the lawn chairs under shade umbrellas. Bring a picnic and a tent to stay all weekend!
Hours are noon-6:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Friday-Sunday. Tickets are available for one-hour increments for $18 on a weekday and $20.70 on a weekend, or a full day for $45 on a weekday and $49.50 on a weekend at whoa.zone/grapevine/.
Another floating waterpark is the Lake Travis Waterloo Adventures in Austin.
Adrenaline-pumping obstacle courses are laid out over two football fields of water for kids ages 7 and up and adults. You can play on climbing walls, balance beams, slides, hurdles, bridges, and other challenges, as well as four stand-alone obstacles — a 14-foot ice tower, a 25-foot trampoline, a 12-foot freefall slide, and a springboard jumping tower. Later, unwind at a spot underneath a lakefront umbrella, or on a chaise lounge, hammock, floating picnic table or saddle float. There are also beach games, on-site food trucks, and a cabana bar serving frozen alcoholic drinks for adults. Entry fee is $59 per person and includes a boat ride to the park, an hour-long obstacle course session, unlimited time on the stand-alone inflatables, and beach amenities that create a truly vacation-like experience. Hours vary. waterlooadventures.com.
The kids love slipping and sliding through a water-filled playground, but the adults want to lounge on a comfy chair with an ice-cold drink. The solution? Visit a unique hotel-based waterpark! Paradise Springs at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine features a 10-acre outdoor waterpark for families to enjoy. Maybe you want to float all day at the 600-foot-long lazy river. Maybe you want to splash around in the water playhouse or 6,000-square-foot family lagoon. Or maybe you want to simply enjoy a luxurious private cabana while your kids zoom down the four fun waterslides. All are possible at Paradise Springs!
This exciting waterpark also has a 27-foot-tall waterslide and zip line, two horseshoe-shaped hot pools, and a dedicated toddler pool, ensuring that every single family member has the time of their life. When you get hungry, head over to the Pool Bar and Grill to grab amazing bites and specialty adult beverages. Paradise Springs hours are 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday, and 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Designated time-blocks will be assigned on select dates. Book your stay at Gaylord Texan (prices vary) for access to Paradise Springs. marriott.com/en-us/hotels/dalgt-gaylord-texan-resort-and-convention-center/overview/.
Jade Waters at Hilton Anatole in Dallas is another fantastic hotel waterpark with a kids’ splash area, a lazy river, two 180-foot waterslides, an adults-only leisure cove pool with swim-up bar, and a sculpture garden with activities and games. Comfortable lounge chairs and umbrellas are set up alongside the lazy river, so you are surrounded by water even when soaking up the sun. Jade Waters also offers Camp Crafty for kids, helping them paint, decorate, and explore their imaginations. There are also lawn games, group activities, and kid’s happy hour.
Upgrade your experience by booking a family alcove ($425), a daybed ($475), or a luxury cabana ($675), which includes various shaded seating, water, snacks, and extra amenities (like a flat-screen TV in the cabana). Access to Jade Waters is only open to Hilton Anatole guests and is $27.26 per day (including a free kid’s meal and a free dessert). It’s open from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, and from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Learn more at hiltonanatolehotel.com/pools/.
Wake up to the sounds of rushing water and go to bed happy with a day of playing in a resort-style waterpark. Schlitterbahn Waterpark & Resort in New Braunfels boasts “the largest and most eclectic collection of water rides in the world” and was voted the number one waterpark in the world for 22 years — you have to experience it to believe it. Schlitterbahn features miles of rivers powered by natural spring water from the Comal River, several water playgrounds for various age groups, and tons of rivers, rides, slides, and chutes for all-day excitement. In fact, there are 51 attractions over 70 acres!
Can’t-miss attractions include the Aquaveyer, where tubers ride up a conveyor belt lift to the top of The Falls, a 3,600-foot-long whitewater river ride with rapids, waterfalls, and giant waves. Or try your hand at surfing at the Boogie Bahn Surfing Ride, where simulated ocean waves create a realistic surfing experience. You can also hang out at Blastenhoff Beach, the Boogie Bay Heated Pool, the Krystal Cove, and so much more. With so much to see and do, you’ll have to stay onsite at one of the hotel rooms, Riverbend Cabins, Treehaus Luxury Suites, or vacation homes available. Daily admission starts at $39.99 at schlitterbahn.com.
It might feel like you’re living it up on an island at Margaritaville Lake Resort, but you’re unbelievably still in Texas! This laidback waterpark oasis is located on Lake Conroe in Houston, with 303 luxury suites, 32 waterfront cottages, and many wonderful amenities to keep you entertained all weekend long. There are six high-quality bars, cafes, and coffee shops onsite, inspired by traditional beach bars of the Atlantic Coast. There are also driving ranges and a spa to relax in.
When you’re ready to hit the water, sign up for water sports, take a yacht cruise, or go swimming in the five beautiful pools! Kids will enjoy the 3.5-acre Jolly Mon Waterpark, Parrot Island Mini Golf, Fin City Arcade, dive-in movies at the pool, and other family friendly activities that truly make this a fun-for-all experience. Despite only being open for one year, Margaritaville Lake Resort at Lake Conroe already won a TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Award, proving that the first Margaritaville Resort in Texas is already a splashing success! Prices for rooms vary, but Texas residents can get 5% off their best available rate with a state ID at check-in. margaritavilleresorts.com/margaritaville-lake-resort-lake-conroe.
August is your last chance to enjoy heart-pumping water attractions and paradise-level pools for an entire year, so don’t miss out on these cool Texas waterparks!