1st March 2018.The US is a big place ? and that means there's plenty of room for a wide variety of fun and exciting attractions. With much of the country experiencing warm to scorching summers, and mild temperatures for much of the rest of the year, the presence of water parks is a common sight in many of the states. Though some are only open seasonally, others invite visitors to enjoy the rides and cool off in the water all year round. Whether you're planning a trip or you're just interested in finding out more about the biggest recreational attractions, how can you find out where the best destinations are? Rather than meticulously scouring the Internet and going state by state to try and figure out where you might want to visit someday, we've done all the hard work for you. With so many potential destinations, we've narrowed it down to the cream of the crop: the parks that pull out all the stops for a fun experience. Don't forget, though ? this list is just a starting point. There are far more amazing attractions to find out there, too. Without further ado, here are the seven biggest and best water parks to be found in the United States.
- The Schlitterbahn ? Kansas City, Kansas
For those who want the ultimate water park experience, look no further than the Schlitterbahn located in the heart of the American Midwest. This park's claim to fame, besides its expensive campus, is the Verrückt: the world's tallest water slide. Ascending more than 50 metres in the air, up to four riders at once soar down the slide at speeds exceeding 100 kilometres an hour! It's a thrilling experience that you won't be able to replicate anywhere else in the world. Of course, such a big slide is the main attraction, but not the only one. This park is also well suited for family outings with a park-circling lazy river and one of the world's biggest wave pools. Refreshments available poolside ? there's a bar that serves swimmers right in the water ? round out the amenities at one of the best parks in the nation.
- Water Country USA ? Williamsburg, Virginia
On the Atlantic coast, this park is one of the biggest in the area and the largest in the state of Virginia by far. This park offers plenty to do for all types of visitors, from families with young children to thrill seekers who want to experience the latest in water park rides. There are plenty of those here ? 25 of them, to be exact, including several rides specially marked to indicate their kid-friendliness. If you want a unique experience, though, all you need to do is step into the "Vanish Point" ? a booth on a tower high up in the air. Get in, assume a safety position, and signal you're ready. The floor drops out suddenly and sends you plummeting down a steep and thrilling water slide. With only a few similar rides in parks across Europe, this is one ride you shouldn't skip.
- Typhoon Lagoon & Blizzard Beach ? Orlando, Florida
Orlando may be better known as the home of Disney World and Universal Studios, but the Florida heat and humidity mean it's also the perfect place for a wide variety of water parks. Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach are both separate parks, but they operate under the control of Disney and thus are both perfect family destinations. Blizzard Beach centres around three sloping activity paths on an artificial mountain, while Typhoon Lagoon takes on the appearance of a beach. At the latter park, a giant geyser of water erupts from an artificial mountain every minute ? an exciting and thrilling addition that offers an extra punch of fun. Whether you want to just enjoy drifting on the water, or you want to go racing your friends in inner tubes down a steep slope, both these parks are worth a visit if you find yourself in Florida.
- Water World ? Federal Heights, Colorado
When you go to a water park, do you want to be sure that there's no chance you'll run out of things to do over the course of an entire day? Water World is the place for you, then, with almost 40 separate rides and things to do across the whole park. With massive pools and tonnes of activities, it's the ideal destination for the enthusiast who isn't satisfied with other, smaller parks. One ride, The Storm, takes riders through a long, fast, and dark tunnel with effects that recreate the sensation of being inside a great storm. Similar effects make the "Mother Nature" ride a must-see. Interested in racing others as you can at some parks? A tube racing competition regularly runs, with winners announced to the park. If you want to seek your 15 minutes of water park fame, this is the place to try.
- Noah's Ark ? Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
If you wanted to find the biggest water park in the states, you'll discover it's right here in the heart of Wisconsin. Noah's Ark weighs in with a whopping 51 different water slides, two separate and huge wave pools, and more. For those who love to catch waves, you can do it right here ? even though you're quite a long way away from the ocean! The park's surfing simulator does an excellent job of replicating the sensation of surfing on real waves in the sea. Expect to spend an entire day at the park, and even then, you might not experience everything. One of the slides here touts itself as one of the fastest in the country, zipping riders through a twisting and turning course at high speed. Like many of the parks on this list, it's only open for the summer season.
- Splashin' Safari ? Santa Claus, Indiana
There's no question about it: this is the park for those who love reaching high speeds. The park has twoextremely long water coasters, which sends riders in a dinghy down specially designed courses with rapidly rushing water. One of these coasters, Mammoth, features a particularly daunting design. Riders ascend a hill almost seven stories tall, then plunge through a series of seven hair-raising drops on their way back down to earth. Other slides sling riders up and down curved walls while dazzling them with colours and designs. When you're ready for a break, join one of the main pools for a relaxing float, or enjoy the wave pool. This park puts on seasonal displays all year long and is another excellent place to take the family. Plus, its location in Santa Claus means there is a host of novel things to do nearby as well.
- Splash Lagoon ? Erie, Pennsylvania
Unique among the parks on this list, Splash Lagoon is an entirely indoor water park. The park is perfect for visiting no matter the time of the year. As one of the top three largest indoor parks in the country, it has plenty to offer across its 80,000 square feet of aquatic fun. With water slides that exit and re-enter the building, it has plenty of unique attractions to draw in visitors too. Believe it or not, there is even a hotel attached to the park ? so you can book a room for several days of fun, allowing you to explore every nook and cranny of the space. Splash Lagoon places a greater emphasis on being a family destination than some other parks, and its kid-friendliness is on display with plenty of easy-to-handle rides.
Where will you choose to seek your aquatic adventure?
From the towering heights of some of the tallest waterslides to the family fun that you can have while rafting through colourful tubes, there's something for everyone at these seven parks. They also showcase some of the best in modern waterpark design and technology, and their soaring visitor numbers each year are a testament to their enduring popularity. Not only are these locations fun on their own, but they're surrounded by many other popular attractions in their local areas as well. If you're travelling in the US and need something fun to do when the weather is right, these are all worth a serious look. This article was written for Sports Fitness, the number one place to shop for all your swimwear and swimming accessories online. Follow @SportNessUK