08/22/2011 12:56 pm ET | Updated Sep 27, 2011

Water Parks In Washington, D.C.: A Huffington Post Travel Guide

Water parks in Washington, D.C. are a fun way to get relief from the district's infamously hot, sticky summers. Whether family members love whooshing down slides or prefer floating down a lazy river, these D.C. water parks have something for everyone. As part of a Huffington Post Travel series on water parks, here is our guide to all the key information visitors need to know about Washington, D.C. water parks.

Great Waves Water Park

Great Waves Water Park is located in Cameron Run Regional Park in Alexandria, Va., which is approximately 10 miles from Washington, D.C. This water park features a number of water slides, has a wave pool, and wading areas that are suitable for even the smallest children. In addition, Cameron Run Regional Park also has batting cages and a miniature golf course where families can enjoy even more fun activites.

Just Like The Beach

If the beach isn't an option, then this park's wave pool is the next best thing to spending a day playing in the ocean surf. Just like at the beach, there's a shallow end with surf, and a deep end with waves for swimming. Plus, you won't get sand in your swimsuit.

Steep Slides

Great Waves is also home to a variety of water slides, including a thrilling, four-story attraction with three flumes for the brave of heart. For younger kids, and those who like their fun on the tamer side, Great Waves has Splash Pad, where guests can get wet without swimming, and Minnow Bay, a wading area just right for the little ones.

Typical Park Fare

Great Waves has a cafe on site that offers typical park fare such as french fries, hot dogs and chicken tenders. The park also features ice cream and Dippin' Dots concession stands. Great Waves also has pavilion areas that can be rented out, and it can also cater events, as well.

Safety Record

Our research revealed no reports of serious injury at Great Waves Water Park. The park is manned by lifeguards that regularly go through safety audits, and the Great Waves's staff has been ranked "World Class" by the National Aquatic Safety Company for the last three years.

Address: 4001 Eisenhower Avenue, Alexandria, Virginia, 22304
Phone: 703-960-0767
Hours: Memorial Day Weekend, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 1 through June 16, closed Monday through Thursday. Fridays, 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Weekends, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 17 through September 5, open daily 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., except for July 4th, when it closes at 6 p.m.
Price: On weekends, $15 for those more than 48 inches tall (4 feet) and $12 for those less than 48 inches tall. Individuals older than 55 pay $9. On weekdays, $14.50 for those more than 48 inches tall (4 feet) and $11.50 for those less than 48 inches tall. Individuals older than 55 pay $8.

Splash Down Water Park

While there are smaller water parks closer to Washington, D.C., SplashDown -- which is approximately 30 miles from the nation's capital -- is a 13-acre park with a good variety and number of slides, a 770-foot Lazy River and an area especially designed for smaller children. There are typically enough chairs for everyone and SplashDown's size means guests don't feel cramped or crowded. SplashDown's motto is, "It's like a day at the beach without the drive," and to live up to that image, this park features a beach area with 250 tons of sand where kids can play.

Twisting Slides

The highlights of the park are two four-story tall, twisting, turning waterslides, which rise high above the rest of the water park. The lines can be long for these slides and it can sometimes be a tad chilly if the wind hits starts up while you're standing on the steps, but it's well worth the wait.

The Lazy River

Floating down SplashDown's long, lazy river is a relaxing way to beat the infamous Washington, D.C. area heat. For a more challenging activity, try to cross the pool by walking or hopping on the lily pad or log walk features. It takes a person with some skill and a lot of luck to make it all the way across these features without falling into the pool.

Dining Options

SplashDown has three food stands guests can choose from. Coney Island Cafe has barbecue pulled pork sandwiches, hamburgers and hot dogs. Paradise Pizza has sandwiches, breadsticks and, of course, pizza. The Beach Break Boardwalk stand sells french fries, cheese sticks and other fare that is similar to what one might find along an oceanfront boardwalk. The park also offers catering and food arrangements for birthday parties and other events.

Safety Record

Our research revealed no reports of serious injuries at SplashDown Water Park. Additionally, the Prince William Park Authority, which provides the lifeguard service for SplashDown and seven other parks, has not had a single fatality since 1978 at any of its facilities.

Address: 7500 Ben Lomond Park Drive, Manassas, VA 20109
Phone: 703-361-4451
Hours: SplashDown is open Memorial Day weekend and then the first few weekends of June from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Starting in the middle of June, the park opens everyday at 11 a.m. until approximately the last week in August. Closing hours vary from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. during the summer months. Please call the park for more details.
Price: Kids 2 and under, free; under 48 inches (4 ft), $10.95; 48 inches and above, $14.95; seniors older than 55, $9; after 3:00 p.m. Monday through Fridays, $9; Military Discount, $2 off with ID for the entire family.

Other Noteworthy Parks Near The Midwest

Water Mine Family Swimmin' Hole
Pohick Bay - Pirate's Cove Waterpark
Volcano Island Waterpark
Rollingcrest-Chillum Splash Pool
Upton Hill Regional Park Waterpark

What's your favorite water park near Washington, D.C.?

Check out more WATER PARKS.