08/03/2011 03:35 pm ET Updated Oct 03, 2011

Water Parks In San Diego: A Huffington Post Travel Guide

Water parks in San Diego provide an exciting alternative to the beach for families, friends and even couples. Because San Diego is warm year-round, guests will always appreciate cooling off a little bit from the summer sun's intense rays. As part of a Huffington Post Travel series on family-fun parks, here is our guide to all the key information visitors need to know about San Diego water parks.


As a water park, theme park and amusement park combination, SeaWorld San Diego offers guests hours of fun for children and adults. It serves as home to Shamu -- arguably one of the world's most famous (and friendly) killer whales -- and boasts attractions like an oceanarium, animal theme park and a variety of water rides.

Signature Ride: Shipwreck Rapids

SeaWorld San Diego has a number of notable rides, but Shipwreck Rapids is probably one of its most popular. Passengers can pretend that they're castaways on a tube-style raft with friends and family. The ride is an unpredictable one that includes bouts of peaceful, winding passages and then sudden plunges through waterfalls.

Have A Splash With Shamu And Friends

Other noteworthy attractions at this park include "Shamu Rocks," a colorful water and music show put on by Shamu and friends; exhibits like Turtle Reef and Shark Encounter; as well as arcade games, shopping and a variety of water rides. The park also puts on special holiday and seasonal events throughout the year.

Dining Options

Diners won't have a problem finding something to eat at SeaWorld. Meal options include "Dine with Shamu," a restaurant stationed beside Shamu's pool, the Shipwreck Reef Cafe, Calypso Bay Smokehouse and Mama Stella's Pizza Kitchen.

Safety Record

Our research revealed no other notable news reports of accidents or safety issues at Sea World San Diego. However, according to a report, SeaWorld was fined in August 2010 for safety violations that occurred after the death of a killer whale trainer in its Orlando location.

Address: 500 Sea World Dr., San Diego, CA 92109
Phone: 800-257-4268
Hours: SeaWorld's hours vary depending on both the day of the week and season, so it's a good idea to visit the park's website to plan your visit
Price: Tickets prices start at $26.99, but vary depending on age and whether or not guests want access to multiple parks. Discounts are available for those with an annual pass and those who buy entries into multiple parks. Tickets are available both online and at the gate

Knott's Soak City

If you're in the mood to get drenched from head to toe, look no farther than San Diego's famous Knott's Soak City Waterpark. Its 33 acres of water-related rides and attractions will keep you wet all day long and inspire you to come back for seconds or thirds after your visit's over. The park is perfect for both adults and children, with age-appropriate attractions for the entire family.

Signature Ride: Pacific Spin

Though Knott's has plenty to offer, one of its most noteworthy attractions is the Pacific Spin, a tunnel measuring in at a whopping 132-feet long that drops passengers 75 feet into a six-story funnel. The ride is raft-based and allows four people to experience the adventure together.

Tube Slides And Wave Pools

Other popular attractions at this park include the Palisades Plunge, a three-tube slide that'll make even adults feel like kids again; the Balboa Bay Wave Pool; Coranado Express's family-friendly raft ride and Sunset River, a lazy river perfect to lounge around in after lunch. Small kids will like the Tykes Trough, Dick's Beach House and Gremmie Lagoon in the children's pool and activity area.

Dining Options

Guests can choose from a variety of food, including Casa Ortega's Mexican cuisine, Salty Dog's hot dogs, cheeseburgers and chicken, Surf Daddy's Pizza and Dippin' Dots ice cream.

Safety Record

Our research revealed no notable news reports of accidents or safety issues at Knott's Soak City.

Address: 2052 Entertainment Circle, Chula Vista, CA 91911-6124
Phone: 619-661-7373
Hours: Hours at Knott's Soak City vary daily, but typically open around 10 a.m. and close around 5 p.m.. Visit the park's website or call 800-257-4268 to plan your visit
Price: Tickets vary depending on age and time of day tickets are purchased. All day ticket rates are $26.99 for adults 12 and older, $21.99 for seniors and children ages three to 11 and free for children under three years

Other Noteworthy Parks Near San Diego

LegoLand Water Park
Six Flags Magic Mountain Hurricane Harbor
Island Waterpark
Raging Waters
Dry Town Water Park

What's your favorite San Diego water park?

Check out more WATER PARKS.