PHOENIX — With more than 200 sunny days on average every year and summer temperatures that can get as high as 115 degrees (or hotter), hitting the slides and rides at the water park is one way to soak in the sun and stay cool at the same time.
Good thing Arizona has a handful of water parks with rides, slides, adventure parks, and wave pools. Some of our hotels and resorts have pools and water slides, too.
Before we get to the fun, whether your a first-timer or not, Arizona's summer heat and sun are no joke. Make sure you drink plenty of water, find shade, stay cool, wear sunscreen and protective clothing such as hats, proper shoes, and sun-protective shirts, and know your personal limits.
SIX FLAGS HURRICANE HARBOR PHOENIX
Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Phoenix water park is home to more than 30 rides and slides, including Bahama Blaster, an 830-foot water slide where riders can race side by side, and Mammoth Falls, a raft ride that drops riders 57 feet before shooting them up a vertical wall. The water park also features a lazy river, wave pool, and play structures.
A new attraction, Paradise Island, a 12,000-square-foot activity pool with floating lily pads, volleyball court, and basketball court, is expected to open sometime this year.
Details: Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, 4243 W Pinnacle Peak Rd, Glendale, AZ 85310; Website
Editor's note: Big Surf announced that it would remain closed for the 2020 and 2021 seasons due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
When Big Surf Waterpark opened in 1969 in Tempe, it was the first inland wave pool in North America capable of creating three- to five-foot waves suitable for surfing. It even received recognition from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers as a "historic mechanical engineering landmark."
The 20-acre facility is home to Waikiki Beach, its famous wave pool, where people can rent rafts, surfboards, and boogie boards. The water park also has seven tube slides, including an enclosed dark tunnel, and some smaller slides and activity pools for the little ones.
Details: Big Surf Waterpark, 1500 North McClintock Dr. Tempe, AZ. 85281; Website
GOLFLAND/SUNSPLASH WATER PARK
Golfland Sunsplash, a mega entertainment complex in Mesa, Arizona, is home to more than 30 rides and attractions, from go-karts and bumper boats to mini-golf and water slides. At Sunsplash Water Park, there are nearly a dozen water slides, a wave pool, a lazy river, and activity pools.
For the thrill-seekers, Stormrider is a raft ride that drops riders seven stories into a giant bowl where they spin and rotate before eventually slowing down and continuing down the slide. Similar, The Cauldron is a body slide that drops riders four stories into a giant bowl before they eventually free fall into a pool below.
Details: Golfland Sunsplash, 155 West Hampton Avenue, Mesa, AZ 85210; Website
GREAT WOLF LODGE
Whether it's winter or summer in Arizona, Great Wolf Lodge's 85,000-square-foot indoor water park is open year-round and kept at a comfortable 84 degrees. Great Wolf Lodge opened its 350-room hotel within the Talking Stick Entertainment District, near Scottsdale, in 2019. The indoor water park is home to tube slides, raft rides, a wave pool, and Talking Stick Treehouse, a water play structure with a bucket that drops 1,000 gallons of water every few minutes. The Scottsdale resort is also home to the Diamondback Drop, a four-person, high-speed raft ride.
While the water park is open only to resort guests, full-day or half-day passes are sometimes available, but changes weekly and depends on how booked the resort is.
Details: Great Wolf Lodge, 7333 N. Pima Road, Scottsdale AZ 85258; Website
Whether you're here on vacation or a staycation, many of the hotels and resorts in Arizona have their own pools, lazy rivers, and water slides. Most are primarily open to hotel guests, but some do offer day passes via Resort Pass.
- Arizona Grand Resort in Phoenix is home to Oasis, a seven-acre water park with an eight-story water slide, wave pool, and lazy river.
- Hilton Phoenix Resort at the Peak's River Ranch has a four-acre water park with a lazy river, a small water slide, and pools.
- Westin Kierland Resort & Spa's Adventure Water Park is home to a 110-foot water slide, lazy river, and FlowRider, a surfing simulator.
- Scottsdale Princess Resort has six heated pools, including one with two 200-foot water slides.
- JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa is home to a lazy river, a small water slide, and a large pool.
- The Kids Zone at The Phoenician is geared towards the little ones with water sprayers, water sprouts, and a play structure. The resort does have a 197-foot twisting water slide.
- The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain in Tucson has three pools, a splash pad, and a 235-foot water slide believed to be the longest water slide in Tucson.