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Monday, January 30, 2023

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The BEST Water Parks in Tampa Bay: Keep cool and have FUN!

As the days of winter pass behind us and we head into springtime, we’re sharing our favorite ways to stay cool in Tampa Bay and have fun as a family! There are so many water parks and different types of water parks–so whether you’re looking for a day floating down the lazy river or looking for something a bit more thrilling, we’ve got some ideas for you!

Here are some of our favorite water parks in Tampa Bay you’ll definitely want to add to your bucket list:

NEW! Southshore Bay Lagoon 

Southshore Bay Lagoon in Wimauma

The wait is over! Hillsborough County finally has a man-made lagoon water park. Southshore Bay Lagoon in Wimauma is the area’s newest lagoon that’s open to not just the residents, but the public via a day pass. The lagoon features a family beach, splash pad, swim up bar and food services, paddle boarding and kayak rentals, a floating adventure course, and more!

NEW WATERSLIDES! Adventure Island in Tampa

Adventure Island is at the top of our list of the best water parks in Tampa Bay because it’s the largest in our area. There are so many ways to keep your cool and we also love that there is something for every age range.

Whether you want to relax with the kids down the Rambling Bayou, splash in one of the splash and play areas, swim in one of the multiple pools in the park, slide down the waterslides, or play some volleyball in the Spike Zone, there truly is something for everyone!

There are also two new waterslides which opened on Saturday, May 7, 2022: Wahoo Remix and Rapids Racer.

Rapids Racer at Adventure Island Water parks in Tampa Bay
Rapids Racer at Adventure Island.

LEGOLAND Florida Water Park

After sweating it out at LEGOLAND, head toward the back of the park to cool down at the LEGOLAND Florida Water Park. You will need to ensure you’ve added this experience to your ticket.

There are several water slides for the kiddos and kids at heart. And, it wouldn’t be LEGOLAND if there weren’t plenty of opportunities to build with oversized floating bricks as you float down the lazy river or even build a LEGO boat in Creative Cove (pictured)!

There is so much to do at LEGOLAND Florida Water Park. Your youngest child can splash and play in the Duplo Splash Safari and the older kids can test their adventurous side with a slide down the waterslides. There is no shortage of water play fun!


NEW ACTIVITIES! TradeWinds Island Resorts STAYCATION in St. Pete Beach

Stay the night and play like a tourist!  The resort features seven swimming pools, the High Tide inflatable waterslide, an inflatable water park, surfing challenge, and more!

They’ve even added a NEW beach zip line! While you’re there, relax on the sugary white sands of St. Pete Beach or rent the luxurious Aquabana! We’re sharing all the fun things to do at the TradeWinds Island Resorts with the kids here during your staycation adventure!

Tradewinds Aquabana
The floating Aqua-bana at TradeWinds Island Resorts.

Florida Aquarium’s “The Splash Pad”

If you haven’t had the chance to explore The Florida Aquarium’s new Splash Pad, we highly recommend checking it out, so don’t forget the swimsuits, water shoes and towels the next time you visit! You can read our Inside Look at The Florida Aquarium’s Splash Pad here.


ZooTampa at Lowry Park

Cool off in the splash area at Wallaroo Station at Lowry Park Zoo. Bring your child’s bathing suit, pool shoes and towel so they can cool off after visiting with their favorite animals at the zoo! You can also take a ride down Roaring Springs for a splash down to keep your cool!Lowry Park Zoo Splash Pad Things to Do in Tampa

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

Nature has another gem in store for you…Weeki Wachee Springs! Meet a few live mermaids and don’t forget to bring your bathing suits to take a dip in the crystal clear springs in Buccaneer Bay. There’s even a waterslide, kiddie pool and lazy river!

Related: How to Have a COOL Day at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

water parks in Tampa Bay Weeki Wachee Springs
Photo by Weeki Wachee Springs State Park.

Epperson Lagoon

Epperson Lagoon
Epperson Lagoon. Photo credit: MetroLagoons

If you’re looking for a slice of paradise in the middle of the city, pack up your swimsuit and sunscreen and head over to Epperson Lagoon. It encompasses the Florida lifestyle with its clear blue waters, sandy beaches, and various spots to relax under the sun.

Located in Wesley Chapel, Epperson Lagoon is a huge 7.5-acre pool complete with a waterslide, floating obstacle course, swim up bar, live music, and so much more to ensure you have the perfect day under the sun. Read the full story about how to plan your day at Epperson Lagoon.

Cool off at these splash pads in Tampa Bay

Splash pads in Tampa Bay
Julian B Lane Riverfront Park in Tampa. It’s buckets of fun at the splash pad! The pickle ball and tennis courts are right behind the splash pad!

Speaking of splash pads, why not check out your local splash pad like Water Works Park or Julian B Lane Riverfront Park near downtown Tampa! There are some shaded areas where parents can keep an eye on the kids as they splash and play on the play structures!

Some of our other favorite splash pads are at Ballast Point Park in South Tampa and Highlander Park and Kiwanis Sprayground in Dunedin.

The beach is open year-round for endless fun!

Spring Break Staycation in Tampa Bay Caladesi Island
Building sand castles at Caladesi Island.

Explore nature’s waterpark…the beach! Our Family Fun contributor Anna Tataris DeJesus of shares her favorite hidden gems that are a little off the beaten path, but well worth the trip. You won’t regret experiencing these beautiful local beaches like Shell Key and Caladesi Island with your family:discover Tampa Bay’s BEST beaches by clicking here!

Since it’s close, here are the best water parks in Orlando:

If you’re hitting the road to head to Orlando, you’ve got plenty of water parks from which to choose. And it can be hard to choose. Each water park in Orlando has it’s pros and cons, and it depends on what you’re looking for that will help you determine the right fit for your family.

Starting with the Disney water parks, it is important to note that generally, one park is open for a few months while the other is closed for refurbishment. Typhoon Lagoon tends to be open in the spring and summer, while Blizzard Beach is open in the fall and winter.

A note from an Orlando native

“If I had to pick the best water park in Orlando it would be Universal’s Volcano Bay. I have been to every Orlando water park multiple times, and it is my choice because of the number of slides and attractions there, the beautiful landscaping and theme, the great food and drinks, and the kids area is the most elaborate of all the water parks, and it is in the center of the park, with a perimeter around it to keep the kiddos secure in one spot! Plus the TapuTapu virtual queue system keeps you from waiting in line, and it is included in admission!” – Dani Meyering, Editor of and launching soon

Get super helpful tips to plan the best day at Volcano Bay (from

Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon

Pros – beautiful tropical theme, great food, lots of shade, cute kids area, a few slides that families can ride together
Cons – kids area is relatively small, the park is spread out, some slides can be hard to locate

Disney’s Blizzard Beach


Pros – adorable theme and storyline, great food, a variety of seating options, cute kids area including a new Frozen themed area in Tike’s Peak for the little ones!
Cons – slightly fewer slides than Typhoon Lagoon, kids area is small and tucked away, wave pool is smaller

Universal’s Volcano Bay

Pros – TapuTapu virtual queue system and tap-to-pay system included in admission, largest collection of slides and attractions, massive kids area with a perimeter to keep kids in the area with seating and cabanas, multiple pools
Cons – parking is a bus ride away, most of the slides are thrilling, the layout can be confusing if you’re not familiar

Aquatica Orlando (by SeaWorld)

Pros – the only water park with aquatic animal areas, large kids area, large beach
Cons – most of the slides are fully enclosed which can be scary for some guests, food and beverage is not as good as other parks

Island H2O (at Margaritaville Orlando)

Pros – the most affordable of the parks, fun kids area, interactive technology system, only water park with an adults only pool, least crowded
Cons – open seasonally, each ride and area is named based on social media references which can be confusing, small and near the highway

Pro-tip: the private cabanas at Island H2O Live! are pretty affordable and a great way to relax as a family.

Standard Cabana at Island H2O Water Park Orlando

And now you can relax with a great book in hand and a drink in the other. Island H2O Water Park has now made it possible for guests to enjoy a curated collection of books in partnership with the Osceola Library System, becoming the only water park in Central Florida to offer its own Little Free Library. Park goers can now pick up a book in the wave pool area, which will house the park’s literary treasures.

Related stories we think you’ll LOVE:


Laura Byrne
Laura Byrne
Laura Byrne is an award-winning former television news journalist who spent 15+ years in newsrooms across the state of Florida including Sarasota, Tallahassee, Fort Myers and right here in Tampa Bay where she still freelances on occasion. She covered the political beat, crime beat and every day breaking news during her time in Florida newsrooms, but is now focused on sharing positive news stories and events with families in Tampa Bay. She is a proud mommy of two little boys who keep her on her toes and laughing every day. Her goal is to inspire families just like yours to get out and play and experience all that Tampa Bay and our great state of Florida have to offer! She encourages you to share your stories and upcoming events so we can spread the good news.

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