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Ahead of the Curve: Splash, Slide and Soak

Where to find the water park that’s right for you

Illustration by Adam McCauley


It’s hot. Sad news is, it’s not cooling down any time soon. The average high in Fort Myers is a steady 92 degrees for June, July and August each year before cooling to 91 degrees in September. (Naples averages 91, 93, 93 and 92 for those same four months.)

But the last thing you want to do is be stuck inside all the time (except for that weekend where we all binge-watch Orange is the New Black). So how to get out and stay cool?

Water parks. Be it local or via road trip, we’ve got the skinny on the best places to splash, slide and soak with the family.

Sun Splash Family Waterpark

Lee County’s best place for wet and wild fun, Sun Splash offers 14 acres of pools, slides and more, including a 300-foot-high platform for the Cape Fear water slide. The park also offers swimming lessons, family movie nights in the pools and special theme days throughout the year. With admission starting as low as $10 for Cape Coral residents (and season passes, going for only $99 for non-residents), it’s a cheap way to beat the heat. sunsplashwaterpark.com

Sun-N-Fun Lagoon

Collier County’s only water park, located in the North Naples Regional Park complex, Sun-N-Fun has more than 1 million gallons of water pumping through its slides, pools and lazy rivers. Enjoy areas built especially for small kids, hangouts the teens will love and all-ages areas for everyone to enjoy. Admissions range from $5.50 to $12 daily. napleswaterpark.com

Buccaneer Bay

Part of the Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, north of Tampa, this is the only water park in the state fed by a natural spring, so you get all the fun with none of the chlorine. Plus, you can stay and watch the mermaid shows. weekiwachee.com

Wet ’n Wild Orlando

The state’s oldest water park is still one of the best in the country, with six-story vertical waterslides, a disco nightclub slide, lazy rivers, pools, wakeboarding and much more. It’s easy to make a full day of fun. wetnwildorlando.com

Adventure Island

Tampa’s answer to the scorching summer, Adventure Island offers both the thrills of seemingly endless waterslides and the relaxation of Key West-style pools. You can take an adventure or just kick back for the afternoon. adventureisland.com

17: The height in stories of a waterslide being built in Kansas City, Kansas, scheduled to open this summer. It will be the tallest in the world.


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