The 5 Best Water Parks Around San Diego
Splish and splash with your family in these great water parks!
San Diego is absolutely the place to be if you’re a kid who loves water. There are more warm months in a year than not in these parts, so we don’t have to wait around for summer to get here to jump in the pool. We swim year-round in San Diego! Babysitters and nannies, dads and moms, grandmas and grandpas: Whoever you are with kiddos in tow, they will love these water parks.
Infants, toddlers, kids and young and older teens will all find something fun to do at these water parks. There are water shooters, wade pools and wave pools, slides from stomach-churning heights, and all kinds of places to just float around. Maybe you’ll spend half the day on a lazy river and barely slide, or maybe you’ll spin and slide to your heart’s content. Just be sure you’re covering up with SPF while you do it!
Address: 2052 Entertainment Circle, Chula Vista, CA 91911
Hours: Click here for days open, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Fees: Admission ages 10+, $44 | Ages 3-9, $38 | Click here for more ticket options.
Aquatica was bought by SeaWorld, which now runs the chain of parks. The entrance to Aquatica is inside SeaWorld, although tickets and expenses are completely separate. This small-ish water park opens at 10 a.m. with a parking cost of $15. Arrive early if you want to be sure to snag a lounge chair. They encourage you to bring towels, sunblock, hats, sunglasses, sandals, goggles, and maybe a water protector case for your phone. But don’t bring any of your own water toys, or they will be confiscated. You can also pack a picnic! The whole family will be starving after a few hours of water play and sun.
Kids will love the wave pool, where a DJ plays family-friendly music later in the day. The Kid Zone is for ages 5 and under, so depending on the ages of your kiddos, you might be sitting there or moving around the park. Be sure to dress appropriately, as T-shirts are not allowed on rides, and kids under 42 inches have to wear a life vest at all times in the water. It can be a special treat to do a two-in-one and spend one day at SeaWorld and the next at Aquatica. If you want to do this, they often have great deals, like this one on a two-fer.
Address: 11238 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., San Diego, CA 92124
Hours: Monday - Friday, 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. | Saturday, noon - 3 p.m.
Adults ages 16+: $4 per visit, $30 for 10 visits, or $85 for 30 visits
Kids ages 15 & under/Disabled/Seniors ages 62+: $2 per visit, $15 for 10 visits, or $40 for 30 visits
Tierrasanta Pool is a charming mini-waterpark absolutely perfect for a last-minute trip to shed some excess energy from rambunctious kids without having to do too much prep and very little driving. The tot spot has less than a foot of water, perfect for toddlers or nannies holding babies, and there is a slide and a water jungle gym, too. There are bigger slides that older kids can use if they pass a swim test.
In addition, the water play is attached to an old-fashioned park, so kids can switch between the two to entirely exhaust themselves. If the kids get hungry and you didn’t pack food, there are drive-thru restaurants nearby.
This truly enormous water park in Vista is a summertime splash heaven where you can definitely spend all day -- with sunscreen, of course! There are water features for the very adventurous, like the slide tower with four slides, to those less adventurous who might like tubing Riptide Slide into the lazy river.
There’s even a special “mermaid program” for little ones who love mermaid magic, so be sure to ask about it. The Wave Park also has swimming lessons and a Junior Lifeguard program. As with many water parks, be sure to register for a cabana ahead of time if you want to ensure you have your own shaded area with a table.
Address: 1 Legoland Drive, Carlsbad, CA 92008
Hours: Hours vary by season. | Open on Saturdays & Sundays through Oct.1.
Fees: Upgrade LEGOLAND ticket to include Water Park admission, $30 | Click here for more ticket options.
Located inside the famous LEGOLAND park, LEGOLAND Water Park is a true blend of the imaginary joy of LEGOLAND and the soaking good time of a water park. Young kids will absolutely love the Imagination Station, where they can build dams and structures in the water with oversized LEGO bricks. Older kids will love the Joker Soaker, where they can shoot water cannons. Teens and adults will be thrilled with the Pirate Reef and Splash Out for some high-speed water games.
LEGOLAND also includes the Sea Life Aquarium, so families can enjoy a San Diego staycation and take in all the attractions one by one over a weekend. Tickets for combined discounts can be bought online.
Address: 6565 Alicante Road, Carlsbad, CA 92009
Hours: Hours vary by season and activity.
Fees: Adults, $5 | Kids 17 & under, $3 | Inflatable Zone, $10
Alga Norte Park's Aquatic Center opened in 2014 and contains a competition pool, 25-yard instructional pool (with warm water!), diving boards, and a splash pad for children. Just like at the Y, there are lifeguards and free life vests for littles. The Inflatable Zone -- a giant set of plastic inflatable toys to slide and bounce on in the water -- is available Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 1:30 p.m. - 3 p.m.
This is a very community-oriented place that is all about families and kids. No selling, no enormous crowds, just water, sun, and good times.