Water parks in California offer lots of clean wet family fun. They feature everything from tame kiddie attractions to extreme water rides. All of them have water slides, some of which are designed to be used with rafts or tubes. These can range from wild to mild.
Wave pools are also popular. These simulate ocean waves, which you can body surf or ride using a tube. A more sophisticated wave simulator is the Flowrider, which allows you to actually surf without going to the beach. These are available in only a few places.
Lazy rivers are another popular attraction at water parks in California. You can sit back in your tube and imagine you're floating down old man river.
Most parks have water play areas for family fun, with lots of splashing and squirting. And there are also plenty of attractions for the little tykes.
Photo courtesy of California's Great America
The list below is ordered from north to south. For locations, check this map of water parks in California.
Waterworks Park: This small water park in California's Mount Shasta region features the Avalanche (an extreme water slide), plus the Cyclone (an enclosed flume ride), 3 waterslides, a raging river, a lazy lagoon, and a kiddy playground. Located in Redding.
Golfland Sunsplash: This combination amusement park and water park features several thrill rides, including the Master Blaster (a water roller coaster), the Vortex, Revolution, and Stormrider. There are water slides, a lazy river, a large wave pool, and a kiddie play area. Located in Roseville.
Raging Waters, Sacramento: This Northern California water park features several thrill rides, a wave pool, a lazy river, a kiddie play area, and a volleyball court.
Antioch Waterpark: This municipal water park includes 5 water slides, a kiddie slide and pool, two pools and a snack bar.
Waterworld California: This water park in California's East Bay Area features a variety of thrill rides and family rides. There are slides, tubes, a lazy river, a wave pool, an activity pool, a kiddie play area and splash zone. There are several snack bars, a volleyball court, and cabanas that can be rented for an additional fee. Located in Concord.
The Rapids Waterslides: This small park features water slides, a wave pool, a lazy river and a kids' play area. Located in Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreation Area, Pleasanton.
Boomerang Bay at California's Great America: This Australian themed water park features water slides, a wave pool, a lazy river, a water play area, poolside cabanas, and more. Boomerang Bay is part of the Great America theme park, located in Santa Clara.
Raging Waters San Jose: This 23 acre water park is the largest in Northern California. It features water rides and slides, an activity pool, a wave pool and a water play area for the kids. Located on the grounds of Lake Cunningham Regional Park in San Jose.
Wild Water Adventure Park: This large 52 acre water park in California's Central Valley features a variety of slides and tubes, including thrill rides and family rides. There's a large wave pool, a kiddie splash pool and play area, and a large swimming pool. The park also offers volleyball, horseshoes, fishing, a picnic area with grills, and a food court. Located in Clovis, near Fresno.
The Ravine Waterpark: This water park in California's Central Coast features a variety of water slides, including thrill rides, a lazy river, a wave pool, a kiddie pool, and snack bars. Located in Paso Robles.
Mustang Water Park: This Central California water park features water slides, an inner tube ride, a tot pool and spas. The park is located 10 miles east of Arroyo Grande in the Lopez Lake Recreation Area, which itself offers camping and a variety of recreational activities.
Six Flags Hurricane Harbor: This large water park in California's Southland features water slides, a wave pool, a lazy river, water play areas and more. There are thrill rides, family rides and kiddie attractions. Located in Valencia, next to Six Flags Magic Mountain.
Raging Waters San Dimas: At 50 acres this is one of the largest water parks in California. It features water slides, a wave pool, a lazy river, a kid's water playground and more. Located in San Dimas, in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains.
Knott's Soak City: This Southern California water park features water tubes and rides, a wave pool, a lazy river, and more. There are three locations. The Orange County park is located in Buena Park near Knott's Berry Farm. The San Diego park is in Chula Vista, southeast of San Diego. There's an additional location in Palm Springs.
Wild Rivers: One of the most family-friendly water parks in California, Wild Rivers features 40 rides and attractions on 20 acres. There are water slides, a wave pool, and a kiddie play area with scaled down versions of the big people rides. Located in Irvine, where the 405 freeway meets the 5 in Orange County.
Splash Canyon: Scheduled to open in the Summer of 2010, this new water park will feature tube slides, a lazy river, a kids' play area and a wave pool. Located in Temecula.
The Wave Waterpark: This small water park features water slides, a competition pool, and a kids' water play area. Located in Vista, about 9 miles east of Oceanside and 42 miles north of San Diego.
The Wave House Athletic Club: While this facility is not properly a water park, it does feature a large indoor pool and wave riding on the FlowRider and the Bruticus Maximus. Memberships are available, or pay the one time registration fee and pay the hourly rate for wave riding or the daily rate for the Plunge Pool. Located inside Belmont Park on Mission Beach in San Diego.