Holy Moses and all the prophets! It is hot AF here in Annapolis. Sorry to be crass, but I just can’t get cool!!
If you aren’t lucky enough to own your own pool, or don’t want to splurge on a pool membership there are still plenty of ways to get wet during a hot Mid Atlantic summer. Whether you prefer a fountain (this link will show you several public fountains in the DC area), a waterpark or a pool, here is a comprehensive list of places we’ve visited in our quest to beat the heat, have fun and stay active. If you are looking for a more natural setting, check out our recent post on rivers, lakes, streams and waterfalls.
Frontier Town, Berlin, Worcester County, MD
The little ones will splash in a shallow wading area with a covered wagon, mini-slides and water sprays, while the older kids can enjoy wilder features like a triple-lane waterslide or tubing flume. If you aren’t into the thrills, enjoy the lazy river, the poolside grill or mini golf (separate admission during peak season). Plenty of free parking, bathhouses, changing rooms and lockers. Very busy in the summer as this is close to Ocean City and Salisbury.
Chesapeake Beach Water Park, Chesapeake Beach, Calvert County, MD
Owned by the town of Chesapeake Beach and connected to their community center, this water park is very popular. It is clean, there are many very alert lifeguards, and there is plenty of (crowded) fun for all ages.
My main complaint here is that no outside water, drinks or food of any kind are allowed, and yet their concession is truly horrible and unhealthy, with no alternatives other than small plastic water bottles, hamburgers and hotdogs, and no emphasis whatsoever on recycling all those bottles and trash, even though the facility is within steps of the Bay. It’s also tough to find even a drop of shade. But you could rent a tent/pavilion for about $60 if you want to guarantee a spot and have shade all day.
Older kids can stay up late for the evening swim and light show. Go in the afternoon for a discounted price. The park also offers lap swim in the mornings, and this is the ideal place to enjoy swimming with or against a current. Swim lessons also available.
You can get season passes, which are very reasonable, or day tickets. You can also find $14 ($7 off) children’s tickets through certifikid.
INSIDER TIP: If you use a prepaid groupon or certifikid coupon to enter the park, you have to stand in a separate line, which is to the left of the main entry. That line is usually much, much longer than the regular priced entry, so plan accordingly. The park opens at 11, and the line begins to form around 10:30.
Downtown Silver Spring Fountain, Silver Spring, Montgomery County, MD
The bustling shopping/dining/living suburban destination outside of DC gets a lot of foot traffic, so this fountain can be crowded or at least have a lot of onlookers. There is very little shade to be found, but there are some spots to sit on a bench-height wall.
There are innumerable eateries very close by. Discovery’s headquarters are about a block away (its lobby has a large dinosaur sculpture and other things for kids to see). A farmers market sets up Saturday mornings along the street right next to the fountain. If you are lucky enough to have a kid friendly movie selection at the time of your visit, be sure to visit the AFI Theater. We saw The Eagle Huntress there and the experience was fantastic. Reserve seats ahead of time and keep a little tummy room for movie treats, including some healthy options from Whole Foods Market (or an adult drink from the bar). Regal Theater is close by if you want a mass market movie, as are many restaurants, most chains like Lebanese Taverna and Eggcellence.
The fountain is on from spring through fall, and hours are 10am to 9pm.
North Arundel Aquatic Center, Glen Burnie, Anne Arundel County, MD
If you want to work off some energy, but don’t necessarily want to be outside, head to this small but inviting indoor water park just off Route 97. You won’t escape the humidity, but at least no one will be bored.
Little ones can zip down the toddler water slide, tip water buckets, splash in spouting fountains or play with the interactive built-in toys — all in a zero-entry wading pool reminiscent of Great Wolf Lodge. Older or taller kids can experience the large slide. There is a whirlpool here my kids could play in for hours, delighting in how the current pulls them round and round. There are also swim lanes and an outside area in summer. Special preschool swim times ensure a calm and kid-friendly experience and swim lessons are available. Children must be 3 or older and toilet-trained.
Insider Tip: This pool requires timed entry and you have to pay cash or check. While the timed entry is not convenient at all if you don’t schedule things just right, it means that the pool isn’t overly crowded. By this I do not mean that it won’t be crowded, especially on camp or rainy days, just that is will be reasonably crowded. Weekends are two-hour timed swims.
Other tip: this is a great place for a birthday or other party. In fact, I have rented the party space for casual playdates when I knew the weather would be gross but that my kids would want to get some water time in.
Hours June 18-Aug. 20, 2016: Daily 11 a.m.-7:45 p.m. with two-hour blocks. Admission: Adults, $6 for Anne Arundel County residents, $8 for non-residents; ages 17 and younger, $4 for residents, $6 for non-residents. 410-222-0090
Truxton Park Pool, Annapolis, Anne Arundel County, MD
The Truxtun Park Municipal Swim Center is the only outdoor public pool in the City of Annapolis. No membership is required, though Season Passes are available for frequent users. A great place to swim laps or splash around with the whole family during the hot summer months. The Truxtun Park Pool also offers a wide variety of programs for swimmers of all ages and skill levels.
Age *2 and Under with paying adult = free
Youth** (ages 3-17) = $4
Adult (ages 18-61) = $5
Senior (ages 62+) = $4
Children not potty trained must wear a tight-fitting ecology suit over top of their swim diaper.
Children under 13 years old must be accompanied by a parent or guardian 18 years of age or older. No exceptions. Youth ages 13-17 must sign in with the name and phone of a parent/guardian lifeguards can contact in the event of an emergency.
Glenn Dale Splash Park, Glenn Dale, Prince George’s County, MD
This splash park has two levels of fun including spraying mushrooms and floating animals. Two waterslides empty into the shallow waters of a toddler pool — one for small inner tubes and another for traditional sliding. The main pool also has zero-depth entry. Older kids will love the large flume slide and aquatic adventure area with a lily pad crossing.
Lockers, changing rooms, shade, chairs and vending are on site, including a Rita’s Italian Ice.
Admission: Adults, $6 for PG County residents, $8 for non-residents; ages 3-17, $5 for residents, $7 for non-residents; 2 and under, free Hours: Open May 28-Sept. 5, 201. Monday-Thursday, noon-5:45 p.m.; Friday-Sunday, noon-6:45 p.m.
Rollingcrest-Chillum Splash Pool, Chillum, Prince George’s County, MD
This colorful indoor splash park is perfect for preschoolers. The children’s area has a playground with slides, tubes and bridges right in the center of the 1-foot deep pool. Interactive toys, sprays and dump buckets keep kids soaked while they play. The main pool also has a zero-depth entry along with a lily pad crossing and an indoor-outdoor tube slide for older kids.
Admission: Adults, $6 for PG County residents, $8 for non-residents; ages 3-17, $5 for residents, $7 for non-residents; ages 2 and under, free. Hours: Monday noon-5:45 p.m., Tuesday-Thursday 4 p.m.-5:45 p.m., Friday noon-8:45 p.m., weekends noon-4:45 p.m.
Roger Carter Community Center, Ellicott City, Howard County, MD
The center has a splash pad and swim center for swimmers of all ages. Colorful pipes spray onto a padded outdoor deck, while overhead buckets dump water to keep kids cool. The outdoor splash pad is connected to an enormous indoor swim center with a zero-depth entry pool that has a retractable roof and walls for summer use.
There are lockers, vending machines and bathroom/changing rooms on site.
Good Hope Playground, Silver Spring, Montgomery County, MD
Note: For 2017 the sprayground is closed while the community center is renovated.
Cove Point Pool, Lusby, Calvert County, MD
This partially shaded toddler pool offers a zero-depth entry wading pool with spouting whale and fountains for splashing. Older siblings will enjoy the windy waterslides in the main pool. Concession stand is on-site with a playground nearby.
Admission: Resident Adults, $6; residents ages 3-17, $4; ages 2 and younger, free
Non-resident Adults, $8; non-residents ages 3-17, $6 Hours: June 9-Sept. 5, 2016. Weekdays, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; weekends, noon-8 p.m. 410-394-6248.
Six Flags America, Upper Marlboro, Prince George’s County, MD
With a massive wave pool generating ocean-sized waves, a raft ride called “Tornado” that carries riders up to 35 feet per second, a 517-foot, high-speed inner tube slide, smaller-scale double slides and a lazy river, Six Flags America’s Upper Marlboro water park has water adventures for all ages. My kids would go here everyday if I could stand it (or afford it). Life vests are available for visitors under 48 inches tall or those who are not confident swimmers. And if you need a break from all the wet and wild fun, head over to the amusement park. Cabanas with tables, chairs, food and beverage service and tube rentals, for a fee, making this an awesome spot for a planned party.
INSIDER TIP: As with all other water parks, certain heights go on certain rides and if your kids are like mine, being too short can be a bummer worthy of a day-long pout. Be sure you are all well informed about who can go on what.
INSIDER TIP: this park is crowded. I dress my kids in neon shorts and shirts so I can spot them a little better, and I travel with another adult so we can pair off to stay with the kids at all times.
INSIDER TIP: Check out what Six Flags has to say about their park BEFORE YOU GO.
General admission $59.99. Guests under 48 inches are $39.99. Children ages 2 and under are free. You can sometimes find coupons or you can try for the official Summer 2017 discount, 40% off the regular price.
South Germantown Recreational Park Splash Playground, Germantown, Montgomery County, MD
The splash playground includes a 280-jet water maze, a cave with a waterfall, spraying animals, water-bucket drops and a slide. To make a day of your trip, check out the park’s 18-hole mini-golf course, adjacent to the splash playground. Children under 2 are free.
Walter Sondheim Fountain aWest Shore Park, Inner Harbor, Baltimore, MD
While there are many reasons to love Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, this fountain is at the top of our list. Located between the Maryland Science Center and Baltimore Visitor Center in West Shore Park, the fountain, is the perfect ending to a great day exploring all the Harbor offers.
Nearby tables and umbrellas can provide a break from activity if needed. In the summer, the fountain runs from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week. Go in the early morning for less traffic and you might have the fountain all to yourself. Then change in the bathrooms of the Science Center, Visitor Center or Aquarium and move on to other kinds of fun. Be sure to check out the acoustic park on the other end of the Harbor and maybe take a ferry ride over to Wit & Wisdom, one of our favorite restaurants in the area.
Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay, Cambridge, Eastern Shore, MD
We reviewed this hotel here, and wrote extensively about it for GreenBook magazine. We love the Hyatt and highly recommend it. Two large outdoor pools, one with a small waterslide and fountain, are available for guests and slipholders, as is the indoor pool and hot tub.
Nearby Cambridge offers plenty of entertainment—their waterfront park is the perfect place to recover from a filling meal as you watch the sun go down. The area is surrounded by water so you shouldn’t have a hard time figuring out how to stay cool or at least get wet.
Inn at Herrington Harbor, Rosehaven, Calvert County, MD
Another hidden gem, we think because staying here can be price prohibitive for some folks. It’s worth the splurge. We’ve written an in-depth piece about this property for GreenBook Magazine you should check out–it includes lots of our photos so you can get an idea of what’s there. Having been offered a gorgeous suite for that article, we are incredibly spoiled and look forward to a stay here sometime soon.
The large pool can accommodate a crowd, and the pool bar serves fantastic drinks. My kids were able to take a 1/2 hour that turned into 45 minutes swim lesson with a remarkable young lady who was really fantastic. There is a small fitness room next to the pool.
The property sits on Herring Bay and is a designated No Dump Zone. The family that owns the Inn and Marina is intent on environmental conservation. When you stay here (in the hotel or in a slip) you have free access to the beach, kayaks, beach gear and everything you might need to enjoy a day on the Bay.
From here you are within a few short miles of Chesapeake Beach, North Beach, Brownie Beach, Flag Pond Park, Chestnut Land Trust trails and Calvert Cliffs State Park, all previously mentioned on this site.
OTHER WATER PARKS we’ve enjoyed:
Jellystone Park, Hagerstown, MD
Massanutten Waterpark McGaheysville, VA
Great Waves Waterpark Alexandria, VA
Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole, Lorton, VA
Water Country USA, Williamsburg, VA
Great Wolf Lodge, Williamsburg
Great Wolf Lodge, Poconos, NJ
Busch Gardens, Williamsburg (available as a two-pack with Water Country USA, both owned by SeaWorld)Feel free to share...