SplashTown is a summer-run water park 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of Houston. It’s easy to spend an entire day on 53 acres (21 hectares) of rides, slides, pools and family-friendly play areas.
May through September, come early and rent a cabana for some shade and a comfortable table with chairs. Or, rent a locker to stash your stuff and a rubber tube before hitting the pools.
The Tornado is one of the most popular rides, thanks to its height and epic speeds. Start 75 feet (23 meters) in the air and race down a 132-foot (40-meter) tunnel that shoots you out into a huge open-ended funnel. Ride through tunnels and around steep bends at 26 feet (eight meters) per second on the RipQurl. Grab a group of friends and race with them on the 55-foot (17-meter) tall Stingray Racer, which offers six slides in a row.
Relax on the Guadalupe River Adventure, a languid tube ride that winds along a river. Tree House Island is great for kids with a playground that has three stories of ladders and slides. Two child-only play areas, Crocodile Isle and Leaky Pipes, will keep young ones busy. Raft rides — such as the Space Rapids, Thunder Run and Zoom Flumes — allow family and friends to stick together through twists and turns, rapids and tunnels.
There are six different eating options in the park. No outside food or drink is permitted. Typical theme park food —burgers, pizza and hotdogs — are available alongside freshly made baked goods and ice cream. Some of the restaurants offer more upscale meals.
SplashTown is about 30 minutes’ drive from downtown Houston, and there’s plenty of free parking.