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32 Places to Cool Off In the Water This Summer

from indoor and outdoor waterparks to paddling spots and splash pads

While we may be land locked here in North Texas, that doesn’t mean we’re short on watery fun. From water parks to paddling spots, here are 32 places to go to beat the heat.


When it comes to water parks, North Texas is definitely not in short supply. If you and the kiddos are hoping to get your water slide, lazy river and wave pool fix, check out these water parks around Dallas-Fort Worth.

1. Bahama Beach: Dallas; 214/671-0820
2. Hurricane Harbor: Arlington; 817/640-8900
3. Hawaiian Falls: Multiple locations
4. NRH20: North Richland Hills; 817/427-6500
5. Splash Dayz: White Settlement; 817/246-2204
6. Water Works Park: Denton; 940/349-8800

Water Parks With a Twist 

For more water park fun that’s a little more outside the box, consider hitting up these places to cool off this summer.

7. While you can have a staycation here if you want, there are also day passes available for the Great Wolf Lodge indoor water park. The day pass includes all-day fun, free life jackets and free passes for kids age 2 and younger. Grapevine; 800/693-9653

8. Epic Waters Indoor Waterpark is open year-round but still a fun place to beat the heat this summer. Grand Prairie; 972/337-3131

9. Jump into Burgers Lake, a spring-fed lake with sandy beaches, slides, diving boards and more just west of downtown Fort Worth. It’s a family-friendly spot to spend the day, complete with a picnic. Fort Worth; 817/737-3414

10. Want to jump into a pool shaped like our great state? You can at the Texas Pool in Plano! The pool is open through Labor Day and has membership options as well as options for guests. And the pool has multiple depths for all ages. The “South Texas” portion is a shallow spot for small kids, the “Panhandle” gets deep (10 feet) and there’s about 3- to 4-feet of water from El Paso to Houston. Plano; 972/881-8392

11. Have some kiddos who are itching to learn to wakeboard? Head over Hydrous Wake Park. There are two locations where they can do just that! There’s also an aqua park they’ll enjoy—think on-the-water bounce house. Allen; 214/390-3088; Little Elm; 214/310-1105

12. Whoa Zone is one-of-a-kind. As an inflatable, over-the-water obstacle course—how can that not be fun? There’s a zone designated for kids ages 4–6, as well as a zone for kids over age 7. Grapevine; 866/946-2966

Make It a Staycation

13. With a massive outdoor pool and lazy river, Paradise Springs at the Gaylord Texan is only open to hotel guests, so why not make a weekend of it? Other features include a lagoon, a water playhouse, a lazy river and more. Grapevine; 1-877/778-1000

14. Planning a summer staycation in Dallas at the Hilton Anatole? Make sure to spend some time at Jade Waters Resort Pool that includes a lazy river, slides, splash and play area for kids and more. Jade Waters is exclusively for hotel guests. Dallas; 214/748-1200

Paddling Spots 

15. Go paddleboarding or kayaking with DFW Surf. With three locations to choose from (Grapevine Lake, Little Elm Beach and Hidden Cove Park), this should be definitely be on your summer hit list. Check your preferred location for details. Grapevine, Frisco, Little Elm; 972/427-4082

16. Canoe, kayak and hangout on a SUP board in downtown Fort Worth with Backwoods Paddlesports. Know before you go: Kids must be at least 30 pounds to fit into the smallest life jacket. You can bring your own, but it must by type III Coast Guard approved. Fort Worth; 817/470-2613

17. Take a river trip on the Elm Fork of the Trinity River with Trinity River Kayak Co. All trips include a paddle orientation to get your started. Fishing is also available during the adventures; just make sure anyone over age 17 has a valid fishing license. Have your own kayak or canoe? You’re welcome to bring it or rent one from the company. Trinity River Kayak Co. also recommends that kids under the age of 8 not paddle their own kayak or canoe and instead ride tandem with a parent. Coppell; 214/513-0649

18. Check out what the Great Trinity Forest has to offer as you kayak or canoe with Trinity River Expeditions. Take a self-guided tour (guided trips are suspended for the time being) and kids of all ages are welcome, life jackets are available for kids under 30 pounds. Dallas; 214/941-1757

19. Make a reservation to go paddleboarding, kayaking or canoeing on Lake Arlington with Adventures Unlimited Paddling Company. With two instructors available to learn from, you’ll be able to move around the water with your watercraft life a pro. Walk-ups are welcome, but reservations help due to limited boat availability. Arlington; 214/478-7856

20. With Lonestar Adventure Sports, you can grab a single or double kayak or a paddleboard and get moving on Grapevine Lake. Bonus: Loved kayaking with Lonestar? It’s open year-round if you want to try out your paddling skills during other seasons. Grapevine; 214/724-8311

21. Stop by the SUP shack in Las Colinas to rent a paddleboard or a kayak from SUP North Texas where you can paddle around Lake Caroyln. Lessons are available or you can rent a boat and do your own thing. Las Colinas; 972/567-7871

Wondrous Waterfalls

TLC may have told you not to go chasing waterfalls, but we’re here to tell you that there are plenty of waterfalls within a short drive from North Texas. So why not?

22. Airfield Falls is touted as Tarrant County’s largest natural waterfall, but it’s more than that. When you visit, keep an eye out for some local wildlife and butterflies. Fort Worth

23. Located in a serene greenbelt in Richardson, Prairie Creek Park Waterfall is a hidden gem and known to be a great picnic spot. The best access to the waterfall is by parking on West Prairie Creek Drive. Richardson; 972/744-4300

24. Located just west of Austin, Hamilton Pool was created when the dome of an underground river collapsed. In order to preserve the area, reservations and required and they fill up quickly. Keep in mind: Swimming in Hamilton Pool is not guaranteed due to bacteria levels and safety concerns. Dripping Springs; 512/264-2740

25. While visiting Colorado Bend State Park, consider finding the 70-foot Gorman Falls nestled inside. Be prepared though: Getting to Gorman Falls requires a 3-mile round trip hike over rocky terrain. In other words, we don’t recommend this for little ones. Bend

26. Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center—a conservation sanctuary—happens to be home to a waterfall, wet grotto as well as trails. Due to high demand and limited availability, reservations are strongly recommended. There are no self-guided tours; access to the canyon, cave and grotto is permitted with staff. Round Mountain

27. Located in the Arbuckle Mountains of south-central Oklahoma, Turner Falls Park is a hot spot. Locally considered to be Oklahoma’s largest waterfall, you can view the waterfall from the land or swim in the around. Keep in mind: All children age 12 and younger must wear a Coast Guard approved flotation device, no exceptions. Water depths vary within the park so it’s important to pay attention to the rules for your safety. Davis, OK; 580/369-2988

Water Features and Fountains

If you want something really different in terms of watery fun, check out some of the local water features, fountains and manmade waterfalls nearby. Don’t forget your camera, pictures here are definitely worth taking!

28. On the south end of downtown Fort Worth lies the architectural wonder that is the Fort Worth Water Gardens. Have fun walking around the structure but keep a close eye on your kiddos and make sure they watch their step. Fort Worth; 817/392-5700

29.Pioneer Plaza is a one-of-a-kind park that’s dedicated to the celebration of the first settlers in Dallas. The park includes plants, a flowing stream, a manmade waterfall, manmade cliffs and bronze longhorn steers moving mid-cattle drive. Dallas; 214/953-1184

30. Lead a child to water, and they will … play! Take the kids for a good romp around the Main Street Interactive Fountain in the heart of Old Town Coppell. The fountain operates daily from 9am-1pm and 4-8pm. Coppell; 972/462-5100

31.Klyde Warren Park has a lot to offer—a children’s park, food trucks, and even a dog park. But we bet the most enticing park feature for kids this summer will be the interactive fountain. Bring your kids (and a towel) for a good splash around the fountain, situated in the Children’s Park section. Dallas; 214/716-4500

32. While the Fountains at Legacy West are not ones the kiddos can play in, they will still enjoy watching them dance with the music accompanied by beautiful lights in the evenings as you stroll around. The fountains are located in front of Mesero and Cava. Plano; 469/702-8402

Photo courtesy of Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.