As the weather warms up and those swimsuits beckon, exploring D.C.’s water parks is just what that long winter ordered. Slap on that sunblock, toss the kids in the car and hit the road for a trip to the city’s best places to get wet and wild this summer.

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Chesapeake Water Park
4079 Gordon Stinnett Blvd.
Chesapeake, MD 20732
(410) 257-1404

Price: $18 for children 48 inches or taller/$16 for children shorter than 48 inches and seniors/discounts for Chesapeake Beach and Calvert County residents

For a family friendly day of fun in the sun, nothing beats Chesapeake Water Park. Send the kids to the slides and play areas and lounge in the lazy rivers, or grab a free tube and lounge around enjoying the wading pool, fountains and waterfalls throughout the park. Even kids love the lazy river here for its caves and bridges, but it’s the climbing, kiddie pool and exciting frogs, pirate ships and shells to explore that really keep the little ones happy. Back by popular demand, night slides on Friday evenings promise the perfect start to any summer weekend. Rent a cabana for a break from the sun during the day, or bring a beach chair to lounge around the park. With safety in mind, all of Chesapeake’s life guards are certified and EMT trained. The Beachcomber Grill’s delicious lunch and snack options include Hawiian shaved ice to keep everyone cool all day long.

Related: Best Kid-Friendly Attractions in the DC Area

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Gaithersburg Water Park at Bohrer Park
506 S. Frederick Ave.
Gaithersburg, MD 20877
(301) 258-6445

Price: $5.75 Gaithersburg residents ages 3 and older/$6.75 non-residents ages 3 and older

The Gaithersburg Water Park at Bohrer Park is showcasing its a major expansion and renovation this season. Upgrading from five to six competitive lap pool lanes means families here get even more solid swim time. Perfect for everyone from daycare crowds to singles looking to soak up a little sun, the park’s biggest draw is its 38-foot water slide and zero-depth entry pool. For the kiddos, its added sprayers, fountains and multi-level play structure mean they’ll be asleep before the car hits the driveway at the end of the day. Ample shade, and hiking and biking trails amp up the variety here, but it’s the mini golf and skate park that really put this place over the top. Ask about reduced rates for Montgomery County residents.

Related: Best Day Trips For Families Around Washington, D.C.

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16000 Theme Park Way
Doswell, VA 23047
(804) 876-5000

Price: $49.99 online tickets for adults/$37.99 seniors and kids/$12 parking

A day trip to Waterworks at Kings Dominion is always worth the drive, and with admission to Kings Dominion comes access to Waterworks as well. One of the largest in the region, this park boasts more than 650,000 gallons of water in its giant wave pool, Big Wave Bay, with more than four-foot waves. Try the Lil Barefoot Beach with young children for colorful fountains and spray play that won’t wear them out like playing with the big kids. Thrill seekers should try the Baja Bends, with fun twists and turns, and Tornado for a 65-foot drop. For fun with the whole family, hit Surf City Splash House, filled with more than 50 watery activities including slides and swinging bridges. Be sure to try the relaxing Lazy Rider for stress-free fun floating around the park, and you’ll need the calming waters after the Pipeline Peak’s four, awesome enclosed slides that range from 45 to 77 feet in the air.

Carly Mannava is a freelance writer living in the Washington, D.C. Metro Area. Her work can be found on