Orange County Splash Parks and Water Play (including Free Fountains, Splash Pads, Waterslides, and Hotels with Water Features)
Always check official sources for Summer 2023 to see if the splash park you want to visit is open. Reservations may be required!
One of Fun Orange County Parks’ regular readers asked about local “spray parks” for water play – and even gave some suggestions herself.
I keep hearing that Southern California, especially OC, lacks splash pads. My only explanation is our proximity to the beach and the good weather which allows us to make our own splash parks at home with sprinklers.
You don’t have to wonder: “Are Orange County splash pads open?” I’m so happy to report on the splash pads and water play areas for Summer 2023. In my experience, I predict they will definitely be more crowded since we have gone so many summers with limited or closed splash pads.
Here are links to a few splash pad options if you are looking to get wet this summer:
FREE SPLASH FOUNTAINS
Look for these splash pads and spray parks to open for summer around Memorial Day. I will make note if they are open more year-round.
More FREE splash pads not featured on this blog:
- Rancho Santa Margarita Splash Pad at Central Park opened to the public in 2022. I have a post on the playground that is attached to it at RSM Central Park. Opened May 20th for 2023. It has already been down a few days for maintenance, but there is a great playground there and library across the street so there is always something else to do.
- The Splash Pad in Westminster’s Sigler Park is open WEEKENDS (September 9th-17th) and DAILY (June 17th – Sept 4th) for Summer 2023 between the hours of 12pm-5pm and closing 2-2:30pm for maintenance. The splash pad is at the corner of a large rectangular park area right off the main boulevard.
- Fullerton actually has an info page about their spray pools. Opening Memorial Day weekend on May 27th.
- Lemon Park Spray Pool at Maple Neighborhood Center in Fullerton used to be a sparse playground with old equipment, although the water play area hasn’t changed much the surrounding playground has new equipment. It’s near the Fullerton AMC and Costco. Open during summer.
- Adlena Park
- Valencia Park
- Downtown Plaza – this one is open daily in summer from 10 a.m. to sunset.
- The District in Tustin Legacy shopping area has pop-jet fountains running 7 days a week. However, the splash pad area closed for more than a year for “safety reasons.”
- Frontier Park in Tustin spray ground “features a state of the art recirculation system and special water conserving spray nozzles that ensures no wasteful water consumption.” Opens May 27th and open 7 days/week through Labor Day from 11am-5pm.
- For Anaheim, there’s Ponderosa Park (OC Register story from June 2018) AND Mira Loma Park & Splash Pad. Usually opens Memorial Day weekend (May 27th).
Other splash pads:
- Yorba Linda Adventure Playground opened on April 22, 2023 and it has a splash pad, plus waterslide. I have not promoted this a lot because the hours are pretty tricky and unpredictable. Also, reservations for weekend access to the waterslides are hard to come by unless you are a resident of Yorba Linda (since they get priority registration for those Saturday and Sunday required reservations). It’s really important to check the official Yorba Linda Adventure Playground website for exact hours and procedures for reservations. At the time of writing, Yorba Linda residents can reserve a spot “up to two weeks in advance and non-residents can reserve up to two days in advance.”
- Atlantis Play Center in Garden Grove – Splash pad usually open during summer except for the weeks when they are running summer camp inside the park. Unfortunately, closed for maintenance again in Summer 2023. I will update when it opens again. Their message on Instagram says: “Atlantis Play Center’s splash pad is currently under construction for repairs. We have experienced some delays due to parts being on back order, but we are hoping to reopen sometime in late July 2023.“
- Brenner Park wading pool in Buena Park – no word on if it will open for 2023.
- Harry M. Dotson Park in Stanton – the park is undergoing indefinite maintenance on its water features now during Summer 2023.
Always check the city or original source to make sure the parks are open. Sometimes they turn off the water without notice.
PAY FOR WATER PLAY
I’ve never been, but the City of La Mirada Buccaneer Bay (Splash!) will open for Summer 2023 beginning Memorial Day weekend on May 27th and it gets the best reader comments:
“We visited Splash in La Mirada on Saturday and “OH MY GOODNESS” it was sooo much fun!” (-Lisa)
“We visited La Mirada (all the way from Lake Forest) today – there’s nowhere we won’t drive! It was definitely worth it. The ‘common pool’ area in the middle is free, parking is free, my 2 year old son was free. That’s a bargain in exchange for the cost of gas. I like that locker rental only cost 50 cents and that you can swim for free or enter Buccaneer Bay for a fee. I thought that cost of the Bay was reasonable for all they had to offer. Can’t wait to go again sometime.” (-Heather)
Season passes are $65/$80 and day tickets are $20/$25.
Newport Dunes Inflatable Water Playground & Water Sport Rentals – Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. New for Summer 2023 – a reservation system is in place and your admission is valid for “One Hour Only, No Full Day access!” Walk-ins are still allowed, but they warn that time slots will sell out. This is also recommended for kids over 5 years old.
The Adventure Lagoon Anaheim Water Park just came on the scene in Summer 2021. Website says it’s opening soon in April 2023.
Other Southern California Water Theme Parks:
- Wild Rivers Waterpark inside Irvine Great Park is opened for the first time in Summer 2022 and they are selling season passes for Summer 2023. All rides are now open. Great toddler/kids areas are Cook’s Cove, Kontiki Cove, and Castaway River. I wrote a HUGE Family Guide on everything you need to know to go play there.
- Knott’s Berry Farm Soak City, Buena Park – Opened for the season on May 20, 2023.
- Sea World’s Sesame Place in Chula Vista (San Diego area) – formerly Sea World’s Aquatica. Opened March last year, but the Sesame Summer Splash water rides open for Summer 2023 on Memorial Day weekend starting May 26th.
- Legoland Water Park in Carlsbad and they even have a splash pad area in the Lego Movie World section of the park (San Diego area)
- San Diego Zoo Wildlife Explorers Basecamp – also a splash pad by the gondolas. Looks so fun! Just opened Spring 2022.
- The Wave Water Park, Vista – opens Memorial Day weekend and they have a printable calendar for the 2023 season. (San Diego area)
- Hurricane Harbor, Valencia (LA area)
- Raging Waters, San Dimas (LA area)
SMALLER SCALE WATER PLAY FOR LOCALS
- Aliso Viejo Aquatic Center and Pool
- San Clemente Aquatics and Vista Hermosa Sports Park (pictured with green slide above)
- Go to different cities for recreational swim (click here for my Ultimate Guide to City Recreation Programs and Calendars)
- Join the YMCA to take part in swim lessons or rec swim
- Montanoso Recreation Center in Mission Viejo (splash pad) and Sierra Recreation Center (waterslide) have day use fees or recreation memberships for residents and non-residents
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA HOTELS WITH WATER PLAY
It’s useful to remember that this list is ONLY waterslides or water parks AT hotels — meaning (in most cases) you must be a registered guest and staying at the hotel to enjoy the amenities.
ResortPass is one way to gain access to some hotels by paying for the day without having to pay for an overnight stay. See if the hotel you have in mind is listed!
- Slyder’s Water Playground at Hyatt Huntington Beach (OC)
- Waterfront Beach Resort Hilton in Huntington Beach (OC)
- Splash Landing Pools and Family Sandy Beach at La Costa Resort (North San Diego County)
- Waterslides at Hyatt Mission Bay Spa & Marina (San Diego)
- Family Pool at the Grand Pacific Palisades in Carlsbad (North San Diego County)
- Splashtopia at Rancho Las Palmas Resort (Palm Springs)
- Children’s Pool at Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa (Palm Springs Area)
- Chuckwalla Slide and Family Pool at Marriott’s Shadow Ridge I – The Villages (Palm Springs Area)
- Mirage Pool at The Westin Desert Willow Villas (Palm Springs Area)
- Monorail Pool at the Disneyland Hotel (OC)
- Redwood Pool at Disney’s Grand Californian Resort (OC)
- Rooftop pool at Disneyland Paradise Pier Hotel (OC)
- Surfside Waterpark at Courtyard Anaheim Theme Park Entrance (OC)
- Castaway Cove at Howard Johnson by Wyndham Hotel Anaheim (OC)
- Waterpark at Cambria Hotel & Suites in Anaheim (OC)
- Splash Zone water playground at Holiday Inn & Suites Anaheim (OC)
- Kids Splash & Play at Renaissance Club Sport Hotel in Aliso Viejo (OC)
- Children’s Splash Zone at Laguna Cliffs Marriott (OC)
- Pool with kids activity area at Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel (OC)
- Great Wolf Lodge, Garden Grove indoor water park (OC)
- Resort Pool and Splash Zone at Terranea Resort (LA area)
What did I miss? Please help me keep this list up-to-date. I’ve been maintaining it every summer SINCE 2008!
Don’t forget the BEACH! Kids can splash in the surf without going all the way in the water. Hold their hands and cool your toes, too. I have a ton of suggestions with details under my Beach category. And I wrote about the Best Toddler Beaches with no waves.
Originally published in Summer 2008.