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Water Parks in Texas: 8 Hotels for Fun Getaways

From splash pads to water slides, Texas has some of the largest water parks in the country. These getaways will take the edge off the summer heat!

With the scorching summer heat ready to beat down on my Houston home, I know I want to pack up the car and head to a water park. Whether we’re wrangling our kids for a weekend getaway or organizing a caravan of multiple cars with friends, a quick trip to one of the state’s larger beach resorts near San Antonio and South Padre Island is a sure way to get everyone in a better mood.

But my favorite water spots are a little closer to home. They may be smaller, but their lazy rivers are no less refreshing. When summer sets in, Texas water parks are the perfect place to cool down. No matter where you are in the state, there’s probably a cool water park within driving distance and a nice hotel nearby.

1. Hometown Family Fun in Houston Area

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Just outside Houston sits the former rice farming community of Katy, Texas. It’s still got some of that old Texas charm in the historic downtown, and it’s home to one of the newest water parks in the state: Typhoon Texas Houston.

Launched in 2015, this water park is unique because it offers all the fun of water slides and a lazy river while also sitting adjacent to Katy Mills, one of the largest outlet malls in the state (that’s right, two of my family’s favorite destinations in one trip!).

Hotels & Vacation Rentals - Katy

161 Hotels
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Where to Stay: Home2 Suites by Hilton

There are many budget-friendly motels and hotels near Typhoon Texas, but one of the newest is Home2 Suites by Hilton. This brand-new build offers clean, modern design and suites large enough to accommodate a family. Suites even include a kitchen with microwave and fridge if you want to bring along your own meals. Or you can roll out of bed and grab some cereal and yogurt at the free breakfast buffet.

These options make it a perfect water park trip for families on a budget, and there are also tons of local and chain restaurants nearby that offer something for everyone in the group. And if you have a hard time getting the kids off the water slides at the end of the day, the hotel has a spacious outdoor pool and free WiFi. It’s also pet-friendly, so you can bring along a furry friend.

Home2 Suites By Hilton Houston Katy

Top rated
Katy
9.0 Excellent (434 reviews)

2. Home to the World's Largest Water Coaster

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One of the oldest, and best known, Texas water park chains is Schlitterbahn. And the largest water park in Texas happens to be Schlitterbahn Galveston. Located in the Houston area, this is one of the most visited water parks in the state.

The appeal of Galveston is more than just the beachfront location and amusement park vibe. It’s also home to the world’s largest water coaster (according to the Guinness Book of World Records). The 81-foot-tall MASSIV water ride whips riders around through a light show and a triple drop into a landing pool. Not for the feint of heart!

Hotels & Vacation Rentals - Galveston

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Where to Stay: Moody Gardens Hotel

Moody Gardens Hotel (adjacent to Schlitterbahn Galveston) is right in the heart of the action. Attached to the convention center, the Moody Gardens Hotel features a world-class spa, two upscale restaurants, and a popular hotel bar (in case you decide to take a break from riding MASSIV all weekend). It also has it’s own smaller water park.

Stepping into the lux cream-colored lobby, a calming stone water feature is topped by a cloudy blue paint treatment on the ceiling. It’s a reminder of the hotel’s connection to the rocky Galveston beach just beyond the lush hotel gardens and massive glass pyramids that house a tropical garden and NASA-inspired learning exhibit. If a lush lazy river, golfing and kid’s camp activities are your family’s speed, Moody Gardens delivers.

Moody Gardens Hotel

Top rated
Galveston
8.8 Excellent (2731 reviews)

3. Vintage Water Adventure near San Antonio

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The original Schlitterbahn location, founded in the late 1970s, is Schlitterbahn New Braunfels. The park may not have modern thrill rides, but it’s fed by natural spring water from a nearby river. Relax in a lazy river that winds through mature trees all around the park. The water is always a cool, refreshing 72 degrees no matter how hot the summer day may be.

Hotels & Vacation Rentals - New Braunfels

1365 Hotels
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Where to Stay: Resort at Schlitterbahn

Located in a rapidly growing suburban area near San Antonio, the Resort at Schlitterbahn has all the fun and vintage charm of a 1970s camp. It’s attached to the water park, so that vintage vibe carries over from the park to the resort.

The resort is build in a cabana style, so look forward to real wood trim and big windows to let in loads of fresh air. Many rooms have vintage wood floors and detailing, while others have more modern tile or carpet. Rooms are unique, so you won’t have a cookie-cutter experience here.

If you get tired of slipping down water slides and gliding through the lazy river, you can roam the resort’s relaxing gardens. This is the place to experience an all-natural water park.

The Resort at Schlitterbahn

New Braunfels
7.3(575 reviews)

4. Luxury Hotel with Water Park in the Hill Country

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For something a little more luxury in the San Antonio area, travel inland toward the Hill Country. With its own private nine-acre water park, the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa offers a lot more than a lazy river (although there is one whopping 1,100 feet!).

The water park features a handful of slides, including a couple of fun wooden tunnel style slides. But the outdoor appeal really comes from the lazy river, which winds around large pools and cabana chairs set up all along the water. There are plenty of loungers and umbrellas lining the river and pools, even on packed summer afternoons.

Hotels & Vacation Rentals - San Antonio

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Where to Stay: Yes, in the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa

The rooms at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country  are as lux as you’d expect from a resort and spa. High-end contemporary furnishings and sweeping views of the resort’s lush grounds, water features or golf course are standard. All rooms have a balcony or large window.

Traveling without kids? Check out an adults-only infinity pool overlooking the seemingly never ending rolling green hills and distant trees of the golf course, perfect for romantic getaways in Texas. The resort offers lots of private areas with sweeping views for quiet relaxation time.

JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa

Top rated
San Antonio
9.0 Excellent (1453 reviews)

5. Best of Beach and Park Together in South Padre Island

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In 2019, Schlitterbahn South Padre Island left the Schlitterbahn chain and became Beach Park at Isla BlancaThe water park is packed with slides and a large simulated wave pool if you want to experience body surfing outside the ocean. One of the most popular features of the park are the cabanas, which can be rented by the day. Set up a home base in the shade of a cabana while the kids play in splash pools and take a ride on one of several twisting slides.

Hotels & Vacation Rentals - South Padre Island

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Where to Stay: Beach Resort at South Padre Island

The park’s resort was also rebranded as the Beach Resort at South Padre Island. It’s the largest hotel in the area and has direct beach access. Rooms feature reclaimed wood and handmade furniture made from pines salvaged after the 2011 Bastrop wildfires. The real attraction is its proximity to both the beach and the water park.

Two hotel pools are flanked by tall palm trees, adding a tropical feel to the resort’s exterior. If you get tired of beach gazing or surfing simulated waves at the water park, sit out by the colorfully painted hotel pool or jump in and order drinks at the swim-up bar.

Schlitterbahn South Padre Island Beach Resort

South Padre Island
7.8 Good (285 reviews)

6. Indoor Water Fun in Grapevine

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If you haven’t experienced an indoor water park, Great Wolf Lodge should be on your list (especially if you have young children). Located in Grapevine, near Dallas-Fort Worth, everything from the hunting lodge inspired room decor to the oversized cartoon bears in overalls seems to have been created with young kids in mind.

The indoor water park has tons of natural light from large windows and smaller scale slides and splash pool areas. For a more traditional outdoor water park experience, step outside and explore the outdoor water areas, including simulated hot springs, water obstacle courses for kids and simulated whitewater rapids rides.

Hotels & Vacation Rentals - Grapevine

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Where to Stay: Great Wolf Lodge Resort

The rooms at the Great Wolf Lodge Resort have solid wood furnishings, plaid linen accents and antler art. Special themed suites feature little cabin-style bunk bed areas for kids. The camp and hunting theme carries into the family activity areas, like a rope course and the Fort Mackenzie “water fort tree house” in the water park.

You could spend the entire trip exploring the water park and other family-friendly activities in the drier areas of the resorts. But the lodge is also located near shopping, restaurants and a movie theater if the family decides to venture off the resort grounds.

Great Wolf Lodge Grapevine

Grapevine
8.3 Very good (1869 reviews)

7. An Upscale Hotel and Water Park Experience

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For resort goers who want the option of walking through four acres of indoor gardens in an upscale hotel or heading outside to wade into a walk-in beach, the Gaylord Texan Resort, also in Grapevine, fits the bill.

The Gaylord Texan has an outdoor family water park that’s open from Memorial Day through Labor Day. You don’t have to be a guest to visit the park, but the hotel is definitely worth visiting if you’re planning a trip to the water park. You won’t find monster water rides at this resort, but their private cabanas are some of the nicest in the state (and they book fast!).

Take a few laps around the lazy river that encircles the park, or take a ride on one of a handful of water slides. Kids will have fun splashing through the water park’s adventure area, and everyone in the group can experience a taste of the ocean at the park’s man-made beach.

Hotels & Vacation Rentals - Grapevine

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What to Stay: Gaylord Texan Resort

When you’ve dried off, there’s a lot to see inside the Gaylord Texan Resort. At the center of the indoor gardens, the Texas Marketplace sits beneath a glass domed atrium. Inside, you can get your fill of Texas-themed food and dining. Or have cocktails in the trendy (and typically packed) Glass Cactus Nightclub.

With an attached convention center, and located near Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, the Gaylord Texan Resort is a popular destination for summer water park enthusiasts and people who enjoy luxury accommodations.

Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center

Grapevine
8.3 Very good (2475 reviews)

8. An Urban Water Park in Dallas Downtown

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Most wouldn’t think of downtown Dallas when they think of water park vacations (or staycations!). Yet the Hilton Anatole delivers JadeWaters, one of the most urban hotel water parks in the state. On weekends, the Leisure Cove Pool is grown-ups only, and it has become a popular meeting ground.

During the summer, the JadeWaters Bar and Grill opens up to serve guests poolside, and there’s a 23-seat swim-up bar where you can grab a refreshment before getting back on the lazy river. For those who are only in it for the water slides, there are two 180-foot slides to choose from.

Hotels & Vacation Rentals - Dallas

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Where to Stay: Hilton Anatole Hotel

Considering their location in downtown, the Hilton Anatole Hotel and its water park have a lot of shade trees and green space for sitting and enjoying a summer afternoon. Reserve day beds and cabanas early. Even though they’re only available to hotel guests, they’re still in limited supply.

Inside the hotel, you’ll find a full spa, lap pool and fitness classes. The hotel is upscale contemporary and colorful. Rooms are appointed in bright reds and purples to reflect the energy of downtown.

Hilton Anatole

Dallas
8.3 Very good (2624 reviews)

Hero Image: Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts.