In lieu of a trip to the Caribbean, these Texas resorts promise water slides, entertainment, and spa treatments.
Winter certainly has its challenges, and not being able to easily take a dip in a pool or relax in a hot tub during one of the most stressful times of the year is one of them. Not everyone can make it to Hawai‘i or the Caribbean to enjoy sun and sand, but there are plenty of places in Texas that make it easy to shake off the winter blues and let the whole family let their hair down (and get it wet). Many of these locations fall in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, so visitors from the surrounding Ark-La-Tex region will find that many of these standalone indoor waterparks make great Texas day trips, although having an overnight stay at one of these Texas resorts with indoor waterparks and pools is hard to pass up once those temperatures start dropping.
Before you head out, be sure to check specific park details for important details like whether or not they allow outside food and drinks, if your wristband lasts all day, and more. If you have an adventurous little one, be sure to check the height requirements for some of the more exciting attractions so that you know which areas of the park to avoid. Even if you skip the regular FAQ, if you’ve got little kids, you’ll want to check requirements for floaties, adult ratios, etc., to avoid any unforeseen situations that can result in meltdowns for all ages. Whether you’re traveling through Texas, to Texas, or you’re staycationing in Texas—these resorts and indoor waterparks offer wet and wild experiences throughout the entire year.
Top Picks for You
WHERE: Round Rock
For an amazing all-around experience, Kalahari Resorts appeals to all age groups. This sprawling resort isn’t just home to the United States’ largest indoor waterpark; it also has a bowling alley, huge arcade, ropes course, and lots of dining options for kids once those fingers become too pruney. At the waterpark, there’s no shortage of activities, including two massive water playgrounds for toddlers, a splash zone, colossal waterslides that rival outdoor waterparks, a lazy river, a wake pool to try out wakeboarding and surfing, and a wave pool that brings the ocean inside and pairs it with music videos. There’s even an adults-only section and private cabanas with their own hot tubs to give parents a break. The waterpark is included when staying at the well-appointed hotel, and they even provide the option to stay at the waterpark all day until closing on the day that you check out (showers and lockers are available).
JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa
WHERE: San Antonio
While most of the waterparks on this list control the temperature throughout the year by being enclosed/indoors, at JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa, they lean on the often-warm winter temps in Texas, as well as heated pool systems. Don’t mind a little chill in the air as you float along a lazy river? Then this is the waterpark for you. Water features at the 9-acre park include the River Bluff Water Experience with a lazy river and pool, tube and body slides, sandy beach pool, children’s outdoor pool, play area, hot tub, and the adult’s only infinity-edge overlook pool. While not enjoying the water features, this gorgeous resort features plenty of golf and spa options, as well as plenty of Texas-style dining.
WHERE: The Woodlands
The Woodlands Resort is home to the Forest Oasis, which recently opened year-round by warming their pool and double-helix slides to 85 degrees when the temperatures dip (they also offer s’mores by the pool to help guests warm-up). The waterpark, lazy river, and hot tubs are open for a pretty impressive 13 hours, while the adult-only pool is open just shy of that. Other waterpark features include a double-helix slide and Puffy’s Sprayground for the kiddos.
To add to the experience of staying at the resort, guests have the option of ground-floor walk-out rooms that give easy access to the waterpark and lazy river (as well as a walking trail and golf course).
Holiday Inn Club Vacation Villages Resort
Holiday Inn Club Vacation Villages is an all-villa resort in East Texas offering affordable options for families with their two-bedroom villas that range from 726 to 1,257 square feet. The Waterpark at the Villages is the resort’s on-site indoor waterpark that features body slides, a lazy river, a children’s playscape, and a wave pool. In addition to the waterpark, the resort is situated on Lake Palestine and offers marina rentals, including kayaks, motorboats, paddleboats, and more. When the family isn’t in the water, the resort boasts a mini-golf course, arcade, and movie theater.
Great Wolf Lodge
Another all-around great option, Great Wolf Lodge, offers a truly memorable waterpark experience. There are options for all ages ranging from the Howlin’ Tornado (their signature waterslide) for adults and teens to the Whooping Hollow playground for the little pups. Great Wolf stands out by adding to their lazy river experience and offering the river canyon run, adding a bit of white water to a family floating adventure. After everyone has dried off, there’s an on-site arcade, ropes course, and unique quests that kids who love games and adventures will be thrilled to undertake. Their “come early and stay late” policy lets guests access the waterpark from 1 p.m. on arrival day to closing on departure day.
The Cove at the Lakefront
WHERE: Little Elm
The newest waterpark on the list, The Cove at the Lakefront, opened in early 2021 and has quickly become a favorite amongst residents and visitors (they even offer resident and non-resident rates to keep it affordable for those who live nearby). This waterpark features a retractable roof, making it great for any time of the year. It includes a lazy river, a large pool and lap pool, a surf pool, and even cliff jumping and rock wall climbing. There’s a snack bar with yummy treats, but they also have the added bonus of allowing guests to bring in their own food and drink, making it a great option for parties (just leave the glass bottles at home).
Epic Waters Indoor Waterpark
WHERE: North Texas
Epic Waters boasts that it’s the largest indoor waterpark in North Texas, offering a huge variety of thrilling slides for big kids and adults. The Lasso Loop (body slide with 360-degree loop) is a unique thriller, and the E-racers course makes for some epic speed challenges, and the FlowRider wave machine gives riders the chance to try out boogie boarding and surfing. For the littles and more low-key kids, there’s the large swimming pool, lazy river, and the aquatic fort at Rascal’s Roundup. Epic Waters is also host to a large outdoor wave pool (seasonal only) if you make it back around during the summer.
Dallas King Spa
Probably the most unique entry on this list, Dallas King Spa is both a Korean-inspired spa and a kids’ waterpark. Jjim-Jil-Bang spas are popular across Korea because they emphasize relaxation and de-stressing as a family event rather than a solo endeavor. In one section, the kids will be delighted to find slides, a lazy river, small pools, dump buckets, and a few other features. It’s not a huge waterpark, but it will undoubtedly do the job to keep kids engaged while mom or dad gets a spa treatment. On the adult’s side, there’s a spa, themed public soaking rooms, cocktail & wine bar, massage rooms, and the featured attraction: a bade pool with massaging jets. Children are allowed in most areas as long as an adult accompanies them. The kids’ waterpark will reopen in May 2022; check the website for the latest updates.
WHERE: Cedar Park
If you’re looking for a great place for the little ones, Splash Shack is your best bet. This micro-indoor water park centers around an interactive play structure that stands 30 feet tall. It includes dump buckets, slides, and a splash pad in an indoor space that’s kept at a balmy 82 degrees year-round.
Apex Centre Aquatics
Though not a traditional waterpark, the Apex Centre, owned by McKinney Parks & Recreation, offers some great indoor water fun with one of the most unique ways to get fit in the water in the entire country. Their Hydro Ninja Cross water obstacle course is the first in Texas and only the third in the nation like it. Their indoor leisure pool offers a few highlights, including a river channel, a water play structure, and an open flume slide. There’s also an outdoor kiddie pool open during the summer. The Hydro Ninja Cross is currently closed for repairs, so make sure to check the website ahead of your trip for the latest updates.