Indiana water parks worth the drive :: GUIDE

//Indiana water parks worth the drive :: GUIDE

Mommas, we get it. We see guides of ‘best road trips’ and ‘longest list of waterfalls you have to see’ and we’re like please don’t make me drive 4 hours in a car with toddlers if it’s not worth it. WE HEAR YOU.

In the name of support and sisterhood and summer fun, here’s a fabo list of Indiana water parks worth the drive from Indianapolis. {BONUS: Some are a true road trip, and some only a few miles from city center – because occasionally even those few miles feel like a million with kids in tow.}

The top 10 Indiana water parks worth checking out are:

1. Splashin’ Safari Water Park at Holiday World, Santa Claus

Indiana water parks - theCityMoms

Image courtesy of Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari.

K, full disclosure: Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari are the sponsors of this guide. But that’s not just why they’re listed at #1 – it’s because this key southern Indiana attraction {you know, the one that’s been picked up by virtually every must-see list east of the Mississippi including TripAdvisor?} is top of the line in family entertainment. The 40-acre water park is among the largest in the world, boasts plenty-capital-P for attendees to do onsite including dozens of water attractions, slides, pools and two water coasters. BONUS: Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari offer free soft drinks, sunscreen and parking. CityMom Jeanine says “we have a trip planned to Holiday World this summer and I’m not sure who’s more excited – me or the kids! I love  that there’s also an incredible amusement park onsite for when we’re ready to transition away from water play.” Open thru late October.

Distance from Indianapolis: 141.8 miles 

2. French Lick Big Splash Adventure, French Lick

Indiana water parks - theCityMoms

Photo pulled from CityMom Leah’s Insta feed.

Big Splash Adventure is a 40,000 square foot indoor water park with retractable roof. From multi-story slide and interactive play structures to fully-enclosed body slides to a fun “Lost River,” this property boasts not only family fun in the water park but plenty of onsite opportunities for overnight stay, dining and exploring. Last year CityMom Leah dazzled us with this perfect shot of fun at Big Splash Adventure and we were instantly ready to book our own trip. Open year round.

Distance from Indianapolis: 100.4 miles

3. Splash Island, Plainfield

Never been? Splash Island is definitely one of those road-trips-that-isn’t-really-a-road-trip from Indy and worth a visit. Located on 4.3 acres, the tropical-themed Splash Island includes three waterslides, an interactive play area for all ages including kiddie slides, water jets, ropes and guns, a gentle winding river, lily pad crossing, two pulsating vortexes, and plenty of deck space and grassy areas for sun bathing and family fun. And yes, there’s a lazy river here. Open thru Labor Day.

Distance from Indianapolis: 19.6 miles

4. The Waterpark at the Monon Center, Carmel 

Indiana water parks - theCityMoms

Photo used courtesy of Carmel Clay Parks.

Carmel Clay Parks calls this property as a 3.5-acre ‘aquatic experience’ and it most certainly is. Features include a lazy river, adventure slides, activity pool, water activity wall, FlowRider ‘surf’ spot and more. Cabanas are also available for rent, perfect if you have a large party joining you. Our CityMoms also love The Waterpark for its special adults-only mixer nights. Peek other property amenities here. Open thru Labor Day.

Distance from Indianapolis: 14 miles

5. Indiana Beach, Monticello

Originally named Ideal Beach {a name the water park has kept}, this property amusement park began as a small lakeside beach with a bath house and refreshment stand. It has now transformed into a mecca of roller coaster thrill rides, family entertainment and of course, water fun. Float down their lazy river in an inner tube, enjoy one of the 6 onsite waterslides, or try Big Flush, the unique water coaster. There’s plenty to do here and is worth the day trip from Indy.

Distance from Indianapolis: 94.7 miles

6. Freedom Springs Aquatics Park, Greenwood 

Indiana water parks - theCityMoms

Photo used with thanks to IndyStar.

Lots of our CityMoms boast this location as a favorite getaway simply because it’s never TOO busy and has plenty for everyone of all ages. This City of Greenwood property hosts a number of public events, including movie screenings, adult-only movie nights and the season-ending Puppy POOLooza event, when furry friends get their chance to enjoy the water. Plenty of slides, a lazy river, an island for concerts and cabanas round out the amenities. Open thru Labor Day Weekend.

Distance from Indianapolis: 18.7 miles

7. Prophetstown State Park Aquatic Center, Lafayette

“Look,” says CityMom Jeanine. “This has been one of our hidden gem stops for years and I’m always surprised more don’t know about it. It’s an easy drive from Indy, has onsite camping if you’d like to make a weekend of it, great trails for hiking, and the perfect-sized pool for kids of all ages.” What visitors will find is a 30-foot tube slide, body flume, lazy river float area, adventure channel, zero-entry pool with play features, and an aquatic activity area with basketball. Open thru Labor Day Weekend.

Distance from Indianapolis: 73.6 miles


MORE SUMMER FUN COMING ATCHA: Have you peeked our 100 Things To Do This Summer list, thanks to Indy Parks?


8. Deep River Waterpark, Crown Point

Deep River Waterpark is a seasonal summer outdoor water park and winter ice skating rink operated by the Lake County Parks and Recreation Department. This northwest Indiana property is the perfect getaway for Indianapolis and Chicago residents, and has been in operation for over 50 years. General onsite amenities include an interactive family play structure for all ages, an action river and dueling bowl slides. BONUS: Any delays due to weather will be refunded in the form of ‘Hospitality’ tickets so families can return again another day. Open thru Labor Day Weekend.

Distance from Indianapolis: 148.2 miles

9. Tropicanoe Cove, Lafayette

Kick off your shoes, grab your swimming suit and come experience a taste of the tropics in the heart of Indiana: Tropicanoe Cove offers the perfect blend of Hoosier hospitality with the pleasure of a watery paradise. From the spiraling Banana Peel tube slide to the leisurely Cattail Crik, you’re sure to find plenty of cool summertime fun for the entire family. Try out the all new Mat-Racer and Aqua Loop slides!

Distance from Indianapolis: 65.4 miles

10. Gill Family Aquatic Center, Danville

Indiana water parks - theCityMoms

Photo used with thanks to Visit Hendricks County.

CityMom K says this is her fam’s favorite place for summer fun. is a great place to bring the family and spend the day! A renovation in 2005 produced a modern aquatic center right in Danville’s own backyard. Its features include zero depth entry, play feature, lazy river, hydrotherapy, vortex, 2 over 120ft waterslides, diving board, and a splash pad. Open thru early August.

Distance from Indianapolis: 20 miles

2019-06-18T15:44:04-05:00June 18th, 2019|
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