The MASSIV Water Coaster at Schlitterbahn Galveston Waterpark is the world's tallest water coaster. At more than 81 feet, this coaster has uphill climbs, a translucent turn and a heart-pounding triple drop finale.
The MASSIV Water Coaster at Schlitterbahn Galveston Waterpark is the world's tallest water coaster. At more than 81 feet, this coaster has uphill climbs, a translucent turn and a heart-pounding triple drop finale.
Photo courtesy of Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts

Big Rivers Almost Open in Houston + Road Tripping the Waterparks of Texas

This summer we're taking a look at interesting, odd, historic and just plain worth it road trips in and around the Lone Star State.

The wait is almost over and the long-anticipated Big Rivers Waterpark is getting closer to opening in New Caney, less than 35 miles from downtown Houston. Their June 29 launch date was pushed back due to inclement weather, and the rains we experienced on the 4th of July didn't help, but start your engines because it's almost here. We're expecting a big announcement very, very soon.

Whether you're in it for the thrills, the chills, or it's just so sweltering hot outside that only a waterpark will do, here's our look at the newest and coolest water-centric theme parks in Texas. (Parks are ranked in order of proximity to downtown Houston.) View more pics in our slide show, then chart your course for adventure.

Altitude H2O - Houston (23 miles from downtown Houston)
The thrills: One of the largest floating aqua park obstacle courses in Texas.
The chills: Slip, slide and balance where trampolines meet the water.
Season: Daily through August 19, 2018
(Inside Wake Nation Houston) 4411 County Road 418, Rosharon, 281-253-1757, altitudeh2ohouston.com

Wake Nation Houston (23 miles from Houston)
The thrills: Wakeboard, kneeboard or waterski with a main cable; aerial ropes course.
The chills: Summer camps, birthdays and group outings.
Season: Daily through August 19, 2018
4411 County Road 418, Rosharon, 281-431-4444, wakenationhouston.com

Texas Freefall at Wet’n’Wild SplashTown is a seven-story, side-by-side, free falling slide and not for the faint of heart.
Texas Freefall at Wet’n’Wild SplashTown is a seven-story, side-by-side, free falling slide and not for the faint of heart.

Wet’n’Wild SplashTown (25.8 miles from Houston)
The thrills: The six-story drop-and-dive Alien Chaser tube slide and the seven story Texas Freefall and Brain Drain.
The chills: Big Kahuna, Paradise River, Runaway Rapids, Stingray Racer and Thunder Run.
Season: Open daily through August 26; open weekends through September 22, 2018.
21300 I-45 North, Spring, 281-355-3300, wetnwildsplashtown.com

Pirate's Bay Water Park (28.5 miles from Houston)
The thrills: Flowrider, Space Bowl, Colorado Drop Slide and Boomerango.
The chills: Crossing activities, long lazy river, wave pool and play structure.
Season: Open daily through August 26; open weekends through September 3, 2018.
5300 East Road, Baytown, 281-422-1150, baytown.org/city-hall/departments/parks-recreation/pirates-bay

Typhoon Texas - Houston (31.8 miles from Houston)
The thrills: The Snake Pit, Lone Star Racers, Monster Storms and the Duelin' Daltons.
The chills: Buckaroo Bayou, the Gully Washer, the Lazy T River and the new Double T Bar.
Season: Open daily through August 26; open weekends through September 23, 2018.
555 Katy Fort Bend Road, Katy, 832-426-7071, typhoontexas.com/houston

New! Big Rivers Waterpark | Gator Bayou Adventure Park (34.7 miles from Houston)
The thrills: Gator Splash, the largest interactive play structure in Texas, with multiple slides, sprayers and more than 300 water play elements.
The chills: Boca Chica Bay Wave Pool, Rio GRAND Lazy River, Hatchling Hill and Polliwog Puddle.
Coming soon: Arriving later this fall, look for Storm Surge, Comal Crush, Frio Falls, Pecos Plunge and Sabine Scream.
Season: (Once it actually opens.) Open daily through August 26; open weekends through September 16, 2018. Gator Bayou runs year-round, transforming itself into the Forest of Fear in the weeks leading up to Halloween.
23101 State Highway 242, New Caney, 281-302-4020, bigriverswaterpark.com

Schlitterbahn Galveston Waterpark (52 miles from Houston)
The thrills: MASSIV, the world's tallest uphill water coaster, Soaring Eagle zip line and three speed slides.
The chills: Three kids' activity areas, four tube slides and a secluded beach.
Season: Indoor waterpark is open weekends and select holidays, October-December. The full indoor-outdoor waterpark is open daily through August 26; open weekends September 1-October 14, 2018.
2026 Lockheed, Galveston, 409-770-9283, schlitterbahn.com/galveston

Palm Beach at Moody Gardens (57 miles from Houston)
The thrills: Bands on the Sand (through August 11), wave pool and 18-foot tower slides.
The chills: Splashpad, 650-foot lazy River and Aquarium Adventure.
Season: Open daily through August 19; open weekends August 25-September 3, 2018.
One Hope Boulevard, Galveston, 1-800-582-4673, moodygardens.com/attractions/palmbeach

Splashway Waterpark & Campground (88.7 miles from Houston)
The thrills: Tropical Storm, Ray's Riptide, Loco Mono, Hurricane Hill, Midnight Storm and the Jet Stream.
The chills: Kids of the Caribbean, Lazy River, Minnow Pond and Pirates of Kiddie Cove.
Season: Open daily through August 11; open weekends through September 30, 2018.
5211 Main Street, Sheridan, 979-234-7718, splashwaywaterpark.com

Splash Kingdom Family Water Park - Timber Falls (143 miles from Houston)
The thrills: Timber!, Timber Snakes, Lumberjack and Buzz Saw.
The chills: Tree House, Activity Pool, Log Jam and sand volleyball.
Season: Open daily through August 12; open weekends through September 2, 2018.
401 North University, Nacogdoches, 936-305-5009, splashkingdomwaterpark.com/nacogdoches

Hang loose in Austin with NLand Surf Park's high performance reef waves.EXPAND
Hang loose in Austin with NLand Surf Park's high performance reef waves.
Photo courtesy of NLand Surf Park

NLand Surf Park (154 miles from Houston)
The thrills: Surf on the steep, high performance reef waves or the knee- to waist-high inside waves.
The chills: Yoga on the shore, beginner-friendly bay waves and NLand Brewing Company.
Season: Open Tuesdays through Sundays; schedule changes in September.
ETJ 4836 East Highway 71, Austin, 512-806-1900, nlandsurfpark.com

Typhoon Texas - Austin (177 miles from Houston)
The thrills: The Challenge Course, Tidal Wave Bay, zip line tour, and the seven-story Gunslinger and Shootout.
The chills: Howdy Hollow, Family Adventure Trail and the Gully Washer.
Season: Open daily through August 15; open weekends through September 15, 2018.
18500 TX-130 North Service Road, Pflugerville, 512-212-7792, typhoontexas.com/austin

Schlitterbahn New Braunfels Waterpark is four parks in one: The Original Schlitterbahn (Comal River water), Surfenburg, Blastenhoff! and Tubenbach. The Black Knight waterslide plunges riders into eerie darkness.
Schlitterbahn New Braunfels Waterpark is four parks in one: The Original Schlitterbahn (Comal River water), Surfenburg, Blastenhoff! and Tubenbach. The Black Knight waterslide plunges riders into eerie darkness.
Photo courtesy of Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts

Schlitterbahn New Braunfels Waterpark (179 miles from Houston)
The thrills: The six-story Master Blaster, The Dragon's Revenge, Down Hill Racer and Soda Straws.
The chills: The Falls (world's longest tubing adventure), the Raging River, the Congo and swim up bars.
Season: Open daily through August 26; open weekends September 1-16, 2018.
400 North Liberty Avenue, New Braunfels, 830-625-2351, schlitterbahn.com/new-braunfels

The Waterpark At The Villages (190 miles from Houston)
The thrills: The Sidewinder and the Copperhead tower slides and the Blue Bullet and Red Rage body slides.
The chills: Lazy river, gentle wave pool and a fanciful forest-themed children's playscape.
Season: Open daily through August 19; open select weekdays and weekends through August 31, 2018.
18270 Singing Wood Lane, Flint, 903-534-8400, waterparkatthevillages.com

Hawaiian Falls, Waco (192 miles from Houston)
The thrills: The Rush, Monsoon, Typhoon, Pineapple Express, Tempest Tower and Tsunami.
The chills: Keiki Kove, Breaker Bay, Kona Kooler, Splashwater Reef and Waikiki Waterworks.
Season: Open daily through August 17; open weekends through September 3, 2018.
900 Lake Shore Drive, Waco, 254-892-0222, hfalls.com/waco

Six Flags Fiesta Texas (213 miles from Houston)
The thrills: Boomerang, Der Twister, Fireball, Batman: The Ride and Goliath.
The chills: White Water Bay, Buckarooz, Daffy's School Bus Express and the Kiddee Koaster.
Season: Daily through September 3; weekends and select weekdays through December 31, 2018.
17000 IH-10 West, San Antonio, 210-697-5050, sixflags.com/fiestatexas

Aquatica San Antonio (214 miles from Houston)
The thrills: Walhalla Wave, Hooroo Run, Kiwi Curl, Tassie's Twisters and the all new Taumata Racer.
The chills: Stingray Falls through an underwater grotto to view stingrays and tropical fish up close.
Season: Open daily through August 26; open weekends through September 23, 2018.
10500 SeaWorld Drive, San Antonio, 210-520-4732, aquatica.com/san-antonio

Splash Kingdom Family Water Park - Paradise Island (217 miles from Houston)
The thrills: Royal Flush, Pink Panic, The Express, Blue Thunder and White Lightning.
The chills: Kid's Castle, Lazy River, Volcano Mountain and sand volleyball.
Season: Open daily through August 12; open weekends through September 2, 2018.
18814 I-20, Canton, 903-567-0044, splashkingdomwaterpark.com/canton

Schlitterbahn Corpus Christi Riverpark utilizes a Transportainment® River system that conveys guests around the park on water, minimizing time spent in lines and linking Kristal River, Cliff Hanger, Torrent Wave River, Blitz Falls and more.
Schlitterbahn Corpus Christi Riverpark utilizes a Transportainment® River system that conveys guests around the park on water, minimizing time spent in lines and linking Kristal River, Cliff Hanger, Torrent Wave River, Blitz Falls and more.
Photo courtesy of Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts

Schlitterbahn Riverpark in Corpus Christi (229 miles from Houston)
The thrills: The race-friendly Bahn Bay Blasters, 60-foot tall Sky Blaster and the 32 mph Padre Plunge.
The chills: The riverpark's five rivers (wave, momentum, swim channel, action and river tube chutes) are all interconnected, providing a seven mile tubing ride past 16 beaches.
Season: Open daily through the third week in September, 2018.
14353 Commodores Drive, Corpus Christi, 361-589-4200, schlitterbahn.com/corpus-christi

Bahama Beach Waterpark (243 miles from Houston)
The thrills: Bermuda Triangle, Riptide Slide, Bahama Bullet and Tortuga Express.
The chills: Coconut Cove, Calypso Cooler lazy river and Water Wars with water balloons.
Season: Open daily through August 12 and August 18-19, 2018 (closed on Mondays).
1895 Campfire Circle, Dallas, 214-671-0820, bahamabeachdallas.com

Hawaiian Falls, Mansfield (245 miles from Houston)
The thrills: The Cliffhanger, the Hightide Whirlpool, Pineapple Express, Tiki Tower Slides and the Torpedo.
The chills: Methodist Mansfield Keiki Kove, Kona Kooler, Splashwater Reef and Waikiki Beach.
Season: Open daily through August 17; open weekends through September 3, 2018.
490 Heritage Parkway South, Mansfield, 817-853-0050, hfalls.com/mansfield

Epic Waters Indoor Waterpark (253 miles from Houston)
The thrills: FlowRider Surf Simulator, Lassoloop, Aquanaut, Prairie Plunge and the Yellow Jacket Drop.
The chills: Lazy River, outdoor wave pool, activity pool, children's area and full-service bar.
Season: Daily through August 31, 2018.
2970 Epic Place, Grand Prairie, 972-337-3131, epicwatersgp.com

Six Flags Over Texas (259 miles from Houston)
The thrills: Batman™ The Ride, Catwoman Whip, Dive Bomber Alley and Gunslinger.
The chills: Boot Scootin', Bugs Bunny Boomtown, Caddo Lake Barge and Marvin the Martian Space Rockets.
Season: Daily through August 19; weekends and select weekdays through December 31, 2018.
2201 Road to Six Flags, Arlington, 817-640-8900, sixflags.com/overtexas

Hawaiian Falls, Garland (260 miles from Houston)
The thrills: The Pipeline, the 60-foot-high Flyin' Hawaiian & Waikiki Wipeout body slide and the Rush.
The chills: Waikiki Beach, Keiki Kove, Splashwater Reef and Sharkey's Cafe.
Season: Open daily through August 17; open weekends through September 3, 2018.
4550 North Garland Avenue, Garland, 972-675-8888, hfalls.com/garland

Great Wolf Lodge (265 miles from Houston)
The thrills: Howlin' Tornado, Howlers Peak Rope Course, Coyote Cannon and River Canyon Run.
The chills: Raccoon Lagoon, Fort Mackenzie, Crooked Creek, Slap Tail Pond and Cub Paw Pool.
Season: Your stay at Great Wolf Lodge Grapevine includes access to the water park, which is open year-round.
100 Great Wolf Drive, Grapevine, 800-693-9653, greatwolf.com/grapevine

NRH2O Family Water Park (270 miles from Houston)
The thrills: The Sidewinder body slide, the Riggamaroll bowl slide, Thunder, Viper and Green Extreme.
The chills: Blue Sky, Endless River and Beachside Bay,
Season: Open daily through August 19; open weekends through September 23, 2018.
9001 Boulevard 26, North Richland Hills, 817-427-6500, nrh2o.com

Hawaiian Falls, The Colony (270 miles from Houston)
The thrills: Honolulu Lulu, Hawaiian Halfpipe, the Pipeline, the Torpedo and the Waikiki Wipeout.
The chills: Breaker Bay, Kona Kooler, Water Walkway, Cabana Cove and Luau Cove.
Season: Open daily through August 17; open weekends through September 3, 2018.
4400 Paige Road, The Colony, 972-370-4327, hfalls.com/the-colony

Altitude H2O - Grapevine (270 miles from Houston)
The thrills: One of the largest floating aqua park obstacle courses in Texas.
The chills: Monkey bars, trampolines, Wiggle Bridge and balance beams.
Season: Check website for current schedule.
3000 Meadowmere Lane, Grapevine, 817-600-2304, altitudeh2ograpevine.com

Hawaiian Falls, Roanoke (277 miles from Houston)
The thrills: Beach Blasters, Hawaiian Halfpipe, Pipeline Plunge, Rip Curl, Typhoon and Tsunami.
The chills: Breaker Bay, Rainforest River Adventure, Tiki Man, Mega Waterworld and Tsunami Soaker.
Season: Open daily through August 17; open weekends through September 3, 2018.
290 Byron Nelson Boulevard, Roanoke, 817-853-0099, hfalls.com/roanoke

Splash Kingdom Family Water Park - Wild West (293 miles from Houston)
The thrills: Snake Pit featuring the King Snake, Green Mamba, Sidewinder, Water Moccasin and Copperhead.
The chills: Gold Rush Falls, Wagon Trail Springs, Wave Pool and Lazy River.
Season: Open daily through August 12; open weekends through September 2, 2018.
1001 Cinema Drive, Hudson Oaks, 817-598-0777, splashkingdomwaterpark.com/weatherford

Make your way to the next ride on the interconnected and never-ending river system at Schlitterbahn South Padre Island.
Make your way to the next ride on the interconnected and never-ending river system at Schlitterbahn South Padre Island.
Photo courtesy of Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts

Schlitterbahn Waterpark and Resort on South Padre Island (372 miles from Houston)
The thrills: Soaring Eagle zip line, Sea Trek helmet diving, rivers, surfing and 24 slides.
The chills: Shrimp Haus restaurant with beach-to-bay views, hammocks and premium cabanas.
Season: Indoor waterpark is open weekends and select holidays, September 22-January 1, 2019. The full indoor-outdoor waterpark is open daily through August 26; open weekends through September 16, 2018.
33261 State Park Road 100, South Padre Island, 956-772-7873, schlitterbahn.com/south-padre-island

Castaway Cove Waterpark (381 miles from Houston)
The thrills: Parrot's Perch, Pirate's Plunge and Storm Watch Tower.
The chills: Buccaneer Bay, Hideaway Harbor, Nellie's Rolling River and Shipwreck Beach.
Season: Daily through August 15; weekends through September 8, 2018.
1000 Central Freeway East, Wichita Falls, 940-322-5500, castawaycovewaterpark.com

Splash Kingdom Family Water Park - Air Patrol (429 miles from Houston)
The thrills: Colorful slides, both open and closed.
The chills: Toddler Tuesdays, sand castle building and the Lazy River.
Season: Open daily through August 12; open weekends through September 2, 2018.
6501 I-30, Greenville, 903-455-4040, splashkingdomwaterpark.com/greenville

Lubbock Water Rampage (540 miles from Houston)
The thrills: Pirates Cove, Caribbean Adventure and Lost World.
The chills: Lazy River and movie nights.
Season: Daily through August 19, 2018.
6602 Marsha Sharp Freeway, Lubbock, 806-771-5953, lubbockwaterrampage.com

Wet'n'Wild Waterworld (768 miles from Houston)
The thrills: Alien Vortex, The Corkscrew, Raging Rapids, Waterfall Leap, The Screamer and Volcano Peak.
The chills: Wild Island Wave Pool, Little Rio Grande, The Lake Lounge and Atlantis Adventure.
Season: Open daily through September 9, 2018.
8804 South Desert Boulevard, Anthony, 915-886-2222, wetnwildwaterworld.com

On the DL (Disabled or dismantled):

Thoughts and prayers to Paradise Waterpark in Silsbee, still cleaning up during the 2018 season after Hurricane Harvey.
4675 Highway 96 South, Silsbee, 409-385-7946, pwoftexas.com

Best wishes to the King Family who purchased the gently-worn slides and tower from Amarillo Water Park in hopes of creating Royal Splash Texas in Plainview. The fiberglass company pulled out of the refurbishing contract so the owners are phoning a friend in hopes the GoFundMe goes viral or other investors step in to help.
4000 North I-27, Plainview, 806-213-1313, royalsplashtexas.com

Condolences to the residents of Big D who watched their city build the $4 million Dallas Wave, only to see the manmade whitewater rapids shut down within days of its 2011 opening. The Army Corps of Engineers pointed out that the narrow bypass channels rendered the Trinity River too turbulent for boaters and therefore unnavigable. Last month they began to dismantle the attraction. Price tag? Yet another $2 million.

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