When the mercury rises in SoCal, there’s nothing more natural than heading for the water. Located just 30 minutes east of Downtown Los Angeles or 20 minutes from the Anaheim/Disnelyland area, Raging Waters is California’s largest water park, covering 50 acres and boasting 36 slides and water-soaked attractions designed to please timid tots, seasoned adrenaline junkies and everyone in between.
The park is an easily navigable landscape of colorful slides, chutes, spray-filled oases and even a relaxing “beach” area. If you’re there for the day, there’s plenty of time to ride everything at least once. Whether you want to float lazily in a raft along a gentle waterway, gush down a spiral tube or plummet 7 stories in 4 seconds on a vertical water slide, the rides have one thing in common — they will all leave you completely drenched!
While Raging Waters is very popular with teenagers, it’s still quite tot-friendly. Little ones can splash to their heart’s delight in a variety of souped-up wading pools and water playgrounds featuring miniature slides, fountains and waterfalls. Height maximums keep out older kids on two of the four junior-based attractions and free life vests are available (and strongly recommended) for guests under 48”.
111 Raging Waters Drive
San Dimas, CA 91773
Here are some tips to help make your visit enjoyable for the whole family:
Get there early
Get there early and, if you can, go on a weekday. The park opens at 10:00 AM on operating days and crowds – and temperatures – tend to peak around noon. Super-early birds can park close to the main entrance versus waiting in the sun for a courtesy tram to transport you from a more distant lot. Arriving early means you’ll also avoid long lines for tickets, locker rentals and bag security checks and beat a fast path to even the most popular rides.
The park is open every day through August 28 and select days in September.
Get a deal on ticktets
Buy your tickets in advance on the website, at Costco or AAA. Keep your eyes open for promotional discounts and consider a season’s pass — it can pay for itself in two visits. AAA discounts can also be applied if you purchase your tickets at the park.
Wear the right suit
Leave your modesty at the door. Unless you plan to sit out the thrills, you’ll be spending the day in your bathing suit, drip-drying between rides. Skip the suits with fancy metal embellishments, buckles or belts — they’re not allowed.
Beware the sun
All day in the bathing suit calls for plenty sunscreen. There is a surprising lack of shade throughout the park and temperatures can be blazing in the height of summer so slather often. If a shady home base is desired, consider renting a cabana for an additional fee. They’re especially great for larger groups.
Also, sidewalks can get really hot so wear rubber flip flops or water shoes or you’ll find yourself seeking out the few inches of shade along the perimeter to avoid scorching your soles.
Stash your gear
Bring only what you need – towels, footwear, sunscreen, cash, some dry clothes for the ride home and maybe a book. Since there’s no way to carry your stuff on the rides (and really, who would want to?) you can either rent a locker for the day or save some dollars by just leaving your stuff under a towel on one of the 1,000 plus lounge chairs throughout the grounds. By all accounts, theft is not a problem at the park. Shutterbugs beware — unless your camera is completely waterproof, capturing Kodak moments at a waterpark is risky business; it’s probably best to leave the tech toys at home.
Save up for lunch
While there’s no shortage of dining options at Raging Waters, be prepared to pay for it. This is typical kiddie fare – pizza, burgers, fries, ice cream, etc. at inflated amusement park prices. Since no outside food or beverages (except water) are allowed into the park, packing a cooler and leaving it in the car may be a more economical lunch option.
Know the ride rules
Lines can get long in peak hours so before investing in the wait, it’s a good idea to first familiarize yourself with an attraction. Rides post “Aggression” ratings from 1-4, although the number doesn’t always reflect popular opinion. And while most rides are widely accessible, check the height requirement if you have smaller kids in tow. Others post weight limits and some attractions require 2 passengers.
Noelle Wright is a freelance writer and producer living in Los Angeles. When she’s not working, she’s looking for cool things to do with her 7 year old son Theo.