When I told people we were moving to the DC area in 2009, many people said that the summers were rough- hot and humid.  I could not imagine that it was any hotter than North Carolina where we were living.  Fast forward 2 years, and I am a believer.  Whoa, it is humid around here, and we aren’t even in the thick of it yet.

Here are some ways that you and your families can stay cool as the temperatures climb…

Water, Water, Everywhere!

Area Water Parks

Atlantis Waterpark, Centreville, VA
Atlantis includes a 1,000 gallon dumping bucket, water slides, waterfalls, and squirters.  Spacious wading pool for children 6 and under with fun, octopus slide.  There is also a large main pool, cafeteria-style snack bar, and large shade umbrellas


Pirate’s Cove Waterpark, Lorton, Virginia

Themed family water park loaded with fun features for your campers and kids. The features include a 24-foot high play structure with a 300-gallon dumping bucket, water slides, and waterfalls.


SplashDown Water Park, Manassas, VA

Over 11 acres, there is a 770 foot lazy river and interactive children’s area
with 4 slides, bubblers and fountains.  There are two fast Cannon Ball Slides, two 4-Story water slides, a tropical twister water slides, and a Big Kahuna Beach with 250 tons of sand.


Upton Hill Water Park, Arlington

There is a lap pool, a large pool for play, a beach entry baby pool with water features, a splash pad with fountains, water cannons and hoses, and a 2-story tower with slides and a huge bucket that fills and splashes everyone in the vicinity.  There are several shady areas, and a concession stand.  Open Memorial to Labor Day.  Under 2 Free, 48″ or More in Height $8.00, Less Than 48″ in Height $6.75


Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole, Reston, VA
The Water Mine is a great place to keep cool during the heat of the summer. There are more than an acre of slides, flumes, sprays, showers, floatables and interactive play features.  It is all circled by Rattlesnake River with a 2.5 mile per hour current that gently pushes tubes along.  The centerpiece of the park is Pete’s Peak, with twin gang slides – Big Pete and Little Pete.

There is also Tenderfoot Pond, with toddler sized slides and gentle bubblers and a zero depth pool.  . You are allowed to bring snacks and food in to the park.


Water Park at Bohrer Park, Gaithersburg, MD

The main pool features several activity areas, shallow water play spaces, a “raindrop” water umbrella for children to enjoy, and a zero-depth entry.  A major attraction at park is the double water slide that is 250 feet long and twists and turns into the splash pool.  The children’s splash pool, designed for those five years and younger, features a frog slide, crab spray, and zero-depth entry. There are play pieces outside the pool, plenty of shade for little ones, and a special eating area for families.


Pools and Spraygrounds

There are many pool and sprayground options in the area!   Check out my post for more info…

Water Features

Powhatan Springs Children’s Rain Garden is a unique play area that encourages kids to get wet!  It is a man-made wetland area that is designed to collect and cleanse rainwater, and it creates many hands-on activities for kids.  Kids can entertain themselves by making water flow from a bright red pump, splashing in the droplets that collect on concrete basins, and hopping from rock to rock. They can also create boats or other structures to send floating down the flume, and can build castles in the sand. In addition to the rain garden there is also a wooded play area.  Bring water, sand toys, or balls- and a picnic!


Bluemont Junction Park has a small water feature beside the sand area in the playground.  There is a water pump, and there are always tons of kids playing around (and in) it!


Arlington Parks with streams

Alcova Heights Park, Allie S. Freed Park, Barcroft Park, Benjamin Banneker Park, Bon Air Park, Donaldson Run Park, East Falls Church Park, Fort Bennett Park and Palisades Trail, Fraser Park, Glencarlyn Park, Gulf Branch Nature Center & Park, Holmberg Park, Jennie Dean Park, Long Branch Nature Center & Park, Lubber Run Park, Madison Manor Park, Powhatan Springs Park, Rock Spring Park, Shirlington Park, Troy Park, Upper Pimmit Run Park, Windy Run Park, Woodlawn Park, Zachary Taylor Park

Made in the Shade

Arlington Shaded Parks

Check out The Meanest Momma for great reviews of Arlington parks!  She lists them by feature (Shady, Fenced, Swings, Slides, etc), so it make is easy to find what you need!  Alcova Heights Park, Bluemont Junction Park, Clarenford Station Park, Lacey Woods Park, Oak Grove Park, Slater Park, Woodlawn Park

Get in Touch with Nature

Nature Centers, nature trails, and gardens are a fantastic way to beat the heat of the summer.  Check out this post for some local options….

Stay Inside

Indoor Play Areas

Some of my favorites are JWT Playzone, Hidden Oaks Nature Center, and National Building Museum Building Zone….check out this post for lots more.


Great preschool storytimes at Arlington County libraries as well as the Get Caught Reading program.  Check out this post for more info.

Do you have any favorites that I have forgotten?  Leave a comment and let me know!