Some days just feel hotter than the Mojave. The best way to cool off is to seek the soothing comfort of fresh H2O. Luckily, Northeast Ohio has some of the best water resorts in the country. Grab your sunblock, towel, and swimsuit, and head for one of the waterparks below. Warning: You will get wet.
Castaway Bay Indoor Water Park
Can you endure a 35-foot-high, 520-foot-long water roller coaster that blasts riders uphill using water jets? Or are a spa, massage, and manicure more your style? Either way, Cedar Point's Castaway Bay won't disappoint you. This Caribbean-themed island paradise is a five-story indoor park outfitted with palm trees, huts, inland lagoons, and plenty of wet and wild adventure. The resort includes 237 hotel rooms, three restaurants, a huge arcade, and the Spa at Castaway Bay. Oh, and if you get tired of the wet stuff, pop next door to Cedar Point Amusement Park.
Insider Tip: The only way to experience Castaway Bay is by booking a stay in the hotel. Unlike most newly built indoor waterpark resorts, Castaway Bay was built as an addition to the old Radisson hotel.
Dover Lake Waterpark
In terms of sheer landmass, Dover Lake is the largest waterpark in Northeast Ohio. Arranged on 56 acres in the scenic Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Dover Lake offers a nice mix of wet and dry activities. Whitecap Wave Pool is among the best of its kind, creating ocean-like waves without the hassles of seaweed and sharks. For the daring, two 75-foot-high Speed Slides send you hurtling at speeds up to 60 mph. And for the lazy, a relaxing float down the new, 800-foot Lily Pad Lagoon should suffice. If your fingers start to look like prunes, dry off with activities like paddleboats, miniature golf, and carnival rides.
Insider Tip: The Dover Lake season runs from June 22 to August 21. General admission is $17.95 Monday through Friday and $21.95 on Saturday and Sunday.
Erieview Park exudes all the old-time charm of a Coney Island afternoon. Patrons can cool off at Wild Water Works, a small waterpark that boasts two flumes -- each 750 feet long and navigated with inner tubes. Once dried off, kiddies can brave carnival rides like the Tilt-A-Whirl and Skyfighters. Next door, adults can relax in the Old Firehouse Winery, which offers a wide variety of tasty wines and food. The whole complex sits right next to Lake Erie, so visitors also enjoy the cool breezes and postcard vistas of Geneva-on-the-Lake.
Insider Tip: Junk-food junkies won't want to miss Times Square, the fast-food restaurant at the park's entrance. It serves the state's biggest order of French fries -- it's as big as your head!
Kalahari Waterpark Resort
Surf's up at the brand-new Kalahari Waterpark Resort in Sandusky. This 435,000-square-foot, African-themed hotel-and-waterpark complex is making waves with a unique indoor-surfing attraction called the FlowRider. With all the cool of the '70s War song that inspired its name, the FlowRider use 50,000 gallons of water per minute and creates a constant five-foot wave, so surfers can practice their bottom turns, cutbacks, and glides. But if speed is your game, try the Zip Coaster. Designed to give riders a feeling of weightlessness, the Zip Coaster will propel you through 500 feet of freefalls, dips, and high-bank turns in 30 thrilling seconds. The thrill rides are juxtaposed with a nice assortment of indoor pools, slides, miniature golf, gift shops, on-premise dining, and Spa Kalahari (offering massages, body treatments, manicures, and pedicures).
Insider Tip: Experience Las Vegas-style dining and entertainment at the resort's Kahunaville Restaurant & Bar. Hum the theme to "Kokomo," and watch bartenders mix and flip bottles with acrobatic flair.
Monsoon Lagoon Water Park
This Port Clinton waterpark has been offering cool adventures since it opened in 2003. Families flock to the park's fun-filled water facilities like the Adventure Island Tree House, with its obscenely large, 1,000-gallon drenching bucket, 105 water play stations, and 17 different levels. Or head straight for the three-story Typhoon Rush Slide or the 600-foot inner-tube river called the Coral Reef Ride. Those in the know eventually mosey over to the Blue Lagoon Saloon and Adult Pool, where adults paddle to a Tiki bar that offers a variety of Caribbean specialty drinks. Monsoon Lagoon also offers a nice mix of dry distractions, including a go-kart racing track.
Insider Tip: Watch for Christian Week, June 19-25. Discounted tickets are carried at many Christian bookstores and are promoted through local Christian radio stations.
Soak City sits between the cool, refreshing waters of Lake Erie and the towering rides and roller coasters of Cedar Point amusement park. The 18-acre waterpark, which opened in 1988, features the gamut of liquid leisure rides, including two relaxing inner-tube rivers, more than a dozen water slides, a gigantic 500,000-gallon wave pool, and Splash Zone -- a multistory interactive play area. Soak City also offers easy access to a mile-long stretch of sand known as Cedar Point Beach on Lake Erie.
Insider Tip: Guests aren't allowed to bring alcohol into the waterpark, but you can catch a buzz at Bubble's Swim-Up Refreshment Center.
Have you ever asked yourself what it might be like to take a raft through a tornado with four of your friends? Well, Geauga Lake has. That's why it's building one of Ohio's most intense, white-knuckle waterparks on 20 acres of the old Sea World Ohio and Hurricane Hannah facilities. Management for the renovated park is touting hair-raising rides like Liquid Lightning, a 60-foot-high tornado slide that shoots a four-person raft through what looks like a twister on its side. Those who survive can brave Thunder Falls -- the tallest waterslide complex in Ohio, containing seven slides (three enclosed body slides and four tube slides). The park opens in mid-June.
Insider Tip: Phase II of Wildwater Kingdom will premiere in 2006 and features a 38,000-square-foot wave pool as well as an adult pool with a swim-up bar.