Escape the summer heat with watery options for every budget and taste. From higher-priced seasonal waterpark passes to regular dips in the local pool, Charlotte’s wet and wild, sun-soaked thrills abound. Take a staycation or just a day trip, but the area’s best waterparks and pools offer amenities not to be missed this summer.
Carowinds’ Boomerang Bay
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
Charlotte, NC 28273
Price: $54.99 adult/$36.99 children less than 48 inches tall, seniors 62 and older/free children 2 and younger
Boomerang Bay, a 20-acre waterpark, includes access to Carowinds theme park with admission. This Australian-themed water park offers eleven activities based on a thrill scale from one to four: one for infants and toddlers and four for guests taller than 48 inches who may ride alone. A cabana rental of $70 will provide a home-away-from-home with a table, four chairs, two lounges, WiFi, HDTV and pool-side service. In addition to a body slide, speed slide, tube slide and family rafting, an arcade, beach volleyball, bowling, bumper cars and go-carts keep everyone occupied all day long. The black-hole experience of the Awesome Aussie Twisters might be a bit scary for the youngest, and the Pipeline Peak promises enclosed water slides, 80 feet in height to 495 feet in length. Kookaburra Bay, Kangaroo Lagoon and Whallaby Wharf feature a kid’s area with an infant/toddler pool as well as changing areas, restrooms and lockers. Wear water slides as the concrete heats up during the summer. Carry-in food or drinks are not permitted, but regulars save cash by packing a cooler lunch to eat outside of the park to save money. Expect a crowd on weekends and holidays.
Mecklenburg County Aquatics Center
800 East Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Charlotte, NC 28202
Price: $3 day pass kids 17 and younger/$5 adult
Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps has been to this world class natatorium several times, attesting to its promise of a solid soak right in Charlotte. In addition to a 50-meter competition pool, the facility includes a 25-yard therapeutic pool, fitness center and hot tub. It’s a training ground for future olympians and a summertime cool-off for locals. Quench that watery craving with swimming lessons and water exercises, practicing strokes, water polo and even kayak water polo. The pool’s popular Camp Neptune, an aquatic day camp, features water polo, springboard diving, water basketball, snorkeling and field trips. A $80 session fee covers swim lessons for 6-month-old Puddle Ducks or for those aging gracefully with Arthritis Foundation-approved workouts. Entertain the kids with an aquatic birthday party: A $50 fee includes a party room for one hour and unlimited swim for eleven kids. Families provide food, drinks, decorations and gift bags, and activities include water basketball, diving boards and freeze tag. As a fun side activity, the pool has become a mecca for Charlotte kayakers with Thursday night open kayak rolling practice and kayak water polo. In this controlled, safe environment, guests practice and get tips on rolling over underwater in a kayak.
Marion Diehl Pool
2219 Tyvola Rd.
Charlotte, NC 28210
Price: $2 youth day pass ages 0 to 17/ $4 adult 18 to 24/$3 seniors and persons with disabilities
The Marion Diehl Pool serves seniors and swimmers with disabilities, however, it will be open for all ages this summer. It is part of an 82-acre recreation center featuring a large, multi-purpose room, kitchen, paved walking trail, outdoor playground and gym. The 25-meter by 6-lane warm pool includes a beach entry to a wading pool. It offers swim times for adult seniors and special-needs guests of all ages, including those wanting less sensory input, extra room and help from a caregiver. It is staffed with an older group of lifeguards, most with special-needs experience, making this the perfect fit for families with children who have special needs. Its indoor pool provides male, female and family locker rooms.
Related: Best Activities for a Hot Day
Catherine Lash engagingly connects with people. She has learned that interested listening and thoughtful questioning are the means through which collaboration creates a story. She grew up traveling the world and learning military life in an Air Force family of seven. She currently lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband and three kids. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.