Splash Pads and Water Parks in Orange County

Looking to cool down during the hot summer months? Check out this list of Orange County water parks, splash pads, water play areas and water slides great for kids and families to get wet, have fun and cool down.

Free Splash Pads in Orange County

More Water Parks & Splash Pads in Orange County

Click here, to get details of all the water parks and splash pads in Orange County.

We attended as a guest of the venue

Knott's Soak City Water Park

Temperatures are rising and Knott’s Soak City is open just in time!  Plan a Day Out had a chance to visit on Opening Day to check out the newly expanded park, renovated Longboard’s Grill, and new slides.  Families of all ages will love OC’s only water park because of the variety of water play areas and slides.  There’s also plenty of covered seating, lounge chairs, and cabanas available for rent.

Longboard's Grill


  • For thrill seekers, Shore Break Towers takes single riders on an adrenaline-filled adventure where the bottom of the Aqua Launch chamber drops from beneath them, sending riders on a high speed free fall and through a series of exhilarating drops and daring loops.
  • The dueling tube slides on Shore Break Towers takes single or double riders through drops and turns as they soak up the warm summer sun.
  • The Wedge is sure to be a family favorite. Up to six riders can descend on a raft through twists, turns, and unexpected dips.
  • The Beach House has two smaller slides, water guns, nozzles, faucets, and three huge buckets that dump up to 500 gallons of water on anyone below!
  • Tidal Wave Bay allows families to swim or ride tubes through waves. The current turns on and off, giving park-goers a chance to go for a relaxing swim in between sets.
  • Gremmie Lagoon offers the park’s youngest visitors (maximum height 54”) a place to slide, squirt, and splash.
  • Sunset River is the perfect place to relax in between slides. Cruise around in a tube at one of the longest lazy park rivers in the world!
  • Longboard’s Grill offers traditional beach fare: cheeseburgers, chicken fingers, salads, sandwiches, and fries.

New Slides at Soak City

Know Before You Go:

  • Bring towels, sunscreen, flip flops, and a bathing suit. These items are available for purchase, but you’ll pay a higher cost for them than you will outside of the park.
  • Arrive early to snag a group of lounge chairs; especially if you want ones in the shade.
  • If you want a lounge chair in the shade, you can find them near the Beach House and Longboard’s Grill. 
  • If your child is under 48” they will need a life-jacket for many rides. The park has these available, for free.  However, you can bring your own if you prefer.
  • You can rent a inner tube for $10 so you don’t have to wait for tubes in attractions like Sunset River and Tidal Wave Bay.
  • The park says you cannot bring your own food and drink into the park. However, many guests had coolers and large bags of food with them.
  • Lockers are available for a nominal fee and come in a variety of sizes
  • If your child is under 42” tall there are many restrictions in terms of what they can do at the park. They can go with an adult in Sunset River and Tidal Wave Bay. Also, they can play at the Beach House and Gremmie Lagoon.  However, they cannot go on any of the slides outside of Gremmie Lagoon.  There are many slides for kids above 42” tall and kids above 48” tall can go on any of the rides.
  • You can rent a cabana for the day. On the day we visited, the cost was $220 for up to 8 guests.  Cabana rentals include a table with an umbrella, 4 inner tube rentals, and waiter service.
  • You can buy tickets online at a reduced price. Daily admission starts at $37 online (an $11 savings).

Soak City Expansion


Knott’s Soak City Water Park
8039 Beach Blvd.
Buena Park, CA 90620

Pool at Soak City


Soak City is open most days from May 20, 2017-September 10, 2017. Operating hours vary, daily.  Click here for hours before you go.

Vising Soak City

Kelly Rafter
Blog Contributor

About the Author
Kelly and her husband have two little boys, ages 3 and 5. She loves taking her boys on adventures around Southern California that focus on learning, getting their wiggles out, and having fun! When she isn’t fulfilling her mommy duties she teaches at a local community college and is an educational consultant.

Oso Creek TrailThe Oso Creek trail provides you and your family with an afternoon of natural beauty. While walking along the creek you get to explore different points of interest such as the character garden, the plant maze, the butterfly garden, the peace obelisk and more. This trail is just gorgeous and your kids will love to run around to explore and see all kinds of plants and animals such as bunnies, lizards, butterflies and lots of birds. At the end of your walk don’t forget to stop by the Oso Viejo Community Park for some extra fun.


Know Before you go

  • Print out the map below before exploring this area. Trust me, it is much easier than me trying to explain to you where to go. Once you print out the map, you just have to decide where you want to park and then just go and have fun.
  • Where to park? I parked on Marguerite next to the Character garden but I would suggest to park at the Oso Viejo Community Park. If you start from Marguerite the walk is over an hour and you can’t really shorten it. If you start from the Oso Viejo Community Park you have most points of interest close to you and you can make the walk as long or as short as you want. See below for directions to both parking spots.
  • No restrooms on the walk. The only restroom I found was at the Oso Viejo Community Park.
  • If your kids can ride a bike, I would bike these trails, especially if you start from Marguerite. Well thinking about it, if you bike it you don’t notice all the details, so maybe walk it the first time you visit, bike it the second time.
  • I could not find the butterfly garden, so don’t look for it too hard since you will be able to see butterflies everywhere along the trail.



See my comments above to decide which is the best parking spot for you.

–>Character Garden Trailhead parking: See number 1 (in red) on the map below. The parking lot is between Pacific Pl and Oso Creek Rd. There are only 4 parking spots here and it is not paved, so don’t look for a big parking lot. After you park you can check out the mosaic history walls and then look for a sign that says “Trail Access”. Click here to see this parking lot on Google Map.

–>Oso Viejo Community Park parking: 24932 Veterans Day, Mission Viejo, CA 92692. If you decide to park at the Oso Viejo Community Park, the trail will be behind the park. Just look at the map below and you will easily find it.

Oso Creek Trail map