Water parks are popular day-trip destinations over the summer, and with how hot it can get in some parts of the country (like here in Florida) it's easy to see why. What could be better than a day of fun in the sun and floating around a lazy river with a few friends?
The tricky thing with water parks is knowing what to bring to a water park. Your normal pool and beach essentials tend to be a bit much, especially seeing as you don't need to provide your own entertainment. It's also important to remember that at water parks you usually have to rent lockers, so the less stuff you have, the easier it will be to fit it all inside.
Luckily, I have had plenty of experience with water parks, and I'm going to share my best tips for surviving a day at the water parks with you.
1. Leave your book at home.
I know everyone always lists a book, iPad, Kindle, Nook, etc. as one of their pool bag essentials, but this rule doesn't apply to water parks. I can tell you now, you won't be reading when you're there.
The reality is most of your time will be spent in the water, and for those of you saying you can read in the lazy river, you can't. With all the splashing from kids and water features designed to get you wet there will be no way to keep your paper book or e-reader dry while in the river.
There's also usually very limited pool chairs to lounge around and read on. They are usually taken early in the morning as the park opens by moms with quite a bit of extra stuff.
2. Bring two towels.
I know I said not to bring too much stuff for the sake of saving space in the locker, but having two towels is a must. Bring one towel into the park with you to dry off, and leave one in your car to sit on on the ride home.
This again is due to the limited chairs at the park. You don't really have the option of drying off on a pool chair or even laying out on your towel at a water park. There's simply no space for it, so you'll have to just use your towel to dry off as best you can before you walk out to your car. This will leave your first towel soaked, so if you have an extra towel to sit on, your car seats will stay dry the whole drive home. (Plus if you have cloth seats it will prevent them from smelling funny.)
3. Pack everything in a floppy bag.
The floppier your bag is, the easier it is to fit into the locker. You can just fold up the excess fabric and shove it in, plus you might even be able to split a locker with a few friends if you all have non-structured beach bags.
Some great examples of what I'm talking about would be light canvas totes, or even your old Jansport backpack, like the one pictured above. Really, anything pliable and/or canvas will do the trick.
4. Wear a waterproof watch.
If you and your friends decide to split into smaller groups at a water park, the only real way to find each other again is by setting certain times to meet up at a specific spot in the park. No one is going to have their phones; they'll all be in the locker.
If one person in each group has a waterproof watch, then it'll be easy to keep track of time and stay on a schedule. Trust me, nothing is worse than wandering a huge water park looking for your friends when you want to eat or head home.
5. Use cards instead of cash and store them in a waterproof case.
This last tip is really more like two tips, but they go hand-in-hand so I figured I'd talk about them together. In a water park, you really don't want to use cash - the bills will just get soggy as you touch them. Use credit or debit cards instead. It's faster, easier, and way less soggy by the end of the day.
I also recommend investing in a waterproof case to wear around your neck like the one above. Sure, it's not the cutest thing in the world, but you'll be glad you have it when you aren't running back to the locker every time you want a drink or a snack.
What are your tips to survive a water park?
We all know to bring sunscreen, flip flops, and other basics, but what are some of your more unique tips? A day at a water park can be tons of fun, but no one wants to be bogged down with too much stuff. What do you think people should bring? What do you think they need to leave at home? Let me know in the comments.