Voyageurs National Park

Voyageurs National Park

Top Ten Water Parks

August 6, 2010, 11:37 am

In an effort to keep you nice and cool during the dog days of summer, we’ve come up with ten of the best places to kick off your shoes, enjoy the scenery and relax. Each of these parks offers exceptional opportunities for swimming, kayaking, rafting and boating; all that’s left to do is jump in!

Lake Mead National Recreation Area (Nevada/Arizona)
Lake Mead National Recreation Area is the perfect place to enjoy warm waters, boating, swimming and lots of sun. With wide-open expanses of water, visitors to Lake Mead and Lake Mohave often enjoy waterskiing, fishing, canoeing, kayaking and some of the best sport fishing in the world. Lake Mead and Lake Mohave cover a massive 290 square miles, providing visitors with ample space to explore without feeling hemmed.

Slide Rock State Park (Arizona)
Slide Rock State Park located just outside of Sedona, Arizona provides visitors with the once in a lifetime opportunity to slide down a natural waterslide. The park, is named for a slippery stretch of the Oak Canyon Creek. Today, visitors to the park can slide down the natural water chute or wade and sun along the creek.

Voyageurs National Park (Minnesota)
Voyageurs National Park in northern Minnesota is a paddler’s paradise. Most of Voyageurs National Park is only accessible by water, and those that choose to boat through the park will not be disappointed.  Several guided boat tours of the park are also available. For those without a boat, canoes and kayaks are available for rent.

New River Gorge National River (West Virginia)
The New River is best known for is whitewater rafting. Several concessioners along the river offer visitors a trip down the mighty New River. Visitors have the chance to tackle rapids ranging from Class II all the way to Class V.

Presque Isle State Park (Pennsylvania)
Presque Isle State Park is a 3,200-acre sandy peninsula that arches into Lake Erie. As Pennsylvania's only "seashore," Presque Isle offers its visitors a beautiful coastline and many recreational activities, including swimming, boating, sailing, fishing, hiking and bicycling.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (Michigan)
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, named for the Legend of Sleeping Bear, encompasses a 35-mile stretch of Lake Michigan's eastern coastline, as well as North and South Manitou Islands. After climbing the sand dunes, cool off by swimming at one of the parks many beaches.

Acadia National Park (Maine)
Acadia National Park provides summertime visitors with two beaches to swim and enjoy the scenery. Both Sand Beach and Echo Lake Beach have lifeguards on duty. The cool waters of the northern Atlantic provide a refreshing way to cool off after a day hiking or biking the park. While at Acadia, be sure to check out Thunder Hole to experience first hand the power of the ocean.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore (North Carolina)
Cape Hatteras protects over 70 miles of barrier islands in North Carolina. These islands provide a wide variety of recreational opportunities including canoeing, kayaking, swimming and windsurfing. In addition to boating opportunities, the park’s fishing and surfing are considered the best on the east coast.

Biscayne National Park (Florida)
Biscayne National Park located just outside of Miami protects a rare combination of islands and coral reefs. Visitors to the park can participate in several outdoor activities including snorkeling adventures, scuba diving and glass bottom boat trips.

Padre Island National Seashore (Texas)
Padre Island National Seashore, along the Texas coast, protects the longest undeveloped stretch of barrier island in the world. Here, you can enjoy 70 miles of sandy beaches. Visitors can swim in either the Bird Island Basin or in the Gulf of Mexico. Both locations boast balmy water temperatures in the summer.

Image: Rafters on the New River, New River Gorge National River