The mercury in the thermometer is beginning to rise, and right on cue Charleston waterpark season has cranked up once again.
I’ve blogged about it before, and no doubt I will again. The Charleston county park system is downright exceptional. There are so many different parks, and each one boasts a variety of great activities.
First off, there are the beach parks at Isle of Palms, Folly and Kiawah, with parking, showers, dressing rooms and easy beach access. Then again, if you’re here in a luxury house on Isle of Palms, you already have all that, and private to boot.
But there are so many others. Palmetto Islands County Park, close to the Isle of Palms in Mount Pleasant, is a perfect example. They have miles of both paved and unpaved trails and boardwalks through the pristine marshes and lagoons, great for hiking, running, rollerblading or biking. You can rent bikes or paddleboats at the park office. At key points you can dial in for a cell phone tour coded to individual features, like a decades-old osprey nesting site. You can head out across the long boardwalk and explore Nature Island. Large grassy areas are perfect for sports and special event gatherings like Pet Fest. There’s an expansive state-of-the-art children’s playground as well as a large off-leash dog park, complete with separate sections for small and large dogs.
Two other parks have a similar variety of fun features. They include James Island County Park, which is located west of the Ashley River, and Wannamaker Park in North Charleston.
One of the coolest features – literally – of all three of them is a Charleston waterpark located inside the park, with elements that are fun for both kids and adults. This is especially true as the weather gets warmer.
Three examples of a great Charleston waterpark are…
- Splash Island at Palmetto Islands County Park in Mount Pleasant. This is east of the Cooper and is the closest to the Isle of Palms. Splash Island is like a tropical oasis amidst the marsh with cool features like a 200-foot body flume, 16-foot otter slide, cyclone swirling water ride, plus geysers, sprays and raindrop waterfalls.
- Splash Zone at James Island County Park. This is west of the Ashley and has more of a Caribbean vibe with 200-foot tube and open slides, a 500-foot lazy river with sprays & waterfalls, and island-style play structures.
- Whirlin’ Waters Adventure Waterpark at Wannamaker Park in North Charleston is the largest Charleston waterpark. It boasts the Otter Bay pool area, Big Splash Tree House (with 66 interactive elements), Lily Pad Lagoon, Big Kahuna wave pool, Tubular Twister, Rip Tide Run, and 870-foot Rollin’ River lazy river.
New this year!
And new this year is the tallest attraction of any Charleston waterpark. Located at Whirlin’ Waters, it’s 60 feet high and is called “The Washout.” You must be 48 inches tall or taller to ride. Here’s how the Post & Courier describes the dual-sided ride: “The pink slide features a steep drop that takes riders up a near-vertical wall for a moment of weightlessness before zooming back down into a splash pool, while the turquoise slide includes high-speed twists and turns down an enclosed serpentine flume with water features and 90-degree angles.”
Right now, all three Charleston waterparks are open weekends only from 10:00 a.m. till 6:00 p.m.
Beginning on May 27th, Splash Zone (James Island) will be open daily. Beginning on June 8th, Splash Island and Whirlin’ Waters will also open daily for the summer season.
Here’s more, including admission fees, which vary. You can also purchase a Splash Pass for multiple visits during the season.
So get cool and check out a Charleston waterpark or two. And when you are looking for the best beach house around the Holy City, be sure to call EP.
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger