When you don’t want to hit the beach, these splash pads and water parks in Los Angeles provide the ultimate cool-down for kiddos
Sure, when of the perks of southern California is access to some of the nation’s best beaches to visit with kids, but when things heat up in and around LA, it can feel like a lot to rally the troops—and gather up all the necessities, like the towels and chairs and toys—and hit the beach. Thankfully, there are plenty of other places to cool down around town during a Los Angeles summer. So, when you don’t want to head to the sand (or take shoe-fulls home with you!), here’s our list of the best splash pads—splash parks with built-in water play features—and water playgrounds as well as tricked-out inflatable water parks and pools. Get ready for the most refreshing summer ever thanks to these water-friendly spots around LA.
The Best Splash Pads & Pools in Los Angeles
In Santa Monica, there are three splash pads to choose from: Virginia Avenue Park, Tongva Park, and the Annenberg Beach House. All splash pads are open from the first weekend in May to the end of October.
Tongva Park: Escape the chaos of the nearby Santa Monica Pier for this urban oasis. Inside the park, head to Discovery Hill, which features a children’s play area (with a sloped climbing wall and slides), shaded picnic area, and splash pad. The water area is built on a soft surface making it safe for little ones. The park is open daily 6 a.m. – 11 p.m., but splash pad hours vary due to efforts to reduce water usage during drought.
1615 Ocean Ave.
Virginia Ave. Park: This 9.5-acre park in the heart of Santa Monica is a beauty and a great place to bring a group of friends to spend the day. The park boasts two modern playgrounds, basketball courts, ample parking, a “patio” for picnicking and, of course, the splash pad.
Splashing is paramount here with water shooting from the walls and ground at alternating intervals accompanied by several water “cannons” that will be sure to keep everyone nice and wet. The park is also adjacent to the Pico Branch Library with a Whole Foods across the street (perfect place to pick up some picnic items) and hosts a weekly Farmer’s Market on Saturdays. The splash pad operates from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. but subject to close in the event of drought restrictions.
2200 Virginia Ave.
Annenberg Beach House: This oceanside facility in Santa Monica is open to the public, and here’s where you get the best of everything this summer: A sandy play area plus a fantastic splash pad with lots of tables and chairs, all with a relaxing ocean view without worrying about undertow or riptides. Sounds pretty fantastic, amiright?
If you’re craving a pool experience, you can buy day passes for the historical beach house pool (half off on Mon.) but if you don’t feel like the extra work, just lay low at the pad. They are both currently open daily from 9 a.m.-7 p.m.
415 Pacific Coast Hwy.
Beverly Hills: More stream than splash pad, this adorable grassy area in Beverly Hills has a gentle man-made creek for the littles to splash around in making it a popular hot spot for cooling off. Don’t mistake this place for the Coldwater Canyon Park up Mulholland—this one is right across from the fire station where Beverly Dr. and Coldwater Canyon meet.
The playground portion of this must-see spot offers tons of shade for those hot, sunny days and lots of lovely benches for parents to kick back and relax while their littles romp around. Open daily from sunrise to sunset.
1100 N. Beverly Dr.
East LA: Located east of DTLA, the City Terrace Park is clean, offers a super spacious splash pad area and tons of shade which is essential when those toasty temps begin to skyrocket. Open May 1 through Sept. 30, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., daily.
1126 N. Hazard Ave.
Whittier: Cool off at Amelia Mayberry Park, a 14-acre park in Whittier whose splash pads open May 1 through Sept. 30 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., 7 days a week.
13201 Meyer Rd.
Azusa: Travel a bit further out to Azusa and you’ll find Valleydale Park—popular and spacious park with a cool splash pad that is open May 1 through Sept. 30 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., 7 days a week.
5525 N. Lark Ellen Ave.
DTLA: Grand Park is a downtown oasis but during the summer, the splash park in front of the fountain is a parent’s dream. Various water spouts shoot water into the air while the water is only a couple of inches deep making it fun for everyone from crawlers to big kids. The atmosphere is usually festive with music and food trucks on site—not to mention a Starbucks is right there.
200 N. Grand Ave.
Culver City: Between the Culver Hotel and The Steps in Culver City is a public work of art, called the Lion’s Fountain, a splash pad surrounding a dancing lion statue—a nod to the area’s contribution to . A Cold Stone Creamery is located just a few steps away, so you can cool off inside and out.
9500 Culver Blvd.
Hacienda Heights: This small, local park, called Los Robles Park, is located in the quiet San Gabriel Valley neighborhood of Hacienda Heights. The splash pad is open May 1 through Sept. 30 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., 7 days a week.
14906 E. Los Robles Ave.
La Puente: The Allen J. Martin park splash pad has water buckets, sprayers and is covered so at least your kids will be partially protected from potential sunburns. It’s open from May 1 through Sept. 30, daily from 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
245 San Angelo Ave.
Simi Valley: LA can get hot, but places like Simi Valley really sizzle, so it’s not surprising that one of the area’s best splash pads is located there. Affectionately known by locals as “Lemon Park,” this exceptionally well-maintained (read: clean!) spot also offers a playground, sports courts (they have bocce ball!), fitness equipment and 1/2 mile of trails for little hikers. After you’ve sampled all the park’s amenities, take your brood under the giant mushroom sprinkler to cool down. Beating the heat has never been more peaceful. The splash pad will be open until Tues., Sept. 5. The hours of operation are from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., but will be closed for maintenance every day from 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.
3700 Avenida Simi
West LA: If your older fish want more out of a cool-down experience than just a few misters, Stoner Park has a pool with a splash pad attached so there’s a little something for everyone. The splash pad has fountains, sprays and water walls that line the front edge of the gradual entry pool providing non-stop fun. Once the more adventurous of the bunch have acclimated to the cooler water temperatures (ideal for a hot day), they can shift to the pool (or the twisty water slide for ages 7 & up), which is 4 1/2 feet deep and allows for safe swimming.
Insider Tip: Because of the pool, this splash pad has an admission fee of $4 for adults and $1 for kids. There’s a 1-1 ratio of adults to kids in the pool for kids under 7 and everyone must have a bathing suit to enter. Pool and water slide hours vary, so be sure to check the daily operations website for updates before you go.
1835 Stoner Ave.
San Dimas: The Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park is a sprawling park with everything—from fishing and hiking to bird watching and swimming. The recreational swim beach is open 7 days a week from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. There is a vehicle entrance fee of $12. FYI: No water toys, tents, umbrellas, or sun shelters allowed in or out of the water.
120 E. Via Verde Dr.
Glendale: Pacific Park Community Center is what summer memories are made of! Take the littles to Pacific Park’s water play area for splash-pad shenanigans that will keep the whole family cool as a cucumber. Once everyone is sufficiently water-logged, dry off and head over to the Pacific Park library for some air-conditioned book browsing. Pacific Pool, the wading pools, and the splash pads are all open, from 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
501 S. Pacific Ave.
Lawndale: Alondra Community Regional Park has 53 acres, and is located halfway between Hawthorne and Torrance in Lawndale, this park features a duck pond, scooter paths, a playground, the occasional visit from an ice cream man, and a splash pad that is full of entertainment for the entire family. If you have a big kid in tow, they may even enjoy the skate park or the full-size swimming pool that opens Jun. 15-Aug. 22). But if parents are simply looking for easy (and free!) enjoyment, stick to the splash pad—it’s hours of soaking wet fun and is open through Sept. 30, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., 7 days a week.
3850 W. Manhattan Beach Blvd.
Lake View Terrace: Although water slides are currently closed until further notice, the pool at Hansen Dam Aquatic Recreational Center is open every day until Sept. 4, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Panorama City: The Panorama Recreation Center has dump buckets, waterfalls, and bubbling fountains make this seasonal splash pad a huge hit with the locals and beyond. There is a playground right next to the water play area so chances are your little frogs will be nicely worn out after hopping around this place for a while! There is limited shade so be sure to bring lots of sunscreen along with (required) bathing suits.
The Best Rental Pools in Los Angeles
Don’t have a pool of your own, but really wish your family could experience a swim day in the privacy of a backyard? That’s where Swimply comes in–just think of it as the Airbnb of the pool world. Simply log in, enter the city where you’d like to go swimming, as well as the date and number of hours you’d like to use the pool. You’ll discover tons of fabulous private pools that homeowners are willing to rent out to you on an hourly basis. Once your reservation is confirmed, you communicate directly with the host to get the address, directions, WIFI instructions and any other pertinent information you need. See, easy peasy!
Insider Tip: If you’d rather rent a pool for more than a couple of hours, check out these Airbnbs with epic pools near LA—it’s what staycation dreams are made of. Or, if you like the idea of a pool but would rather be close to amenities like poolside service for drinks and food, purchase a resort day pass at one of these family-friendly hotels.
The Best Waterparks, Swim Beaches & Other Ways to Cool Down in Los Angeles
Newport Dunes: SoCal’s largest inflatable water park, Newport Dunes, is totally worth a drive to spend the day splashing away. Kiddos will go bananas exploring over 13 giant inflatables, including places to whoosh down waterslides, scale ginormous icebergs and even spot dolphins, sea lions and sea turtles from atop an inflatable perch.
Insider Tip: Children under 8 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian who is at least 18 and over. For their safety, it is not recommended that children younger than 5 participate in the inflatable water park.
1131 Back Bay Dr.
Knott’s Soak City: This 15-acre adventure park in Buena Park, right next to Knott’s Berry Farm, is the ultimate summer destination for pint-sized thrill seekers. With 23 speed, tube and body slides, a family raft ride, a wave pool, a lazy river and a three-story beach house with over 200 water guns, nozzles and sprayers, this is the one of the best picks to keep kids cool (and tire them out) this summer. The park is open daily from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., until September.
8200 Beach Blvd.
Related: 36 Hours of Fun in Buena Park, CA
Castaic Lake State Recreation Center: Just 40 miles north of DTLA, this 12,000+ acre facility features two lakes: the Upper Lake that has boat launches with various waterways and coves for exploring and the Lower Lake that includes picnic areas, launch areas for kayaks, float tubes, and other non-gasoline boating, and a swim beach. The swim beaches are open 7 days a week from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
32132 Castaic Lake Dr.
LA River Recreation Zone: The LA River Recreation Zones in Elysian Valley and Sepulveda Basin are perfect locations for some kayaking fun! You may bring your own kayak or rent from one of several organizations in the area that provide rentals to the public. In addition to kayaking, the area is great for fishing, bird watching and walking. Open sunrise to sunset—daily conditions permitting
Santa Fe Dam Recreational Center: The swim beach and splash pads are open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., while special water play will be open weekends and holidays through Labor Day and costs $2 per person per session.
15501 E. Arrow Hwy
Related: Top Beaches for Kids in Los Angeles