17 Places to Make a Splash in Charlotte, From Pools and Spraygrounds to Water Parks
The sun is hot, but the water feels fine
Summer in the Queen City is hot, which makes it hard to want to play outside, unless there’s water. Stop in for a quick splash, or pack a picnic to make a day of it at one of these pools, spraygrounds or natural watering holes. Just don’t forget the sunscreen.
2100 N. Davidson St., Charlotte
Not far from NoDa, nestled into the Villa Heights neighborhood, is Cordelia Park. Play a game of basketball on the newly painted basketball court, then cool off in the outdoor swimming pool and sprayground. Free summer swim leagues and swim lessons are also offered at Cordelia Park for children ages 3-12. Registration for lessons is available onsite on a week-by-week basis each Saturday beginning at 11 a.m. Child being registered must be present at time of registration. Hours: Open through Sept. 1, noon-7 p.m. Cost: $1 per person.
Double Oaks Family Aquatic Center
2014 Statesville Ave., Charlotte
This seasonal outdoor pool features a slide, lap swimming and a deeper swimming area for adults and older kids. The aquatic center has shade umbrellas, a small spray area and zero-depth entry. Free swim lessons are offered for children. Registration for lessons is done week-by-week and must be done in person with registered child present. Lessons are for children ages 3-12 years old. Hours: Open through Sept. 1, noon-7 p.m. Cost: Admission is $1.
The Y has many locations with outdoor swimming pools and mini-waterparks. Not a member, not to worry. The Y welcomes guests with members, or if you aren’t a member, you may purchase a day pass for $20 for an adult and $10 for children under age 16 except on Sundays, Fourth of July and Labor Day.
First Ward Park
301 E. Seventh St., Charlotte
Kids love running through this stretch of splash pad under the uptown skyline. It’s conveniently located across the street from ImaginOn: The Joe and Joan Martin Center, making it easy to make a day of story time fun in the morning and water play in the afternoon with lunch wedged in at 7th Street Market, also just a block away from the park. Open through Labor Day, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
435 S. Tryon St., Charlotte
Located across from The Levine Center for the Arts on South Tryon Street, the big fish sculptures periodically spray water from their mouths and are a highlight of an uptown visit on a summer afternoon. Dry off and visit the Mint Museum or Bechtler Museum of Modern Art located just across the street from The Green. Open daily through Labor Day, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Romare Bearden Park
300 S. Church St., Charlotte
The kids have had their eyes on those waterfalls all year, and now they can finally splash their way through them. Children play in the fountains or the cooling misters in the Childhood Muse Plaza. The misters are a great way to beat the heat during a Party in the Park or Bearden Music Series concert. Open daily through Labor Day, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
16805 Birkdale Commons Pkwy., Huntersville
Not only does Birkdale Village offer family-friendly shopping and dining, it has an outdoor summer concert series and a sprayground for kids. Take a shopping break for some summer splashing. If that does not cool you off, a stop at TCBY or Kilwins might do the trick. Hours: Open daily through summer, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Call to confirm opening and closing dates. Cost: Free.
Blakeney Shopping Center
Ardrey Kell Road and Rea Road, Charlotte
Let the kids splash a bit after strolling through the shops or dining at the restaurants of Blakeney Shopping Center. Young children can get soaked at the small splash pad near the fountains between Brixx Wood Fired Pizza and Shake Shack. The shopping center has also replaced its existing play area with a new playground structure that opened mid-May. Open through Sept. 2, 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Cost: Free.
Crooked Creek Park
5900 Oakwood Lane, Indian Trail
The 2,464 square-foot, nature-themed sprayground features eight above-ground water features and seven in-ground sprayers, including spraying flowers and animal sculptures that dump buckets of water. Look for it near the shaded playground zip-line. Waterproof Wheelchairs are free to rent. Call 704-821-8114, or email firstname.lastname@example.org the day before you come to reserve. Open through Sept. 21, 9 a.m.-7:30 p.m. The splashpad is closed the second and fourth Tuesday of each month until 3 p.m. for maintenance. Cost: Free.
601 E. Park Ave., Charlotte
Let the kids wear themselves out at Latta Park in Dilworth walking trails, playing on the playground and dashing in and out of the sprayground. Open daily through Labor Day, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Cost: Free.
2136 Central Ave., Charlotte
This covered splash pad offers shade, numerous sprays and a community vibe. Splash, shoot hoops and play on the covered playground. Open daily through Labor Day, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Cost: Free.
Corner of Providence and Ardrey Kell roads, Charlotte
Shop, dine and splash a while at Waverly in South Charlotte. The splash pad is conveniently located near the Haagen-Dazs ice cream shop. Check out the Tunes on the Terrace concert series after an afternoon of water play. Open daily from 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Cost: Free.
Carolina Harbor Waterpark at Carowinds
14523 Carowinds Blvd., Charlotte
Thrill seekers can get their share of excitement on the tall water slides, and anyone who is looking to relax can enjoy floating in the Coastal Currents lazy river. The youngest water seekers can enjoy Kiddy Hawk Cove, Pirate’s Landing and Seaside Splashworks. Open through Sept. 8. Hours vary by week. Consult website prior to visit. Cost: Waterpark admission is included with general admission to the theme park and starts at $45. Sign up for the free Pre-K pass that gets kids age 3-5 in free.
Lineberger Mini-Waterpark Pool
632 E. Garrison Blvd., Gastonia
Lineberger Park Pool in Gastonia features a zero-depth entry with fountain geysers, a lazy river, a two-story waterslide, three lanes for lap swimming and colorful splash features. For capacity reasons, sessions are limited to 2.5 hours in length. Stay and play the entire time by making use of the basket service, concessions stand and lounge chairs that are available for rent. The park also offers visitors a sprayground and miniature train amusement ride. Open daily through Aug. 18. Open for post-season swim Aug. 24, 25 and 31 and Sept. 1 and 2. Sessions are from 12:30 to 3 p.m. and 3:30 to 6 p.m. Cost: $3 per 2.5-hour session for children age 1 and older.
Natural Watering Holes
Cane Creek Park
5213 Harkey Road, Waxhaw
There’s a lot to love about Cane Creek Park. You can fish, boat, hike, picnic, canoe, play ball, swing, play a round or disc golf, hike the trails, rent a pedal boat, play miniature golf and swim. The swimming area is at a small lake beach not far from the parking area. Hours: Open through Sept. 2. Swim areas are open on weekends 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Swim areas are also open Wednesday through Sunday when Union County schools are on summer break and lifeguards are available. Call to confirm. Most park areas are open year-round with varying hours of operation. Cost: Admission to day-use area is $4 per car. Swimming, mini-golf and pedal boats cost an additional $2 per person.
The Quarry at Carrigan Farms
1213 Oak Ridge Farm Hwy., Mooresville
Cannonball at Carrigan! Jump right into this deep, water-filled quarry. Pack snacks or a picnic, but leave alcoholic beverages, glass bottles, grills, large rafts
and paddleboards at home. Open-swim customers can bring fishing gear to try their luck at catch-and-release fishing at the farm ponds. There is no fishing in the quarry. Because the quarry is 25-feet deep throughout, ages 11 and younger must wear a life jacket and all other swimmers must either pass an on-site swim test or wear a life jacket. All swim test participants must sign a waiver. Hours: Open most days throughout the summer, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Check the Carrigan Farms website to confirm dates. Cost: $15 per person, cash or check only.
Ramsey Creek Park at Lake Norman
18441 Nantz Road, Cornelius
Feel the sand between your toes without driving all the way to the coast. Ramsey Creek Park offers a lake beach access from Memorial Day through Labor Day with a lifeguard on site. Bring the kids and a picnic, but leave bicycles, pets, inflatable toys, surfboards and personal watercrafts at home. Hours: Open daily through Labor Day, 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Cost: Monday through Thursday, $5 per vehicle for Mecklenburg County residents, $10 per vehicle for non-county residents; Friday through Sunday and county-observed holidays, $10 for Mecklenburg County residents and $15 for non-county residents.
Tiffany Wolff is the calendar editor for Charlotte Parent magazine.