Yesterday we spent a gloriously sunny summer day at Water Country. Located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Water Country is a popular summertime destination for New Englanders who are looking for some family fun and a way to cool off during the hot summer months.
We have visited Water Country many times over the years and today I’m going to share some tips on making the most of your visit to the park.
1. Choose a slower day to visit. During the height of the season Water Country gets packed. Waiting in long lines for rides is never fun. Try to visit on slower days which we’ve found to typically be a Monday, Tuesday or a Wednesday. Of course there are exceptions to this as the week of 4th of July will most likely be packed whatever day you visit that week. Another thing to note is that the lines become much lighter towards the end of the day. Typically group buses leave the park an hour or two before the park closes. This is a great time to get on the more popular attractions. Within one hour of closing yesterday we were able to ride our favorite slide a dozen times.
2. Make a packing list and check it twice. Come to Water Country prepared for a long day in the sun. Essentials like sunscreen are rather expensive when purchased in the park. But if you do forget something, Target is an easy drive from the park entrance.
3. Don’t bother with preferred parking. Preferred parking is $15 while standard is only $5. Unless you are visiting at the absolute height of the season, standard parking is a very easy walk to the main entrance.
4. Pack a Cooler. Water Country allows guests to bring their own food and drink. This one thing will save you a ton of money during your visit. There are no stated size limits on coolers, so our family brought our largest Coleman cooler which was filled with plenty of foods and drinks for a long day at the park. Not once were we tempted by the park offerings because I was sure to pack treats that the kids would enjoy which made skipping those funnel cakes that much easier. When packing your cooler, do remember not to pack anything in glass as it’s not allowed in the park. Here’s the one that our family of six uses on all day trips such as this:
5. Seagull proof your food. This cannot be overstated. Do not bring your snacks in plastic grocery bags. There are tons of seagulls at the park and they know that the good stuff is in the plastic bags. We witnessed seagulls expertly poking holes in bags left on picnic tables to access the goods. We also saw seagulls swoop down and take entire bags of food away for a picnic elsewhere. Skip the plastic bags and bring a cooler. Trust me on this one. Seagulls are a determined bunch.
6. Bring a waterproof case for your phone. There are way too many photo opps that you are not going to want to miss at the park. I had my phone on me at all times because I didn’t want to have to trek it back to our lounge chairs to retrieve it. The park is pretty large. I recommend buying a waterproof case to hold your phone. There are way too many opportunities for it to fall into the water. And as we all know, that isn’t covered by insurance! Something like this will do the trick nicely:
7. Decide ahead of time if you need a cabana. Cabanas which are suited with lounge chairs and sometimes tables (depending on the size), can add a lot of comfort to your day. They range in size and price (from $45 to $249), but all provide much needed shade. We opted for the standard size cabana which we reserved online for $88 which guaranteed that there would be one available for us when we arrived. Now, do you really need one? Maybe not. If you get to the park early enough (like within an hour of opening) you can snag a picnic table which is located under shady trees on the perimeter of the park. I was very impressed with how many tables were available. If you grab a table and a couple of lounge chairs, you’ve got yourself a natural free cabana. The only perk you will miss is having your own personal waiter, but you are brining a cooler with you anyway, right? Say yes.
8. Talk to your children about where/when to meet when separated. This is another point that I cannot stress enough. Most likely parents and kids will be separated at some point during the visit as not all parents ride the attractions with their kids. And when you have multiple children it makes it even harder. The park is much larger than it appears. Trying to find a child here is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Be sure to establish a meeting point on an hourly basis or at an agreeable time. Otherwise you will be playing a game of Where’s Waldo for much of your time in the park.
9. Wear water shoes. As I said earlier, this park is much larger than it looks. Walking for hours on end with bare feet is not advised. And you’ll thank me for this tip when you walk into the restrooms. Any pair of water shoes will do the trick, but I’m partial to Keen because they are sturdier and provide support. You will be walking a ton during your visit.
10. Be mindful of swimming abilities when you visit the wave pool. The wave pool is one of my kids’ favorite attractions at the park. And even though they are strong swimmers, I keep a hawk’s eye on them as the waves can be rather strong. If you have any doubt whatsoever on your ability to swim or your child’s ability to swim, grab one of the freely available life jackets at the entrance to the wave pool. You can never ever be too safe. But even with a life jacket on your child, it’s a good idea to be with them or at least watch them at all times when they are in the wave pool.
Overall, I find Water Country to be an excellent way to spend a fun summer day with your family. The staff is cheerful and courteous. And for the most part the park is very clean except my one caveat which is that the bathrooms need some help throughout the day.
As far as ride variety goes, there’s enough of a variety of rides to keep the littles in your bunch happily splashing away while your adventure seekers get their adrenaline going on the more adventurous rides.
A water park that is sure to please the entire family! For more info including rates, you can check out the Water Country website.
Here are some picture of our day including a view of the standard size cabana:
This is not a sponsored post. I paid for our tickets and the cabana. All opinions are my own. There are affiliate Amazon links in this post which link to products that I think will benefit you during your visit.