When the kids need to burn off energy but the famous heat and humidity of South Carolina make you feel like a boiled peanut when you venture outside, there's only one solution: a water park. Luckily, there are several great ones across the state to choose from.
Orangeburg County Aquatic Park
2550 St. Matthews Road
Located at the YMCA, the Orangeburg County Aquatic Park offers visitors of all ages the chance to splash, slide and float. The park has two big twisty slides, an awesomely terrifying bowl slide, a lazy river, and a watery playground with slides, ramps, climbing ropes and a big bucket that fills with water and occasionally dumps it all over the unsuspecting kids below, setting off a round of squealing and laughing. There's a snack bar and plenty of lounge chairs, too.
Palmetto Falls Water Park
6511 Marion Ave.
Located within Columbia's Fort Jackson, Palmetto Falls offers both military and civilian families the chance to spend a great day playing in the fort. This water park isn't huge, but it packs in so much fun: a spray park, a big swimming pool, a lazy river, racing slides, a tall twisty slide, slides and kiddie pool for the smallest visitors, a playground, picnic tables and lounge chairs, and a snack bar. Open to nonmilitary civilians on Tuesdays through Fridays. You must purchase tickets online in advance.
Carolina Harbor Water Park
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
Fort Mill, SC
Located within Carowinds, Carolina Harbor is included in your admission to the sprawling amusement park that straddles the South Carolina/North Carolina state line. It's certainly the biggest of all the inland water parks. There are more than 20 watersides, two wave pools, four play areas for little kids and a 1,000-foot-long lazy river that meanders through both South and North Carolina. Oh, and an amusement park with the world's tallest giga coaster is just steps away.
1761 Bass Drive
The newest of all the water parks in the Midlands, the Santee park opened in the spring of 2015. It has a zero-entry pool with fountains and spray jets for kids to run through, as well as an enormous twisting water slide. It also has a huge swimming pool and athletic fields.