The Ultimate Packing Guide Visiting Water Parks With Family

Jessica DeLucia Gatlinburg, Guides & Tips, Orlando

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What to Bring to a Water Park & Why it Matters

Choosing what to bring to a water park sounds simple, but it does require intentional brainstorming. The combined fun and safety for you and your family will generally depend on the amount of water park preparation you put in. That's why we're making things easy for you. What you'll discover as you continue your read are basic essentials, key extras, and a water park packing list to ensure your journey to an aquatic amusement park or water park resorts are smooth sailing.

The Basics

  • Pack your swimsuit, of course. It’s always good to note if you plan on going on water slides and water rides that include more impact, either wear tighter swimwear to prevent any extra worries, or hold on tight! If you’re going for a more relaxed pace, loose-fitting bathing suits may be your go-to.
  • Sunscreen, sunscreen, SUNSCREEN. It's been said to wear sunscreen even when you're indoors, so please, wear it while you’re in the sun! If you plan on visiting one of the best Orlando resorts with waterpark, not even an umbrella will save you from the rays in Florida. Pack your favorite sunscreen, and apply it generously throughout your days.
  • Bring refillable water bottles. Dehydration is no joke. Instead of paying for multiple rounds of plastic water bottles, you can head to a poolside bar or your cabana server and ask for a refill. Note: Not all water parks provide this option - though Westgate Resorts will!
  • Purchase waterproof pouches for technology. No one likes to walk away from their water park adventures with a broken cell phone, waterlogged car keys, or ruined irreplaceable valuables. Investing in affordable things to bring to a water park like waterproof pouches for water parks or dry bags will ensure your personal items will continue to stay functioning. You can find a waterproof dry bag on Amazon at a low price, and if you’re on a specific budget, a few plastic bags should help.
  • The basics also include what’s most important to you for optimal comfort. Sandals, flip flops, or water shoes? Backpack or beach bag? A book or a podcast? Baseball hat or straw hat? If you consider an item to be an absolute essential for poolside relaxation or aquatic adventures, bring it.
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The Extras (You’ll thank yourself later).

  • Bring protein-packed snacks. A trip to the water park can get grueling if you’re not fueled. The best foods to take to a water park include protein bars, nuts and seeds (or trail mix), jerky, peanut butter and celery sticks, and Greek yogurt parfaits. All are high in protein, which in turn will keep you more satiated throughout the day. If not, you’ll be constantly snacking, causing you to be more tired, drained, and less excited to get in the water. Resorts like Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa offer on-site marketplaces to pick up these essentials, and are a short distance away from nearby supermarkets. Or, prep your own food in the comfort of your resort’s villa.
  • Pack extra clothes. Granted, if you’re staying at resorts with water parks, like Westgate Town Center Resort, you can disregard this suggestion as your villa will be a short ways away. Though if you are heading to local water parks, packing dry clothes will be your saving grace. You’ll feel less sticky on the ride back to your hotel or resort, or you can head over to restaurants nearby without feeling, well, icky.
  • Bring money for locker rentals and parking. Places like Universal Orlando and other major water park theme park attractions offer lockers at an average $12-15 per day and parking is usually at least $30. Thus, keep cash on hand. Note: Parking at select Westgate Resorts is free.

The Ultimate Packing Guide

Appropriate swimsuit


Lip balm (with SPF)


Beach towel

Cover up


Flip flops (or preferred choice of footwear)

Beach bag or backpack


Money (cash and credit cards)

Car keys

Change of clothes


Reusable water bottles

Cooler (for outside food)

Waterproof pouches (for personal items)

Book or magazine

Headphones (for music or podcasts)

Portable charger

Protein-packed snacks


Necessities for baby (swim diapers, diaper bag, etc.)

Life vest (if needed)

First Aid Kit

You can find a printable version of The Ultimate Packing Guide here.


Now that you know the basics and the extras on what to bring to a water park, now you get to choose your water park! If you’re looking to enjoy the benefits of staying on-property during your water park adventures, shimmy your way down to Orlando, FL to visit Ship Wreck Island Water Park and Treasure Cove Water Park. If the mountains are more your thing, head over to Wild Bear Falls Indoor Water Park located near the Great Smoky Mountains in Gatlinburg, TN. All 3 water parks are located on Westgate Resorts property, where you can combine a place to stay plus all the amenities without having to leave the resort.

Other top water parks in the US include Typhoon Lagoon (Orlando, FL), Myrtle Waves (Myrtle Beach, SC), Water Country USA (Williamsburg, VA), Dollywood Splash Country (Pigeon Forge, TN), Silver Dollar City White Water Park (Branson, MO), and Aquatica (Orlando, FL).

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Frequently Asked Questions

You should bring to a water park what you think is necessary for you and those in your party. A few basics are swimsuits, sunscreen, and refillable water bottles!

A waterproof bag will be the best purchase to keep your cash and credit cards dry and stored safely together.

Majority of the time water parks will provide life jackets for adults and the little ones. At Westgate water parks, we provide them. As for others, it’s worth checking their website beforehand. Also, always check for water park seasonal closures and maintenance work.

Majority of the basics and extras provided above apply to indoor water parks, and yes that includes still applying your sunscreen. A bonus water park tip is adding Wild Bear Falls Indoor Water Park in Gatlinburg to your bucket list. It's the largest indoor water park in the South!

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The Ultimate Packing Guide Visiting Water Parks With Family Infographic

INFOGRAPHIC: Water Park Essentials List – Designed through Westgate Reservations


<br/><img src="" width="1000"> <p>Water Park Essentials List - An infographic created through <a href="" title="Westgate Resorts">Westgate Reservations</a></p>

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