Living in Virginia, we've long been fans of Busch Gardens Williamsburg, visiting at least once a year. In fact, I've grown up with Busch Gardens - it's the class trip in high school here. Busch Gardens suits our family - not too far away, with plenty to see and do, rides for the adventurous and shows for the more sedate, accommodations for special needs that really came in handy when our kids were younger, and the perfect East Coast location that allowed our Northern relatives and our Southern relatives to meet us in the middle for a great "family reunion" smack dab in the middle.
Water Country USA is a Busch Gardens / SeaWorld property, just three miles down the road from Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, VA. It's Virginia’s largest water park, located in a prime location, surrounded by the Historic Triangle of Colonial Williamsburg, Yorktown and Jamestown, and technically only an hour away from Virginia Beach - but do allow for tunnel traffic, because no one in my area knows how to drive through the tunnel - this is the gospel according to me.
It's legitimately the truth when I say that Busch Gardens and Water Country USA as a combined destination offer something for everyone, with kid-friendly attractions and play areas, slides and rides for teens and adults, resort-like amenities and shaded areas to get out of the sun if you need to – but who wants to get out of the sun? Not us!
Recently, we were invited to spend the day at Water Country USA as guests of the park. To say my family was excited would have been an understatement!
One thing we noticed right off the bat was that the park was incredibly clean and very pretty. The wave pool was a popular spot, and we stopped here briefly, but we really wanted to get on some rides!
Water Country USA takes safety very seriously. Vests are strategically located throughout the park in multiple sizes, and they are always available for use on rides. Recorded voices encourage the use of vests to keep everyone safe - so important, as sometimes, the appeal of a ride can overwhelm even the strongest of swimmers and someone can be caught unaware.
My husband commented several times on the beauty of the park. Fresh flowers were throughout the park, and everything was meticulously kept up - the grounds were well maintained and tidy. It's so nice to visit a park that takes pride in how they present themselves, and it spilled over into their employees! Everyone was really lovely.
We were given a cabana for our use for the day, and it was really the best choice for a family. I'd recommend it - we had a spot to store all of our stuff (it came with a locker), we had a cooler with ice to use, a table, chairs and lounge chairs, and it allowed us to have a central location. This meant that we could use the cabana as a rendezvous, and the older kids could go off to various rides and attractions. We set up return times and everyone went separate ways.
Our cabana was situated by Hubba Hubba Highway, a 1,500 foot lazy river that’s anything but lazy - it was a perfectly amazing free-floating fun activity for our entire family. We grabbed our life vests and were happy to kick back and float around. I am not ashamed to say that this was my jam, and I stayed in this area for most of the day. I am all about a river ride, lazy or not. I liked the handrails that could be used to access the zero depth entry into the pool area of this ride, which meant it could be handicap friendly.
Don't forget the sunblock!
There were maps located all around, which was great, because some of us are a bit thickheaded and think we know EXACTLY how to get to places we've NEVER seen before, simply by osmosis. Look at all those rides and attractions! There is literally something for everyone.
Lunch offerings were stellar - touch screens were a great choice for us, because with a big family, it can be really overwhelming, trying to order 8 different lunches. This person wants one type of sandwich, hold the condiments, this person wants a different type, add extra mayo, and on and on. With a touch screen, each person could be responsible for ordering their own meal, and there was no interaction with a server, no pressure to hurry up and get the ordering over, no frustration if someone took an extra minute or two - it was a small, yet thoughtful, touch.
Healthy meal choices were much appreciated! Lots of fruit and veggies, water and non-soda drinks. If you have food allergies, which is an area we deal with in multiples, know that Busch Gardens properties take this seriously. We mentioned it every time we visited a restaurant and it was not only taken seriously, but the manager of each restaurant came to the front, allowed my son to ask his questions, made him feel at ease, double-checked the labels, and did everything necessary to keep us safe. The parks have allergy information online and take all necessary precautions.
One area we didn't visit, which is an area that I must admit I never ever felt like I'd ever graduate from, was the kiddie area. H2O UFO is the largest children’s water playground, an out-of-this-world adventure filled with slides, spray jets, and a cool waterfall. There’s even a water slide that kids and parents can ride together. Surrounded by an elevated concrete step, this was a special area for the smaller kids. It was super clean and well maintained, and the shaded areas were a nice touch. There were also multiple signs about using swim diapers, which I also appreciated, as a mom who spent many, many years hanging out in that area. :)
Lots of spraying water means lots of opportunity to keep cool!
Cow-a-bunga is 3-foot deep splash pool accessible by 15 steps with handrails on either side - perfect for smaller ones as well.
After lunch, my kids went on rides, and my husband and I did what parents the world over do best - lay out in the sun, enjoy a frosted beverage, and take a nap. :)
Before visiting the park, I’d recommend spending a bit of time on the vacation planner – getting familiar with the rides and attractions. That way, you know what is offered and what your family might enjoy, and you can jump right into the water and really maximize your time like a seasoned veteran.
We had a great time hanging out at Water Country USA as a family, which is something that is tough to do as the kids get older. It's hard to find things that all eight of us like to do - typically there's an activity that suits the older kids but not the younger, or the parents love it and the kids hate it or the kids have a blast and the parents pretend. With more than 40 slides and attractions, kids play areas and wave pools - Water Country USA checks all the boxes.
Goodbye School, Hello Summer- Enjoy it at Busch Gardens & Water Country USA!!
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