Nothing screams summer like getting wet on a hot summer day. And the most fun way to get wet is to head to the nearest water park. Lucky, we are near one of the best, Six Flags Hurricane Harbor in Concord, California. From huge slides for thrill seekers to calmer water play areas for tots, there is something to keep everyone happy at this park. We recently spent the day at Hurricane Harbor and re-found our love for water parks and thrill rides. Read on to see why a Hurricane Harbor visit makes any day a fabulous summer day.
One of my favorite parts of a water park is the lazy river. A nice lazy river where you can float in the water, getting wet but not soaked, while relaxing is my kind of water park ride. The Kaanapali Kooler Lazy River (named after my favorite town in Maui) is 1,100 feet long and goes through the whole park. There are multiple exits and entrances so you can even take the lazy river as a more pleasant way to get from one area of the park to another. It is not too deep, so you can either float on a rented inner tube, or just swim or walk along. And do not miss the waterfall if you or the kiddos want to get a good drenching.
Breaker Beach is a pool that is more than a wave pool. There is a section that goes all the way out to six feet and provides gentle waves for you to float up and down on and enjoy a bit of a thrill. But at the other end, there are two shallower areas. One is set up as more of a tot area, for kids to play with littler ones and enjoy the waves. There is even a bench in the water so you can sit but stay cool. The other side has mushrooms that shoot out water. My daughter had a blast in this area, running in and out of the water mushrooms getting wet and enjoying the water.
Water Play Areas
There are two water play areas, the Caribbean Cove is a smaller area intended for toddlers, with some waterspouts and a small slide. Splashwater Island is where my kids and I spent most of our time. It is equipped with lots of fountains, water guns to shoot people, smaller dunk bucket, slides of all different sizes, and a giant dunk bucket that drenches everyone in the area when it comes down. All around the area are chairs (some shaded, some not) where you can sit and rest while your children are running around enjoying all the fun. We could have come and spent the entire day in this one spot, the kids loved it so much!
The slides were the only slightly disappointing part of the waterpark. Not because of the height or the thrill. My son loved (and my daughter was freaked out) the Typhoon Slide Complex. He thought the underwater lights were awesome in the dark tunnel. He enjoyed the fast Hurricane Slides, where he zipped down another tunneled slide. He wanted to do the Big Kahuna, but we ran out of time. You see, every slide ended up being a 30 minute+ wait. We only had 4 hours in the park. That meant 25% of the time spent at the park was spent waiting to ride two slides. I did go on a Friday on a hot day, so that may have had something to do with the crowds. If you really want to ride the slides, middle of the week and earlier in teh day seem to be the time to go.
Rental Inner Tubes: There is an area to rent inner tubes. It is absolutely not necessary. You can only really use it in the Kaanapali Kooler Lazy River and the Breaker Beach Wave Pool. But it does make both areas a bit of a nicer experience. At the time of publication, it was $20 for a double inner tube, and $15 for a single. You received $5 back if you returned the tube to the rental office at the end of the day.
Life Vests: Outside Breaker Beach there are hundreds of life vests of all different sizes for anyone to use. My kids are generally good swimmers now, but in the past, I have used them for my daughter when she was not a strong swimmer. It made everyone feel more comfortable. I even saw adults wearing them out in the wave pool to enjoy the deeper waters. Do not feel shame, just take one and use it.
Lockers: There are standard and large lockers you can rent for the day. This is great if everyone in your party is looking to get wet, and you do not want to be responsible for lugging around a bag full of towels and dry clothing everywhere you go. It takes credit cards and was $15 for a large locker for the day. That fit my giant beach bag with 3 people’s towels, dry clothing, sunscreen, snacks, etc. I strongly suggest you get one of those waterproof pouch lanyards to carry your phone and a credit card all day. That is how I was able to record the day and still protect my brand-new phone. I also suggest you bring along your sunscreen, and just hope it does not get stollen as you leave it places. We did not and forgot to reapply. I am still paying for this mistake…
Showers and Changing Areas: There are changing areas, but it is not in the restroom near the front gate. It is in tents, next to the rest room. There are striped privacy tents between the front gate and the women’s rest room, and they are for changing. Took forever to find them, so you are welcome. There are also outdoor showers in the women’s and men’s room, but none that offer privacy.
Food: There are plenty of food options throughout the park but note that the waits and the lines can be long. It is recommended that you download the app and do mobile orders. We did not do this and ended up not getting ice cream because the line was just too long, and we had to leave.
Cabanas: If you want to have a more relaxing experience at the park, you can rent a cabana for the day. Starting at $150 a day, it provides you a place to relax and take a break between water park activities. It comes with some tube rentals, and you can order food from there and have it delivered to you instead of waiting in line or doing a mobile order. Plus, it gives you a private place to let a younger one nap while your older one plays in the water with another parent.
A Few Considerations:
Reservations: As of June 15th, reservations are no longer required to enter the park. However, purchasing you pass beforehand online will save you money as opposed to buying the tickets at the gate. We were able to get $30 per person tickets by purchasing a few days in advance on a weekday.
COVID Considerations: At the time we went, most COVID restrictions in California were lifted. You had to make a reservation online, but they seemed to be a full capacity. Masks were NOT required, but strongly encouraged for those who were not vaccinated. Since we were outdoors most of the day and in the water, we did not really mask much. People were not keeping their distance. There was no one at the park encouraging social distancing. I tried to remind myself that the CDC at that time was saying that COVID does not spread as well outdoors and we never really went indoors. (They were always masked in the rest rooms). But if you are in anyway concerned about your or a loved one’s immune system, or uncomfortable with crowds yet, then it is not the time to be visiting Hurricane Harbor.
All in all, I am glad we took the day and went to the Six Flags Hurricane Harbor. My only regret is that we did not come on a cooler mid-weekday, and we did not have more time to spend at the park. The other slides look amazing, and I know my son would spend all day going down each of them if he had time. But even if we never went on a single big slide, we had an amazing time playing at the different water play areas and could easily have done that all day long. Six Flags Hurricane Harbor has something for all age ranges, and it is worth taking a day to enjoy the water park. It is a summer day the kids will remember.