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A blue lazy river twists around dry landscape while several people float downstream in this aerial view
Glenwood Hot Springs Resort

The best lazy rivers in the US

Drift away on the best lazy rivers in the US without fearing a waterfall plunge.

Erika Mailman
Written by
Erika Mailman
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Forget your pools, the pleasures of a fabricated lazy river are profuse. Besides cooling off on hot days, you get the thrill of white water rapids—albeit small ones—without fearing knocking into underwater boulders or plunging down a gigantic drop-off waterfall just around the bend. A lazy river also provides a great stop-off on a road trip and, let's be honest, is there any feeling quite like that of the sun on your face and gently drift downstream, wondering what's at the other end? So, here's our list of the very best artificial estuaries and purpose-built brooks to enjoy (aka the best lazy rivers in the USA). 

Best lazy rivers in the US

This is billed as being the world’s longest (the website says ‘allegedly’) lazy river, which is nearly a mile long. You must purchase a Wedge waterslide pass to ride the lazy river, but that just increases the fun. You can also separately surf on a two-acre lake or try the wakeboarding cable park where overhead cables pull you around the water with no boat involved.

This indoor lazy river for swimmers (no floatie needed) is short but sweet, since it ends in a powerful whirlpool you have to kick to get out of. You can get an affordable day pass ($6 adults) to spend a few hours here in the two pools with a water slide—and then step outside to the green city park it sits in to have a picnic.

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The Shoshone Chutes outdoor tube ride has more thrills than most lazy rivers; it’s meant to mimic the Colorado River with cascading tiers that take you ‘downhill’ with fast-paced twists and turns. Your floatie will likely spin around backward with the water’s power as you enjoy beautiful landscaping for this 3-minute ride. It’s open to the public, but is on the grounds of a historical resort hotel with famous hot springs. The bonus is the red rocks of surrounding mountains in this spectacular natural setting.

This may not be Las Vegas’s longest lazy river, but it’s got a decent stretch at an eighth of a mile (660 feet). It boasts tiki torches and an enchanting palm-tree lined ride past four beautiful waterfalls. It’s heated to over 80 degrees in the winter and the mid-70s in the summer. Plus, nearby is a sand-entry pool for building sandcastles. You must be a guest of the resort to use the lazy river; the resort is a few miles off the Strip.

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Deep in the Poconos, the Camelback Resort's indoor waterpark includes a lazy river that goes underground and enters a darkened ‘grotto’ under other waterslides for a more mood-insppired moment. The waterpark is huge, 125,000 square feet under a transparent roof; stay until nighttime for the beautiful illuminated interior! Bonus: you’ll have access to the longest indoor water coaster slide in the world. Entry to the waterpark is included with overnight stay at the resort, or you can buy a day ticket.

In the midst of this epic waterpark is a slow and relaxing 1,200 foot lazy river, called the Roundabout River, that pulls you through the park on gentle currents as you float under waterfalls to cool off. When you’re done relaxing, get your heartrate back up at the Backsplash two-person waterslide-plus-roller coaster. Or check out the enormous wave pool and 11 other waterslides on the park’s 23 acres.

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A lazy river in the shape of the state of Texas? Sure, why not!? Drift along the circumference of the state border as you look out over the city skyline from this sixth floor rooftop pool. You’ll go under a few footbridges in this 80 degree river and then can climb out to try the heated infinity pool nearby. You can get a day pass at resortpass.com, starting at $40, if you want to swim without spending the night.

 

With waves and a strong current, the 1,000ft Adventure River passes by waterfalls and under tipping buckets to drench you. It starts and ends with a sand-free beach and lagoon for a ten minute ride. If you really want to amp up the relaxation vibes, trade in your free tube for a $5 ‘recliner.’ Check out the million gallon wave pool while you’re there and other attractions, including a 45ft gorilla statue named Hugh Mongous. 

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A relief to some, Croctail Creek is a 21+ only lazy river, and the optional accompanying beverage makes the 700ft glide all the more relaxing. Begin your ride at the swim-up (tube up?) bar called Sandbar and grab a comfortable two-person floatie (single floaties available too) to drift away. There’s also a 1,500ft Roaring Rapids Action River, which kids are allowed on—it has its own wave generator—and Zoombezi Bay has a plethora of other water based attractions, including a wave pool and many slides. Admission also includes entry into the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium the same day. 

The indoor 986ft Coconut Grove Adventure River (with an outdoor component) involves a relaxing tour around the Parrot’s Perch Play Area with a few splash surprises along the way. You’ll ride on transparent donuts, and the water park’s day pass will get you into 65,000 square feet of other water-based play such as slides, water cannons and a swim-through passage to an outdoor whirlpool.

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Ride this lengthy lazy river—it’s 1,200ft, with pretty views of River Island Village and a pool on either end. Rent your tubes for $9 and also check out the waterslides and hot tubs. Putt-putt golf is nearby, too. This Holiday Inn Club is a timeshare resort and it’s right next to a famous theme park whose name we can’t remember but we know it has something to do with a friendly rodent.

Stay at this park overlooking the Wallkill River in your RV or in a cabin and enjoy the lazy river, which comes equipped with water sprayers, cannons and buckets to make the ride memorable. There’s also a Yogi Bear’s Water Zone with slides and a fort, traditional pools, and mini golf. You can fish in the Wallkill and there are a ton of other activities. There are even themed weekends and weeks such as Wildlife Week Aug. 19-25. You can also book a day pass instead of spending the night.

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The Rainbow Garden Boat Ride is aimed at families and involves sitting in a dry, round boat that holds four people, but we have to mention it because of its high level of charm. Float down the laziest of rivers (no white water here) in a shaded vessel while listening to recorded frogs croaking and passing by gorgeous display gardens. You must buy a park pass, but that’s a great thing because this is basically Disneyland for toddlers, with rides based on vegetables, all clean and spiffy with short lines.

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