I have been receiving a lot of emails asking for ways to stay cool and have fun during the summer sun.  Suggestions for pools and water parks are what everyone is seeking information on to beat the heat.  A trip to the water park is always a win! Six Flags America is the closest theme park with a full water park included with the price of admission for Southern Maryland families. I put together this article to provide a guide to summer fun at Six Flags America. (Article updated for 2023 season June 3, 2023.)


If you want to go to the water park and make it a relaxing and refreshing experience for everyone; your best bet is to set a time limit. Going from open to close can be a bit overwhelming if you have young children. A entire day, could equal a few days on recovery if the day is treated like a marathon. Trust me, I know from experience. Investing in a season pass pays for itself after 2-3 visits. If you are able to get a season pass, there’s no pressure to see and do everything in one trip. To make your day smooth sailing; set a time limit ahead of time. Depending on your children’s age will determine how long to stay. For toddler and preschoolers, I recommend two to three hours. For elementary age, four to five hours. Also, going between meals or naptime is a great way to save money and use time wisely.


From talking to a handful of expert parents who have been season passholders for a few years and visiting this park ourselves for a few seasons; it has been agreed upon that going during a week day is way less crowded than a weekend. The best days to attend are Monday thru Wednesday.

Once there, be sure to check out these sections of the water park… One of the newer attractions is the Wahoo River! It is so much fun! Enjoy a lazy laid back ride around the river with your feet up. Another family attraction is the wave pool. Buccaneer beach and Splash Water Falls are two awesome places to hang out if you have kids multiple ages.


Theme parks can get crowded really quick. To avoid a lost little one situation, I recommend a buddy system. Pairing children to a adult or buddying up with a siblings or friends in pairs can be helpful when clearly established ahead of time. It makes keeping a head count and track of everyone easier. It’s also a good idea to have a meet up spot. Establish a little spot that everyone can rendezvous back to. In addition, remind your children what to do if they should become lost or separated from the group. If you have a little one who often runs off, consider writing your cell phone number on the inside of their arm or keep a silicon wrist band on them with their name and your phone number written on the inside.


There are some essentials that you will need in order to enjoy the day at the water park. Keep in mind everyone is different but this is based on what my family likes to do. I find it helpful to have a stroller. This can as a function as a portable locker and napping station. You want to have what you need without being weighed down. Lockers can also be expansive, so here’s what you need.

  • Sunscreen- It’s best to have sunscreen on hand since it should be reapplied about every hour. I do recommend skipping the itty bitty tiny whiny bikini and wearing a rash guard. This way if you for get to apply no gets burned. Plus, if you buy brightly colored rash guards your little one can be seen from a mile away and easier to identify from the crowd.
  • Waterproof phone case- I always put my phone in a water proof case and than keep it on person around my neck.  The park has contactless paying options. My season pass and card are all stored on the phone. This way I don’t have to worry about anything important getting lost or walked off with.
  • Water bottles- Hydration on hot days is important and reusable water bottles are permitted. I like to bring water bottles with handles so I can hang them from the stroller.
  • Additional things I personally like to have- sunglasses, goggles and favorite puddle jumpers for comfort. While the park provides a variety of life vests; it’s nice to have one that fits just right and is yours.
  • Bringing a towels and a change of clothing are optional. Since I have a stroller I just load it up with everything else. If you need to pack lite; you can always leave the towel and dry clothing in the car and change in your vehicle once you are done at the park.
  • Another item to consider for babies and small children are extra swim diapers and pool shoes. The pool deck can get very hot so have swim shoes on can help from burning the bottom of their feet.
  • I’m a boy mom and often fly solo. It’s nice that I can take my entire crew into the individual family bathrooms. The Hurricane Harbor Family bathrooms are located on the back side of the restrooms building next to Splash Water Falls.



If you are on a budget I suggest eating meals before and after your time at the park. Especially, since outside food isn’t permitted in the park. The park opens at 11:00 a.m. most days; so you can just eat a picnic lunch by or in the car and than make your way into the park. After a few hours head home before dinner. That being said, if you will spend a great deal of time in the park and enjoy park food, getting season meal pass is the way to go!


We just visited the park opening weekend for !Viva! La Fiesta! Six Flags’ Viva La Fiesta will heat up Hurricane Harbor Maryland Saturdays and Sundays beginning June 3 through June 25. This bold event returns for 2023, BIGGER & BETTER, with Latin vibes paired with live & local entertainment, fresh & flavorful culinary delights, and eye-popping décor together to bring the party to life! Each weekend will feature a unique lineup of musicians and authentic Latin entertainment, all in the middle of the region’s largest water park Hurricane Harbor Maryland!

My boys enjoyed special Latin dance, parade and even got to participate in a cup stacking race to win prizes. I enjoyed the streak tacos…they were on fire!


Did you know that Six Flags is the first amusement park to become a Autism Certified Center Park in the DMV?

As an accredited Certified Autism Center™, Six Flags America will provide:

  • Trained, helpful, front-line team members equipped to better assist autistic guests and those with other sensory sensitivities to help them enjoy their time at the park;
  • A sensory guide for every attraction that provides insight into how the attraction or ride may be affected by each of the five senses to make it easier for individuals and families to plan activities that align with their needs;
  • Low sensory areas to allow guests with sensory sensitivities to take a break and relax in a less stimulating environment;
  • An updated Accessibility Guide will be available online on the park’s accessibility page and Guest Services area; and
  • Park-wide implementation of the IBCCES Accessibility Card program. This is a free online program with mobile app option for guests to use when requesting assistance or accommodations at any of the Six Flags parks. To learn more about the program visit accessibilitycard.org.

Six Flags America will now offer Sensory Sensitive Days on May 7, June 14 & 28, July 12 & 26 and August 9 & 23. These days will be open to all guests with reduced environmental triggers throughout the park.

  • No park audio. sound and music where possible;
  • Signage highlighting surprise sounds and experiences;
  • Free noise canceling ear plugs upon request; and
  • Additional low sensory locations identified throughout the park.


The park is open nearly year round. Each season there is something to enjoy in the park! Including: Hurricane Harbor Summer, Boo-Family Friendly Halloween Experience and Fright Fest in the fall and Holiday in the Park in the winter. Season passes are as low as $8 a month. To learn more about tickets and pass visit their page.



Location: 13710 Central Ave, Bowie, MD 20721

Hours: Vary Open most days 11AM-7PM


***I want to thank Six Flags for inviting The Playful Parent for a fun day at the park. The Playful Parent is not paid to write articles. All pictures and information presented are my own unbiased opinion.  It is an honor to share tips and suggestions to help make vacationing fun and easy for families. For more information on travel and guides for other attractions check out The Playful Parents Indoor/Outdoor Guide . ***