I am an Arizona native and I have spent all but a few of my 40 plus summers in the Arizona desert’s scorching sun. I have been here long enough to know that, unless you plan to stay indoors, there is not much you can do to cool off. Spending my summers indoors was never an attractive option for me, so I spent a lot of time outside. Big Surf Waterpark, one of my favorite places to go for some summer fun, was also one of my mom’s favorite places to go when she was a kid. Big Surf is my happy place and, in my opinion, the best waterpark in Arizona. Here are four reasons why Big surf is the best and why you should visit the next time you are in the Arizona desert during the summer.
Four Reasons Why Big Surf is Arizona’s Best Waterpark
Big Surf is a Historical Location
Big Surf waterpark opened in 1969 and was America’s original wave pool. The park has changed so much since then but that wave pool is still amazing. Imagine people surfing right in the middle of the desert! Big Surf made that a reality and it continues through this very day. Big Surf has also seen many musical performances during its almost 50 year history including Pink Floyd, Elton John, the Beach Boys, Chicago, Sting, Rod Stewart, and many others. Many big names have experienced the fun of Big Surf.
Big Surf is Manageable
Have you ever been to a waterpark and just felt absolutely crowded and boxed in? I have been to other waterparks in Arizona and felt like I was at a circus. Big Surf does not feel that way. Even though attractions have been added over the years, Big Surf still has an open feeling and even on busy days you have room to breathe.
Big Surf is Affordable
Paying full price to get into any waterpark, including Big Surf can be very expensive for a family to cover. However, Big Surf usually has offers online, like this one on Facebook, which makes it so much more affordable. Also, the lockers are bigger and more affordable than at some other Arizona waterparks. I had to return items to my car at one waterpark because the lockers were so small. Also, hit the ice cream shop for a massive single scoop of ice cream for about $3 (and just $4 for 2 scoops!).
The Wave Pool
This isn’t just any wave pool. This is 2.5 million gallons of water in which a wave is generated every three minutes. This is a surfboard friendly wave that you can actually surf on (during the surfing sessions). My family loves to rent the rafts and ride them in. Here is our system:
- Lay on the raft on your belly with your knees at the bottom of the raft.
- Position yourself near the red line in the wave pool (the first one you get to). Keep yourself straight until you hear the wave coming.
- When you hear the wave coming, start slowly paddling with your arms.
- When the wave is almost to your feet, make sure your legs are bent at a 90 degree angle, hold the front corners of the raft, and get ready for some fast moving fun.
- You can steer by lifting up a corner of the raft as you are speeding along. Watch out for the people standing in the shallows!
The wave pool rocks! Despite the slides at Big Surf, we spend most of our time in the wave pool. It is so much fun.
I wish Big Surf Waterpark was open year round but I know that is not realistic. If you live in Arizona, or are planning a trip here during the summer, you simply must check out this fun piece of Arizona history.
1500 N. McClintock Dr./Hayden Rd.
Tempe, Arizona 85281
Phone (480) 994-2297