Updated: May 30, 2019
WRITTEN BY RACHEL BURCHFIELD
Escape to any of these six family-friendly places to cool off when the heat is on.
MARRIOTT SHOALS HOTEL AND SPA
10 Hightower Place
Photo credit Marriott Hotels
A hotel getaway with indoor and outdoor pools awaits you just 90 miles northeast of Tupelo. The outdoor pool has fountains, a cave, a waterslide and private, shady cabanas for relaxing. An adjacent pool bar offers refreshments. Once you’re done swimming with the kids, treat yourself to a massage or a facial at the hotel’s onsite spa, then grab a bite to eat at the 360 Grille in the Renaissance Tower, a revolving restaurant that offers views of the Tennessee River Valley. Or relax on Swampers Terrace with water views of Wilson Lake. The soundtrack of your visit will be sweet. The collective Shoals, of which Florence is a part, is home to a vibrant music history where superstars like Bob Dylan, Otis Redding, and Aretha Franklin recorded hits. Room prices vary.
FAYETTE AQUATIC CENTER
Guthrie Smith Park
218 23rd Street NE
Photo credit Fayette Aquatic Center
Located about 85 miles from Tupelo, this aquatic center features an impressive lazy river and three waterslides with varying degrees of twists and turns. When you get hungry from all the splashing around, the concession stand serves pizza, hot dogs, nachos, chips, cheese sticks, pickles and candy. Admission is $10 for the general public and $7 for seniors, non-swimmers, and military personnel. Kids under 2 get in free. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Opens May 25. fayetteaquaticcenter.com
RENAISSANCE BIRMINGHAM ROSS BRIDGE GOLF RESORT AND SPA
4000 Grand Avenue
Photo credit Renaissance Birmingham
The first thing you’ll notice when you drive up to Ross Bridge, about two hours east of Tupelo, is that it looks like a castle. So expect to be treated like royalty. While the resort is best known for its golf course, it is also a family destination for its pools. Kids will love the outdoor beach-entry pool and its big waterslide. The park-like space is surrounded by towering trees and waterfalls. Inside, the hotel offers a saltwater pool, a fitness center and the Spa at Ross Bridge. Every guest room has a private balcony overlooking the Alabama hills. Other family-friendly features are bike rentals and outdoor fire pits stocked with all the fixings to make your own s’mores. Room prices vary.
SPRAY PARK AT BNA BANK PARK
165 Bratton Road
New Albany, Mississippi
Photo credit Joe Worthem
New Albany’s water park at BNA Bank Park is complete with water fountains, an impressive water slide and a wading area. Admission is $4 for youngsters ready to get wet. Adults get in free. Hours are noon to 6 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays. In addition to the water features, kids can choose from a number of small water toys to play with and take a sno-cone break at the nearby vendor.
Opens May 28. visitnewalbany.com/attractions
RED BAY FAMILY FUN PARK
650 2nd Street NW
Red Bay, Alabama
Photo credit Red Bay Fun Park
Water slides for grown-ups? Only about an hour from Tupelo is Red Bay Family Fun Park, where you can slip down two adult water slides and play in the large pool to your heart’s content; kids can enjoy a smaller slide made just for them. When you’re done swimming, there’s also a playground, a covered pavilion for picnics and gatherings, a skateboard park and a quarter-mile walking trail. Admission to the park, playground and walking trail is free; admission to the water park Monday-Saturday is $8, Sunday $5. Open Memorial Day through Labor Day; hours are noon to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Opens May 25. cityofredbay.org/parks-and-rec/red-bay-fun-park
GEYSER FALLS WATER THEME PARK
7746, 209 Black Jack Road
New Albany, Mississippi
Photo credit Pearl River Resort
A little over two hours south of Tupelo you’ll find one of Mississippi’s marvels. The Geyser Falls Water Theme Park is a 23-acre family amusement center with 12 major waterslides, a gigantic wave pool, a lazy river, white sandy beaches, palm trees and cabanas for rent. Amenities include a retail shop, food court, ice cream parlor, snack bar and a stage for outdoor entertainment. Right next to the park you’ll find the Beach Club Restaurant, a full-service restaurant in a beach environment. Adults pay $36.99 plus tax Sunday-Friday and $44.99 plus tax Saturday; those under 48 inches tall pay $26.99 plus tax Sunday-Friday and $34.99 plus tax Saturday; children ages 3 and under get in free.
Opens May 18. geyserfalls.com