About an hour south of Huntsville lies a hidden gem filled with summer fun for the entire family. Spring Valley Beach is home to the Southeast’s largest pool (measuring in at a whopping 2 acres!), loads of fun water slides for a wide range of ages, a fantastic kiddie play area, and plentiful amenities for picnicking or grilling. The restroom and changing facilities are clean and well maintained, and there are lockers available for securing your personal items while you splash & play. More than 20 pavilions and gazebos are available to rent and offer a perfect space to escape the sun and set up your picnic. Call ahead to reserve these structures.
Parking Tips You’ll Thank Us For
This is probably the most fun we’ve had on a day trip during our 5 years in Huntsville.
For our next trip we definitely plan to reserve a pavilion or gazebo. We had a gorgeous day for our water park adventure, but I will admit I had some gazebo envy when we plopped down mid-day for a snack in the hot sun. These would also be ideal for big groups so that everyone has a common place to stash their stuff and picnic together.
For the Littles
With our two boys, ages 3 & 6, we decided to set up camp at a picnic table close to The Kid Zone. New for 2013, this colorful play structure is full of kiddie-sized slides, squirt canons, and a HUGE bucket that slowly fills up and then dumps water on the entire area every so often. My boys loved this area and they spent hours climbing, squirting, dumping, and splashing while squealing with glee. My paranoid, over-protective self was pleased to see that all of the surfaces had good traction, and lifeguards were keeping a watchful eye on the little explorers.
The Kid Zone is at one end of the giant pool, which is basically one huge rectangle. Mid-way down the pool there are 2 sets of waterslides. Two of the slides are tube shaped, and two are open slides that I could take my 3 year-old on my lap. The far end of the pool is where the poolside parking and grilling area is located. This is just a large wide-open area for floating and playing, and also where I saw more teens and adults hanging out if you are going kid-free.
For the Stronger Swimmers
Separate from the pool and kiddie play area are the larger water slides. Several of these have a 54” height requirement, but my 6 year old found a few that he loved and has been talking about for weeks! One nice feature is that there are a few slides that use double rafts, so you can go with your child… although it did make me realize that my thrill-seeking days aren’t quite what they used to be! The 4-story Sidewinder slide with an intense free fall was at the top of my son’s to-do list, but I nearly peed my pants and was too chicken to go a second time! My favorite slide was The Black Out. This pitch black tunnel speeds through twists and turns down a hillside and is the ultimate in disorientation!
My top travel tip for your day at SVB would be to definitely have enough adults in your group to be able to divide and conquer the various areas so that each kid is able to do their own age-appropriate activity. Even though there isn’t a height limit on a few of the bigger slides, my 3 year old went into panic mode when I took him on my lap down one of the less extreme slides. We quickly headed back to The Kid Zone and spent the rest of the day taking turns escorting my older boy to the big slides. At one point we encountered a young boy who had gotten separated from his family and was riding the slides alone talking about being lost. Yikes! I brought him over to a lifeguard and the SVB crew immediately sprang into action on their walkie talkies to track down his parents.
When packing for your trip, be sure to load up on some serious SPF. Unless you are renting a gazebo or pavilion, you will be in the sun all day long. I was so impressed to see that they provide sunscreen near the concession area for those who have forgotten to slather it on! Two thumbs up for SVB for being sun-smart! Also on your packing list should be whatever drinks and snacks you will want during your stay. If you prefer not to haul a cooler, there is a concession area with standard fare, and our family’s favorite – a little Tiki hut with slushies!
Eight Thumbs Up
The bottom line, this is probably the most fun we’ve had on a day trip during our 5 years in Huntsville, and my kids are already begging to return. I can’t say enough good things about Spring Valley Beach. The facility is excellent and well-maintained, the staff members were polite and helpful, even the scenery was lovely. Growing up in a big city, my only experiences with water parks were in a concrete jungle, so sitting out at the picnic table with beautiful rolling hills and forests was a treat! Be sure to get this day trip on your calendar before these last few weeks of summer are over!
The mom of two rambunctious redheads, Meg Nester is a Chicago area native and wannabe crafter extraordinaire. When she’s not tending to her boys or training for triathlons, you can find her in the garage wielding her beloved power tools or firing up a kiln full of enamel jewelry.