Summer is finally here along with the high temperatures! When the Fahrenheit starts to rise, everyone’s first thought is to flock to the local water park Knott’s Berry Farm Soak City. We happened to go on the first sunny weekend of the season and BOY was it packed! It was our first trip to @knottsberryfarm Soak City Water Park of the season and our first time in a Cabana (thanks Snoopy and the #berrybloggers!) Our family was invited to check out the Cabanas at Knott’s Soak City for free. This is also our first year having Soak City on our passes.
When the crowds are high, line wait times are usually astronomical. Since the kids are still young, waiting in lines can be hard. We decided to focus our time on free play areas where wait times were minimal to none. Here are our top 4 water play areas that don’t have lines.
Gremmie Lagoon is located across the main bridge to the right hand side. It is typically known as the “little kid area” since the maximum height is 54″. The water is at most 1 foot deep which makes it easy to navigate for most kids. There are 3 slides in this area: the boat slide, octopus slide, and submarine slide. The boat and octopus are monitored by Knott’s Soak City lifeguards, but the submarine is a free play zone. The longest we waited was about 10 minutes for the higher octopus slide.
If slides aren’t your thing, you can relax in the water, climb on the animal fountains, or check out the sprinkler area. We were comfortable with the girls navigating the boat slide by themselves as long as they were in eye shot. I would definitely recommend grabbing a chair in this area since it’s where your little ones will be spending most of their time.
Beach House “Bucket” Area
There are two slides in the Beach House area that have a 42″ height requirement. LittleGray waited only about 15 minutes for this slide (adults can go down, too!). There are several stairs that you can climb to get to water guns that hit targets in the center of the area. Be careful because there are also 3 huge buckets of water that dump intermittently to unsuspecting people below!
Sunset “Lazy” River
Our family’s favorite is the Sunset River! This lazy river snakes all throughout Soak City and you can easily spend hours floating around. All children 48″ and under must wear lifejackets which are provided at each entrance of Sunset River. You can choose to wait for a tube, or bypass the line and free swim in the river.
Tidal Wave Bay Wave Pool
Another huge open play area is the wave pool called Tidal Wave Bay. Waves as big as 4 feet will periodically go off around 10 minutes to create an ocean like effect. Smaller guests might be more comfortable in a tube or in their parent’s arms. LittleSage was a little scared and preferred to play in the soft lapping waves at the water’s entrance.
Save Time by Renting a Tube
For Sunset River and Tidal Wave Bay, tubes can enhance the fun, but you can also find yourself waiting a long time for someone to give up their tube. There are a limited number of tube rentals available daily for $10 each. Tubes are good for both Sunset River and Tidal Wave Bay. You do need to tote your tube around with you and store it at our spot when not in use. To rent a tube, head towards the kiosk near the bathrooms by Tidal Wave Bay. They do sell occasionally sell out, so be sure to head over there early in the day!
Splurge on a Cabana
Even on one of the busiest days of the year, we were able to have our own private retreat in our private Cabana. We had a Malibu/Shore Break Cabana and it was so peaceful and relaxing! It was off from the main paths so it was the perfect hideaway from the sun and crowds. The Cabana also came with our personal safe, 4 tube rentals ($40 value) and our own cabana person who helped us order our meal plan food (get the fish and chips 😋). It was steps away from the Sunset River entrance which is where we spent most of our time!
Cabanas range from $170-$265 with prices varying by peak season and location. The higher priced cabanas are located overlooking the Tidal Wave Bay, and the slightly cheaper Malibu/Shore Break Cabanas are closer to Longboards Grill Restaurant. I preferred the location of the Malibu/Shore Break Cabanas because there was way less foot traffic, and it was really close to the drink Refresh station and restrooms. Each cabana can accommodate 8 people, but extra guests can be added on for $15 each.
What If I Don’t Want to Spend Extra Money?
Totally relatable and valid! The cabana was such a luxury but I don’t think we would get one every time we visited. There are ample chairs available with limited shaded awnings. Your best bet is to get there right at opening, or take advantage of Season Passholder Early entry days. There are parts of the park on the lawn areas which are shaded by trees, but you would have to bring towels or chairs to sit. Longboards quick service restaurant has a huge outdoor seating area which is shaded for meals.
Know Before You Go
- Soak City parking is in the East Parking Lot which is the main lot that takes you under the bridge once you enter the driveway. Even if it is coned off, you can tell the worker that you are going to Soak City and they will let you through. Once you pay the $20 for parking, head straight all the way down and turn right until you see the Soak City Main Entrance. If you park closer to the red barn, you can take the scenic walkway by turning left before you go under the bridge.
- Tickets can be bought at the entrance of Soak City
- Small food items are permitted, but no large meals or large portions of snacks. Cans are not allowed unless they are Coke brand. Small coolers are also permitted
- You can also bring in wagons, umbrellas, and lawn chairs.
- Season Pass Meal Plans and refillable drink cups are valid at Soak City!
- There are two main places to eat: Longboards for chicken fingers, burgers, fish and chips, salads and wraps, and Pizza which is located at the front of the park
Best Value for Tickets
If you haven’t been to Soak City, I HIGHLY recommend getting the gold pass that includes both Knott’s Berry Farm and Soak City Water Park. One day admission is around $45-$55, but the Gold Pass is $145 and includes unblocked days to both Soak City and Knott’s Berry Farm through the rest of the year. You’ll be able to enjoy all summer at Soak City, Ghost Town Alive and Summer Nights at @knottsberryfarm, AND experience Halloween and Christmas season at Knott’s. Definitely worth it!
More information about Knott’s Berry Farm Soak City can be found on their website.