The Water is Calling These nearby summertime destinations offer sandy beaches, water slides, fishing holes, float trips and more. written by Melanie Crownover
With school ending soon and the weather heating up, vacation time is near. There’s no need to sweat about finding a place to take in the season with friends and family. These four nearby getaways offer entertainment, relaxation and a splash of water to cool you off all summer long.
Slip and slide There are two priorities at Guin Waterpark in Alabama: Keep visitors cool, and make sure they have fun. This city-maintained leisure site got its start in the 1980s with the installation of an Olympic-size swimming pool. A decade later, it became a summer destination when added features made it a water park. The recently renovated 328-foot-long slide that earned the
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spot its renown now includes a modern splash pad with a rain tree and toddler area. “We have one of the longest slides in the state of Alabama, plus a whole lot more,” manager Keith Rhudy said. “It’s a really exciting place for an outing, so we see a lot of travelers from north Mississippi come over every summer.” Many of those families spend the day at the water park and then drive five minutes down the road to the Blue Moon Drive-In Theater for a movie before heading home, according to Rhudy. Upgrades throughout the years have continued to attract visitors of all ages. A sound system pumps music of varying genres through the park daily to keep the gatherings lively. Umbrella-covered cabana tables and more
than 100 deck chairs around the pool await crowds each summer, as does the full-service concession stand offering snacks and drinks. Those who prefer to bring their own food may picnic at tables outside. Guests are permitted to leave and re-enter the park on the day of their visit. Admission is $8 per person for all-day access; $5 twilight admission allows entry from 3 to 5 p.m. Night swim sessions are Tuesdays from 6 to 9 p.m. Often the evening is a themed event like Mardi Gras Night, featuring a live band or DJ; sometimes there is a family movie night. “We try to make sure that we do everything we can to make this a place for families to come and enjoy the summer together,” Rhudy said. “Everything here is geared toward that.” Unless it’s booked for a gathering or party,