June 14, 2023
During the summertime, my family loves to take full advantage of our two-park season passes and spend some time at both Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country. While we can’t always make an overnight trip, we have refined our plans to master the Splash Country day trip. We can’t do everything in one day, so here is how we approach Splash Country for just a single day trip.
When planning for a day trip to Splash Country, our family likes to get on the road early. We live about 3 hours away from Dollywood, so in order to maximize our time in the water park, we want to get there a little before it opens. For us, that means leaving between 6-6:30 a.m. and grabbing a fast breakfast as we travel. We are able to get on the road that early, because we make some key decisions and make sure almost everything is packed the night before. Here are the things we figure out ahead of time:
Once we arrive, we park our vehicle, grab the appropriate bags, make our way through security and ticket booths, and head for the lockers. Our first task is to snag a locker for the change of clothes bag. Sometimes it depends on which attraction we want to do first that determines which lockers we will utilize. More often than not, we move towards the central lockers just past the Downbound Float Trip, because there are bathrooms for changing nearby.
As soon as we have the locker, we either change and get sunscreen, or if we are already changed, we head towards the special passholder seating near the wave pool to snag some chairs for the day. Once we have done that, it is slide time!
As slides near the wave pool tend to get busy early, we try to do those first. Our favorites include Raging River Rapids, Mountain Twist and Slick Rock Racer for the adults and our 12-year-old twins. We also have a toddler, so sometimes one parent will break away from the slides to take the toddler for an extra ride on the Downbound Float Trip before the rest of the family joins in.
Next, we like to head to the back of the park to spend time at Bear Mountain Fire Tower, a place where all three children can play, and the Cascades pool. Again, we try to miss the larger crowds that are still at the front of the water park. Since I am a little more adventurous than most of my family, sometimes I will slip away to catch a quick ride on the RiverRush water coaster, while the rest of the family is getting settled in at Bear Mountain Fire Tower.
If we have been able to do all of these things, my crew is pretty hungry by this time of day. So we usually break for lunch here and seek out some of the tasty options in the park. The great news is that there are great food options in all the major areas of the park - near Bear Mountain Fire Tower, at the wave pool, across from Downbound Float Trip and near the entrance to the park. We love them all, so often we will try to judge which area seems least crowded and head that way for a bite.
After lunch, we plan time for the wave pool, another ride on DownBound Float Trip and TailSpin Racer, which is closer to the front of the park. If we want a sweet treat, there are great options for ice cream or for a BeaverTail.
Our goal is to leave the park around 4 p.m. to start making the trek home. So by 3:30 p.m., we will go retrieve our change of clothes bag from our locker and divide up to go change clothes in the restrooms nearby. This lets us ride home in dry clothes, which is much more comfortable for everyone. It also is very handy to have all the wet clothes in one bag when I get home, so that those clothes can immediately go in the laundry.
We end the day by stopping for dinner about an hour from home and arriving home between 8 – 9 p.m. It is a long day, but always a fun one for us as we hit all the highlights of Dollywood’s Splash Country!
All Insiders Trip Planning Water Park
All Insiders Trip Planning Water Park