There are innumerable reasons to travel. Italian wine, French pastries, Himalayan mountains, Afghan chai, Turkish coffee, the joy of blundering through cultural codes of conduct, the embarrassment of tripping through languages, the gratitude you feel when overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness of strangers. There are the wonders of the world, the expanded horizons, and the uncomfortable, unsettled feeling of having no idea what’s going on.
And then, there are the water slides. If you’ve ever wanted to ride a water slide through a pool filled with sharks (and who hasn’t?), then you definitely need to add these water slides to your travel bucket list.
The Leap of Faith
Atlantis, Paradise Island, The Bahamas
The Leap of Faith begins with a 60 foot near-vertical drop from a replica of the iconic Mayan Temple before it sends riders down a clear acrylic tunnel submerged in a shark-filled lagoon. After the shark lagoon, the slide deposits riders into a relaxing (and mercifully shark-free) pool. A new way to experience aquariums or an accident waiting to happen? Don’t worry, a shark has only escaped onto the slide once.
Beach Park, Fortaleza, Brazil
The Insano, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, is the highest water slide in the world. Coming in at 41 meters, the ride rivals a 14-story building. Plummeting down the near-vertical ride for about four or five seconds, riders (or sliders), can expect to reach speeds of about 65 mph. Which is insane.
Whitewater World, Dreamworld, Coomera, Australia
In addition to winning the unofficial contest for best name, this water slide includes a near-vertical free-fall ride in a narrow tunnel from 58 feet in the air. Guaranteed to, ahem, rearrange your swimsuit.
Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park, Orlando, Florida
I wanted to include a water park in Dubai, but a) it felt a little absurd to recommend a water park in the Middle East and b) the slide in question is out of commission so, instead, we have the Summit Plummet brought to you by your friends over at Disney. Twelve stories high, this slide is no joke. Though it’s not quite tall enough to steal the “tallest slide in the world” title, it’s still high enough to make the free-fall drop down a 360-foot long flume a little unnerving. Bonus points? There’s a chair lift that takes you to the top.
Noah’s Ark Family Park, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
While not as tall as some of the other rides on this list, the ten-story high Scorpion’s Tail definitely earns a spot on the list of best water slides. The slide is one giant loop that shoots riders through at about 50 feet per second. The best (or worst) part? You don’t get to push yourself onto the slide. Instead, you stand in a capsule at the top of the ride and wait for the ground to give way beneath you and send you hurtling in a free-fall drop toward the nearly-vertical loop. Fun.