Dive in to one of Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission's aquatic facilities in Prince George's County, Md. The pools, splash parks and aquatic centers are open to all, regardless of where you live or work. The Theresa Banks Memorial Aquatic Center in Glenarden recently reopened with extensive renovations, and several splash parks throughout the county boast slides, waterfalls, wading pools and other interactive features to keep kids cool. pgparks.com
Splash around at one of the area's public swimming facilities, like Water Mine Family Swimmin' Hole in Reston, Va., or the Splash Playground in Boyds, Md. The swimmin' hole, with a western theme, centers around Pete's Peak, a boarded up mountain with mine shafts, tunnels and two slides your children will line up for again and again. There are a ton of county- or city-operated pools in the area that are sure to keep your family cool this summer; visit your recreation department's website for ideas.
Breathe underwater at an Intro to Scuba for Kids class at Sterling Silver Scuba in Sterling, Va. Children ages 8 and older can get a taste of scuba diving in a safe, supervised environment and in only six feet of water. They'll learn about scuba diving equipment, put on the proper gear and take their first breath underwater. It's sure to be a story they'll brag about all summer long to their friends! silverdivers.com
Ride along the C&O Canal on a mule-drawn replica canal boat like the ones used in the 1870s. Great Falls offers rides along the historic canal that include presentations by park rangers in period clothing describing was life was like for families who lived and worked on the canal. nps.gov/choh
Explore swimming holes, lakes, waterfalls and beaches just a short drive away. The website swimmingholes.info contains a plethora of information on where to find the best swimming holes for your family. Information on fees, nearby campgrounds and even the cleanliness of each location is included in each site's description. swimmingholes.info
Go surfing indoors at Massanutten WaterPark in McGaheysville, Va. This indoor-outdoor water park lets visitors surf, slide, splash and swim in a family-friendly environment. The indoor park is open year-round and is always a comfortable 84 degrees Fahrenheit, and the outside area is now open for the summer. Younger ones will love riding down the Frog Slide and splashing in the 12-inch Frog Pond, while older kids will gravitate toward the Rockingham Racer four-lane, headfirst slide or Splash-A-Nutten activity pool. massresort.com
Sport an eye patch aboard Urban Pirates' ship in Baltimore. Every Wednesday and Friday at 9 a.m., the pirate ship at Ann St. Pier hosts a free story time with songs, games, stories and more. Thrifty parents can bring the kids for the story time, or stay on board afterward for a discounted pirate adventure around the Inner Harbor. Kids will blast enemies with water cannons and learn to dress, talk and play like a pirate. urbanpirates.com
Row, row, row your boat at a county park. Many county parks offer kayak, canoe and rowboat rentals at affordable rates. Head to Riverbend Park in Great Falls, Va., Lake Needwood Boat House in Rockville, Md., Bladensburg Waterfront Park in Bladensburg, Md., or a park near you for a day of pedaling, paddling, rowing and gliding. If you're downtown, rent paddle boats at the Tidal Basin for a beautiful view of the Jefferson Memorial. Tip: many of these locations also offer fishing rod rentals and free picnic areas.