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If you really want to take your next waterpark visit to the next level, splurge on a cabana rental. Check out this San Antonio mom’s perspective on cabana rentals at Aquatica San Antonio, SeaWorld’s water park. Yes, it’s expensive. But, she says, Oh. So. Worth. It. Here’s the scoop on why – and how – you should choose a waterpark cabana rental at Aquatica San Antonio.
We live in San Antonio and that means HOT summers. One of our favorite ways to beat the heat during the dog days of summer is to check out one of the area waterparks. While there are lots of choices in our area, Aquatica remains our favorite. The thrill factor of the wave pool and the water slides is a big draw for our adventurous 10-year-old boys. I prefer relaxing in one of the pools or floating the day away in the lazy river. Speaking of lazy rivers, while you’re in town, don’t miss the San Antonio River Walk.
Although there are lots of choices for cooling off during hot weather in Texas, I have to say that this is my favorite water park. It’s an easy drive for anyone coming from Austin. If you’re coming from Dallas or Houston, you’ll have a little more of a drive, but Aquatica combined with a visit to SeaWorld makes for a fun and educational weekend with all the thrills a theme park offers.
If you’re staying overnight, I recommend the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort, which is right across the street.
I’ve always noticed – and coveted – waterpark cabanas. While I frantically slather sunscreen on my kids and keep my eagle eye out for one of those coveted chairs in the shade, the cabana inhabitants are kicked back in their sweet little oasis like waterpark royalty.
While certainly a splurge, a cabana rental at Aquatica San Antonio may not be completely out of your reach. If you pair it with a special occasion, such as a birthday or other milestone celebration, maybe you can better justify the expense. If you visit a waterpark every week (which is doable with an annual pass) then a cabana rental every time might be above your budget. However, if you go once or twice a season and can afford the extra spend, it makes such a difference in how your day plays out.
So how much are we talking?
Cabana rentals at Aquatica run from $150 to $400. We’ve stayed in the Standard Cabana, which currently runs $200 and most recently, in the Premium Cabana, which runs $350. You can read here for the list of amenities included for each level. If you can swing the splurge, I think the Premium Cabana is the way to go. The biggest draw for me was the little sun deck we had attached to our cabana. We had direct pool access right from the cabana, which our whole family absolutely loved. Access to shade and relaxation anytime we wanted really boosted our Aquatica fun day.
1. No fighting the crowds
The first thing a parent does upon entering a waterpark is to establish base camp. Obviously, most people don’t go to a waterpark to sit all day, but we need a static location for our belongings. The amount of seating at a waterpark will vary and the shady spots and chairs near the water are going to be snapped up within a few minutes after opening on a busy summer weekend.
When you rent a waterpark cabana, you won’t have to worry about snagging a “good seat” or a space that offers some shade. You get both: the good seats and the shade. Win.
2. No worrying: belongings secure
When we go to the waterpark, we’re usually fine with leaving our towels and cooler (if allowed) on or around our chairs but I still worry about someone taking our stuff by mistake.
Towels and shoes are one thing, but we don’t take chances with our wallets and cell phones, so we’ve always done locker rentals at waterparks. If you rent a waterpark cabana, there’s a safe or other secure area included, so you don’t have to worry about trekking from your beach chair to your locker. Everything is in one place.
Our cabana at Aquatica San Antonio had a locked cabinet with shelves and we could take the key (attached to a wristband) with us.
3. You’ll Have it Made in the Shade
Having a shaded area where we could take breaks was awesome. I am fair skinned, so I’m careful about sun protection. It was extra nice to have a little haven to escape the sun. Our waterpark cabana had a ceiling fan, so that was a bonus on a hot day.
We loved having a private table to eat our lunch, and, even though my kids weren’t too keen on the little breaks I made them take throughout the day, it ended up lengthening their fun. We had a place to relax and talk about what we were going to do next. I’m firmly convinced the lack of go-go-go pace was the secret sauce that made this such a golden day. We still got a ton of splashing and sliding in but having that little private retreat away from the sun was great. And, no one got sunburned!
I know privacy isn’t usually an expectation at a waterpark but a waterpark cabana will offer that option if you need it or want it. Just unfasten the canopies and voila – extra shade and privacy. Moms of younger kids will really appreciate this feature because it allows you to nurse a baby in private, change a diaper or get in a nap without feeling like you’re out in the middle of everything.
5. Many Amenities
A Standard Cabana at Aquatica San Antonio comes with a fridge stocked with chilled bottled water, four souvenir beach towels and a bottle of SPF 50 sunscreen. The next level up (Premium Cabana) includes all of this plus meals with table service. We also had a private sunbathing shelf and direct pool access from our cabana. Yep, right out of the cabana and in to the water. That was pretty sweet.
Amenities will vary from waterpark to waterpark. Do a quick Google search to see what’s included in your rental fee.
6. Because We All Just Wanna Be Big Rock Stars…
…Or, at least feel like rock stars for the day!
We got a personal escort from the front gate of Aquatica San Antonio to our cabana. It ended up being a mini-tour of the park, because our host pointed out the various attractions. We got a sign that designated our waterpark cabana as the “Robbins family” hangout for the day and a “cabana guest” wristband.
And, have ZERO GUILT about enjoy that elevated experience. It’s part of the total package.
And, while slipping and sliding down high speed twisters is floating down Loggerhead Lane is lots of fun, a day spent splashing and sliding on water rides isn’t usually restful, at least not for parents. The VIP treatment will seriously take your fun day up several notches and give your kids wonderful memories of a day out where everyone was relaxed and happy.
The price point makes this a splurge, so sit down and number crunch. Rack and stack the amenities against the cost and see if this is something you want to spend your money on. If you have an annual pass, you may qualify for a discount.
But here’s my final push for a waterpark cabana being worth every cent:
7. More mileage out of your ticket price
Having the comfort (and shade!) of the cabana resulted in a much longer day of fun than what was typical. We arrived at Aquatica shortly after opening and stayed until closing time. And do you know what? I didn’t want to leave. I was relaxed and comfortable, which are not usually words that apply to how I feel at a waterpark.
Admission to Aquatica San Antonio runs about $50 per person, although check the website before making a ticket purchase because there are often specials. You can also purchase combo tickets that allow you to visit both Aquatica and SeaWorld.
You’ll find lots to enjoy at this water amusement park with both family friendly and high-speed water attractions. Some of our favorite attractions are the new Tonga Twister, Hoo Roo Run, and of course, Loggerhead Lane, AKA the lazy river.
COVID-19 Info for Aquatica and Seaworld San Antonio
Advance reservations are required, no matter what your season pass or ticket status. These can be done online and the process is seamless.
Guests must get their temperature check as part of park admission process.
Guests must wear face coverings for Aquatica check in. No face coverings are allowed in the pools or on water slides but must be worn in certain areas, such as in line for food and the stores.
Physical distancing markers are in place throughout the park, including in the lines for attractions.
Other things important to note
Aquatica Waterpark is not included in the price of your ticket to San Antonio Seaworld.
If you’re looking for animal experiences, Aquatica offers a stingray encounter as an add-on (not included in your admission ticket.) I consider this the park’s signature attraction and it really elevates your experience. You’ll want to reserve this online before your visit, if possible. If you’re not brave enough to go into the pool with the rays, you definitely don’t want to miss riding Stingray Falls, which gives you a really unique view of their habitat, plus a gander at some cool tropical fish.
SeaWorld is located at 10500 Sea World Dr., which is about 16 miles from the famous riverwalk and about 18 miles from the airport. If you want to plan a longer trip to San Antonio, there’s lots of other things to do in San Antonio, including a Six Flags, lots of museums and shopping.