Waterparks are the holy grail of a good family all-inclusive resort vacation. Kids LOVE waterparks, and it provides so much more to do than just laying by a pool. When we talk with families about their vacations, we often hear: “I don’t want my kids to get bored.” Options are the name of the game for active families, especially those taking a vacation with kids of varying ages.
When we pulled up to the Hard Rock Riviera Maya, the FIRST things my kids commented on was the colorful waterslides they could see from the lobby.
“Mom, that’s where we are going FIRST!”
Well, truth be told, first we had to check-in, take care of our luggage, and get lunch. But after we had our RFID wristbands securely fastened and a cold beverage in hand, we were off to the Rockaway Bay Waterpark. My kids quickly fell in love with the park which was tons of fun.
There isn’t a ton of seating at Rockaway Bay. Most of the chairs are located near the entrance and the portion of the park devoted to younger kiddos. There are some shaded locations. Visiting the park early or later in the day often helps you find an open chair. The park opens at 10 am and closes at 6 pm. The park is located a quick walk from the lobby, but you will want to bring necessary items like sunscreen with you as it’s not close to room locations. The concrete can get hot and rough on little feet, so kids may want pool/beach shoes. Many chairs are located next to the Wrecktangle obstacle course that is part of the adjacent Woodyard extreme sports complex. This complex and the Wrecktangle do have an additional fee (before your kiddos just run in like my wanted to do).
There is beverage service at the park with wait staff who come around to the chairs to offer beverage service. However, there is no easy place to go get your own drinks. I packed a couple of water bottles I picked up at the lobby bar on the way over to be sure we had water on hand.
Rockaway Bay has several areas devoted to different ages, which makes it FANTASTIC for families who are traveling together. There’s a little something for everyone. There is a splash pad for the youngest kiddos.
There is a great little park which would fit preschool through early elementary (though I saw upper elementary kids enjoying it too!). This area was a great spot for older siblings to help younger siblings get used to water slides and feel comfortable. Both of the areas devoted to smaller kids are located by the chairs and the front of the park. As a mom, I love this because there is so often a need for smaller children to rest and take a break (or for mom to sit for a minute while they splash!).
Toward the back of the park were areas for older kids. The Adventure area had great slides for upper elementary kids. My 3rd and 5th grader lived here when they weren’t going down the bigger daredevil slides. They had great fun chasing each other through the stairs and shouting for a sibling to join them on their latest favorite slide.
Last but not least are the big slides perfect for older kids, teens, and adults. My kids tried all slides multiple times and loved them all. Some require the use of a blue mat located at the bottom of the stairs to the platforms. You can do some really fun photos and videos at this location. The bigger slides start with a height requirement of 3ft. 5 inches.
Several of the water spots have super fun overhead buckets that fill and randomly splash down. They are easy to see if you are looking, but many kids were caught unaware when they first arrived. For some kids, this was a welcome fun surprise. For others, it was a bit shocking. I recommend pointing out the buckets and watching smaller children like toddlers and preschoolers to keep them from being knocked down by the downpour. My older kids LOVED the splashes and would often sit directly underneath waiting to get hit.
There is a fun food truck ready to keep the munchies at bay that’s open from 11am-5pm. You can sample nachos and other fun foods. The truck does close a bit before park closing, so grab any snacks a bit early if you are there in the late afternoon. If you want a more substantial meal, head back to the lobby and the main buffet at the Marketplace.
The lifeguards do a great job of calling out significant dangers and roughhousing, which keeps it fun for everyone. While the lifeguards patrol the park, it is not enough coverage for a parent to “not watch” younger children. Bring your own lifejackets or puddle jumpers for early swimmers. The lifeguards seemed to stop coverage a while before the park closed. So if you are visiting in the late afternoon, expect that you may need to watch for older kids too.
When the kids are ready to swim, head back to the main building and pull up next to the excellent family pool with fun music, drinks, and food service. There is also a water slide at the main pool for kids who still need to slide, but parents who want to lounge more.
That makes for the perfect day at Rockaway Bay! After going for an afternoon, it was the first place the kids asked for when we got up the next day. It definitely made an impression.
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The Traveling Compass is a full-service luxury travel agency. Our success is built on a foundation of unmatched expertise and outstanding customer service. Our travel agents specialize in international travel, corporate incentive trips, destination weddings & honeymoons, multigenerational travel, luxury leisure, and family travel. We are also Authorized Disney Vacation Planners with experience assisting families that have children with special needs or large families or groups with complicated dining reservations for over 20 guests. Our personalized travel itineraries are designed to help discerning, time-pressed travelers plan the most elaborate vacations, down to the smallest detail. As luxury travel agents, we are dedicated to creating and facilitating travel experiences that expand awareness and give each person a real sense of the country and culture they are visiting. It is our mission to make sure you have the travel experience of a lifetime, every time.