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Big Surf

This desert waterpark began as a small idea that has seen a wave of success over the years, making it one of Arizona's most popular attractions.

They say that from humble beginnings come great things. This is no truer than for Big Surf waterpark. In 1966, its creator, Phil Dexter, began by generating waves on a small scale in his own backyard pool. This soon developed into a full-scale experimental version in an old billiard hall in Phoenix followed by the final wave pool being built in the Tempe desert in 1969. Today, the pool generates a wave every 3 minutes and is the best place to be under the hot summer sun.

Big Surf was the first wave pool in the Unites States and is still one of the largest in the world. Since the sixties, it has become synonymous with Waikiki Beach and has evolved into an entire waterpark with over a dozen additional rides. If you like slides, you won't be left disappointed as there is a variety of different drops dotted all over the park, from small kiddies' slides to those on a grander scale. The Hurricane Slides will leave even the biggest daredevils reeling and the dark tunnels of the Black Hole slide are not for the weak of heart.

It's no wonder that The Beach Boys took to the stage here, the waves and sand acting as a perfect backdrop for their music. Over the years, it has also seen performances by Elton John, Sting, Rod Stewart, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and many more, and concerts still remain a part of the venue's identity.

You can also rent surf boards and wakeboards and dive head on into the waves for some body surfing or simply relax poolside and soak up the sun. Food and drinks can be bought on-site at the cafeteria and beachwear and gifts are also available.

Big Surf's opening times are subject to change, but the park is usually open each year from Memorial Day at the end of May until Labor Day at the end of the summer period. It's a very popular location, especially on very warm days, so it's recommended that you arrive early to secure that perfect spot.


Guide to Exploring around Big Surf


Lodging Near Big Surf

See all 3,903 properties near Big Surf
3 Palms

3 Palms

7707 E McDowell Rd, Scottsdale, AZ
    3.5 out of 5.0
     
     

    Located in South Scottsdale, this hotel is within 3 mi (5 km) of Big Surf, Desert Botanical Garden and Scottsdale Stadium. Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical ...

    3 PalmsAU$105

    Best Western Inn of Tempe

    Best Western Inn of Tempe

    670 N Scottsdale Rd, Tempe, AZ
      2.5 out of 5.0
       
       
      3.0 out of 5 (1 reviews)

      Situated near the airport, this hotel is within 1 mile (2 km) of Arboretum at Arizona State University, Sun Devil Stadium and Arizona State University. Tempe ...

      Best Western Inn of TempeAU$133

      Red Lion Inn & Suites Phoenix Tempe

      Red Lion Inn & Suites Phoenix Tempe

      1429 N Scottsdale Rd, Tempe, AZ
        2.5 out of 5.0
         
         

        Situated near the airport, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Arboretum at Arizona State University and Tempe Town Lake. Sun Devil Stadium and Papago Park are ...

        Red Lion Inn & Suites Phoenix TempeAU$122

        Hotel Bixby Scottsdale, BW Signature Collection

        Hotel Bixby Scottsdale, BW Signature Collection

        409 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ
          3.0 out of 5.0
           
           

          Located in South Scottsdale, this hotel is within 2 miles (3 km) of Tempe Town Lake Marina, Phoenix Zoo and Papago Park. Desert Botanical Garden and Old Town ...

          Hotel Bixby Scottsdale, BW Signature CollectionAU$123

          Ramada by Wyndham Tempe Near ASU

          Ramada by Wyndham Tempe Near ASU

          1635 N Scottsdale Rd, Tempe, AZ
            2.5 out of 5.0
             
             

            Situated near the airport, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Arboretum at Arizona State University and Tempe Town Lake. Phoenix Zoo and Sun Devil Stadium are ...

            Ramada by Wyndham Tempe Near ASUAU$112

            Motel 6 Scottsdale South

            Motel 6 Scottsdale South

            1612 N Scottsdale Rd, Tempe, AZ
              2.0 out of 5.0
               
               

              Situated in Tempe, this motel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Arboretum at Arizona State University and Tempe Town Lake. Phoenix Zoo and Papago Park are also within ...

              Motel 6 Scottsdale SouthAU$79

              Hampton Inn & Suites Phoenix/Tempe

              Hampton Inn & Suites Phoenix/Tempe

              1415 N. Scottsdale Road, Tempe, AZ
                2.5 out of 5.0
                 
                 

                Situated near the airport, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Arboretum at Arizona State University and Tempe Town Lake. Sun Devil Stadium and Papago Park are ...

                Hampton Inn & Suites Phoenix/TempeAU$174

                *Price based on the lowest price found within past 24 hours and based upon one night stay for two adults over the next thirty days. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.