Even in Vermont, July can get really hot, so if you're celebrating in the summer heat, cool the kids down by getting wet! Here are some refreshing ideas for birthday parties with a water focus. Add a mermaid, pirate or nautical theme to make the party extra special. Lake Iroquois, Hinesburg
If you haven't been here yet with your family, you are missing out. There is a clean, sandy beach, roped-off swimming area, concessions and restrooms. With charcoal pits, a grassy area, a playground and a boat launch, it's perfect for a birthday barbecue. Fees are $5 for residents of Williston, St. George, Hinesburg and Richmond, $7 for nonresidents, and children under 12 get in for free. Info, hinesburg.org/lakeiroquois.
The Edge at Essex
This is a great indoor option. The pool area features a very fast, enclosed spiral water slide. It's not for the faint of heart, but my 4-year-old loved it and slid with her dad for an hour at her party. The Edge offers multiple deals, but I recommend the Birthday Bash package, which includes just water time and the use of a private room for the celebration. The other combinations include gym time, rock climbing or a magician with the pool time, but whenever I've gone, no one wants to leave the water slide. The Birthday Bash costs $190 for members, $210 for nonmembers. Info, sfedge.com.
Bring the water park home! Vermont Bounce rents a 24-foot inflatable water slide. All you need is a water hose and level area in your yard. Yes, it can hold adults as well: just ask my husband. We did this for my oldest daughter's fifth birthday, complete with a mermaid theme, and it was an absolute blast. The cost is $150 per hour. Info, vermontbounce.com.
Be on the lookout for the new indoor water park opening at Jay Peak Resort this winter. A ski and swim party — now there's a guaranteed nap! Info, jaypeakresort.com.