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The Top 11 Water Parks for Families in the New York Area

The Top 11 Water Parks for Families in the New York Area

We’ve rounded the best indoor and outdoor water parks in NY, NJ, CT, and PA.


When it comes to summer fun, sometimes it just must involve water. Look no further than indoor and outdoor water parks in the New York area. You’ll be cool all day, even if you have to wait in a line. There are plenty of options nearby, so we’ve rounded up a list of our favorite water parks in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania—all perfect for a day trip (or an overnight stay) from the NYC area. Grab your bathing suits and some sunscreen, and prepare to beat the heat while staying cool. Before you go, take a behind-the-scenes look at how lifeguards keep kids safe at water parks.

1. Pirate’s Cove at the Land of Make Believe

54 Great Meadows Road – Route 611, Hope, NJ
908-459-9000
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Hours: May 29-June 20, Saturday-Sunday and Memorial Day, 10am-6pm; June 21-Sept. 6: daily, 10am-6pm; water park closes at 5:30pm and amusement rides close at 5:45pm
Admission: Pay One Price for unlimited rides, shows, and attractions: $34; $31 seniors ages 62 and older’ free for children younger than 3. Cash or Discover only.
Approximate drive from NYC: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Ahoy mateys! Your kids may not stop talking like pirates after their visit to Pirate’s Cove, the waterpark section at the Land of Make Believe. Take a walk on the wild side with a thrilling ride down Pirate’s Peak, zooming through a tunnel and waterfalls. Or stay cool as you explore Buccaneer Pirate Ship and the wading pool, both ideal for smaller children.

Why we like it: One admission price includes all rides, shows, and attractions, including the amusement park rides at Land of Make Believe. So, you’ll get an action-packed day of family fun, both on land and in the water. 

2. Runaway Rapids Waterpark at Keansburg Amusement Park

275 Beachway Ave., Keansburg, NJ
732-495-1400
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Hours: May 29-June 13: Saturday-Sunday 11am to close*; June 19-27: daily, 11am to close*; June 28-Sept. 6: daily, 10am to close*; Sept. 11-12: Saturday-Sunday, 11am-5pm. *Closing times vary based on weather and park occupancy.
Admission: $33 for a 3-hour waterpark ticket; $15 Monday-Friday, 4pm to close; $22 Saturday-Sunday and holidays, 4pm to close
Approximate drive from NYC: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Enjoy dozens of rides for all ages. Test your acrobatic skills at the Nestea Plunge, a Tarzan-style rope swing. Defy gravity on the uphill waterslide where you’ll plunge downhill, only to be propelled back uphill and down again. The younger set will adore Toddler’s Reef, where they’ll find a dancing fountain, climbable jeep, and more, all geared just for their size.

Why we like it: Those who aren’t fans of water parks don’t have to pay full price. Get a dry spectator ticket for $14.

3. Six Flags Hurricane Harbor

1 Six Flags Blvd., Jackson, NJ
732-928-2000
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Hours: May 29-June 13: Saturday-Sunday and Memorial Day, 10am-5pm; June 18-Sept. 5: daily, 10am-6pm; plus, Saturday, Sept. 11, 10am-6pm
Admission: $29.99 and up
Approximate drive from NYC: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Thrill seekers will delight in the tall, fast, crazy, and of course, wet, rides here. At King Cobra, race through a snake’s body and then go face-to-face with a huge cobra head. Or raft through a 132-foot tunnel into the mouth of a huge funnel for a unique water rush. Little ones aren’t left out of the mix. They can explore Discovery Bay, a huge shallow water playground, or take it easy and cruise down the lazy river.

Why we like it: If you want to make a full day of it, Six Flags Great Adventure is nearby.

4. Splish Splash

2549 Splish Splash Drive, Calverton, NY
631-727-3600
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Hours: Schedule varies; check the online calendar.
Admission: Weekends: $54.99; $44.99 seniors ages 60 and older, children ages 2 and younger, and those shorter than 48 inches. Weekdays: $49.99; $39.99 seniors ages 60 and older, children ages 2 and younger, and those shorter than 48 inches. 
Approximate drive from NYC: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Splish Splash, with 96 acres of slides and attractions, offers fun for everyone. Enjoy more than 20 water slides, two wave pools, a large kiddie area, lazy river, and a tropical bird show. Plus, experience high speed slides like Bombs Away and Riptide Racer. 

Why we like it: Bootlegger’s Run is the only hydromagnetic water coaster in New York full of breathtaking drops, including one from nearly five stories high.

5. Splash Away Bay Waterpark at Quassy 

2132 Middlebury Road (Route 64), Middlebury, CT
203-758-2913
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Hours: Waterpark opens May 29 with hours varying. Check here for waterpark hours.
Admission: Weekdays: $31.99; $27.99 seniors, military, and those shorter than 45 inches. Weekends: $33.99; $29.99 seniors, military, and those shorter than 45 inches. Splash Away Bay only: $25.99 weekdays; $29.99 weekends. $10 parking. Guests are strongly encouraged to purchase daily passes online for easier check-in and less personal contact when arriving at the park.
Approximate drive from NYC: 1 hour, 45 minutes

This colorful and vibrant waterpark has many ways to get drenched. Get wet and have fun on waterslides that are gigantic and extreme. Saturation Station, an interactive water play area, features a huge tipping bucket. Slide City is the newest children's attraction at the waterpark. Incorporating five waterslides, this complex is ideal for the younger set who can’t participate on the larger slides.

Why we like it: It’s set on a pretty lakeside location. You’ll leave all your worries behind—for the day at least.

6. The Great Wolf Lodge

1 Great Wolf Drive, Scotrun, PA
800-768-9653
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Hours: daily, 10am-8pm
Admission: Full- and half-day passes are available; prices vary by date.
Approximate drive from NYC: 2 hours



Feed your need for adventure at this indoor water park. Find out what it’s like to ride a roller coaster made of water on Hydro Plunge. It propels your raft, via a motorized track, up a steep climb, only to send you plunging down a thrilling 52-foot vertical drop. Or try The Double-Barrel Drop. It’s the ultimate water slide with flashing LED lights, electrifying twists and turns, barrel drops, and 450-degree spins.

Why we like it: Come for a day with a pass that includes access to the water park and more.

7. Kalahari Resorts

250 Kalahai Blvd., Pocono Manor, PA
570-580-6000
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Hours: Indoor water park: Sunday-Thursday, 10am-8pm; Friday-Saturday, 10am-9pm. Outdoor water park: Closed for the season.
Admission: Prices vary depending on the date. Get ticket prices here.
Approximate drive from NYC: 2 hours

At 220,000 square feet, this is the largest indoor waterpark in America. It’s part of Kalahari Resorts, a mega resort with an African theme (named after the Kalahari Desert). On the Anaconda, hang on tight as you navigate sharp turns and high-speed plunges on this family raft ride. Or go for Barrelling Baboon, where you’ll slide through soaring dips and twists.

Why we like it: Take lessons on how to swim like a mermaid or chomp like a shark.

8. Rocking Horse Ranch Resort's Big Splash Indoor Water Park

600 State Route 44/55, Highland, NY
845-691-2927
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Hours: Water park hours vary; check when you arrive.
Admission: Prices vary per night; make reservations online here.
Approximate drive from NYC: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Enjoy 85-degree temperatures year-round at Big Splash Indoor Water Park. It’s part of the all-inclusive ranch-themed family resort, Rocking Horse Ranch. Try your luck on the water walk challenge, where you try to pull yourself over a net on the tubes without falling off. Other resort activities include an arcade, horseback riding, and mountain tubing.

Why we like it: Pricing includes all meals, accommodations, activities, and nightly entertainment.

9. Mountain Creek Waterpark

200 Route 94, Vernon, NJ
973-827-2000
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Hours: Opens June 19; daily, 11am-5pm
Admission: $39.99; $10 parking. Passes must be purchased online.
Approximate drive from NYC: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Enjoy the great outdoors, water style, at this mountainous water park. Get an adrenaline rush as you plummet through the double-looping thrill slide, Zero-G. Or see if you can handle the iconic Colorado River Rapids. Kids World features Junior Rapids and Fishing Village, a children’s water playground sure to entertain little ones.

Why we like it: Try a popular attraction, The Canyon Cliff Jump. Leap off a ledge in front of spectators.

10. Crocodile Cove at Lake Compounce

822 Lake Ave., Bristol, CT
860-583-3300
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Hours: May 29-June 13: Saturday, 11am-7pm; Sunday and Memorial Day, 11am-6pm; June 18-Aug. 22: Sunday-Friday, 11am-6pm; Saturday, 11am-7pm; Aug. 28-Sept. 6: Saturday-Sunday and Labor Day, 11am-6pm 
Admission: Weekends: $49.99 ($54.99 at the gate); $39.99 ($44.99 at the gate) those shorter than 52 inches. Weekdays: $47.99 ($52.99 at the gate); $37.99 ($42.99 at the gate) those shorter than 52 inches. See here for more ticket information.
Approximate drive from NYC: 2 hours

This is Connecticut’s largest waterpark, where you’ll find water rides that the whole family can enjoy. Enjoy multiple wave pools, water slides, special areas for the younger set, and a lake. Take an adventurous raft ride through Mammoth Falls. At Tunnel Twisters, plummet your way through twists and turns. See who splashes down first.

Why we like it: Enjoy the amusement park when you’re done. Let kids enjoy their first kiddie coaster, ride the antique carousel, or spin themselves silly on the Drum Circus.

11. Thundering Surf Waterpark

300 Taylor Ave., Beach Haven, NJ
609-492-0869
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Hours: June 12-18: daily, 10am-5pm; June 19 through the end of the season: daily, 9:30am-6:30pm
Admission: Day passes: $39.99. 2- and 3-hour admission options are available.
Approximate drive from NYC: 2 hours

Everyone in the family will have fun getting wet at Long Beach Island’s popular waterpark. Little ones can romp around, and adults can relax at Cowabunga Beach. Sail down 1 of 8 whirling water slides or float along the lazy river, which features interactive water play activities. Just beware of the river’s surprise mega-water blasters.

Why we like it: Toddlers will love the area just for them with 6 small foam slides, dancing floor jets, and small spray features.

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Stacey Feintuch

Author: Stacey Feintuch is a freelance writer for print and online publications. She has written for ReadersDigest.com, BestofNJ.com, K health, The Boca Raton Observer magazine, The Bump, Care.com, Healthline, Highlights for Kids, HealthyWomen, and other outlets. She has a BA in journalism from The George Washington University and an MA in magazine journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. She grew up in Morris County, NJ, and currently lives in Bergen County, NJ. A mom to two boys, you'll find her at the baseball diamond on the weekends. See More

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