Best 12 Water Theme Parks Near NYC

Splish Splash, Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, Land of Make Believe and Pirate's Cove

Even though summer is halfway over you still have plenty of time to frolic in a cool water theme park before school starts. While there are no full-fledged water theme parks in NYC (yet), you don't have to go too far to find some awesome ones. We've rounded up 12 of our favorites for kids in the tri-state area, mostly in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and all less than a two-hour drive from midtown Manhattan. No two are alike: Each one offers different experiences and thrills.

Before you hop in the car, make sure to check the water parks' official websites to confirm hours and check prices (sometimes you'll even find online-only ticket specials). Also, if you plan to visit a particular park more than once during the summer, consider buying seasonal passes as that may be more economical. For more refreshing fun, be sure to check our Water Fun Guide, where you'll also find a roundup of indoor water parks that are open year-round.

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Splish Splash – Calverton, Long Island
2549 Splish Splash Drive
631-727-3600
Open Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day. Hours vary but you can find the complete schedule on the website.
Visit the website for complete pricing info.
We love this water park so much we've written a couple of posts about it! Often cited by families as one of the best water parks in the country, Splish Splash has 96 acres of rides, slides and pools, and it adds new attractions almost every season. Preschoolers can play in the kiddie pools, slip down the elephant slide, take a soak surrounded by bubbles and geysers, and romp in a shipwreck-themed water playground. There are even toddler swings that dip little toes in the water. Although many of rides have height restrictions (like the Cliff Diver, which drops you eight stories in three seconds), little kids can ride several of them (not that one) if clad in a life jacket and accompanied by a parent. If you become waterlogged, take in a family show while you drip-dry. Cabana rentals are also available so you can relax in the shade when you need a break from all the sun and fun. Another unique Splish Splash attribute: When the park was built, the developers didn't cut down the trees; they just worked around them. So it's very pretty and comparatively eco-friendly.

Six Flags Hurricane Harbor – Jackson, New Jersey
1 Six Flags Boulevard
732-928-1821
Open Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day. Hours vary but you can find the complete schedule on the website.
Visit the website for complete pricing info.
Even though Six Flags Hurricane Harbor is significantly smaller than Splish Splash, it really packs in the fun. Located in Ocean County, the gateway to the Jersey Shore, the park offers 11 attractions, from splashy play areas for tots to thrilling slides. Little ones will enjoy the 696,000-gallon Blue Lagoon wave pool, the Discovery Bay water playground and a float down the Taak It Eez Ee Creek: a 2,150-foot lazy river featuring mild waterfalls and rapids. The park also offers some nice amenities like cabanas, a nursing station and stroller rentals. Of course, if you hit Hurricane Harbor, you may also want to visit the nearby Six Flags Great Adventure & Safari. You can even buy a two-park season pass that gives you unlimited access to both, as well as 12 other Six Flags Theme Parks in the U.S. and Canada.

The Land of Make Believe & Pirate's Cove – Hope, New Jersey
354 Great Meadows Road, Route 611
908-459-9000
Open Memorial Day weekend to the weekend after Labor Day 10am-6pm
Visit the website for complete pricing info.
A true family amusement park with rustic, old-fashioned charm, the Land of Make Believe mixes a traditional country fair experience with thrilling rides. Pirate's Cove is where you'll find the water attractions, including America's Largest Wading Pool, pirate-themed water slides and rides and a water playground. For nostalgia buffs, there's a Civil War locomotive ride, a World War II cockpit, a hayride and a talking scarecrow. Families can go back and forth between the two distinct sections, and if you need to get out of the sun, you can hit the indoor arcade and impress the kids with your Skee-ball skills. Food is available for purchase but you can also bring your own and eat in the spacious picnic area.

Tomahawk Lake Water Park – Sparta, New Jersey
155 Tomahawk Trail
973-398-7777
Open Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day. Hours vary but you can find the complete schedule on the website.
Visit the website for complete pricing info. Note: The park accepts cash only!
A water park and a state park, Tomahawk Lake is set in 200 acres of parkland and has a variety of water slides and a water play area. There's a beach on a 20-acre lake, boat rentals (pedal boats, swan boats, bumper boats and kiddie canoes), a picnic area, sports fields and miniature golf—it kind of feels like summer camp. In addition, there's an outdoor beer garden and old-fashioned country food concessions that sell homemade doughnuts, fresh popcorn, charbroiled hot dogs and hamburgers, and cotton candy. However, let's be clear: There's nothing flashy here. If you come expecting state-of-the-art facilities, you’ll be disappointed. The mini-golf course doesn't have windmills, the kiddie area is a roped off part of the lake with some plaster animals to climb, and there's a horseshoe pit. Need we say more? But if you're looking for simple country fun in a place where you don't have to deal with insane water park prices and crowds, this spot's for you.

Casino Pier & Breakwater Beach Waterpark – Seaside Heights, New Jersey
Casino Beach Pier, 800 Ocean Terrace
732-793-6488
Open June to the weekend after Labor Day. Hours vary but you can find the complete schedule on the website.
Visit the website for complete pricing info.
When it comes to the Jersey Shore, it seems like the philosophy is too much is never enough. Casino Pier offers loads of over-the-top fun like classic amusement park rides, an antique carousel, an arcade and go-karts, all right along the Seaside Heights boardwalk. Meanwhile, Breakwater Beach is a state-of-the-art water park with a massive interactive play area, including water slides and flumes, and a huge kiddie water play area.

Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom – Allentown, Pennsylvania
3830 Dorney Park Road
610-395-3724
Dorney Park open May to October; Wildwater Kingdom open Memorial Day to Labor Day. Hours vary but you can find the complete schedule on the website.
Visit the website for complete pricing info.
Wildwater Kingdom features a slew of water slides, two gigantic wave pools, a pair of lazy rivers and three kids' water play areas specifically designed for the park's youngest visitors. And of course, there's also Dorney Park with its amusement park rides, midway games, arcades, live shows and special sections like Planet Snoopy inspired by the beloved Peanuts pup. Wildwater Kingdom's amenities include poolside cabanas and a wide variety of dining options.

Sesame Place – Langhorne, Pennsylvania
100 Sesame Road
215-752-7070
Open May to December (though water attractions close in early fall). Hours vary but you can find the complete schedule on the website.
Visit the website for complete pricing info.
The world's only theme park based on the award-winning TV series Sesame Street, Sesame Place isn't exclusively a water park. However, it offers lots of water attractions and fans of the show are sure to have fun, both wet and dry. There's the interactive Count’s Splash Castle, with more than 90 play elements including a 1,000-gallon tipping bucket. Big Bird’s Rambling River offers a leisurely float along a 1,000-foot waterway of bubbling, swirling waters with surprises like water-filled tipping coconuts, waterfalls and spraying geysers. Got older kids? Don't worry, there are things for them to do, too, like Sky Splash, an exhilarating ride that takes passengers from gentle ponds with whirlpool-like jet streams to slides with speeds of up to 20 feet per second, culminating with a final plunge into a pool of water. Amenities include cabanas, strollers and lockers for rent.

Camelbeach Mountain Waterpark – Tannersville, Pennsylvania
309 Resort Drive
570-629-1662
Open Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day. Hours vary but you can find the complete schedule on the website.
Visit the website for complete pricing info.
Nestled in the Poconos, this winter ski resort turns into a water park come summer. There are a variety of rides and slides, many geared toward older kids. Little ones should enjoy Kahuna Cove, which is located next to the Kahuna Lagoon Wave Pool, with gentle tipping buckets and interactive spray structures. The Pharaoh's Phortress play structure has eight water slides, a four-story-high tipping bucket, fountains and spray guns. Camel Cove allows kids and families to “control” the action of a giant bucket (that dumps all its water every few minutes) with various valves and levers. The Blue Nile Adventure River is a 1,000-foot-long ride that takes passengers on a relaxing journey through waterfalls, past geysers and across bubbling waters. Don’t want to get wet? The Adventure Zone has rock climbing and other dry action. Cabanas, strollers and lockers are all available to rent.

Action Park Mountain Creek – Vernon, New Jersey
200 Route 94
973-827-2000
Open mid-June to Labor Day. Hours vary but find the complete schedule on the website.
Visit the website for complete pricing info.
Another winter ski resort turned summer water park, Action Park Mountain Creek has two-dozen attractions, seven of which were designed for the littlest visitors, including Fishing Village, a multilevel, interactive play fort with water slides and spray cannons, and Junior Rapids, a mini version of the park's famous Colorado River ride. Cabanas and locker rentals are available.

Sahara Sam's Oasis Beach Club Outdoor Water Park – West Berlin, New Jersey
535 North Route 73
856-767-7580
Open Memorial Day to Labor Day. Hours vary but you can find the complete schedule on the website.
Visit the website for complete pricing info.
We've been raving about Sahara Sam's massive indoor water park for years. But in 2013, the operators opened an adjacent, two-acre outdoor water park called the Beach Club featuring the 25-meter Blue Lagoon leisure pool, a children’s splash zone and the Rip & Roll, a 12,000-square-foot wave pool. Best of all: You pay one price for access to both the indoor and outdoor water parks.

SplashDown Beach – Fishkill, New York
16 Old Route 9 West
845-897-9600
Open June to Labor Day. Hours vary but you can find the complete schedule on the website.
Visit the website for complete pricing info.
Many of our readers have written in to say how much they love this water park, which underwent a major expansion in 2013. It's a particularly great destination for preschoolers, with attractions such as the Bob the Builder Splash Works area featuring slides, geysers and buckets that dump water on their heads, the Croc Creek Wavy Lazy River and the spinning teacup-style ride Dizzy’s Water Whirler. There are more thrilling attractions for older visitors, too, like the four-story Bullet Bowl slide and the zero-gravity Humunga Half-Pipe. Cabanas are available to rent.

Runaway Rapids Family Waterpark – Keansburg, New Jersey
275 Beachway Avenue
732-495-1400
Open June to October 12. Hours vary but you can find the complete schedule on the website.
Visit the website for complete pricing info.
Run by the same folks behind the adjacent Keansburg Amusement Park, this summer family favorite features more than 18 slides, splash zones, a kiddie lagoon, a toddler play area, plus the crazy lazy river. Lockers and dressing rooms are available, along with lounge chairs and umbrellas. There is also a full-service snack bar. If you want to enjoy the attractions in both parks, you can opt to buy a combo ticket.

Find other great ways to get wet in our Water Fun Guide and our Summer Guide.

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A previous version of this post was originally published in June 2009.

location: 
Splish Splash Water Park
2549 Splish Splash Drive
11933 Calverton , NY
Phone: 631-727-3600
40° 55' 32.9988" N, 72° 44' 9.672" W
New York
Six Flags Hurricane Harbor
Route 537
08527 Jackson , NJ
Phone: 732-928-1821
40° 9' 31.9032" N, 74° 18' 17.9532" W
New Jersey
Tomahawk Lake
155 Tomahawk Trail
07871 Sparta , NJ
Phone: 973-398-7777
40° 59' 55.5108" N, 74° 38' 52.152" W
New Jersey
The Land of Make Believe
354 Great Meadows Road Route 611
07844 Hope , NJ
Phone: 908-459-9000
40° 53' 43.1844" N, 74° 56' 37.4136" W
New Jersey
Casino Pier & Breakwater Beach
800 Ocean Terrace
08751 Seaside Heights , NJ
Phone: 732-793-6488
39° 56' 32.7516" N, 74° 4' 15.6324" W
New Jersey
Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom
3830 Dorney Park Road
18104 Allentown , PA
Phone: 610-395-3724
40° 34' 49.4004" N, 75° 32' 8.7684" W
Pennsylvania
Sesame Place
100 Sesame Road
19047 Langhorne , PA
Phone: 215-752-7070
40° 11' 12.336" N, 74° 52' 15.7008" W
Pennsylvania
Action Park Mountain Creek
200 Route 94
07462 Vernon , NJ
Phone: 973-864-4444
41° 11' 30.012" N, 74° 30' 12.4632" W
New Jersey
Camelbeach Mountain Waterpark
309 Resort Drive
18372 Tannersville , PA
Phone: 570-629-1661
41° 2' 23.316" N, 75° 18' 20.6244" W
Pennsylvania
SplashDown Beach
16 Old Route 9 West
12524 Fishkill , NY 41° 32' 8.3364" N, 73° 53' 56.49" W
New York
Runaway Rapids Waterpark
275 Beachway Avenue
07734 Keansburg , NJ 40° 27' 16.6932" N, 74° 8' 15.5868" W
New Jersey
Sahara Sam's Oasis
535 N Route 73
08091 West Berlin , NJ 39° 48' 57.0168" N, 74° 55' 43.05" W
New Jersey