8 Indoor Water Parks Perfect for a Warm Getaway Near NYC

Sahara Sam's Oasis, H20ooohh! Indoor Family Waterpark, CoCo Key Water Resort, Camelback's Aquatopia, Great Wolf Lodge, Kalahari Resorts

Indoor water parks offer summertime-style family thrills year-round and many are just a car ride away from NYC.

With winter's icy chill upon us, many families start looking for ways to escape the city for a warmer locale. Jet-setting to a tropical island might seem ideal, but if you're looking to stay a little closer to home, New Jersey, Pennsylvania or Hudson Valley indoor water parks and resorts are a closer option for beating the winter blues.

We've found eight warm and wet indoor resorts perfect for kids and families that are less than two hours from Midtown Manhattan, along with a couple of bonus suggestions for further-flung options. Most indoor parks keep temperatures around a hot and humid 85 degrees year-round, creating a perfect beach day in any season! So leave the sunscreen at home, dust off that bathing suit and hit the water. 

Check out our NYC Weekend Trips Guide for more destination inspiration.

All of these water resorts feature similar amenities such as changing areas, lockers, restaurants, multiple water slides and pool activities. Most also include a relaxing lazy river and play structures for younger ones, with water sprays, giant tilting water buckets and mini-slides. Read on for more details about each indoor water park.

Once you’ve made the two-hour drive to Sahara Sam's, kick back and relax in the lazy river. Photo courtesy the park.

Sahara Sam's Oasis Indoor & Outdoor Water Park — West Berlin, New Jersey
535 North Route 73
Approximately two hours from Midtown Manhattan by car
Open year-round. Find the complete schedule and ticket prices on the website.
New Jersey's largest indoor water park boasts 58,000-square-feet of fun. Attractions include a body slide, family raft ride, lazy river and tree fort. Toddlers will love the Lizard Lagoon, a special area just for them. The park also offers water basketball and an arcade area. If you visit in spring or summer, you can also enjoy its outdoor Beach Club complete with a splash pad, wave pool and other warm weather attractions, or hit the seasonal construction-themed amusement park Diggerland USA right next door.

H20ooohh! Indoor Family Waterpark Lake Harmony, Pennsylvania
Split Rock Resort, 100 Moseywood Road
Approximately two hours from Midtown Manhattan by car
Open year-round. Find the complete schedule and ticket prices on the website.
Kids will enjoy splashing around in the Jungle Falls and the Leapin' Lizards play areas, while adults can relax in the Lava Springs hot tubs. There's also a huge wave pool and four-story high slides for adventurous visitors. If you're planning to stay overnight at Split Rock, there are packages that include water-park passes.

CoCo Key Water Resort Waterbury, Connecticut
3580 East Main Street
Approximately one hour and 45 minutes from Midtown Manhattan by car
Open year-round. Find the complete schedule and ticket prices on the website.
Even though both of these popular water parks are located inside hotels, you don't need to be a guest to buy day passes. Purchase them online in advance to guarantee admission. CoCo Key is more low-key than its competitors. There aren't any super-high slides or surf simulators, but there are some cool body slides and activity pools, as well as kiddie areas and arcades.

CoCo Key Water Resort Mount Laurel, New Jersey
The Hotel ML, 915 Route 73
Approximately 90 minutes from Midtown Manhattan by car
Open year-round. Find the complete schedule and ticket prices on its website.

RELATED: 25 Best Warm Winter Destinations for Families

The Splash Down Safari at Kalahari Resorts can be explored at all levels, from its zero-entry pool to large climbing structure. Photo courtesy the resort.

Kalahari Resorts Pocono Manor, Pennsylvania
250 Kalahari Boulevard
Approximately one hour and 50 minutes from Midtown Manhattan
Open year round, 10am-10pm daily. Purchase your day passes before you go for guaranteed admission.
A newcomer in the Pocono Mountains, the safari-themed Kalahari Resort indoor water park opened in 2015. The water park is broken up into six indoor spots to play, ranging from Tiko's Watering Hole (perfect for those 4-feet-and-under) with lots of toddler attractions, and a maximum water depth of 2-feet. The Splash Down Safari houses 10 run-of-the-mill water slides, though there are six big-thrill slides elsewhere. A surf simulator allows you to catch a wave in any weather. A big bonus here: If you visit during warmer weather, the entire water park is housed under a retractable roof, so you can frolic in the sun, too. There's also an arcade on site to busy kids when they find they're& too waterlogged.

Overnight Destinations

If your family is up for a multi-day trip, consider one of these resorts, which require hotel stays for use of their water parks.

The Coyote Cannon at Great Wolf Lodge delivers a 40-foot drop best for tweens and up. Photo courtesy the resort.

Great Wolf Lodge Scotrun, Pennsylvania
1 Great Wolf Drive
Approximately 90 minutes from Midtown Manhattan by car
The folks behind Great Wolf Lodge know what they're doing when it comes to family-friendly fun, catering to folks of all ages. At this Poconos hot spot (literally, it's 84 degrees inside), you'll find a giant four-story indoor water park. We've visited several times and have tips to ensure you have fun and stay sane during your trip.

Rocking Horse Ranch Highland, New York
Approximately one hour and 45 minutes from Midtown Manhattan; also accessible via Metro-North train to Poughkeepsie
The indoor water park is just one of the attractions at this all-inclusive Hudson Valley resort. Here you'll find the 250-foot-long Golden Flume Water Slide, a challenging water walk for kids to test their balance and an interactive play area with small slides and geysers perfect for the youngest visitors.

RELATED: 30 Family Day Trip Ideas from NYC

Aquatopia’s giant wave pool almost makes you forget you’re frolicking indoors and not at the beach. Photo courtesy the resort.

Aquatopia at Camelback Resort Tannersville, Pennsylvania
Approximately one hour and 45 minutes from Midtown Manhattan
This newcomer to the scene just opened in spring 2015. The huge,125,000-square-foot park features seven pools and 13 slides. If you've got little kids, the Penguin Play Bay is perfect for toddlers. Traveling with a daring teen or tween? Try the Bombora FlowRider surf simulator. If you get overheated, you can always head outside to Camelback Mountain, one of our favorite family-friendly ski resorts.

If you're up for a longer drive, you can try Six Flags Great Escape Lodge & Indoor Water Park in Queensbury, New York, and the Greek Peak Mountain Resort in Cortland, New York, which are both a little more than three hours away from Midtown Manhattan by car.

 

Top image: New Jersey's Sahara Sam's has slides of all shapes and sizes, including tube slides, body slides and even slides the whole family can ride at once. Photo courtesy of the park.

This post, originally published in April 2010, is regularly updated.

location: 
Sahara Sam's Oasis
535 North Route 73
08091 West Berlin , NJ
Phone: 856-767-7580
39° 48' 56.1348" N, 74° 55' 33.3336" W
New Jersey
CoCo Key Water Resort
915 Route 73 The Hotel ML
08054 Mount Laurel , NJ
Phone: 877-494-2626
39° 56' 2.4" N, 74° 57' 42.84" W
New Jersey
CoCo Key Water Resort
3580 East Main Street
06705 Waterbury , CT
Phone: 203-706-1000
41° 32' 32.2224" N, 72° 58' 9.2856" W
Connecticut
H20ooohh! Indoor Waterpark
100 Moseywood Road Split Rock Resort
18624 Lake Harmony , PA
Phone: 800-255-7625
41° 4' 0.408" N, 75° 37' 19.2612" W
Pennsylvania
Rocking Horse Ranch
600 State Route 44
12528 Highland , NY 41° 41' 30.8904" N, 74° 1' 0.2964" W
New York
Greek Peak Mountain Resort
2000 New York 392
13045 Cortland , NY 42° 30' 27.792" N, 76° 8' 21.102" W
New York
Six Flags Great Escape Lodge & Indoor Waterpark
89 Six Flags Drive
12804 Queensbury , NY 43° 21' 8.9172" N, 73° 41' 49.9452" W
New York
Great Wolf Lodge
1 Great Wolf Drive
18355 Scotrun , PA 41° 3' 34.4628" N, 75° 19' 17.9076" W
Pennsylvania
Aquatopia at Camelback Lodge
193 Resort Drive
18372 Tannersville , PA 41° 3' 8.388" N, 75° 20' 46.8924" W
Pennsylvania
Kalahari Resorts
250 Kalahari Bouleavard
18349 Pocono Manor , PA 41° 6' 11.8404" N, 75° 22' 2.8272" W
Pennsylvania