Theme & Water Parks

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Best Water Theme Parks Near NYC for Families

While there are no full-fledged outdoor water theme parks in NYC (yet), you don't have to go too far to find some awesome ones. We've rounded up 13 of our favorites for families in the tristate area, mostly in New Jersey, including beachside spots, and Pennsylvania, and all are less than a two-hour drive from Midtown Manhattan. There's also a great pick in the Hudson Valley and on Long Island. No two are alike: Each one offers different experiences and thrills.

Find more rides in our Theme and Water Parks Guide, including indoor water parks for those rainy or cold days.

Zip Lines and Adventure Ropes Courses for Kids in and Around NJ

Gear up for an outdoor adventure at one of New Jersey's newest treetop obstacle courses, or buckle up for a soaring ride on a zip line. Swaying bridges, wobbly balance logs, cargo nets, high wires, and rope ladders are among the features at some sky-high ropes courses, along with tree climbers and platforms built right into tree trunks. Many treetop courses are best for older kids and teens, but some also offer tykes courses that are closer to the ground.

We've rounded up some of the coolest of these zip lines and ropes courses in New Jersey, a few in Pennsylvania, and even a year-round indoor option just over the state line in Westchester. You'll find these parks at local zoos, amusement parks, down the Jersey Shore, and even at some of the Poconos family resorts.

15 Awesome Water Parks for New Jersey Kids and Families

New Jersey has several fantastic water parks, some of them right on the beach! From big-name parks and boardwalk favorites to the state's first municipal water park, we've rounded up 15 of New Jersey’s best water parks and an overview of what to expect from each one. We've even included a couple of fantastic indoor water parks to keep kids splashing on rainy days.

If you're looking for water fun on a slightly cheaper scale, check out our Best Water Playgrounds and Splash Pads roundup. For more summer awesomeness, visit our New Jersey Kids Summer Activities Guide and our NJ Theme Parks Guide.

The Grove Resort and Water Park Is a Worthy Disney Alternative

When planning a family vacation to Orlando, Florida, you and the kids might have just one destination on the brain: Disney. But actually, as we’ve pointed out before, there’s more to Orlando than theme parks, including plenty of family resorts from which to choose.

If you’re looking off-park for a hotel, consider The Grove Resort & Spa Orlando. The 106-acre resort is just a few miles down the road from the entrance to Walt Disney World, but sits on a pretty tract of land set back from the major highways in a natural marsh and wooded landscape. It has all the favorite perks of a great family resort, including suites for housing extended family, pools, on-site restaurants, a spa, activities for kids, and even a water park.

We just returned from a long weekend at the resort and are happy to share our review.

Is that the London Eye in Long Beach? Giant Observation Wheel Visits Queen Mary

Well take a look at that! An Observation Wheel—which is another way of saying a really huge Ferris wheel with a great view—is setting up shop in Long Beach next to the Queen Mary, for one month only. No mere amusement park ride (though we like those very much!), the Observation Wheel offers birds-eye views of the picturesque Long Beach sky line, the majestic Queen Mary, and beyond. This thing is so tall you may be able to spot the buffalo grazing on Catalina Island.

Water Parks Where LA and SoCal Kids Can Get Their Water Slide Fix

Nothing is more fun on a too-hot day than some water play—just ask the kids. And if you want to give them a big surprise, take them to a water theme park. There are several water parks in Southern California, with large scale splash parks to please every kid from toddler to teen. Of course, if you're looking for something smaller, closer, or more low-key, you can always check out our list of water play features at city parks; but if you're looking to make a big splash, check out one of the SoCal parks below.

Best Amusement Parks for Preschoolers in and Near NYC

For young children, a ride on a carousel’s painted pony, a spin with dad around the bumper car track, and a dripping swirl of frozen custard are the stuff summer memories are made of. No need to seek out the latest scary high-tech roller coasters (which means you can cross Luna Park's most scary rides off your list).

Rides that look mild (or frankly, downright boring) to big people usually provide just the right amount of thrills for toddlers and preschoolers. Happily, there are a number of amusement and water parks in or near the New York City metro area that offer these kinds of tame attractions. Here's our roundup of theme parks perfect for the pint-sized.

Find more seasonal rides in our Theme and Water Parks Guide for families.

Awesome Amusement Parks on Long Island

Feeling the need for speed and splash? Long Island amusement parks are ready for you and your thrill-seeking family. If your kids are eager to check out the latest rides and attractions, or you can’t wait to make new memories with your family at parks you enjoyed as a child, now is the perfect time to explore these local amusement centers.

For more entertainment inspiration, see our guide to Long island amusement and water parks or our guide to family fun on Long Island. Both are loaded with reviews of local and regional destinations sure to delight your child.

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