Best Water Playgrounds and Splash Pads in New Jersey

When the heat becomes unbearable with the kids this summer, you might be yearning to bust open a fire hydrant. Before you do, consider one of New Jersey's splash pads and sprinkler parks, many of which are located in local parks and playgrounds.

We've rounded up some of our favorite water playgrounds around the state, organized by region. Remember, these are not water parks, so you won't find a ton of bells and whistles—though some do offer interactive features like dumping buckets or whimsical designs like water spouts in the shape of cattails (Van Saun Park!); animal fixtures (Bridgeton); or basketball sprayers (Manalapan). But the best part? Most of these splash zones are completely FREE.

Visit our Best NJ Water Parks article to go all in for theme park fun. Or strap on those water shoes, pack the towels, and read on for some of New Jersey's best water playgrounds and spray parks in your neighborhood. 

Memorial Day Weekend for LI Kids: Air Show, Parades, Street Art

This Memorial Day weekend head over to the Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, where you'll see an all-star lineup of civilian planes and the Air Force Thunderbirds. Farther east, the Community Mosaic Street Painting Festival in downtown Riverhead features a fine arts and crafts fair, live music, dance, theater, and more.

There are fireworks this weekend, loads of parades to recognize the fallen, and even family carnivals.

Celebrate the unofficial start of summer with our roundup of the best family beaches on Long Island. And if you're up for a little traveling time, see our day trip ideas for the holiday weekend.

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The Bestie Awards are coming to town and we need to know who you love. The Besties is a reader voting contest celebrating small local businesses that make parenting on Long Island awesome. Help us choose our finalists by shouting out your favorite places to make, do, eat, learn, and play. Nominate your Besties now.

Splash Parks, Sprinklers, and Water Playgrounds in Orange County Parks

A rainy winter has erased many drought restrictions, and families are looking for water, water everywhere in the summer. There's hanging at the beach or playing in a pool, but fun places with splash pads and water features rank pretty high on a summer bucket list. Little kids, bigger kids, and even the occasional parent (yes, you!) can cool off on a hot day without tons of planning or tons of waste. Let's face it: playing in the water is just plain fun—and if you keep an extra towel handy, you're always ready.

Check out some of these free water play parks and sprinklers around Orange County. Most are open Memorial Day to Labor Day, though we recommend calling to confirm before heading out, as water conservation efforts may still be in effect.

28 Festivals, Fairs, and Carnivals for Philly Families this June

As the school year comes to a close and extracurricular activities wind down, the festival, fair, and carnival season is just getting started! We've compiled a list of all the great festivals and fairs happening this June. From the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to annual traditions, there is something for every member of the family. So, get out your calendar and be sure to make time for the array of fun that awaits Philly families this month!

Fairfield County Letterbox Trails for Kids

So maybe you've heard about it but you're still not really sure. What is letterboxing anyway? Well to start, it is really like the ultimate scavenger hunt. You are given a set of clues and then you head out into the woods and go on a hunt in search of secret hidden stamps in the forest. Sound fun? That's because it is! Even my three year old is a letterboxing-enthusiast.

This fun family adventure is great for all ages and for all cities located across the country. There are about 90,000 active letterboxes hidden in North America alone. So what exactly is a letterbox? Letterboxes are small weatherproof boxes that typically contain a hand-carved rubber stamp, a log-book to keep a record of visitors, and occasionally an ink pad. Letterboxer's will leave an imprint of their own personal stamp in the letterbox's log book. We've rounded up six kid-friendly letterbox trails in Fairfield County. Happy Trails.

Zip Line and 25-Foot Climbing Tower to Open on Governors Island

Governors Island has long been one of our favorite places to play and the summer fun is about to get a lot more thrilling on the isle.

Adventures at Governors Island, a new high-octane entertainment zone boasting a zip line, 3-D climbing wall, and maze debuts this Memorial Day weekend (weather dependent), and we can't wait to check out the exhilarating attraction. Its opening will double the number of zip lines in NYC—to two.

Memorial Day Weekend Fun for NJ Kids: Water Parks, Parades, Beach

The unofficial start to the summer is here, New Jersey, and that means plenty of time to enjoy the great outdoors with family and friends! If you're planning to stick around town, there's fun to be had in every corner of our state. This weekend marks the season opening of Jersey Shore beaches, and amusement parks and attractions, including the Land of Make BelieveField Station Dinosaurs, and most of the outdoor water parks, including Raging Waters at Morey's Piers. It's also the start of strawberry picking season at many area farms.

Truck lovers will want to check out Memorial Day Weekend at Diggerland, and thrill seekers may want to take part in Your First Mud Run in Garfield. Round out your long weekend with the Fit & Fun Festival at Camden Children's Garden, the Wildwoods International Kite Festival, or the Woodland Park Street Fair. Stay up for the fireworks at Asbury Park Beach on Sunday.

For additional Memorial Day weekend options, take a look at our full Event Calendar, or peruse our Day Trips Guide to explore a new-to-you playground, park, or even a cute New Jersey town.

Also, this is the last weekend to cast your vote for the New Jersey Besties! When you vote you'll be entered to win one of two terrific prizes: a luxurious NYC getaway including a suite credit from Suiteness and a custom itinerary designed by Mommy Poppins herself, Anna Fader, or a two-night stay for four at the Great Wolf Lodge in the Pocono Mountains. The contest ends May 28, so vote today!  

Family Fun in Northport: 20 Things to Do with Kids

The historic community of Northport lies on the north shore of Long Island. With its walkable Victorian Main Street, family-friendly restaurants, bars, shops, and theaters, it has become a destination for Long Islanders and visitors alike. Then of course, there are those beautiful views of the boats in Northport Bay. ...

And it's not just a summer destination. In the autumn, Northport hosts Halloween fun nights, and during the holiday season the community comes alive with holiday house tours and seasonal celebrations.

Here are our suggestions for 20 things to do and see in Northport with kids, and a few bonus picks for the surrounding areas.

Looking for more fun family day trips on Long Island? Check out our guide to the East End as well as must-do activities in Riverhead and Port Jefferson Village. Not sure where to go? These seven must-do day trips are a good place to start.

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