8 Indoor Water Parks Perfect for a Warm Getaway Near NYC

Sahara Sam's Oasis, H20ooohh! and more indoor water park action for families

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, and 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-and-a-half 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.

Day Passes Available

CoCo Key Water Resort — Mount Laurel, New Jersey
The Hotel ML, 915 Route 73
Just under two hours from Midtown Manhattan by car
Open year-round. Find the complete schedule and ticket prices on its website.
Although this popular water park is located inside a hotel, 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, but you'll still find a 1,000-foot long water slide, lazy river, water jungle gym, and activity pools, as well as kiddie areas and arcades.

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 need a longer getaway, there's plenty of family-friendly entertainment to experience and there are packages that include water-park passes.

RELATED: 10 Inexpensive Winter Weekend Getaways from NYC

The Splashdown 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
Just under two hours from Midtown Manhattan
Open year round, 10am-10pm daily. Purchase your day passes before you go for guaranteed admission.
The safari-themed Kalahari Resort indoor water park opened in 2015, and it plans to open a slew of additional features, including several more water slides, a toddler-specific water play area, wave pool, and more in the spring of 2017. Those additions will bring the total square-footage of its indoor water park to over 200,000-square feet. The indoor park is broken up into different themes and play spots, 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 to the Splashdown Safari, a multilevel play structure with 10 water slides and plenty of interactive features. There are several more big-thrill slides elsewhere. A surf simulator allows you to catch a wave in any weather. The family lazy river is getting an expansion in 2017, too. 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 and multiple restaurants to keep kids busy when they find they're too waterlogged.

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 — 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 multiple slides, a family raft ride, lazy river, and tree fort. Toddlers will love the Lizard Lagoon, a special area just for them. A pair of new slides and a family leisure pool have opened in the past year. 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.

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.

RELATED: Best All-Inclusive Family Resorts in the U.S. and Caribbean

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 is huge with 125,000-square-feet of play space. The 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.

The Coyote Cannon at Great Wolf Lodge delivers a 40-foot drop that will thrill even tweens. 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. The resort offers loads of family activities and even a kids club or nursery for a parental break.

Woodloch Resort – Hawley, Pennsylvania
Approximately two hours and 15 minutes from Midtown Manhattan
The indoor water park at this Poconos resort may no be as hulking as its nearby competition, but there's both a Splash Zone with slides for big kids and adults, as well as a little-kid friendly splash pad, a pair of hot tubs, a kiddie pool, and a big, beautiful indoor pool. In addition, there's a myriad of other activities to enjoy, both indoor and outdoor. Parents can hop over to its sister resort's spa down the road for a little solo R&R, too.

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. Both do have day passes available if you are staying elsewhere in the area.

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 article, originally published in April 2010, is regularly updated.

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
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
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
Aquatopia at Camelback Lodge
193 Resort Drive
18372 Tannersville , PA 41° 3' 8.388" N, 75° 20' 46.8924" W
Kalahari Resorts
250 Kalahari Bouleavard
18349 Pocono Manor , PA 41° 6' 11.8404" N, 75° 22' 2.8272" W
Woodloch Resort
731 Welcome Lake Road
18428 Lake Hawley , PA