Indoor Water Parks Open Now for a Warm Getaway Near NYC
Indoor water parks offer summertime-style family thrills year-round, and many are just a car ride away from the New York City metro area.
With winter's icy chill upon us, many families look for ways to escape the city for a warmer locale, but jet-setting to a tropical island is particularly impractical this winter. Instead, stay a little closer to home, and visit one of these indoor water parks in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and the Hudson Valley, which are sure to help beat the winter blues.
We've found seven warm and wet indoor resorts open now that are perfect for kids and families and are less than two-and-a-half hours from Midtown Manhattan. Most indoor parks keep temperatures at 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.
Before you head out, be sure to check state and local travel advisories, many of which require out-of-state visitors to quarantine or have a negative COVID-19 test before arrival. You may also be required to quarantine or test out when you return. See the latest New York state travel guidelines for further details. As always, protect your family and others by wearing a mask anytime you're not in the water.
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 children, with water sprays, giant tilting water buckets, and mini-slides. Read on for more details about each indoor water park.
Aquatopia's Bombora FlowRider makes you forget you’re frolicking indoors and not at the beach.
Indoor Water Parks Near NYC Offering Day Passes
Aquatopia at Camelback Resort – Tannersville, Pennsylvania
2020 update: Water park visitors—both day and overnight—over the age of 2 are required to wear face masks, except when in the water or while eating. There is lots of extra sanitizing, including cleaning chairs, cabanas, entry areas, and more. Aquatopia offers a whole list of precautions the resort is implementing.
Approximately 1 hour, 45 minutes from Midtown Manhattan
Formerly only an overnight destination, Aquatopia now offers a limited number of day passes. Beware, though, if you want to visit during a popular time or over a school break, an overnight stay might be required. This huge indoor water park has 170,000-square-feet of play space. The park features multiple 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.
DreamWorks Animation Water Park – Meadowlands, New Jersey
2020 update: Temperature checks are required for entrance.
Approximately 25 minutes from Midtown Manhattan
This long-awaited water park is not only the closest on our list, but it's also (reportedly) the largest in North America, covering more than 370,000 square feet of space at the mega American Dream entertainment complex. The glass atrium-enclosed attraction offers views of the Manhattan skyline, a 1.5-acre wave pool, and a pair of play structures, including the Kung Fu Panda Temple of Awesomeness. Find family-friendly picks among the 40 slides, plus plenty of options for thrill-seekers, too. The Thrillagascar & Jungle Jammer is sure to get your heart pumping with its 142-foot free-fall slide. On-site cabanas, designed by Jonathan Adler, can be rented.
It's summer all the time at the tropical-themed indoor water park at Split Rock Resort.
H20ooohh! at Split Rock Resort – Lake Harmony, Pennsylvania
2020 updates: This newly reopened water park is employing enhanced cleaning at the resort, including the pool areas and furniture, social distancing has been implemented, and there are digital menus available when ordering, among other protocols.
Approximately 2 hours from Midtown Manhattan by car
Kids will enjoy splashing around in the wave and activity pools, the Jungle play area, and more. 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 overnight packages as well.
The Splashdown Safari at Kalahari Resorts has a zero-entry pool and large climbing structures. Photo by Rose Gordon Sala
Kalahari Resorts – Pocono Manor, Pennsylvania
2020 update: Masks are required at all times—including while lounging at the water park—for anyone over the age of 2, except for when in the water and while eating. There are additional safety protocols, such as increased sanitizing and social distancing as well.
Just under 2 hours from Midtown Manhattan
Open year-round, purchase your day passes before you go for guaranteed admission.
The safari-themed Kalahari Resort indoor water park recently doubled in size to 220,000 square feet. There's an 11,000-square-foot wave pool and eight new slides, including thrill rides such as the Anaconda, and the Cheetah Race Mat Slide. Young kids will enjoy Coral Cove, a sea-animal-themed play area. A surf simulator allows you to catch a wave in any weather and the lazy river now features a swim-up bar for adults. 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, an outdoor adventure course (seasonal), and multiple restaurants to keep kids busy if they find they're too waterlogged.
Great Wolf Lodge will thrill little kids and tweens.
Great Wolf Lodge – Scotrun, Pennsylvania
2020 update: The hot tubs are currently closed, and safety measures include masks for everyone ages 2 and older, social distancing, and many contactless features, such as check-in via an app.
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 with slides, a lazy river, an activity pool, and more. We've visited several times and have tips to ensure you have fun and stay sane during your trip.
Overnight Destinations With Fun Water Parks Near NYC
If your family is up for a multi-day trip, consider one of these resorts, which require hotel stays to use their water parks.
Rocking Horse Ranch – Highland, New York
2020 update: The kids club is currently closed, and there are other safety precautions in place, such as mask wearing, temperature checks, and more.
Approximately 1hour, 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 Gold Rush Flume water slide, a challenging water walk for kids to test their balance, and Fort Geyser Aqua Station, 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
2020 update: While the pools are open, there are capacity restrictions—but you can check the resort’s app to see if they’ve hit the maximum capacity before you suit up. Lots of other safety precautions are in place, including mask wearing and social distancing. All out-of-state guests over 11 must provide a negative COVID test administered within 3 days before arrival.
Approximately 2 hours, 15 minutes from Midtown Manhattan
The indoor water park at this Poconos resort may not 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 are myriad other activities to enjoy, both indoors and out. Parents can hop over to the sister resort's spa, The Lodge at Woodloch, located just down the road for a little kid-free, solo R&R, too.
Coco Key Water Resort has all the thrills and adventures a kid needs for a day.
Water Parks Near NYC That Are Currently Closed
The following water parks are perennial favorites, but as of publication time, they remain closed to the public with no timeline to reopen.
CoCo Key Water Resort Mount Laurel, New Jersey
Just under 2 hours from Midtown Manhattan by car
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 1,000 feet of water slides, a lazy river, a water jungle gym, and activity pools, as well as kiddie areas and arcades.
The Kartrite – Monticello, New York
Approximately 1 hour, 45 minutes from Midtown Manhattan
The Kartrite indoor water park, located in the Catskills, is home to 80,000-square-feet of rides, slides, and pools. The entire space is covered by the world’s largest Texlon transparent roof, ensuring that it stays at an optimal 84 degrees. Thrill-seekers will love the Nor'Easter slide and a Flowrider surf simulator. Parents appreciate the private cabanas, tanning roof, and nearby spa. If you’re not a guest at the hotel, day passes are available online.
Sahara Sam's Oasis – West Berlin, New Jersey
Approximately 2 hours from Midtown Manhattan by car
This New Jersey water park recently added 10,000 additional square feet of fun, including Tut's Twisters, a pair of five-story head-first mat-racing slides, and Cleopatra's Cove, a family leisure pool. The desert oasis-themed park also features several more slides, a family raft ride, a lazy river, and a tree fort. Toddlers 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 the 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.
Unless noted, photos courtesy of the resorts and water parks
This article, originally published in April 2010, is updated annually. Unless noted, all photos courtesy of the respective water parks
Places featured in this article:
CoCo Key Water Resort
H20ooohh! Indoor Waterpark
Rocking Horse Ranch
Great Wolf Lodge
Aquatopia at Camelback Lodge
The Kartrite Hotel & Indoor Waterpark