Indoor Water Parks Near NYC for a Warm Getaway

Hit one of the thrilling water slides at the Kalahari's indoor water park in the Poconos.
Hit one of the thrilling water slides at the Kalahari's indoor water park in the Poconos.

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 chill upon us, many families look for ways to escape the city for a warmer locale, but jet-setting to a tropical island might not always be a possibility. 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 2½ hours from Midtown Manhattan. Most indoor water 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.

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.

Before you head out, be sure to click through to each water park's site for specific COVID safety requirements, including wearing masks when not in the water. Read on for more details about each indoor water park.

Indoor Water Parks Near NYC Offering Day Passes

The Kartrite – Monticello, New York

About 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 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. You can grab day passes online or opt to book a room. 

RELATED: 14 Cool Hotel Pools in New York for Family Vacations

Ride the Bombora FlowRider at Aquatopia water park
Test your surfing skills on Aquatopia's Bombora FlowRider. Photo by Sara Marentette

Aquatopia at Camelback Resort – Tannersville, Pennsylvania

About 1 hour, 45 minutes from Midtown Manhattan
Formerly only an overnight destination, Aquatopia now offers day passes as well. 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.

RELATED: Camelback Resort: A Year-round Poconos Getaway for Families

DreamWorks Water Park.
DreamWorks Water Park isn't just the largest water park in America, it's also the closest one to NYC! Photo courtesy of American Dream Mall

DreamWorks Water Park – Meadowlands, New Jersey

About 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.

RELATED: Best Water Parks For Toddlers Near NYC

Split Rock resorts water park is always tropical-feeling
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

About 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.

RELATED: 11 Inexpensive Winter Weekend Getaways Near NYC

Kalahari Resorts has a water park complete with the kid-friendly Splashdown Safari
The Splashdown Safari at Kalahari Resorts features a zero-entry pool and large climbing structures. 

Kalahari Resorts – Pocono Manor, Pennsylvania

Just under 2 hours from Midtown Manhattan
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. There's also an arcade on-site, an outdoor adventure course (seasonal), and multiple restaurants to keep kids busy if they're too waterlogged. If you're going just for the day, be sure to pack towels—or you'll have to buy them on-site for $20. (Towels are included if you're staying overnight.) 

Sahara Sam's Oasis – West Berlin, New Jersey

About 2 hours from Midtown Manhattan by car
This New Jersey water park, which is currently only open Friday afternoons and all day Saturdays and Sundays, includes Tut's Twisters, a pair of five-story headfirst 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 water park, or hit the seasonal construction-themed amusement park Diggerland USA right next door.

RELATED: Winter Day Trips: 15 Ideas For Family Fun Near NYC

Enjoy a thrilling slide at the Great Wolf Lodge water park
Great Wolf Lodge's slides will thrill little kids and tweens alike.

Great Wolf Lodge – Scotrun, Pennsylvania

About 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 hotspot (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.

RELATED: Legoland New York Brings Mega Theme Park Fun to the Hudson Valley

Rocking Horse Ranch has an indoor water park
The ultra family-friendly Rocking Horse Ranch offers an indoor water park as part of its all-inclusive fun. 

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

About 1 hour, 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, too—just note that the drop-off kids club is currently closed until the end of May 2022. 

RELATED: Family-Friendly Hotels for a New York Staycation

Woodloch Resort's water park isn't huge, but it's big-time fun
Woodloch Resort's water park isn't huge, but it offers big-time fun.

Woodloch Resort – Hawley, Pennsylvania

About 2 hours, 15 minutes from Midtown Manhattan
The indoor water park at this Poconos resort might not be as hulking as its nearby competition, but there's 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 a host of 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.

Indoor Water Parks That Are Further Afield from NYC 

If you're up for a longer drive, 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 have day passes available if you are staying elsewhere. 

This post, originally published in April 2010, was updated in January 2022.

Unless noted, photos are courtesy of the respective water parks 

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