The Kartrite indoor water park, located in the Catskills, is home to 80,000 square feet of rides, slides, and pools. Photo courtesy of the Kartrite
The Kartrite indoor water park, located in the Catskills, is home to 80,000 square feet of rides, slides, and pools. Photo courtesy of the Kartrite

9 Indoor Water Parks Perfect 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 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 nine 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.

Aquatopia's giant wave pool almost makes you forget you’re frolicking indoors and not at the beach. 

Day Passes Available

Aquatopia at Camelback Resort — Tannersville, Pennsylvania
Approximately one hour and 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 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.

Coco Key Water Resort has all the thrills and adventures a kid needs for a day. 

CoCo Key Water Resort — Mount Laurel, New Jersey
Just under two hours from Midtown Manhattan by car
Open year-round. Find the complete schedule and ticket prices on the 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 1,000 feet of water slides, a lazy river, water jungle gym, and activity pools, as well as kiddie areas and arcades.

It's summer all the time at this tropical themed-indoor water park.

H20ooohh! at Split Rock Resort — Lake Harmony, Pennsylvania
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 overnight packages that include water park passes.

RELATED: 12 Inexpensive Winter Weekend Getaways from NYC

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
Just under two hours from Midtown Manhattan
Open year round, 10am to 9pm on weekdays and to 10pm on weekends. 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, making it the largest water park in the country! There's now an 11,000-square-foot wave pool and eight new slides, including thrill rides such as the Anaconda, and the Cheetah Race Mat Slide, where kids can race their friends. Young kids will enjoy Coral Cove, a sea-animal-themed play area for little ones. A surf simulator allows you to catch a wave in any weather. After a recent expansion, 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, outdoor adventure course (seasonal), and multiple restaurants to keep kids busy if they find they're too waterlogged.

The Kartrite — Monticello, NY
Approximately one hour and 45 minutes from Midtown Manhattan
Open year-round. Purchase your day passes online before you go for guaranteed admission. 
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 will appreciate the private cabanas, tanning roof, and nearby spa. If you’re not a guest at the hotel, day passes are available online.

Once you’ve made the two-hour drive to Sahara Sam's, you'll be ready for some thrills!

Sahara Sam's Oasis — West Berlin, New Jersey
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 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, lazy river, and tree fort. Toddlers will 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.

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

Great Wolf Lodge will thrill little kids and even tweens. 

Great Wolf Lodge — Scotrun, Pennsylvania
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 two hot tubs. 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 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
Approximately two hours and 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 indoor and outdoor. Parents can hop over to the sister resort's spa, The Lodge at Woodloch, down the road for a little kid-free, 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.

Photos courtesy of the resorts and water parks

This article, originally published in April 2010, is updated annually. Katie Nave Freeman contributed additional reporting.

Sahara Sam's Oasis
535 North Route 73
West Berlin, NJ 08091

CoCo Key Water Resort
915 Route 73 The Hotel ML
Mount Laurel, NJ 08054

CoCo Key Water Resort
3580 East Main Street
Waterbury, CT 06705

H20ooohh! Indoor Waterpark
100 Moseywood Road Split Rock Resort
Lake Harmony, PA 18624

Rocking Horse Ranch
600 State Route 44
Highland, NY 12528

Greek Peak Mountain Resort
2000 New York 392
Cortland, NY 13045

Six Flags Great Escape Lodge & Indoor Waterpark
89 Six Flags Drive
Queensbury, NY 12804

Great Wolf Lodge
1 Great Wolf Drive
Scotrun, PA 18355

Aquatopia at Camelback Lodge
193 Resort Drive
Tannersville, PA 18372

Kalahari Resorts
250 Kalahari Bouleavard
Pocono Manor, PA 18349

The Kartrite Hotel & Indoor Waterpark
555 Resorts World Drive
Monticello, NY 12701
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