Best Outdoor Water Parks in New Jersey for Family Fun
New Jersey is home to a number of fantastic outdoor water parks, several of which are right on the beach! From big-name parks like Six Flags to boardwalk attractions, we've rounded up the top ones open for splashing this summer.
If you're looking for ways to cool off that are slightly cheaper, check out our roundup of water playgrounds and splash pads, most of which are FREE. For more summer fun, bookmark our Summer Guide for New Jersey Families and our NJ Theme Parks Guide.
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1. Mountain Creek Waterpark – Vernon
This winter ski resort transforms into a summer water park with 22 wet attractions, several of which were designed for the littlest visitors. There's Fishing Village, a multilevel, interactive play fort with water slides and spray cannons; Lil' Dippers, which offers scaled-down thrills for little ones; and Lost Island River, a pint-sized lazy river. Cabanas and locker rentals are also available. The park's exact opening day has yet to be announced on its website.
2. Splash Zone Water Park – Wildwood
There's no shortage of water fun in Wildwood. Located on the boardwalk, this water park extravaganza features 20 attractions. Get soaked at the Giant Bucket, zoom on the body flume at the Abyss, and be challenged by the speed and height of the Terminator slide. For the not-so-daring, there are the Hydro Zone squirters and a Hurricane Island water play area. Even babies get in on the action at the soft and gentle Zoe Zone. If you work up an appetite, check out the Zone House for food, drinks, and desserts. Splash Zone opens for the season Friday, June 23, 2023.
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Cool off in the wave pool at Casino Pier & Breakwater Beach Waterpark.
3. Casino Pier & Breakwater Beach Waterpark – Seaside Heights
Casino Pier offers loads of over-the-top fun like classic amusement park rides, an antique carousel, an arcade, and go-karts, all right along the Seaside Heights boardwalk. Meanwhile, Breakwater Beach is a state-of-the-art water park with a wave pool, water slides, and The Perfect Storm, a huge, interactive water play area for kids that includes water slides and flumes. Cool off in the wave pool or test your senses with the new aqua drop free fall, a 50-foot speed slide where the floor drops out from under you at the starting platform. The park opens for the 2023 season on Saturday, May 27, 2023.
4. Crystal Springs Family Waterpark – East Brunswick
Crystal Springs is the first municipal water park in New Jersey. The bountiful facility has several pools, a splash pad, a lazy river, water slides, and more. There's a picnic area with grills to use free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis, but you can purchase snacks and food if you don’t feel like cooking. Chairs, life vests, and tubes for the Lazy River are available but in limited supply. The park is open weekends starting Saturday, May 27, 2023, through late June, then daily Monday, June 26, 2023-Monday, September 4, 2023. Ticket reservations can be made online in advance.
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Cruise down the waterslides at the Land of Make Believe.
5. Land of Make Believe & Pirate's Cove – Hope
A true family amusement park with rustic, old-fashioned charm, the Land of Make Believe mixes a traditional country fair experience with thrilling rides. Pirate's Cove is where you'll find the water attractions, including America's Largest Wading Pool, pirate-themed water slides and rides, and a water playground. Swimsuits are required for everyone, and be sure to pack a waterproof diaper cover or swim diaper for your tots. Strollers aren't allowed inside the water park, but you can park yours right at the entrance for easy access. Food is available for purchase, or you can bring your own and eat in the spacious picnic area. The park is open weekends Memorial Day weekend through the third week of June, and then daily through Labor Day. The park will also be open the weekend after Labor Day. The water park is included in theme park admission, so you can go back and forth for one price.
Catch some thrills at Hurricane Harbor, the water park at Six Flags.
6. Six Flags Hurricane Harbor – Jackson
This water park is part of Six Flags, so expect crowds (especially on weekends). The 45-acre park features big rides like Tornado and Hurricane Mountain yet still offers plenty of adventure for younger kids. Next to Taak It Eez Ee Creek, a laid-back river featuring waterfalls and rapids, sits Hurricane Harbor's Calypso Springs, a 100,000-gallon zero-entry activity pool where parents and kids of all ages can swim and play together. The food is your standard theme-park fare of hamburgers, chicken fingers, and pizza. Coolers are prohibited. The park is open weekends Saturday, May 20, 2023, through Sunday, June 11, 2023, and daily starting Saturday, June 17, 2023. Tickets can be purchased in advance online.
Plunge into the pool at the OC Waterpark in Ocean City.
7. OC Waterpark – Ocean City
On your next Ocean City vacation, don't miss out on this fun-filled water park, complete with a lazy river, body slide, tube slide, and Splash Down Falls for daredevil sliders. Younger kids can splash around in Lil' Buc's Bay, a shallow-water environment. Other unique activities include OC Jumpers, which launches participants 25 feet into the air, and the OC Adventure Peak climbing wall. The park opens daily from Saturday, June 10, 2023, through Monday, September 4, 2023. Buy tickets online in advance.
8. Raging Waters Water Park at Morey's Piers – Wildwood
Up for a wet challenge? Dare to try the Shotgun Falls, Rocket Raft Run, speed slides, and rope swings at this park full of adventure right on the boardwalk in Wildwood. For tamer fun, there's a family fountain pool, pirate ship, and three-level interactive Camp KidTastrophe. Food and cabana rentals are available for visitors at all Morey's Piers water parks. The park opens for the season Thursday, June 8, 2023 (though note that it's closed June 12-16). Advance online ticket purchase is recommended.
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Hop on a slide with your little one at Runaway Rapids in Keansburg.
9. Runaway Rapids Family Waterpark – Keansburg
Located across the street from the famous Keansburg Amusement Park, this summer family favorite features more than 18 slides, splash zones, a kiddie lagoon, and a toddler play area, plus the lazy river (which you may need after a long day in the sun!). Lockers and dressing rooms are available, along with lounge chairs and umbrellas. There's also a full-service snack bar, plus tons of yummy boardwalk eats only steps away. Runaway Rapids opens daily starting Saturday, June 17, 2023.
10. Big Kahuna's Water Park – West Berlin
Formerly known as Sahara Sam's, this recently-remodeled outdoor oasis boasts a new island-inspired theme, swimming pool, wave pool, splash park, full-service tiki bar, and cabana rentals. Families can go back and forth between the indoor and outdoor water parks. Inside, there's an updated arcade to keep the kids busy and a bar/lounge for adult fun, too. You can also host your child's birthday party here. The water park is open Fridays-Sundays through mid-June and then daily starting Friday, June 16, 2023, for the summer season. Online reservations are strongly recommended.
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Go for a spin on the four water slides at Splashplex.
11. Splashplex – East Hanover and Mount Laurel
With four water slides (two different speed slides, a Constrictor Tube slide, and an inner tube slide), a water tower, a pool, a splash pad, and a lazy river, Splashplex will knock your flip-flops off. The expanded Mount Laurel site includes a relaxation pool, cabanas, and a 50-foot slide tower with a mat racer and a Boomerango Slide. Splashplex is open on weekends starting Saturday, May 27, 2023 and then daily as of Wednesday, June 21, 2023.
12. Thundering Surf – Long Beach Island
This Long Beach Island summer favorite features eight whirling water slides, a multi-level water play structure, the Lazy Crazy River, and a special area for toddlers called Cowabunga Beach. You can also rent cabanas for your family to relax in between play sessions. Online ticket purchase is encouraged.
13. Diggerland's Water Main – West Berlin
The construction-themed amusement park has rides and games and a water park dubbed The Water Main. It includes a tot splash area, a main pool, a slide tower, a wave pool, and several pool activities, including a challenge course and basketball. There are cabana rentals, too. Admission to the water park is included in the ticket price for the theme park so that visitors can enjoy both options on one trip. The park is currently open weekends starting Saturday, May 20, 2023, the daily operating schedule begins on Friday, June 9, 2023. Purchase tickets online in advance.
14. Ocean Oasis Water Park & Beach Club at Morey's Piers – Wildwood
Located at the end of Surfside Pier, this tropical-themed water resort offers both wild and relaxing activities for Wildwood visitors. Slide into the action on the 5-story Cliff Dive and six-lane Wipeout! water slides, or take it easy at the bubbly Water Lilies Swim Up Bar or on the 1,000-foot-long Endless River. The younger set can take a dip in The Puddle swimming pool. Be sure to grab a bite to eat at the Stubborn Brothers Beach Bar & Grill. Ocean Oasis reopens for the season on Saturday, June 17, 2023. Save money and secure a spot by purchasing tickets in advance.
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Tomahawk Lake's Papoose Land is a perfect play area for tots.
15. Tomahawk Lake Waterpark – Sparta
One of NJ's best-kept secrets, this water park sits on a 200-acre property that also includes an 18-hole mini-golf course. The 20-acre Tomahawk Lake is surrounded by NJ's largest white sand beach, perfect for picnicking. The water park features plenty of rides and slides, plus Papoose Land for younger tots, with kiddie canoes, ride-on lily pads, and climbers. The lake also offers paddle wheelers and bumper boats. Birthday parties are held on weekdays, and party-goers will enjoy full access to the water park, mini-golf course, and boat rides. The park is open daily from Friday, June 16, 2023-Monday, September 4, 2023. Online ticketing is not available, but credit card transactions are preferred over cash once you arrive.
16. Island Waterpark – Atlantic City
Island Waterpark is coming soon to the Showboat Hotel in Atlantic City. With a retractable roof for year-round indoor/outdoor fun, this much-anticipated venue will feature an enormous waterfall, a surf simulator, and seven waterslides, among other features. It's slated to open in summer 2023.
All photos courtesy of the respective parks.
This article, originally published in 2013, is updated annually.
Places featured in this article:
Crystal Springs Family Waterpark
Six Flags Hurricane Harbor
Runaway Rapids Family Waterpark
Tomahawk Lake Waterpark
Sahara Sam’s Oasis Indoor Water Park
Raging Waters Water Park at Morey's Piers
Splash Zone Water Park
Mountain Creek Water Park
Land of Make Believe
Casino Pier & Breakwater Beach Waterpark
Diggerland's Water Main
Ocean Oasis Water Park & Beach Club at Morey's Piers
ISLAND Waterpark, Showboat Atlantic City