New Jersey has several fantastic water parks, some of them right on the beach! From big-name parks and boardwalk favorites to the state's first municipal water park, we've rounded up 15 of New Jersey’s best water parks and an overview of what to expect from each one. We've even included a couple of fantastic indoor water parks to keep kids splashing on rainy days.
If you're looking for water fun on a slightly cheaper scale, check out our Best Water Playgrounds and Splash Pads roundup. For more summer awesomeness, visit our New Jersey Kids Summer Activities Guide.
Cool off in the wave pool at Casino Pier & Breakwater Beach Waterpark.
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 kids' water play area.
CoCo Key Water Resort – Mount Laurel
This wet indoor jungle gym is perfect for rainy days. There's a lazy river, plunging water slides, tube rides, and a baby wading pool. Adult guests can take advantage of the relaxing indoor/outdoor spa with giant, warm-water whirlpools. Dry off at the video arcade or dine at one of the resort's family-friendly restaurants. With so much to do, you might want to make your trip to Coco Key into an overnight at the resort's Hotel ML.
RELATED: Best Jersey Shore Beaches for Families: Cape May to Sandy Hook
Take a relaxing ride on Crystal Springs' Lazy River.
Crystal Springs Family Waterpark – East Brunswick
Crystal Springs is the first municipal water park in New Jersey. The bountiful facility boasts several pools, a splash pad, 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 if you don’t feel like cooking, you can purchase snacks and food. Chairs, life vests, and tubes (for the Lazy River) are available, but in limited supply. New for 2017 are renovated bathrooms, a concession stand, and first-aid office.
The Big Wave Racer at Hurricane Harbor features fast slides and several steep drops.
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, from the Blue Lagoon wave pool to Taak It Eez Ee Creek, a laid-back river featuring waterfalls and rapids. Caribbean Cove provides tons of family fun, with 55 interactive features including spray nozzles, slides, and a giant tipping bucket. The food is your standard theme-park fare of hamburgers, chicken fingers, and pizza. Coolers are prohibited.
RELATED: Favorite Amusement Parks Around New Jersey
Climb, slide, and splash at Pirate's Cove.
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. For nostalgia buffs, there's a Civil War locomotive ride, World War II cockpit, hayride, and talking scarecrow. Families can go back and forth between the two distinct sections, and if you need to get out of the sun, hit up the indoor arcade and impress the kids with your skee-ball skills. Food is available for purchase, but you can also bring your own and eat in the spacious picnic area.
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.
Ocean Oasis Water Park & Beach Club – Wildwood
Located behind Surfsider Pier, this tropical-themed water resort offers both wild and relaxing activities for Wildwood visitors. Slide into the action on the five-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.
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.
Aerial view of Raging Waters Water Park, located right on the beach!
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. 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 of all Morey's Piers water parks.
Runaway Rapids Family Waterpark – Keansburg
Located across the street from the famous Keansburg Amusement Park, this summer family-favorite is splash-tacular. The water park features more than 18 slides, splash zones, a kiddie lagoon, and 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.
Hang ten on Sahara Sam's Flow Rider.
Sahara Sam’s Oasis Indoor Water Park – West Berlin
The best thing about this water park is that it’s open all year. This indoor playground offers a surfing simulator, family raft ride, tube slides, lazy river, full-service café, and cabana rentals. Plus, there's a large arcade to keep the kids busy and a bar/lounge for adult fun. You can also host your child's birthday party here.
Go for a spin on the four water slides at Splashplex.
Splashplex – East Hanover
With four water slides (two speed slides, a Constrictor Tube slide, and inner tube slide), a water tower, pool, splash pad, and lazy river, Splashplex's 130,000-foot expansion (completed in 2015) will knock your flip-flops off. Read our full review of Splashplex here.
Splash Zone Water Park – Wildwood
There's no shortage of water fun in Wildwood! Located on the boardwalk, this water extravaganza features 20 attractions. Get soaked at the Giant Bucket, zoom on the body flume at the Abyss, and challenge the speed and height of the Terminator slide. For the not-so-daring, there are the Hydro Zone squirters and 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 Flow House for food, drinks, and a simulated surfing wave.
Thundering Surf – Long Beach Island
This LBI summer favorite features eight whirling water slides, a multi-level water play structure, 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.
Tomahawk Lake's Papoose Land is a perfect play area for tots.
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. Tomahawk is cash-only, but there's an ATM available onsite.
Top image: Kiddie area at Raging Water. All photos courtesy of the respective parks.
Originally published 2013; updated for 2017.