Top Water Parks for New Jersey Kids and Families
The New Jersey water park scene is back for summer 2021. New Jersey has several fantastic water parks, some of them right on the beach, so we've rounded up the top ones open for splashing, including a brand-new option.
If you're looking for water fun on a slightly cheaper scale, check out our roundup of (mostly FREE) water playgrounds and splash pads. For more summer fun, bookmark our Summer Guide for New Jersey Families and our NJ Theme Parks Guide.
We have updated this article with 2021 information, but some attractions and amenities listed from past years may not be available this year. Please click through to each venue for up-to-date details on ticket sales, reservation requirements, and safety protocols.
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. Opening day has been set for Saturday, June 19. Tickets and passes must be purchased online in advance.
2. 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 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 Flow House for food, drinks, and a simulated surfing wave. Splash Zone opens for the season Saturday, June 19, with some new procedures in place, including breaking the day into two sessions with timed-entry tickets. Park capacity is limited, so pre-purchase of tickets, cabanas, and lockers is recommended.
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, 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. Because of capacity limits this year, expect longer wait times. Some rides and attractions may remain closed for the 2021 season. Others may open and close on a rotating basis throughout the summer. Check the site for updates.
Take a relaxing ride on the lazy river at Crystal Springs.
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, 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 opens for the season on Monday, May 31, and is open weekend through late June, then and daily Monday, June 28-Saturday, August 29, plus Saturday, September 4-Thursday, September 9. Ticket reservations must be made online in advance, and you must bring your own chair.
Cruise down the waterslides at the Land of Make Believe and Pirate's Cove.
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 diaper-wearing 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, but you can also bring your own and eat in the spacious picnic area. The park opens for the season on weekends, Saturday, May 29-Sunday, June 13, and then daily Saturday, June 19-Monday, September 6. The park will also be open on the weekend of September 11. The water park is included in theme park admission. Buy online tickets in advance for specific dates.
The Big Wave Racer at Hurricane Harbor features fast slides and several steep drops.
6. 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 through Sunday, June 13, and daily beginning Friday, June 18. Expect temperature checks before entering the park. Reservations are required, and tickets must be purchased in advance online. Parking must also be paid for in advance.
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 19 through the end of August (plus the weekend of Saturday, June 12-Sunday, June 13). Buy tickets online in advance.
When you've had enough of the beach, head over to Raging Waters Water Park.
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 is reopening Saturday, June 12, and advance online tickets are required.
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 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. Keansburg opens on Saturday, May 29, for weekends and daily starting Saturday, June 19. Advance ticket purchase is recommended as park capacity is limited.
Sahara Sam's will keep kids splashing all day long.
10. Sahara Sam’s Oasis Water Park – West Berlin
This outdoor oasis features a swimming pool, wave pool, splash park, full-service tiki bar, and cabana rentals. Admission to The Beach Club is included at no extra cost, and families can go back and forth between the indoor and outdoor water parks. Inside, there's a large 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 outdoor water park opens Memorial Day weekend, and online reservations are required. The indoor water park is open Thursdays-Sundays. Due to limited capacity, online reservations are required.
Go for a spin on the four water slides at Splashplex.
11. Splashplex – East Hanover and Mount Laurel
With four water slides (two speed slides, a Constrictor Tube slide, and an inner tube slide), a water tower, pool, splash pad, and lazy river, Splashplex will knock your flip-flops off. New for 2021 is a major expansion of the Mount Laurel site with the opening of The Island at Splashplex. The expansion includes a relaxation pool, cabanas, and a new 50-foot slide tower with a mat racer and a Boomerango Slide. The opening date of the new park is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, June 12, with online ticketing and reservations recommended.
12. Thundering Surf – Long Beach Island
This Long Beach Island 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. It opens for the season on Saturday, June 12. Online ticket purchase is encouraged to reduce admission lines and contact.
At Diggerland, you pay one price for admission to the rides and the brand new water park.
13. Diggerland's Water Main – West Berlin
The construction-themed amusement park has rides and games and a brand new water park, dubbed The Water Main. It includes a tot splash area, main pool, slide tower, 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. Currently open weekends, a daily operating calendar begins on Friday, June 11. Purchase tickets online in advance.
14. Ocean Oasis Water Park & Beach Club at Morey's Piers – Wildwood
Located at the end of 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. Ocean Oasis reopens for the season on Saturday, June 19. Save money and secure a spot by purchasing tickets in advance.
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 reopens for the season on Saturday, May 29. Online ticketing is not available, but credit card transactions are preferred over cash once you arrive.
All photos courtesy of the respective parks.
This article, originally published in 2013, is updated annually.