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Photograph: Courtesy Moreys Piers

The best water parks in NY and beyond

Our go-to water parks in NY (and beyond) provide a chance to splash, scream and regain strength with a lazy river or two

Written by
Hannah Doolin
,
Allie Early
&
Danielle Valente
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If you're working on your summer bucket list, these water parks in NY and nearby deserve a prime piece of real estate on your roundup! 

At these summer favorites, kiddos will love tackling the adventure that awaits: 350-foot slides, 50-degree drops, and adrenalijne pumping twists and turns. But you don't have to be a teen or tween-age daredevil to have a blast. At each park there are plenty of more mellow options like lazy rivers, wave pools and water jungle gyms for staying cool in the summer sun. Keep things relatively local with a visit to Long Island's Splish Splash, a 96-acre park with tons of slides and pools, or head out of state: You'll find everything from Sesame Place, a watery haven for the littles, to Dorney Park, which has 25 slides and a kid's cove. If you've got a family of water babies, go all in on a season pass. It'll keep you coming back week after week without breaking the bank.

However you hope to beat the heat, the best water parks in NYC and the surrounding areas have everything you'll need—and then some! After you've scratched them off your to-do list, mark your calendar for a visit to New Jersey's inflatable water park or book a stay at New York's largest indoor water park. It's never too early or too late to start planning those summer day trips and family vacations! If escaping the city is too much of a challenge, head to the best water playgrounds in NYC, instead. Your kiddos are sure to have a blast.

Water parks in NY

Travel time: 1 hr and 45 min by car from NYC

A summer without a trip to Splish Splash is unheard of for Long Islanders. Many venture out east when the summer sets in to take advantage of the water thrills: deuling 300-foot slides (Bombs Away), eight-story drops (Cliff Diver) and fun fit for a movie star thanks to the Hollywood Stunt Rider. For those who are more inclined to relax than speed down twists and turns, opt for the Octapus Pool, Lazy River or Pirates Cove. You're bound to find something to keep you cool at this 96-acre adventure. Tickets from $44.99. Learn more about ticket options here

Hersheypark

Travel time: 3 hours by car from NYC

Your kids are probably drawn to this particular amusement park for the name alone, but we're here to tell you that the joy of Hershey isn't all about candy. The attraction also happens to be the perfect place to beat the heat when those 90-degree days strike. Visitors can cool off and have a blast thanks to rides like the Coastline Plunge Surge, Tidal Force and many others. The East Coast Waterworks has more than 600 interactive water toys, and Sandcastle Cove is an ideal spot to test out those architectural skills in the sand. The younger kids in your brood who might be intimidated by the plunges and slides will find a lot to love about the Shoreline Sprayground and calming Bayside Pier. In 2018, The Breakers Edge Water Coaster (an open-air, multi-person tube ride) and The Whitecap Racer (the longest mat-racing water slide in the world, complete with tunnels and racer timing system) made their grand debut. Think you have what it takes to handle the thrills? Season passes from $154. Learn more about ticket options here

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Travel time: 2.5 hours by car from NYC

If your kids are in search of an adventure this summer, look no further than Raging Waters at Morey's Piers. The Jersey Shore attraction offers lightning-fast features such as Shotgun Falls and the winding Sky Pond Journey, which will take your thrill-seekers through four different slides. If you need to take a breather, venture to the Fountain Pool, where you'll be able to refuel with calming bubbles and geysers. Morey's Piers is also home to Ocean Oasis Water Park & Beach Club, where your youngsters (who are up for a challenge) can race down the 350-feet-long and 40-feet-high slides of the Wipeout! or drop five stories in three seconds via the Cliff Dive. These two offerings are definitely not for the faint of heart! General admission from $48.99. Learn more about ticket options here

Travel time: 1.5 hours by car from NYC

Spend the summer with Elmo, Big Bird and the rest of your favorite Sesame Street characters! This “go before they grow” spot is perfect for young children and offers plenty of water-themed fun for the whole crew. You’ll find Big Bird’s Rambling River, which offers your typical lazy river tube experience, plus Teeny Tidal Wave splash pool for kiddos that love to splash around. The highlight for most is The Count’s Splash Castle, which offers a 1,000-gallon tipping bucket, water slides, interactive levers, blasters, bongos and water wheels. Ernie’s Waterworks, a splash pad made for kids under 7, offers fountains and spray mazes. While pregnant or new moms understandably can’t take part in all the fun, take note that there are private nursing rooms, changing stations and even bottle warmers to ensure that all guests are comfortable. Sesame Place was also the first theme park in the world to receive the distinction of Certified Autism Center—meaning it caters to young children of all abilities. Tickets from $39.99. Learn more about ticket options here

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Six Flags Hurricane Harbor
Photograph: Courtesy Six Flags Great Adventure

5. Six Flags Hurricane Harbor

Travel time: 1.5 hours by car from NYC 

At tropical-themed Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, wee ones will want to tackle Discovery Bay, which has enough waterfalls, overflowing buckets and slides to tucker them out for a good stroller nap. Older kids can pile into rafts and shoot down the Big Bambu or Reef Runner water slides, where they’re met with a six-story drop. The whole family can catch waves in the Blue Lagoon one-million-gallon wave pool and at the Caribbean Cove there is a beach area with a two-foot-deep pool, spray guns and a massive tipping bucket (great for the 'lil dudes). When you need to dry off after your water adventures, make sure to enjoy a little r&r under the umbrellas or grab a bite in the dining area. Tickets from $29.99. Learn more about ticket options here

Travel time: 2 hours by car from NYC

During the regular summer season, Dorney Park tickets also offer full access to Wildwater Kingdom Water Park. There are free-fall body slides like Python Plummet (nearly vertical fall), crazy 360-degree loops on the Constrictor and high speed slides like twin Boat Blasters that’ll surely please teens and tweens. In case you were wondering, there are over 25 slides to choose from in varying levels of “thrill.” For littler folk, check out the Kids’ Cove, where they’ll climb through a submarine and slip down the tentacles of an octopus. The Lollipop Lagoon also offers low-key fun. Tickets from $39.99. Learn more about ticket options here

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Land of Make Believe and Pirate’s Cove

7. Land of Make Believe and Pirate’s Cove

Travel time: 1.5 hours by car from NYC

Try the 12,000-square-foot wading pool with a dump bucket and climbable playground (Pirate Fort), then head to the awesome water slides like Cannonball and the Black Hole. For older kids, there’s a water slide called Pirate’s Escape where they’ll enter a futuristic chamber and the floor comes out from beneath them, sending them zipping down a long green tube slide. Last, for a totally calm water adventure, try tubing along lazy waterway Blackbeard’s River. Tickets from $31.89. Learn more about ticket options here

  • Sports and fitness
  • Sports & Fitness

No need to choose between the beach or the playground—Rockaway Water Park provides the best of both worlds.  Basically, it's a summer paradise right in the middle of NYC's popular beach town. In between splashes, swimmers are able to take a rest on the floats or dock and regain their strength.  Rockaway Jet Ski offerings. While the kiddies are enjoying the Tarzan Boat, Adults can get in on the action with Rockaway Jet Skis, kayaks and stand-up paddle boards. Consider the Hudson River your personal water oasis! Learn more about pricing here

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