Our favorite super cool water parks have everything you could want and more! From slippy slides to lazy rivers, rapid rides and even splash parks and swimming pools for the itty bitty ones, these amusement parks won't disappoint—just ask your kids! Also, if you needed to be reminded, they're one of the best ways (besides NYC beaches) to cool off on the hottest summer days. Memorial Day weekend trip, anyone?
Water parks near NYC
Be prepared for plenty of wet n’ wild fun at Sesame Place! There’s a Big Bird’s rambling river for low-key fun with the little ones, plus the Teeny Tidal Wave splash pool (hardly teeny at 10,000 square feet) and Slimey’s Chutes waterslide. You’ll also need to visit Ernie’s Waterworks, which has cascading fountains and water-spraying mazes, and The Count’s Splash Castle, which has a 1,000-gallon tipping bucket, water slides, interactive levers, blasters, bongos and water wheels. Last, check out the Sky Splash, which lets up to six riders swirl around in an eight-foot Rubber Duckie. 100 Sesame Rd, Langhorne, PA (215-752-7070, sesameplace.com). Tickets from $55. Open May 2–Dec 31, hours vary. Ages 2 and up $55, children under 2 free.
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 a total of 28 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; families might run under mushroom fountains and geysers or play with squirt guns. 3830 Dorney Park Rd, Allentown, PA (610-395-3724, dorneypark.com). May 1—Nov 1; hours vary. Adults and children taller than 48 inches $39.99–$44, children 3 and up under 48" $34, ages 2 and under free.
The Land of Make Believe and Pirate’s Cove
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 new-ish 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. 354 Great Meadows Rd (Route 611), Hope, NJ (908-459-9000, lomb.com). Weekends only May 25 –Jun 20, open 10am–6pm daily from Jun 21–Sept 7. $25, children ages 2–18 $27, children under 24 months free.
When the temperatures spike, your kids will breeze right by the three amusement piers on their way to two fun-filled water parks in this town on the Jersey Shore. At Raging Waters, grab an inner tube and float past geysers, waterfalls and more on the River Adventure, whiz down speed slides or play with water cannons in the Shipwreck Shoals kiddie play area. Ocean Oasis Water Park and Beach Club has equally wet-and-wild entertainment in store, with the WipeOut!—a six-lane racer slide where families can duke it out—a rocket raft run and a cliff dive, which sends riders down a wicked-fast water slide that drops five stories in three seconds. 3501 Boardwalk, Wildwood, NJ (609-729-3700, moreyspiers.com). May 23–Sept 13; hours vary. All-day water park pass $44, under 48” $39; ride pass $55, under 48” $45; ride & water park combo pass $75, under 48” $57.
It's a sure sign that summer's on the way when the rides at Coney Island open for another season of rollicking good times. In addition to iconic coasters like the Cyclone and Thunderbolt, kids will want to hit up water rides to cool off. Fly over a 40-foot ledge in a log boat on the Wild River, try to soak other floating cars with a water pistol on Watermania or let little ones bob along a flume in a magical vessel on the Mermaid Parade ride. Kids who get good grades can even earn bonus credits towards amusement park rides when they present a copy of their report card at guest services. 1000 Surf Ave, Coney Island, Brooklyn (718-373-5862,lunaparknyc.com). March 29–Nov 1; hours vary. Free admission, ride and game wristbands $20–$45.
Your kids will be all in for a trip to a park inspired by their favorite treats…after all, Hershey is as big as it gets when it comes to candy. For an afternoon of fun in the sun, go for a spin on Carrousel and zip around on the Cocoa Cruiser—then head to the outdoor waterpark for a refreshing splash. Tots will love running through life-size sandcastles (Sandcastle Cove), flying down huge slides (Coastline Plunge Pipeline) and making their way through East Coast Waterworks, equipped with seven slides, two crawl-tunnels and 600 interactive water toys. 100 W Hersheypark Dr, Hershey, PA (800-437-7439, hersheypark.com). May 1–Sept 27; hours vary. Tickets $61.95, ages 3–8 $38.95, ages 2 and under free.
Six Flags Hurricane Harbor
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, then take a breather in the (somewhat ridiculously named) Taak It Eez Ee Creek, a 700,000-gallon lazy river with rapids and geysers. 1 Six Flags Blvd, Jackson, NJ (732-928-1821,sixflags.com/hurricaneharbor). May 23–Sept 7; hours vary. Tickets $42.99, children under 48" $32.99, children 2 and under free.