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

By Hannah Doolin, Allie Early and Danielle Valente

Working on your summer bucket list? These water parks in NY (and beyond) deserve a piece of real estate on your roundup! 

Your kiddos will love to tackle all of the adventure that awaits: 350-foot slides, 50-degree drops, twists and turns...and lazy rivers for the faint of heart. Whether you're staying local with a visit to Splish Splash or traveling out of state to Dorney Park, these water parks near NYC have everything you'll need—and then some! 

Start planning those summer day trips and family vacations ASAP. There's no time to waste once school lets out! After you've scratched the best water parks NYC and the surrounding areas have to offer from your to-do list, mark your calendars for the forthcoming inflatable water park debuting this summer in New Jersey or book a stay at New York's largest indoor water park.  

Water parks in NY

Photograph: Courtesy + Splish Splash

1. Splish Splash

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 $35.99. Learn more about ticket options here

Hershey Park

2. 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 $171, $156 for juniors. Learn more about ticket options here

Photograph: Courtesy Moreys Piers

3. Morey’s Piers

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 $37. Learn more about ticket options here

Sesame Place- Count's Splash Castle
Jason Lindsey

4. Sesame Place

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. P.S. 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 is now 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 $35. Learn more about ticket options here

Six Flags Great Adventure 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. The Caribbean Cove opened back in 2016, which introduced a new beach area with a two-foot-deep pool, spray guns and a massive tipping bucket (great for the 'lil dudes). For those who are heading to the Jersey hotspot in 2019, you're in luck: Hurricane Harbor will receive its greatest expansion since its 2000 opening. Add a visit to the new Calypso Springs to your summer bucket list. This attraction, sandwiched between the Taak It Eez Ee Creek lazy river and Tornado water slide, includes 100,000-gallon beach entry-style pool, a geyser shooting out cool, refreshing water, a lounge deck and so much more. When you need a chance to dry off after your water adventures, make sure to enjoy a little r&r under the umbrellas or grab a bite in the new dining area. Tickets from $38.99. Learn more about ticket options here

Dorney Park
Photograph: Courtesy Dorney Park

6. Dorney Park

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 $34.99. Learn more about ticket options here

Land of Make Believe

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 $32. Learn more about ticket options here

Photograph: Danielle Valente

8. BONUS: Rockaway Water Park

News Sports & Fitness

No need to choose between the beach or the playground—Rockaway Water Park provides the best of both worlds.  For those who are dying to make a splash this summer, look no further than the venue's Tarzan Boat, which is equally fun for the young and the young at heart. This floating jungle gym—ideal for ages 8 and up—calls the Hudson River home and provides visitors the opportunity to slide into the water, cannonball from trampolines and swing into the river from a rope. 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. They're certainly going to want to take a breather every now and then, considering more fun awaits 15 feet away with Rockaway Jet Ski offerings.  While the kiddies are enjoying the Tarzan Boat, adults can get in on the action, too. They're able to high-tail it out of the area on a jet ski or use kayaks and stand-up paddle boards, depending on the adventure they're craving for the day. Consider the Hudson River your personal water oasis! Learn more about pricing here

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