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Splish Splash’s hyperlight ride
Photograph: Art Horz, courtesy of Splish Splash | Hyperlight

The best water parks near NYC

Beat the heat at the best water parks near NYC.

Written by
Hannah Doolin
Allie Early
Danielle Valente

The heat is on! Looking for things to do with kids in NYC that will keep them cool? Summer means outdoor activities like hiking and biking trails, playgrounds and PYO farms for picking strawberries and other summer fruits, but when temps rise, the focus turns to cool activities. You can take the kids to a water playground or to the beach, but for a thrilling activity that also beats the heat, check out these water parks in NYC and beyond.

NYC-area water parks offer adrenaline-pumping adventure with super-fast water slides, thrilling wave pools and more. For the not-so-adventurous, there are lazy rivers and plenty of side pools for simply staying cool. From the largest water park in NY to a gentle, toddler-friendly spot in PA, these water parks in NYC and nearby are the best for a family day trip or weekend getaway. Get ready to make a splash and create fun summer memories!

Water parks near NYC

  • Attractions

Kartrite is New York state's largest indoor water park. Check out the Jiggerty-Jaggerty, a 42-foot-long slide, fun puddle ducks, the lazy river and so much more. Families will love the fun happenings taking place at the resort (Bingo for kids, crafts, an egg hunt during Easter). Moms and dads who need a quick breather will be pleased to know an onsite spa offers facials, massages and even beauty treatments for kids.

Travel time: 3 hours by car from NYC

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. 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. 


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.

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. 


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, the dark descent that is “Alien Invasion,” eight-story drops 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 park.

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. 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.


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. 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.

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.


9. DreamWorks at American Dream

From the world's biggest wave pool to its high-speed body spiral slide, Mad Flush, the DreamWorks Water Park will thrill and refresh you. Set at a balmy 81 degrees, the water park is an oasis in itself with cabanas you can rent a lazy river you can relax in and more. Bring a change of clothes if you plan on going to Big Snow or the Dreamworks Water Park. There are lockers available at both experiences.

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