The Best Water Parks In The New York City Area
Guide to all indoor and outdoor waterparks in the Tri-state area
Nine notable water parks are located within driving distance from the major North East metropolitan cities, including New York City and Philadelphia. Quality and age of these water parks can greatly affect the park’s “fun factor”, as older designs can lack proper organizational systems or exciting features and slides. Indoor water parks are unique because they are open year-round, but they offer smaller features than the outdoor water parks offer. Outdoor water parks have more rides and are also much larger than their indoor counterparts, but are only usually open in the summer-time.
One new feature that is a game changer at local water parks is the Flowrider or Surfrider machine, that can be either outside or inside and has become a major attraction at water parks. Popularized on cruise ships and now appearing at many water parks, the surf machines create a standing wave that allows the rider to stand on a very short board and ride the surf wave, until they fall. It’s only one person at a time, but the falls are often spectacular and the attraction is a crowd pleaser.
Indoor Water Parks
DreamWorks Water Park at American Dream
1 American Dream Way
East Rutherford, NJ 07073
Tel: (201) 340-2900
DreamWorks Water Park is the tri-state area’s newest water park. This park is now the largest indoor water park in the United States, it opened in late 2019, as a part of the massive 3 million square foot retail and entertainment complex, named ‘American Dream’ in East Rutherford, NJ. DreamWorks (the movie production company) was not originally part of the water park plan, but they came on board and sponsored the park with a massive investment and now own the rights to the water park. The mall’s developers also changed the mall name from ‘Xanadu’ to ‘American Dream’ at the same time. This water park is located inside of the mall’s main complex and has enclosed water slides that exit the building and momentarily fly over the NJ Turnpike. The water park also features over 40 different water slides and 15 other water-based attractions, which include; a large wave pool for families to enjoy, ‘Shrek’s Swamp’ and the ‘Kung Fu Panda Zone for kids’. The water park is open seven days a week and customers are allowed to buy tickets for park entry on the same day. There are no discount offers available for this water park.
Aquatopia at Camelback
193 Resort Dr
Tannersville, PA 18372
Tel: (570) 629-1665
Ranked No.1 indoor water park by USA Today, Aquatopia is one of Camelback Resort’s best features. This indoor water park covers 125,000 square feet and has a tall transparent glass ceiling, which allows for natural sunlight to shine over the entire water park. The building design can make it feel like a nice summer day at the water park, even during a cold, bleak winter’s day. There are 25 water-based attractions and 10 of them are of the extreme-styled water slide variety. ‘Paradise Plunge’ and ‘Skydive Plummet’ are two of the parks scariest water slides, where the rider stands nervously, in the “loading station” and the floor suddenly opens and ejects them into a vertical 216 foot long, speedy water slide. This park has the ‘Bombora Flowrider’, which is often besieged by riders. Adult guests can order a beach-fashioned cocktail from the swim-up bar at one of the lodge’s side swimming pools.The park is open seven days a week. Discounts are available up to 25% off for all guests who book their park tickets in advance.
Great Wolf Lodge
1 Great Wolf Dr
Scotrun, PA 18355
Tel: (800) 768-9653
Great Wolf Lodge is a U.S. based chain resort that is designed for multiple night family stay getaways. The resort offers large suites, outdoor and indoor activities, various dining and shopping options and its main feature is the 79,000 square foot indoor water park. This indoor water park is kid friendly and is kept at a toasty 84° F all year-round. The water park offers 18 different water features, which include; the ‘River Canyon Run’ and ‘The Double-Barrel Drop’, which is a twisty four person tube ride with flashing LED lights inside. The slide goes outside of the building, and then back indoors to the slides end. This location does not have a Flowrider surf machine as the focus of the venue is more child friendly. The Great Wolf Lodge water park is open every day of the year except for certain holidays. Discount passes offered to corporate employees are limited, because the park is in line with the Great Wolf model that is more of a resort-styled stay and not typically for single day visits. Great Wolf Lodge offers special deals during the off-peak season. Their “Early Saver Deal” is the best discount they offer. Discounts for this deal can be up to 50% off the standard room rate and are for customers who book their stay over 60 days in advance.
250 Kalahari Blvd
Pocono Manor, PA 18349
Tel: (608) 254-5425
Kalahari Resort has the second largest indoor water park in the United States, second only to Dreamworks Water Park at American Dream. The park covers a massive 220,000 square feet and offers over 32 different water features. The resort is styled like the African sandy savanna, much like the Kalahari Desert. The park is decorated with foreign plants, African styled motifs and many faux African animals. Not only is Kalahari one of the biggest indoor water parks in the world, it is also one of the most technologically-innovative. The park offers a one-of-a-kind full-body immersed, “Underwater Virtual Reality Experience”, with a choice of Earth’s oceans or outer space for guests to explore. To achieve this they use a waterproof VR headset to cover the user’s eyes and a snorkel is given to those who want to put their heads under the water. The park also offers an indoor and outdoor spa as well as many traditional fast and speedy water slides, like; ‘The Barrelling Baboon’ and the totally pitch-black ‘Anaconda’ water slide. The park also offers a full-sized FlowRider for guests. Kalahari makes all surf guests sign a safety waiver and attend a morning orientation to be allowed to ride on it. This is for safety reasons and to keep the lines to a minimum. Kalahari rarely offers discounts for their water park, but customers can usually get up to 15% off their stays when booking their hotel stay in advance. Day passes are usually not discounted.
555 Resorts World Dr
Monticello, NY 12701
Tel: (845) 397-2500
Located in the southeastern part of New York State, in the Catskill Mountains, is The Kartrite Resort and indoor waterpark. The Kartrite has a goal of “fusing the style of Manhattan with the rustic charm of the Catskill Mountains”. The waterpark itself is the largest in New York at 80,000 square feet and offers a total of 11 water-based attractions. The waterpark is intended for families and kids, as all of their bigger rides have height minimums of 48” tall (4 feet), this is lower than other water parks who typically have height minimums of 52” or 54” for their bigger rides. The average person reaches 48” tall between six and nine years of age. The waterpark features rides like; ‘Time Warp’ and ‘The Krakken’, which is a slick two-person tube water-slide that drops almost 30 feet and cuts around many sharp turns. Inside the park there are Jugglers on stilts who wander around the park and interact with excited guests and kids, and a cupcake shop that offers many sweet treats for purchase. In the resort there are also a number of different family-style restaurants, like the appropriately named lunch and dinner buffet, ‘Eat. Eat. Eat.’. The park also offers a 12 foot ‘Flowrider’ where the “stand-up riders” are only allowed to ride during the early mornings, the rest of the time is dedicated to the rather pedestrian ‘boogie boarders’. The Kartrite does not offer a Corporate discount, but for guests booking three or more days in advance they offer deals of up to 50% off of their resort stay or their waterpark day passes.
Outdoor Water Parks
Mountain Creek Water Park (Formerly Action Park)
200 Route 94
Vernon, NJ 07462
Tel: (973) 827-2000
Mountain Creek Water Park offers over 22 different water-based attractions in an outdoor setting that covers over 25 acres. The water park was purchased by the nearby ski-resort, of the same name and re-opened in 1998. It is located at the original site of Action Park, which was one of the first outdoor water parks in the U.S. Action Park was open from 1978 and was closed in 1996, due to its infamous safety record, which includes a handful of deaths and financial troubles. Mountain Creek has inherited some of the bloodline from the original Action Park and still has some of the most extreme water features, albeit tamed down. For instance, ‘H2 OhNo’, is a water slide that is known for its near vertical plummet of 99 feet and ‘Canyon Cliff Jump’, which like the name says, is a 23 foot tall cliff jump that brave individuals can jump from and fall into a deep, refreshing (but very cold) mountain spring. The water park also has a large wave-pool with 450,000 gallons of water and creates 4-foot tall waves that have been known to overcome swimmers. In some irony, this park does not have a surf machine, due to the very high insurance rates. Discounts for this park vary from 10% - 30% of daily tickets. Better deals are available for advanced bookings and for large groups.
Hurricane Harbor at Six Flags
1 Six Flags Blvd
Jackson Township, NJ 08527
Tel: (732) 928-2000
Hurricane Harbor, is an outdoor water park owned by the Six Flags theme park company, who owns and operates their chain of amusement parks located throughout the U.S. Hurricane Harbor is gated and located across from Six Flags Great Adventure. The park charges a separate entry fee to gain access to it. The water park has 12 water rides that range from “mild” to “extreme”. On the mild side end of the scale there is ‘Taak It Eez Ee Creek’, which is a 2,150 foot long lazy river that goes all the way around the main part of the park. On the extreme side, there is a set of three slides; ‘Cannonball’, ‘Wahini’ and ‘Jurahnimo Falls’, each a speedy water slide. Two of the slides are for people to race on and one is just for speed, people can reach up to 40 mph. Buying a Six Flags membership can come with a great discount. When purchased during the “off-season”, membership can come with free admission to all 26 Six Flags theme parks and be as cheap as 6.99 a month. Members can save up to 50% off almost everything inside the park. Standard corporate discounts are available for 15% - 30% off of the usual day ticket prices.
Camelbeach Mountain Water Park at Camelback
309 Resort Dr
Tannersville, PA 18372
Tel: (570) 629-1662
Camelbeach is a 30+ acre outdoor water park and is part of the Camelback Resort family. Camelback Resorts own and operate this outdoor water park as well as their indoor water park Aquatopia. They also own the Ski mountain CamelBack, which only operates during the winter months. The water park is located at the base of the ski mountain and offers water-park-goers free rides up and down the mountain one of the ski lifts. Camelbeach opened in 1998 and features over 35 water slides and many other water based attractions, which include; ‘The Vortex’, a body slide with a 5 foot drop at the end and ‘Bumper Boats’. This water park also has a full sized ‘FlowRider’ surf machine that the park allows customers to use. Seasoned riders can also pay extra to skip its long line. Discounts for this park vary from 10% - 30% off. Better deals are available for advanced bookings and for large groups.
HersheyPark Water Park
100 Hersheypark Dr
Hershey, PA 17033
Tel: (800) 437-7439
This outdoor water park is an 11-acre candy themed water park, located inside of the HersheyPark amusement park in Hershey, PA. The water park is decorated with large candy ornaments throughout and they use their candy and chocolate brand names to rank how scary the rides are. The ticket types continue with the theme and use Hershey Bites, Hershey Kisses, and King Size Bar as their descriptors. During the summer months, HersheyPark “All access” day-pass-buyers are welcome to go to the water park with no additional fee. Inside the water park there is a total of 17 water attractions which include 12 water slides. The water slides consist of slides like, ‘The Coastline Plunge - Vortex’, ‘Breakers Edge Water Coaster’ and ‘Tidal Force’, which is a speedy water coaster ride that reaches over 50 mph before crashing into a small pond and splashing everything and everyone around it. The park also has a “two person, family sized” ‘Waverider’ for guests to test out their surfing and bodyboarding skills. There are no discount tickets and no corporate employee discount offers.
Wildwater Kingdom at Dorney Park
3830 Dorney Park Rd
Allentown, PA 18104
Tel: (610) 395-3724
This outdoor waterpark is part of the main part of the Dorney Park theme park. The water park has a total of 18 attractions which includes 10 water slides. The featured attractions consist of a 560,000-gallon wave pool, The Kids Cove which is children’s participation area, Wildwater and Runaway River which are slow moving river tube rides and many water slides. The water slides and speed slides range in size from, ‘Jumpin Jack Splash’ which is 25 feet-tall to ‘The Lightning Falls’ which is 70-feet tall. Their water park season generally runs from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. General admission grants access to both the waterpark and the theme park. Water park is open daily as weather permits and often closes three hours before the theme park leaving people time to visit both the waterpark and theme park all on the same day. Discount tickets for the waterpark are usually given to corporate employees as a work benefit and range from 20%-35% off of the park’s standard ticket price.