Take The Plunge at Indoor Water Parks and Pools
It's the perfect time to plan an extra-fun family outing. Take a trip to an inside water park or indoor pool! Here are lots of places to slide and swim—all while still staying warm and cozy indoors.
Indoor Water Parks
This huge, state-of-the-art water park and hotel complex is the new and epic. Look for attractions like the Venus SlydeTrap—a raft experience that includes an enclosed dark flume and big, scream-guaranteed drops—plus the 756-foot-long Storm Chaser—the longest uphill indoor watercoaster in the U.S. There’s also a big wave pool, an “adventure” river and the Bombora FlowRider—a surfing and boogie boarding ride. Newbie swimmers can splash under interactive geysers, sprinklers and in a zero-depth pool play zone, while big-kids can ride daredevil-friendly attractions like Paradise Plunge and SkyDive Plummet, which both feature 60-foot free-fall body slides and trap doors that open suddenly underneath you.
Beyond the water park: Make sure you allow time to take advantage of the entire resort including spas with treatments for both adults and kids, a swim up pool bar, mini golf, rock climbing and laser tag. In the summer months, check out the outdoor ropes course (they’ve got a mini one for kids and a seriously challenging one for adults).
Cost: Prices start at $229/night (including hotel stay). Day passes are available for resort guests (depending on availability) and start at $30.
West Berlin, NJ
It doesn’t matter if the surf’s up or not—with Sahara Sam’s indoor surf simulator, you can catch a wave any time of the year (it’s a little tricky to learn, but after a couple tries, you’ll feel like a pro). Indoor and outdoor options mean you can play inside on the slides and in the lazy river when the weather isn’t cooperating and then when it’s warm, head outdoors to the Beach Club (opens Memorial Day) for a private cabana, outdoor tiki bar and wave pool. Inside, the Tim-Buk-Tu adventure water playland looks like a rainforest village and includes a giant bucket that empties its contents on unsuspecting passersby. The preschool set will have a blast on Lizard Lagoon’s mini slides and baby bungees. Older kids will love the big family raft slides and the Nile Mile body slide—designed for speed (and thrills)! There’s no hotel attached here, so this park makes a better day trip than a weekend getaway—If you just want to bring the kids for a quick dip in the pool after school, they offer Twilight passes from 3:30 pm to closing ($24.95).
Beyond the water park: Sahara Sam’s makes a fun birthday party venue, with glow-in-the-dark cosmic themes and water park adventures. And it’s close to Diggerland’s construction-themed amusement park too, if you wanted to have a two-in-one park day.
Cost: Prices start at $29.95 for a full day pass. Unlimited season passes are also available.
Mt. Laurel, NJ
You can lounge in the lazy river, play around on the cargo net climbs or shoot some watery hoops at this tropical island themed park—perfect for a one-day visit. Littlest park goers will love hanging out in the Dip-In area, where wading pool depths top out at a foot. If you’re nervous about jumping in, head to the zero-depth entry pool, reachable via Parrot’s Perch, and wade in at your own pace. Coco Key is a manageable water park—good for those who haven’t graduated to the bigger thrill slides yet. (Though there are a few big-kid options, like the four-stories-high Shark Slam pictured.) This place can easily be tackled in a few hours and is a great way to spend a wet and wild afternoon.
Beyond the water park: Staying overnight? Check the activity schedule for concerts, magic shows and dance parties. And if you can swing it, there’s an adults-only spa for a little bit of R&R. It’s also very close to Philadelphia, so it makes an excellent add-on when you’re headed there.
Cost: Prices start at $27.99 for day trips, unlimited visit season passes are $99. Guests under 24 months (and over 65) are free. If you stay at the attached hotel, passes are included.
Great Wolf is a vacation destination in its own right—a fun “great-outdoors” themed resort, which also happens to also have one of the best water parks around. The Double Barrel Drop is our dizzying favorite (you enter into a big vortex-spinning and making sharp turns before you twist around a funnel and drop into the pool), but we also love their Hydro Plunge watercoaster—it’s super fast and has great bumps. There is a huge splash area here for the little guys with several slide options, and there’s also a lazy river, an indoor wave pool and a hot spring for kids.
Beyond the water park: Don’t leave without playing Magiquest—a fun wand-based adventure that’s like a role-playing video game come to life. (It takes advantage of all the hallways in the hotel, which is fun.) There’s also a super cute spa for kids, an arcade, nightly story times, a motion thrill ride called the Howly Wood XD Theater, an outdoor obstacle-filled ropes course, a glow-in-the-dark mini golf course and a kid-sized bowling alley, featuring shortened lanes and little balls.
Cost: Prices start at $239/night, and stays include water park admission.
If you love the idea of an indoor water park, but don’t want to spend a whole weekend by the pool, this place offers a mind-boggling number of activities in addition to its water park—at an all-inclusive price that makes it easy to say “yes” to all the options. Perfect for a long weekend or school break, Rocking Horse features The Gold Rush, a 250-foot-flume ride, a pool, a cargo net challenge, a giant dumping bucket and some smaller slides that will appeal to the preschoolers in your party. There is relaxation space for the adults (a nice bonus while the kids are off at an on-site day camp) and year-round 85-degree pool water, perfect for a cool day.
Beyond the water park: This is a true ranch, complete with horseback riding (they teach the kids) and full day activity camps. There’s also an arcade, scavenger hunts, archery, skiing (snow or water), snow tubing, ice skating, basketball, bocce, horseshoes, nature trails, activities, playgrounds and bonfires. Did we mention it was all-inclusive?
Cost: Prices start at $179/adult per night.
This brand-spanking new hotel is a gigantic Africa-themed water park (over 100,000 square feet) and the latest player in the Pocono water park scene. Look for an uphill water coaster, a lazy river with waterfalls, free fall water drops, and plenty of resort amenities to keep everyone happy even if they never touch toe in the water. Plus, there's a retractable roof which can open to let the sunshine in on warm days and keep the cool temps out during the winter. And that's only Phase 1, they are currently at work on Phase 2, which promises at 200,00 square foot indoor water park for more splashing, thrilling fun.
Beyond the water park: Get a little pampered at the spa and salon, or let the kids run wild in the arcade or by playing blacklight mini-golf.
Opening date: Rooms start at $299 per night.
Visit Hamburg, NJ to experience their Biosphere Pool Complex, an indoor tropical pool paradise that looks pretty spectacular. Features include a large water slide and a grotto-themed jacuzzi. Hotel stay is required, and packages available include the Ski and Stay, which features nearby skiing at Mountain Creek.
Down the shore in North Wildwood, this hotel has a small indoor water park, which includes a pool, water slide, children's play area, and jacuzzi. Hotel stay is required to use the indoor water park, with family rates starting at $132. Please note: many weekends require a two-night stay.
Located in Lake Harmony, PA this resort features the H2Oooohh! Indoor Water park. There are water play options for all ages, including an indoor Flow Rider, slides that drop four stories, hot tubs, and a play area for little ones. Online tickets for the water park range from $14.91 to $37.00; children under 2 are free. The water park is open to the public; overnight accommodations are not required. And, be sure to bring a towel.
Indoor Swimming Pools
Plan a fantastic weekend family getaway to one of these New Jersey hotels, all which have an indoor pool and other amenities - like room service and housekeeping so mom and dad can take a break!
This Florham Park, NJ hotel has an indoor pool and hot tub: overnight packages start at $209.
Situated on more than 21 landscaped acres, the hotel has a large heated indoor pool and whirlpool spa, as well as kid-friendly amenities like video rental and a playground. Room rates start at $126 and special offers are available.
In addition to the indoor pool and whirlpool, there is also a sauna and solarium. When the outdoor pool is open, guests can take advantage of the indoor/outdoor connecting pool. Room rates start at $116 with special offers available.
Family-friendly and pet-friendly, this hotel has an indoor pool and whirlpool. Rates start at $109 and there are special offers as well.
Guests will find a heated indoor pool and a jacuzzi, as well as special rates and offers for families and NJ residents.
Located in Morristown, this hotel has specials and packages for overnight stays, as well as a lovely indoor pool within a glass enclosure.
For even more places to go swimming in the winter, check out your local community centers and YMCAs, many which have options for day or session passes.
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