New Jersey has 44 beaches across roughly 130 miles of shoreline, giving residents and visitors plenty of opportunities to find relief from the summer heat. But if you want to add thrilling water slides, impressive wave pools, relaxing lazy rivers and other attractions into the mix, the Garden State has plenty of water parks to satisfy your desires. In fact, many of the state’s water parks can be found along the Jersey Shore. While some are only open seasonally, others, including North America’s largest indoor water park at the American Dream mall, can be enjoyed year-round. Whether you’re looking for a place to cool off during the summer or escape New Jersey’s bitter winter, here are some of the best water parks in the state.
DreamWorks Water Park: East Rutherford
(Courtesy of American Dream)
Located in the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, DreamWorks Water Park holds a lot of records. Not only is it the largest indoor water park in North America, but the park also says it has the world’s largest indoor wave pool, the world’s tallest indoor trapdoor water slide (14 stories), the world’s largest indoor tipping bucket, the world’s largest hydromagnetic rocket coaster, the longest indoor lazy river and the overall largest selection of water rides worldwide. While visitors note that admission is a bit pricey – tickets can cost $89 during peak season – many enjoyed the wide variety of attractions. Whether you want thrills or relaxation, there are options – many of which are themed after DreamWorks movies, including “Shrek,” “Trolls,” “Madagascar” and more – for the whole family. The indoor park, which is set to 81 degrees Fahrenheit all year round, also rents out private skybox suites, which include a flatscreen TV, comfortable seating, complimentary beverages, access to a VIP hot tub and more, as well as poolside cabanas for visitors who want a more private experience.
The Water Main at Diggerland: West Berlin
(Dennis Nierzwicki/Courtesy of Diggerland USA)
Diggerland USA in West Berlin is the only construction-themed amusement park in the U.S. and features a water park called the Water Main. The park features a slide tower, a swim vortex, a themed splash play area and various leisure swim zones. If you want a little more action, you can try out the challenge course or play some in-pool basketball. The park also plans to add a wave pool in 2022. Many visitors specifically mentioned that the park is great for small children. If you want to be able to relax in the shade away from the crowd, you can rent a cabana for up to five people. Each one comes with a set of lounge and deck chairs, a refrigerator with four complimentary water bottles, a ceiling fan and a power outlet. The outdoor water park is closed during the fall and winter. Admission is included with your Diggerland day pass.
Mountain Creek Waterpark: Vernon
(Courtesy of Mountain Creek Waterpark)
Located at Mountain Creek Resort in Vernon Township, Mountain Creek Waterpark offers 16 slides, rides and other attractions, all of which are set on a mountainside, giving it a more natural feel. The outdoor water park features a white water raft ride, a wave pool, cliff jumping, near-vertical body slides, a lazy river, a splash pad and more. Many visitors note the mountain setting is a highlight but recommend bringing foot protection for the rough pavement. Additionally, several say that day-of fees add up quickly (think: snacks, lockers and parking). If you want a little extra privacy to relax, you can rent a cabana just off the wave pool for up to eight people. Each one includes a locker, refrigerator, bottles of water and fresh fruit. You can also order additional food through a cabana server. The outdoor water park is only open during the warm months.
Runaway Rapids: Keansburg
Part of the Keansburg Amusement Park, Runaway Rapids features two dozen attractions. Swimmers of all ages can enjoy various water slides, a lazy river, a tipping bucket and more. If you want some time to relax, you can enjoy the heated spa pool at Lost Lagoon or the warming pool in Comfort Cove. There are also several attractions for smaller children, including short slides, an interactive playground and a splash pool. Past visitors say the water park is a great place to take the family for a break from the amusement park. Note, however, that admission to the water park is separate from the amusement park. Also, Runaway Rapids is only open from late May through early September.
Splash Zone Waterpark: Wildwood
(Courtesy of Spash Zone Waterpark)
This Jersey Shore water park is one of the handful of water parks located on the Wildwood boardwalk. Splash Zone Waterpark has several attractions, including tube slides, high-velocity slides, a water bucket, a lazy river, whitewater rapids and FlowRider, a surfing attraction. If you’re going with children, they can play at Hurricane Island, a large play structure that features bridges, climbing nets, slides, geysers fountains and more. There’s also an interactive playground, short slides and a splash pad for small children. If you need some down time, you can rent a cabana for anywhere between two and eight people. Cabana rentals include reserved parking, and each one comes with Wi-Fi, a fan, a charging station, a dining bar and chairs. Visitors note that the park isn’t huge, but there’s still plenty to do for everyone. The outdoor park is only open during the warmer months.
Land of Make Believe: Hope
The Land of Make Believe, an amusement park located in Hope, has an on-site, pirate-themed water park. Some visitors have called the water park the highlight, with attractions for all ages. You can walk the plank with the Pirate’s Plunge, get drenched with a 1,000-gallon dumping bucket at Blackbeard’s Pirate Fort or race a friend with the Pirate’s Escape and Pirate’s Revenge dual water slides. The park also features a massive wading pool, complete with a pirate ship and other activities for little ones. Admission to the water park is included with admission to the amusement park, but Land of Make Believe is only open on weekends from Memorial Day through the third week of June, then daily until Labor Day and the weekend after that.
Breakwater Beach Waterpark at Casino Pier: Seaside Heights
(Courtesy of Casino Pier & Breakwater Beach)
Situated on a pier in Seaside Heights, Breakwater Beach features more than a dozen attractions. Grab a mat and race your friends and other guests at the Patriot’s Plunge, enjoy high-speed twists and turns on Revere’s Wild Ride or take a ride on a tube with a friend on Minuteman Express. The park also has a lazy river, a wave pool, a set of hot tubs neighboring a bar, a 50-foot vertical slide with a trap door and more. If you’re bringing young children with you to the park, they can enjoy the kiddie slides at Lighthouse Cove or play at the multilevel playground, which features the 800-gallon Nantucket Bucket. Many past visitors have noted that the park is clean and a great place for all ages. For a more private experience, you may consider renting a cabana, which comes with lounge chairs, a locker and wait service. Admission to the water park, which is only open during the summer months, is separate from the Casino Pier amusement park, which has you purchase credits for rides and attractions instead of charging once for a day pass.
Crystal Springs Family Waterpark: East Brunswick
(Courtesy of Crystal Springs Family Waterpark)
Crystal Springs Family Waterpark is the first municipal water park in New Jersey. Located in East Brunswick, the park features many attractions, including water slides; separate pools for activities, children, families, recreation and lap swimming; a lazy river and a spray park. Many visitors have noted that the park is clean and the concessions are of good quality. There’s also free access to life jackets on a first-come, first-served basis. However, you’ll need to pay a fee to enter the park; residents of East Brunswick get discounted entry. The outdoor water park is only open during the summer and is alcohol free.
Clementon Park & Splash World: Clementon
Part of the Clementon amusement park, Splash World has eight attractions, including thrill rides as well as options for families and children. The Torpedo Rush dual slide stands 60 feet tall with a trap door for a quick free-fall experience. You can also race your friends and other visitors on the Vertical Limit slide. Other attractions include a double-headed tube slide, a 23,000-square-foot wave pool, a lazy river and river rapids slide. For younger visitors, the Polynesian-themed Laguna Kahuna covers more than 13,000 square feet and includes slides, play platforms, wheels, waterfalls, bubbles, streams and a 422-gallon water bucket. Kids will also enjoy the wading pool and pirate ship at Shipwreck Bay. Many previous visitors like the fact that admission to the water park is paired with admission to the theme park, and you can easily spend an entire day between the two. However, others noted that the park can be overcrowded at times, which can affect cleanliness.
Sahara Sam’s: West Berlin
(Courtesy of Boomers Parks)
Located in West Berlin, Sahara Sam’s features one of the few full-fledged indoor water parks in New Jersey, along with an outdoor park for use during the summer months. The indoor park has a dozen notable attractions. You can race a friend with the dual mat-racing tube slides, relax in the leisure pool, enjoy the lazy river or test out your surfing skills. Other attractions include a playground, complete with a water bucket, tube slides, an obstacle course, a set of basketball hoops, a wading pool and more. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, you can step outside and relax by the leisure pool with a drink from the bar, ride the waves in the wave pool, do some lap swimming and let your kids play in the wading pool and playground. Visitor reviews are a bit mixed, with some saying that the staff was incredibly helpful and others mentioning a relatively strong chlorine smell in the indoor section of the park. You can also rent one of the outdoor cabanas, which comes with two deck chairs, two lounge chairs, a table and four complimentary bottles of water.
Tomahawk Lake Water Park: Sparta
This waterpark is located on Tomahawk Lake in Sparta, mixing traditional water park attractions and lake activities. The park features seven water slides, including ones that end in a swimming pool and others that end in the lake. There’s also a flume raft ride that doesn’t require any swimming. On the lake, you can rent rowboats, paddleboats, bumper boats, kiddie boats, canoes and more. There are even boats shaped like swans, ducks, blue herons and turtles. Just keep in mind that boat rentals aren’t included in the admission price, though they’re relatively inexpensive. If you want some dry activities, you can also check out the park’s mini-golf course, horseshoe pit, sand volleyball court and other attractions. The outdoor water park is only open Memorial Day through Labor Day. Visitors say that the park is overpriced for what you get and lament overcrowding. Others applaud the large open spaces to relax, both in the sun and the shade, and note there are plenty of activities to go around.
Raging Waters Water Park: Wildwood
(Kip Dawkins/Courtesy of Morey’s Piers and Water Parks)
One of the two water parks at Morey’s Piers on the Wildwood boardwalk, Raging Waters has plenty of attractions. You can slide on your own or race a friend on the park’s 40-foot speed slides, grab a tube and ride the Rocket Raft Run, slide off a six-foot drop into a pool at Shotgun Falls or take your time sliding through four elevated pools on a tube on the Sky Pond Journey. The park is also home to a lazy river (complete with geysers, waterfalls, a grotto and rock faces), a fountain pool, a massive activity pool, a rope swing and a pirate ship playground. Past visitors have mentioned that the park has great options for small children, and the food is of good quality. Guests can rent a private cabana, which gives you the chance to relax in the shade with food and beverage service – though the cost of the food and drinks is additional. The park is only open during the summer months. The cost of admission includes access to both of Morey’s Piers Water Parks: Raging Waters and Ocean Oasis.
Ocean Oasis Water Park & Beach Club: Wildwood
(Kip Dawkins/Courtesy of Morey’s Piers and Water Parks)
The second water park at Morey’s Piers, Ocean Oasis Water Park and Beach Club offers some of the same attractions as Raging Waters, such as the Rocket Raft Run, Shotgun Falls and a lazy river. But there are other options that may make the park a better fit, depending on the type of experience you want. For example, you can drop five stories in three seconds with the Cliff Dive water slide, or you can race against family and friends on the six-lane Wipeout! slide. Families can take their kids to the wading pool or Bonsai Beach, a playground that features water jets, climbing ropes, slides and more. If you want a kid-free experience, you can hit up Hot Springs Spa and grab a drink at the Water Lilies Swim Up Bar. Cabanas are available if you want private seating, shade and food and beverage service. According to past visitors, the park, which is closed during the colder months, is a great alternative to the beach for people of all ages.
OC Waterpark: Ocean City
(Courtesy of OC Waterpark)
Located in Ocean City, OC Waterpark offers a handful of attractions for kids and adults alike. Older guests can enjoy the twists and turns of the Serpentine Body Slide or slide off a short drop-off with the Splashdown slide. Other attractions that can work for all ages include a lazy river and the Sky Pond Journey, which ends in a pond that hovers above the lazy river. Kids can also get their fill with Lil Buc’s Bay, which includes a pirate ship playground. Past visitors note that the park is designed best for families with children, with fewer options for adults on their own. The park is only open during the warmer months, typically late June through Labor Day.
Thundering Surf Waterpark: Beach Haven
(Courtesy of Thundering Surf Waterpark)
This Beach Haven water park features six different serpentine slides, with single and double tubes and options for both kids and adults. The Lazy, Crazy River alternates between a relaxing float and lively ride featuring a two-foot wave every 60 seconds. You can race friends and family members at Rainbow Rapids, which has four mat-racing lanes, and you can practice your bodyboarding at the Flow Rider Double. Kids will enjoy the Cowabunga Kids area, which is just a foot deep and features several different slides, tipping buckets and a water pump. There’s even a separate area for toddlers with foam slides, a bouncer umbrella and floor jets. Past visitors have said that the park is well worth the admission cost and exceeds expectations. You can rent a cabana for up to eight people for a three-hour stretch or the full day. Cabanas come with lounge chairs, deck chairs, tables, a locker, complimentary water bottles and waitress service. The outdoor park is only open during the warmer months.
Six Flags Hurricane Harbor: Jackson
Located in Jackson Township, Hurricane Harbor features a dozen rides for both adults and children. There’s a three-slide complex that lets you choose which pace you want, another slide with a 76-foot near-vertical drop, various tube slides, a funnel slide and more. If you want a more relaxing experience, you can check out the lazy river or hang out in the activity pool. Families with children can spend time at the Caribbean Cove water play area or the Discovery Bay wading pool. Previous guests have noted that the park can get crowded, but the lines move fairly quickly. Hurricane Harbor is closed during the colder months.