Chill out at 13 water parks that are worth the drive
As waterparks pop up across the country, concern is growing about the risks even when most of the water is shallower than 3 feet. The American Red Cross, a leading trainer of lifeguards, has added training for extreme shallow water rescues. (Aug. 26)
Bored of sitting on the beach or by the pool? Or maybe you have kids who are in need of a little more excitement? Whatever the reason, water parks are a great alternative to beaches and pools all summer long.
With something for every member of the family, water parks offer high-speed thrills as well as down-time chills.
Breakwater Beach, Seaside Heights, NJ
There's a slide, called "Salem's Scream... Oh my cod!," that plummets guests 50 feet after dropping them from a platform, two slides, named "Two If By Sea" which feature a funnel in one and twists and turns on the other as well as "Pirates Plunge," a set of six racing slides guests can compete against each other on.
Go: 800 Ocean Terrace, Seaside Heights, New Jersey. Prices: $29.95 for people 48 inches and over, $25.95 for people 48 inches and lower, $19.95 for seniors and $24.95 for spectators. Go: casinopiernj.com.
Clementon Park & Splash World, Clementon, NJ
Chill out in summer's hottest moments at this historic amusement park. Splash World features three water thrill rides and three tamer family water attractions. Don't miss Laguna Kahuna, a Polynesian-themed attraction that includes eight slides, 10 play platforms "and more than 125 sprays, jets, bubbles, streams, squirts, wheels and waterfalls.'' The Big Kahuna sits atop a 50-foot tall tower with a giant water bucket that periodically dumps more than 422 gallons of water on the unsuspecting guests. Children under 6 years of age must have adult supervision. Most rides have height restrictions, ranging from 36 to 48 inches in the water park.
Go: 144 Berlin Road, Clementon, New Jersey. Tickets range from $19.99 to $44.99. clementonpark.com
Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, Allentown, Pa.
Why you should visit: Perfect for both roller coaster lovers and splash-seekers, this is two parks in one for the same admission price. One of the oldest parks in the country, dating back to the 1800s, you'll find seven roller coasters along with an array of rides with even more scares, such as Demon Drop which lets you free-fall for 10 stories. Whitewater Kingdom has plenty of slides, along with semi-private cabanas if you want to go all out.
Go: 4000 Dorney Park Road, Allentown, Pennsylvania. Tickets start at $42. dorneypark.com
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Great Wolf Lodge, Scotrun, Pa.
Perfect for those rainy days, Great Wolf Lodge has an indoor water park that keeps the water at a comfortable 84 degrees.
There are challenges like the Big Foot Pass, where you can test your balance on floating lily pads, and family rides like River Canyon Run, a twisty water slide featuring rafts the whole family can fit on.
If you choose to stay at the Great Wolf Lodge, passes to the water park are included.
Go: 1 Great Wolf Drive, Scotrun, Pennsylvania. Price: $100 per person (for a day pass). greatwolf.com/poconos.
Lacey Inflatable Water Park, Lacey, NJ
Move over typical water parks, there's a new park in town.
Opened on June 29, the Lacey Inflatable Water Park allows guests to explore the inflatable park which is anchored near the shore of Barnegat Lake. The inflatable park has monkey bars, balance beams, a half pipe slide and more fun for everyone 8 years old and older.
The water park is about 80 feet-by-40 feet and can be rented out for parties.
Go: Lake Barnegat, Lacey Township, New Jersey. Price: $15 per hour for nonresidents. Read more about the water park here.
Lake Compounce's Crocodile Cove, Bristol, Conn.
Lake Compounce is known for its Boulder Dash roller coaster, which weaves in and out of the forest around the amusement park. But did you know they have a water park?
It's called Crocodile Cove and it's small but mighty. With a beach on the lake, the Croc-O-Nile lazy river, Riptide Racer and more, Crocodile Cove is geared toward families with younger children who are at least 42 inches tall.
Go: 822 Lake Ave., Bristol, Connecticut. 860-583-3300. Price: $46.99 for regular admission; $36.99 for junior admission (anyone under 52-inches tall). lakecompounce.com.
Mountain Creek Water Park, Vernon, NJ
Water slides that weave through trees, an 18-foot free-fall off a slide and a 99-foot plummet on a body slide? Daredevils, get ready.
Mountain Creek Water Park has a lot of thrills guests should be ready for. Height requirements are typically 48 inches and above, with the occasional 42-inch and 54-inch height requirements.
Go: 200 Route 94, Vernon, New Jersey. Price: $39.99 for people over 48-inches tall; $29.99 for people under 48-inches tall; kids ages 2 and under are free. mcwaterpark.com.
OC Waterpark, Ocean City, NJ
A couple of water slides including the "Serpentine Body Slides" and the "Splashdown" where guests take a steep slide down only to be dropped a few feet in the air and take a splash into the pool below.
Go: 728 Boardwalk, Ocean City, New Jersey. Ticket prices vary based on height and length of session. ocwaterpark.com.
10Best.com voters gush about their favorite waterpark destinations.
Ocean Oasis Water Park & Raging Waters Water Park, Wildwood, NJ
Just a 9-minute walk from each other on Wildwood's boardwalk, Ocean Oasis and Raging Waters feature water slides fit for the whole family. There are also relaxing rivers that wind through the parks.
Go: Ocean Oasis Water Park & Beach Club: 2501 Boardwalk, Wildwood, New Jersey. Raging Waters Water Park: 3501 Boardwalk, Wildwood, New Jersey. moreyspiers.com/water-parks.
Sesame Place, Langhorn, Pa.
You can splash around at a lot of water parks, but not with your favorite Muppets. This theme park is the only one in the United States based entirely on the PBS series "Sesame Street," has the kid-centric vibe you'd expect. A variety of family-friendly water rides provides more all-ages fun. Note: Sesame Place was the first theme park in the world to earn the designation of Certified Autism Center by the International Board of Credentialing and Continued Education Standards.
Go: 100 Sesame Road, Langhorne, Pennsylvania. Tickets start at $49.99. Check website for details and offers. sesameplace.com/philadelphia/
Six Flags' Hurricane Harbor, Jackson, NJ
In the shadow of Six Flags Great Adventure stands Hurricane Harbor. Thrill seekers can rejoice, there are six-story drops on rafts, a 75-foot drop with nothing separating you from the slide but your bathing suit and a slide into a giant funnel.
New to Hurricane Harbor this summer will be Calypso Springs, a 100,000-gallon pool fit for every guest.
Go: 1 Six Flags Blvd., Jackson Township, New Jersey. Price: $40.99 when purchased online. sixflags.com/hurricaneharbornj.
Calypso Springs comes to Six Flags Great Adventure's Hurricane Harbor this summer Asbury Park Press
SplashDown Beach, Fishkill, N.Y.
SplashDown Beach takes its slogan, "America's biggest little water park," to heart. With 15 attractions, there is something sure to delight every family member.
For the daredevils, there's the Humunga Half-Pipe, a four-story half pipe, and The Megalodon, the largest attraction in the park, that drops guests down a slide and on to an almost half pipe.
For those who just want to relax, there's the Croc Creek Lazy River and the Monster Wave Pool.
Go: 16 Old Route 9 W, Fishkill, New York. 845-897-9600. Price: $33.99 for people over 42 inches; $26.99 for people under 42 inches. splashdownbeach.com.
Thundering Surf Waterpark, Beach Haven, NJ
Located next to Bay Village in Beach Haven, Thundering Surf Waterpark has slides, a lazy river and a giant bucket that dumps water on its guests. Entrance is permitted in three- or two-hour sessions.
Go: 300 Ave., Beach Haven, New Jersey. Prices vary based on length of session and height. thunderingsurfwaterpark.com.