The 13 Coolest Indoor Water Parks for Year-Round Fun
You’ll never need to worry about the weather at one of these indoor water parks—and you’ll have more fun than you ever thought possible!
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The best indoor water parks near you
I don’t know about you, but I love planning a handful of quick trips with my family throughout the year. Sure, we might plan one big trip, too, but these little trips give us something to look forward to every few months. And while we like to try different adventures each year, there’s one trip that my kids insist we don’t skip, and that’s a trip to one of our favorite indoor water parks.
Whether you’re looking to beat the summer heat or seeking a reprieve from the frigid winter temperatures, there’s no wrong time to visit these mini-vacation meccas. And perhaps best of all? In most instances, a trip to one won’t break the bank, despite having a lot to offer.
How we chose the top indoor water parks in the U.S.
As a travel writer and the mom of four young children, I’ve been to my fair share of water parks around the country, and some of my favorites are on this list. But I also spoke with other frequent travelers, scoured the TripAdvisor boards and made sure to offer an indoor water-park option for every type of traveler, in every part of the country. I even found a great option for adults-only water-park fun! You’ll be ready to book a trip to one of these destinations by the time you get to the end of this article … if not sooner!
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Great Wolf Lodge in Perryville, Maryland
Great Wolf Lodge has had a big year on the East Coast! Its Poconos location, which has been our family’s favorite for years now, recently wrapped up major renovations, and it just opened its 20th lodge in Perryville, Maryland. At the Maryland location, you can enjoy more than 20 slides and attractions in the 128,000-square-foot Great Geyser Water Park, including tandem racing and family rafting. When you need a break, kids can mini golf, bowl, brave a sky-high ropes course and run around the entire first floor while trying to defeat the dragon in MagiQuest, a live-action adventure game that uses interactive wands to uncover relics, runes, treasure and more. (Your kids will be obsessed—trust me.) Nighttime also brings a dance party and story time in the lobby before you head up to themed suites, some of which come with their own log-cabin sleeping areas.
Working up an appetite just thinking about all of that? Aside from an extensive buffet, grab-and-go options and even a Dunkin’, this Great Wolf boasts the lodges’ first upscale dining experience, Barnwood, which a Reader’s Digest editor who recently visited raved about. Let’s put it this way: You’ll feel like you’re at a proper restaurant, not a kiddie-centric hotel.
- Brand-new facilities, with a 128,000-square-foot water park and themed suites
- Water-park passes are included with your stay
- Three grab-and-go options and four eateries, including an upscale (yet still kid-friendly) restaurant
- Works with IBCCES, the global leader in autism and neurodiversity certification, to train employees and provide an inclusive experience
Best for families with young children
Rocking Horse Ranch Resort in Highland, New York
Little ones will have a blast at Rocking Horse Ranch—and so will you! This all-inclusive dude ranch in Upstate New York features both indoor and outdoor pools and water parks. Full disclosure: Rocking Horse’s indoor water park is the smallest my family and I have ever been to. However, as a mom of multiple children, that’s what I love about it! It’s easy to keep eyes on the young ones while they splash and slide, while bigger kids can enjoy the indoor pool and hot tub.
In addition to the water park, the resort offers family-friendly activities all day long. From morning bingo and trivia in the lobby to nightly entertainment, there are plenty of activities to stave off boredom. Another perk? Of all the indoor water parks I’ve visited, Rocking Horse Ranch has the best food. All meals are included with your stay and prepared by a Culinary Institute of America–trained team using fresh ingredients and locally sourced produce whenever possible.
- Small indoor water park, which makes it easy to keep eyes on small children at all times
- Delicious food prepared by chefs trained at the Culinary Institute of America
- Rooms are on the small side
Best for families with older kids
Kalahari Resorts & Conventions in the Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania
Embark on a wet-and-wild safari at the Africa-themed Kalahari Resorts & Conventions. Once you arrive at this 220,000-square-foot indoor water park, be sure to check out the new VR waterslide—there are multiple experiences, so no two rides will be the same! Then, grab a mat and race your pals in the Cheetah Race, test your surfing skills on the FlowRider or ride the Kenya Corkscrew tandem tube slide with your kids.
There’s also plenty to do that doesn’t involve water, including hang at an arcade and chow down at a selection of eateries ranging from grab-and-go delis to a sit-down steakhouse. And if you can sneak away from the kids for a bit, make sure to treat yourself to a massage, pedicure or other pampering service at the on-site spa. Hey, you deserve it!
- Five high-thrill waterslides that bigger kids will love
- 10 moderate waterslides that everyone can enjoy
- On-site spa
- Additional cost for the VR waterslide and all activities outside the water park
Best for day trips from New York City
American Dream DreamWorks Water Park in East Rutherford, New Jersey
To see the largest indoor water park in North America, check out New Jersey’s DreamWorks Water Park—all 375,260 square feet of it! This massive indoor water park is home to the largest wave pool in the country, and it also boasts more than 40 slides, rides and attractions, including an extreme 142-foot speed slide that rockets you down 14 stories via trap-door capsules. Thrill-seekers won’t be disappointed.
Less than an hour from Manhattan and just a few minutes from MetLife Stadium, DreamWorks is located in a massive shopping and entertainment complex at the Meadowlands. And while it isn’t attached to a hotel, that doesn’t mean you can’t chill out in style while you’re there. For some serious VIP treatment on your day trip, book a luxury suite at the park, which comes complete with complimentary drinks, beach towels, comfy couches, cable TV, hot-tub access and more. You can even book a private in-suite massage!
- Less than an hour from New York City
- Largest indoor water park in the country, with one of the tallest waterslides in the world
- Kids can meet their favorite DreamWorks characters, including Poppy (Trolls), King Julien (Madagascar) and Puss in Boots
- Luxury suites available for rent
- Not part of a themed resort or hotel
Best for thrill-seekers
Epic Waters Indoor Water Park in Grand Prairie, Texas
They say everything is bigger in Texas, and that includes indoor water parks! The Epic Waters Indoor Water Park boasts 11 waterslides, three of which have “first of their kind” features: the first indoor double-rider Aquasphere inner tube (try saying that three times fast), which sweeps you way up into the slide’s banking domes; the nation’s tallest indoor Aqualoop body slide; and the Yellow Jacket Drop, a twisting inner-tube slide where you’ll experience a few seconds of zero gravity. If you’re feeling especially brave, head to Locura. This brand-new waterslide is seven stories tall and features a 40-foot drop and 360-degree horizontal loop.
Though Epic Waters doesn’t have a resort attached, it’s just a 16-minute drive from Dallas. If you plan on visiting the city, take a stroll through the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, meander through the Perot Museum of Nature and Science and visit the Dallas Zoo.
- Has several “first of their kind” thrill rides
- Reasonably priced rates (under $50 per person or $149 for an annual pass)
- Offers discounted rates for Grand Prairie residents
- No resort attached
- Must purchase a towel if you forget to bring your own
Best for adults
Island Waterpark in Atlantic City, New Jersey
Who says the best indoor water parks are only for kids? Though children are welcome, Atlantic City’s brand-new Island Waterpark, located in the famous Showboat Hotel, has its own Paradise Adult Island, making it the perfect weekend getaway for a group of friends. When you’re not flying down the Electric Eel or Barracuda Blaster, or racing your buddies headfirst down the Tidal Racers, you can relax in the adults-only bliss pool. This pulsating pool faces the Atlantic Ocean and is equipped with a swim-up bar and DJ entertainment. Hosting a party? You and your guests can rent out the Treehouse, a 30-foot-tall indoor treehouse located right in the heart of the water park.
When you’re ready to dry off, visit the property’s arcade or go-kart track. And of course, since you’ll be staying at the Showboat, you’ll get to enjoy the fun of a proper Atlantic City casino and accompanying nightlife activities when the sun goes down.
- Has an adults-only area with a swim-up bar and DJ
- Located in the oceanfront Showboat Resort
- Private surfing lessons can be scheduled for an additional fee at the Wild Wave FlowRider
- Water-park tickets not included with your stay at Showboat
Best in the Midwest
Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
America’s largest water-park resort is comprised of four indoor and four outdoor water parks, each of them connected via enclosed skywalks. The water parks, which range in size from 65,000 square feet to 70,000 square feet, are home to a number of thrilling slides, rafts and tube rides, including two brand-new two-lane dueling rides designed to be enjoyed with friends. There’s even a new swim-up bar for the adults. The fun continues indoors with black-light 3D mini golf, a ropes course and more. With so many parks and activities to choose from, this Midwest vacation spot definitely calls for a multiday visit.
Traveling with the whole crew? No problem. The resort offers accommodations for families of all sizes. From a standard room that sleeps four to a 3,910-square-foot, five-bedroom treehouse cabin that sleeps 22, Wilderness Resort will ensure the entire gang are sure to fit comfortably in the room of your choosing.
- Four different indoor water parks in one resort
- Brand-new slides at the newly renovated Wild West Water Park
- Skywalks allow you to avoid hotel hallways and move between parks quickly
- Some families might feel overwhelmed by its size
Best for longer stays
Aquatopia Indoor Waterpark at Camelback Resort in Tannersville, Pennsylvania
Aquatopia sits next to Pennsylvania’s largest outdoor water park, providing a one-two punch that makes access to water play a cinch—no matter what the weather is like. Spread out across a whopping 125,000 square feet, this amusement park is a maze of 13 slides and seven pools. Its must-try attractions include the new Mountain Mayhem, a fully immersive multisensory waterslide; Storm Chaser, North America’s longest uphill water coaster; and Venus SlydeTrap, a very cool family rafting experience in which you’re enclosed in a sphere.
Planning a long getaway with friends and family? In addition to an array of spacious suites, the resort offers condos that have full kitchens and sleep up to 14 people. And yep—entrance to Aquatopia is included for each overnight guest.
- 453 guest suites, condos and lofts that can accommodate up to 14 people
- Water-park admission included with your overnight stay
- 30,000-square-foot arcade with more than 100 video and interactive games
- More than a dozen dining options
- Daily parking fee
Best hotel water park
SoundWaves at Gaylord Opryland in Nashville
There are plenty of reasons to visit Nashville, and SoundWaves at Gaylord Opryland is definitely one of them. This four-acre, three-level destination isn’t your typical water park. Yes, it features a lazy river, a rapid river, a splash pad for the wee ones, a slide tower for the bigger kids, an adults-only area and many of the things you’d expect. But it also offers a sleek, upscale experience that you won’t find anywhere else. For starters, it has a dress code (no thong bathing suits or cut-off jean shorts allowed). And entrance to the park is intentionally capped at 747 guests, so it never gets too crowded and you’ll never have to wait in line too long.
Best of all, if you’re staying at the Gaylord Opryland, you’ll never have to set foot outdoors—a plus in winter or the middle of summer. When you get hungry, pop by the on-site cafe and bar. And if you’re tired of the water, take the afternoon to tour the resort. In addition to shops and restaurants, this French Quarter–styled hotel features a stunning atrium that is a tourist destination in and of itself. It boasts acres of lush gardens, colorful flowers and a winding river that you can experience on a Delta riverboat.
- Upscale environment
- Capacity is intentionally capped to ensure a more enjoyable experience
- The resort features an array of shops, restaurants, an impressive atrium and a winding river complete with boat tours
- Room-only reservations don’t include admission to the water park
- Availability at the water park isn’t guaranteed unless you book in advance
Best for travelers on a budget
Zehnder’s Splash Village Hotel & Waterpark in Frankenmuth, Michigan
The Bavarian-themed town of Frankenmuth has been luring loyal visitors since 1856, in part because of Zehnder’s, the beloved family-owned indoor water park that’s also Michigan’s largest. Made up of two distinct water parks—one with a retractable roof for maximum enjoyment of those precious summer months—Zehnder’s features a six-story family raft ride, four-story tube slides and the Whimsical Whirl Hot Tub, to name a few standouts.
The adjacent Spanish-themed hotel makes planning an overnight trip easy, but the best part about this destination is the price. A two-night, three-day weekend stay for our family of six—which includes admission to the water park and an optional package that comes with a family-style chicken dinner and an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet—would cost us $553 per night. To break that down for you further, that works out to $92 per person or, without the meal package, $70 per person. Most other parks would likely ring in at between $100 to $160 per person, not including meals, so this is a serious deal! The resort also offers complimentary shuttles to get you around all of its properties, and those mystery resort fees won’t be added to your bill.
- Reasonably priced packages that include water-park admission and meals
- No resort fees
- Complimentary shuttles between properties
- Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays during the fall and winter months, which is problematic if you prefer to visit midweek, when crowds might be smaller
Best for smaller families
The Kartrite Resort and Indoor Waterpark in Monticello, New York
Nestled in the Catskills, less than two hours from Manhattan, is New York’s largest indoor water park. High-speed waterslides like the Krakken, Nor’Easter family raft ride and Jiggerty-Jaggerty tandem-racing slides will delight thrill-seekers of all ages. And if you’re traveling with younger children, they can splash around in the Puddle Ducks Lagoon, wait under a massive water-dump bucket at Kartrite Island or try crossing the Later Gator Crossing rope bridge.
The resort has 324 suites that can accommodate anywhere from four to 12 guests. However, it’s worth noting that each room comes with only four water-park passes. That may sound like a lot, but most indoor water parks include passes for each registered guest. Kartrite gives only four, so families with more than two children will pay extra per child, per night. Larger families can add additional water-park passes to their room reservation to reach the maximum capacity per room for a fee of $75 per person, per night.
- A quick trip from New York City
- Almost all rides are suitable for two passengers, making them a fun family affair
- The resort also has a ropes course, laser tag, climbing walls, virtual reality, escape cube and mini bowling
- Only four water-park passes included with each room
Best for larger families
Timber Ridge Lodge and Waterpark in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Just two hours north of the Windy City, you’ll find Timber Ridge Lodge and Waterpark in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. This family-friendly getaway features 50,000 square feet of fun, including 35-foot-high slides and a 500-foot lazy river. The youngest guests will love splashing around the Tiny Timbers section, which has plenty of swings, slides, spouts and a water table. And the fun doesn’t end there: Check out Crazy Coyotes Arcade for dozens of arcade games, or enjoy daily activities like family movies, arts and crafts, scavenger hunts, trivia and bingo.
After a day full of swimming and splashing, families of all sizes will feel right at home in one of the resort’s 225 hotel suites. Two-bedroom suites accommodate up to seven people and feature a living room with a fireplace, master bathroom, flat-screen televisions and a full kitchen in case the kids are completely tuckered out or you just want to save a few dollars.
- Lodge suites with full kitchens, whirlpool baths and complimentary housekeeping
- Plenty of daily activities
- The water park isn’t open to the general public, only hotel guests
- The water park will be closed for renovations until Nov. 16, 2023, but hotel guests will have access to the Grand Geneva indoor pool and hot tub
Best for fall travel
Avalanche Bay Indoor Water Park in Boyne Falls, Michigan
Just 40 miles from Torch Lake, Avalanche Bay is known for its crystal-clear, turquoise waters. Nope, it’s not the tropics, and yes, it is definitely worth the trip to Michigan! This 88,000-square-foot indoor water park boasts seven slides, four pools, an indoor surf simulator, a lazy river and a play structure complete with an 800-gallon water avalanche. Younger water bugs will love playing in the zero-depth Kitz Pool, a play structure decked out with sprinklers, buckets and a mini slide. Bigger kids will race off to the Big Couloir, where they’ll be launched through a trap door into a narrow tunnel and reach speeds of 38 feet per second.
If the water park isn’t enticing enough, the Boyne Mountain Resort, which stretches more than 400 acres, features an impressive array of outdoor activities that are particularly amazing in the fall. Thrill-seekers can try zip lining, while nature lovers can take a guided horseback ride or scenic chairlift ride to experience the best views Northern Michigan has to offer. Bonus: All these activities are located at the resort, so you don’t have to worry about traveling off-site.
- Seven slides, four pools and the region’s first indoor surf simulator
- Tons of on-site outdoor seasonal activities
- The resort offers a SkyBridge ticket, which includes unlimited access to the SkyBridge (Michigan’s longest suspension bridge) for breathtaking views of the Boyne Valley
- No outdoor waterslides