Indoor water parks and ski resorts near NYC, Long Island
Cold-weather vacations packed with skiing, snowboarding and sledding are loads of fun, up until the moment when you realize that you can’t feel your toes. If you’ve planned for this eventuality, you’ll be staying at a mountain resort with a bubbling Jacuzzi, or its kid-friendly equivalent, the indoor water park. The following hotels boast just such an amenity. Most are open to guests only, but some also have a limited number of day passes. But be forewarned: Once your children have frolicked in the wave pools, it might be difficult to get them back onto the slopes.
Camelback Mountain(Credit: Aquatopia)
Camelback ski resort offers the largest skiing and snowboarding terrain in the Poconos, as well as the biggest snowtubing park in the United States. Because trails are 100 percent lit for night skiing, it’s possible to hit the slopes both day and night. Other mountain attractions include a 4,500-foot steel-track Mountain Coaster that cruises through the trees and down the steep slopes of Camelback and dual 1,000-foot zip lines. Then there is Aquatopia, pictured, at 125,000 square feet the largest indoor water park in the Northeast. Under a transparent roof to let in natural light are 13 water slides, including the Skydive Plummet, a free-fall body slide with a 360-degree figure-eight loop. The Storm Chaser is a 756-foot-long water coaster with five gravity-defying drops. Stand-up flow board lessons are offered in a 40,000-gallon surfing simulator. Admission to Aquatopia is free for hotel guests. Dining options include a ski-in, ski-out brew pub, a fine-dining small plates and sushi restaurant, and multiple buffet- and concession-style venues. One-, two- and three-bedroom suites (prices start at $179) can accommodate families and groups as large as 14. (193 Resort Dr., Tannersville, Pennsylvania, 570-629-1665, camelbackresort.com)
A skier catches air at Camelback Mountain in the Poconos.
Great Wolf Lodge(Credit: Great Wolf Resorts)
Check into this well-established Poconos resort and you will be just a short drive from top ski areas, including Camelback, Alpine Mountain, Jack Frost and Big Boulder. At the Lodge, the water park is the focus, and is reserved for hotel guests, guaranteeing that lines and crowds will be manageable. There are more than a dozen attractions for all types of swimmers. The Cub Paw Pool, with tiny water slides and an 18-inch “deep end,” is perfect for toddlers. Then there’s the Hydro Plunge, a roller coaster made of water, with rafts on motorized tracks sent plunging down a 52-foot vertical drop. Here, a father and son slide down Alberta Falls. Dining options tend toward the casual — poolside pizza and burgers — but there is a sit-down restaurant (reservations recommended) for a more leisurely family meal. Conventionally decorated hotel rooms are available, and cabin-themed rooms with bunk beds, day bed, and/or sleeper sofa accommodate up to seven. Rooms from $319/night, including water park passes. (1 Great Wolf Dr., Scotrun, Pennsylvania, 570-688-9899, greatwolf.com)
Alpine Mountain Resort is a short drive from Great Wolf Lodge.
Split Rock Resort(Credit: Split Rock Resort/Picasa 2.7)
H2Oooohh Water Park, part of this family resort, has 53,000 square feet of water attractions in addition to a snack and Tiki bar. There are a couple of thrills here, notably the Amazon Blast Slides, which have a four-story drop. But its small size makes it a good choice for families with younger children. The gentle zero entry wave pool can be enjoyed by little ones, who will also love the Jungle Falls and Leapin’ Lizards play areas. Hotel guests get a 10 percent discount. The resort’s other amenities include a first-run movie theater, a bowling alley and a gaming arcade. A fine-dining restaurant in the rustic lodge, a food court for quick bites, and a bar with live music every night round out the experience. Your skiing, snowboarding and snowtubing needs can be met at Jack Frost and Big Boulder, just 3 1⁄2 miles away. Rooms start at $134 a night. (100 Moseywood Rd., Lake Harmony, Pennsylvania, 570-722-9111, splitrockresort.com)
The Big Boulder ski area is near Split Rock Resort.
Red Jacket Resort(Credit: Wiseguy Creative)
This old-fashioned family resort in New Hampshire’s White Mountains is within a short drive of some of New England’s best ski areas, including Cranmore Mountain, which is practically at the hotel’s doorstep. In addition, Mount Washington Valley offers miles of groomed cross country and snowmobile trails and ice skating in Schouler Park. Within the resort, Champney’s Restaurant serves New England cuisine with a continental flare, while Palmer’s Red Ridge Grill offers hearty pub fare. Adjacent to the resort is Kahuna Laguna (kahunalaguna.com), pictured, a 40,000-square-foot indoor water park with relatively tame attractions that are good for younger kids. Four tube slides, a wave pool and a 175-gallon tipping bucket offer mild thrills. Water cannons, rope bridges and a basketball court in its own pool round out the offerings. A 25-person hot tub gives respite to parents. Kahuna Laguna Packages, including nightly accommodations at Red Jacket and a full day pass, per person, to the water park, start at $130 a night. (Route 16, North Conway, New Hampshire 508-760-9240, redjacketresorts.com)
A skier comes down a frosty slope at Bretton Wood, near Red Jacket Resort in New Hampshire.
Six Flags Great Escape Lodge(Credit: Six Flags Great Escape Lodge)
The Great Escape Lodge is decorated in the Adirondack style with stone fireplace and log décor. Situated in the foothills of the Lake George region, between Saratoga Springs and the Adirondack Mountains, it makes a good home base for enjoying local winter sports. Take a guided snowmobile tour through the Adirondacks, snowshoe in Saratoga or Glens Falls, ski some of the top mountains in the Northeast, including Stratton, Bromley, Killington and Okemo. Then, check out the 38,000-square-foot indoor water park that is part of the hotel. Nine attractions include Glacier Run and Snow Shoe Falls, side-by-side tube water slides with a 41-foot drop, a lazy river ride called Tak-it-Eesi Creek, a four-person white-water raft ride called the Avalanche, and a shallow activity pool area just for small children called Tip-A-Kanu Beach. Water park tickets are included in room rates. See the website for deals and packages. (89 Six Flags Dr., Queensbury, New York, 518-824-6000, sixflagsgreatescapelodge.com)
Cross-country skiing around the the Adirondacks, near Six Flags Great Escape Lodge.
Kalahari Resort(Credit: Kalahari Resort Indoor Waterpark)
The newest in a chain of African-themed resorts already open in Wisconsin and Ohio, this Poconos outpost boasts an extra-large 100,000-square-foot water park. But wait — work on Phase II of the park’s construction will be completed in spring 2017 and will make it, at 200,000-square-feet, the biggest indoor water park in the country. Thrill rides include the Anaconda, a water coaster with open flumes, enclosed tunnels and gushing geysers that blast throughout the ride. The Tanzanian Twister is a whirling water slide that ends in a free fall into a pool. The Splashdown Safari is a play area consisting of net crawls, water guns and slides set in a zero depth entry pool. This being the Poconos, it would be a shame to miss out on mountain pleasures. Dry off and drive over to nearby Jack Frost and Big Boulder ski areas for skiing, tubing and snowboarding. The Two-Night Family Escape, including accommodations and park tickets for four, starts at about $400. (250 Kalahari Blvd., Pocono Manor, Pennsylvania, 877-525-2427, kalahariresorts.com)