When you walk into The Kartrite, New York’s biggest indoor waterpark, set on 1,600 acres, the excitement is palpable. After all, there’s nothing like a waterpark, especially a brand-new one that has geared each and every activity to kids of all ages.
In fact, from the minute you arrive in this sparkly new resort, located 90 minutes from Midtown in Monticello, New York, and slip on a wristband, it just feels like there’s going to be something fun to do around every corner.
If you’d rather save this 90 min trip for another occasion and want to stay closer to home, check out our roundup of the best water playgrounds and sprinkler parks in NYC!
For starters, it’s not going to be difficult for your kids to pick an activity they want to do. Some highlights include the two gaming areas—the arcade is called Playopolis and Van Winkle’s Alley features a mini four-lane bowling alley—and there’s also a ropes course, zipline and all sorts of kids’ activities from 3D gaming, VR and laser tag for the older ones in your family to DIY sand art and double decker cookie creations for the little ones.
But let’s not kid ourselves: The star of the resort is most definitely the 80,000-square-foot waterpark which is said to boast the most plant life ever inside a waterpark as well as 11 water attractions. Like most waterparks, it’s incredibly loud once you walk through the doors, but it also felt well-managed, well-supervised and surprisingly calm, considering how many families were lounging by the pool, racing up and down the steps to hop on their favorite ride or dragging an inflatable from one ride to the next.
And, since the waterpark is covered entirely by what’s said to be the world’s largest texlon transparent roof, it’s 84 degrees inside no matter the time of day—the staff urges guests to apply the sunscreen since it gets quite sunny inside—and the park stays open from 9 AM to 9 PM, which means it’s easy for families to make an entire day of it here.
Another great feature: There are lockers and changing rooms in the waterpark and towels galore if you don’t want to walk through the resort in your bathing suit, which means you truly don’t have to bring more than your bathing suits, sunscreen and sunglasses (though the resort sells them if you happen to forget to pack them) from your room to the waterpark, especially since your wristband is all you need to order snacks and drinks no matter where you are at the resort.
As for safety, we noticed loads of lifeguards on duty here as well as safety vests that are required for kids who can’t swim. Every attraction is supervised to ensure a safe visit and there’s lots for kids of all ages to do.
For example, the entire family can ride the waves on the Endless Summer Flowrider (kids have to be 42” in height minimum to enjoy this ride). If you have younger ones in your family, watch as they spend hours playing in the Puddle Ducks lagoon, a shallow interactive pool designed with super-fun slides and water features that will delight little ones who are new to the waterpark experience.
For a serene few moments right in the midst of the hubbub, join your entire family, pick up an inflatable and float down the Empire Bay lazy river. This is the perfect spot to sit back and enjoy the ride through the incredible vegetation planted in the resort (one note: riders must be 48-inches minimum height or accompanied by an adult).
If it’s scary rides you and your kids are seeking, there’s lots here to enjoy. Thrill seekers are sure to scream with glee on some of the park’s high-speed adrenaline-pumping rides, like The Krakken and The Nor’Easter, which takes four riders soaring for a moment of weightlessness before flying back down to earth to banked curves, dips and turns. (Note: Both of these rides have a 48-inch height requirement and don’t require adult supervision.)
Food Food Food
There are plenty of on-site restaurants here and booster seats at the ready for the littlest in your family. So, whether you want a locally sourced, fancier meal at Bixby’s Derby—the grilled Caesar and chicken Milanese are yummy—or prefer to hit the all-you can-eat breakfast and dinner buffet at Eat.Eat.Eat., we’re not kidding when we say that even the pickiest of eaters will find something yummy to chow down on.
Other options include Harvey’s Wallbanger, where burgers and pizza are a focal point, Surfside Grille, where families can grab quick bites in the waterpark, exhausted parents can caffeinate at The Highline and there are treats galore—we’re talking bags of candy to go, ice cream and cupcakes—at Pop’s Sweet Shoppe.
One of the most standout features here: There are 324 suites some of which come with a separate sleeping space equipped with two bright blue bunkbeds to accommodate four kids. The bedding is super cute, too: We’re talking space-themed hybrid sleeping bags that kind of simulate an outdoor camping experience.
Other rooms feature a king-size bed and a pullout sofa and the Junior Suite Double Queens feature two queen beds and one queen sleeper which can work well for families or friends traveling together who want an economical way to book a vacation.
And, since the resort is geared for kids of all ages, there’s a family bathroom with a changing table, located right off the lobby and there are tons of strollers everywhere and multiple elevators to make moving around the resort as easy as possible.
Room rates start at $249 per night. Check in is at 4 PM and there’s a mandatory checkout at 11 AM but you can check your bags and stay at the resort until 9 PM. For more information, visit The Kartrite website.
Lambeth Hochwald is a New York City-based lifestyle writer and mom of a teen who loves discovering new pockets of her home state.
Our stay was complimentary but all thoughts and opinions are our own.