Western New York features long, cold winters and relatively short summers – in other words, the perfect climate for indoor water parks. In fact, the weather in Rochester and Buffalo is similar to what you will find in the Great Lakes states where water park resorts first became popular. It was inevitable that the craze would eventually reach this part of the country, where demand for weatherproof getaway spots is high.
Today, there are several indoor water parks near Rochester and Buffalo where families can go for a tropical escape at any time of year. They’re all connected to hotels or resorts, where you can stay the night (or weekend) and make a mini-vacation of it.
Palm Island Indoor Waterpark (Batavia, New York)
Connected to the Clarion Hotel in Batavia, this water park is at almost exactly the midpoint between Rochester and Buffalo – about 45 minutes from each. It’s not one of the largest indoor water parks around, but it’s got enough attractions to keep the whole family busy for hours. Highlights include a couple of large water slides, an activity pool, spa area, and lots of play equipment for kids. Day passes are sold to hotel guests as well as the general public – though guests get first dibs. Be sure to check the schedule on the hotel’s website before booking a visit, as the water park may be closed or have reduced hours on weekdays.
Splash Lagoon (Erie, Pennsylvania)
This massive water park is much closer to Buffalo (1.5 hours) than Rochester (3 hours). Either way, it’s worth the drive. At 80,000 square feet, it’s the largest indoor water park on the East Coast – and it’s got a cool Polynesian theme to boot. Among its many attractions are a large toilet bowl water slide, multiple tube and body slides, lazy river, activity pool, and children’s play areas. The water park is connected to three different hotels, giving you plenty of options for a short and affordable family getaway. Splash Lagoon also offers ongoing discounts and package deals that can save you money, especially if you’re flexible about when and where you stay.
Cascades Indoor Waterpark (Cortland, New York)
This water park is part of Hope Lake Lodge, a resort in Upstate New York (2 hours from Rochester and 3 from Buffalo). At 41,000 square feet, it’s currently the largest indoor water park in New York State. The big marquee attraction here is the indoor wave pool, which allows both kids and adults to enjoy a choppy ride on an inner tube. There are also six water slides, kiddie play areas, activity pool, and indoor/outdoor spa. Last but certainly not least, there’s a heated outdoor swimming pool onsite that’s open year round. Cascades Indoor Waterpark is open seven days a week, and admission is available to both resort guests and the public.
There may not be any indoor water parks in Rochester or Buffalo, but these options are just a short drive away. With the attached lodgings, they’re perfect for a weekend getaway with the whole family – especially during the winter time when everyone tends to go a little stir crazy from being cooped up all the time. However, if you’re not satisfied with the indoor water parks near Buffalo and Rochester and want even more options, you might want to check out our lists of water park resorts throughout New York and Pennsylvania.