by Shayne Rodriguez Thompson
Home to New York’s newest and largest indoor water park, the Kartrite Resort & Indoor Waterpark is absolutely the next destination resort you should visit, especially if you live within driving distance. Located in the Catskill Mountains, the Kartrite features 11 different attractions. Highlights include several waterslides (we love that one is called Nor’Easter), a surfing simulator, and spraygrounds for the tiniest tots and kids of all ages, complete with dump buckets, mini waterslides and various fountains. The water park also offers private cabanas with mini-fridges, fresh fruit, food and beverage service, and more. Live nearby? Day passes are available.This place is seriously fun for every member of the family from the very youngest to the oldest—there’s something special for everyone.
Other resort perks include seven dining options (plus a sweet shop), an arcade, mini bowling alley, rock climbing walls, ropes course and a 4D adventure, plus organized activities (think arts and crafts and game nights) on select days. Parents will be happy to know there’s a fitness center and spa, too.
The all-suite hotel provides accommodations for families of all sizes, including a Family Bunk Suite that sleeps six guests. The largest room—a three-bedroom suite—can sleep 12 people comfortably.
Our Editor Loves
- Indoor and outdoor pools
- Hiking trails on the property
- Spacious family suites
- Water Parks
- Children Programs
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Game Room
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
The Kartrite is an all-suite resort, with 324 rooms. All rooms are spacious, modern and designed with families in mind. With three beds including a sofa bed, even the smallest suite can sleep six people. Balcony or patio suites are available in all categories for an up-charge. All room prices include water park passes for your entire party.
Double Queen Junior Suites feature two queen beds and a sofa bed. The rooms accommodate up to six and come equipped with a microwave, mini-fridge, coffeemaker, flatscreen television, safe and hair dryer. It features a long, narrow, multi-use surface beneath the television, which widens into a small desk/dining area with two chairs. These suites are comfortable for families with multiple children or a small group of friends. The bathrooms are on the smaller side, though, with the shower/tub and toilet enclosed and the sink located outside the door, across the hall. It should also be noted that the television is positioned in front of the beds rather than the sofa.
The Junior King Suite has the same square footage as the double queen, but sleeps a maximum of four people. It has a king bed and a sofa bed and is ideal for a couple or a small family with a baby and/or a young toddler. The room is equipped with a microwave, mini-fridge, coffeemaker, flat-screen television, safe and hair dryer. With the exception of the bathroom sink being enclosed with the shower/tub and toilet, the room’s layout is identical to the double queen.
Family King Bunk Suites are a nice option for larger families, those who prefer their children to have a separate sleeping area, or for those with older children. They sleep as many as eight people and are a little more spacious than the double queen and king suites. The main living area features a king-size bed and a sofa bed and the bunk room includes two sets of bunk beds. They come equipped with a microwave, mini-fridge, coffeemaker, flat-screen television, safe and hair dryer. Like the double queen suite, the sink is situated in the hall outside the enclosed bathroom.
The 847-foot Two-Bedroom Suite sleeps eight people and features a master bedroom with a king bed, full ensuite bathroom, and flat-screen television as well as a second bedroom with two queen beds and another television. The separate living room is spacious with a sofa bed, dining table that seats four to six, a comfy armchair and a third television set. There’s also a second complete bathroom. The room is equipped with a microwave, mini-fridge, coffeemaker, flat-screen televisions, safe and hair dryer. The suite features tons of storage—each room has a dresser and there are closet systems in the hall, as well as the second bedroom.
For a room with a view of the Catskills, you can opt for the Two-Bedroom Grand Corner Suite. It has 966 square feet and has all the same features as the standard two-bedroom, but is what its name suggests: a corner room that comes with either a balcony or patio overlooking the mountains.
The Deluxe Two-Bedroom Suite is available for families or groups who want to spread out just a bit more. It’s 1,000 square feet and while the rest of the space is identical, the layout of the main bathroom is slightly different than the two-bedroom suite, with the sink in a separate, but enclosed room that connects with the rest of the bathroom, creating a space where family members can change or use the sink while someone else uses the other facilities. These suites also come with either a balcony or patio.
The massive Three-Bedroom Corner Suite is the largest accommodation available at the Kartrite—it’s over 1,800 square feet and can sleep as many as 12 people, making it a great option for large families or multiple families traveling together. It features one bedroom with a king bed and ensuite bathroom, two bedrooms with two queen beds in each, and two additional bathrooms, as well as a living room, kitchenette and dining room.
We arrived around 11am and immediately got our Waterpark bands. The front desk told us we would get a text when our room was ready. The lady that checked us in was very friendly!
My kids loved the Waterpark. The lifeguards all seemed attentive and measured my son several times since he is 48 inches (I appreciated that they checked). Although my daughter is 42 inches, one lifeguard said it wouldn’t be safe for her to go on the double tube because she could barely reach the handles to hold on and keep herself in the tube—again I appreciated that they took the time to measure her and explain. There was plenty for her to do while her brother enjoyed the “bigger rides.”
We received a text at 3:57pm that our room was ready, so we headed over. My kids loved the bunk beds! The room was clean and comfortable—minus that you can hear your neighbors full conversations.
The food was also good—we had lunch at the waterpark, dinner by the arcade, and breakfast at the coffee shop. This was our first experience at an indoor waterpark—and it was definitely a good one!
The resort is beautiful and clean. The list of things to do runs long ! The water park was clean and fun. Definitely kept us busy :) Food and guest service are top notch ! The rooms are great. Spacious bathrooms. Overall a bang for your buck!
Indoor Water Park
The Kartrite’s indoor water park is the largest of its kind in all of New York and features the world’s largest texlon transparent roof, which actually allows visitors to tan indoors even in the middle of winter! The park, which offers 84-degrees of warmth all year, has four large waterslides some of which wind in and outdoors, in addition to three smaller slides in the sprayground area.
But what makes the park truly stand out is some of its other features. Visitors can try out the FlowRider surf simulator, lounge and play in an indoor/outdoor hot pool, or wade right into a lazy river.
Though children under 42 inches are not permitted on any of the larger slides—even when accompanied by an adult—the water park still offers lots of options for every age group and swimming ability. Beyond the more thrilling options, there’s also a dual pool—one featuring multiple basketball hoops and the other a challenging rope bridge obstacle—in addition to a toddler sprayground situated away from the more bustling attractions and a larger sprayground ideal for all ages, with more than 100 water features including a giant dump bucket.
Throughout the water park, there are plenty of tables for eating and lots of lounge chairs with umbrellas to shield you from the bright sunlight that sometimes pours through the texlon roof. Though there’s only one restroom area inside the water park, it is well-equipped with separate men’s, women’s and family areas, complete with showers, swimsuit dryers, and lockers, which can be rented for an additional fee. There's also an eatery right inside the water park, offering delicious and hearty wraps, sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, pizza, salads, snacks and drinks. You may eat or drink anywhere in the water park, including the upper mezzanine with plenty of tables overlooking the attractions, or just outside the park on the resort’s beautifully manicured and furnished lawn.
Lifeguards are present in every area of the park and are very attentive, friendly and without exception, seemed to take their jobs seriously, paying especially close attention to the smallest children, offering excellent tips and instruction, and generally adding to a positive experience. Visitors are welcome to as many towels as they want, and life jackets in various sizes are available free of charge. All children who aren't potty trained must wear swim diapers.
The Krakken is one of the fastest, twistiest slides at the Kartrite and can be ridden with either a single or double tube. Minimum height is 48 inches.
Nor’easter is arguably the most impressive slide at the Kartrite—it’s huge and imposing with massive curved walls. Thrill seekers ride in a four-person tube from which they swirl up and down the slide’s walls and speed down slopes. Minimum height is 48 inches.
Time Warp is a classic waterslide that takes riders flying through the park at high speeds to an end with a big splash. Minimum height is 48 inches.
Jiggerty Jaggerty is ideal for younger thrill seekers or anyone who prefers to work up to the bigger slides. Rather than a tube or typical body slide, passengers fly down the slide on a foam toboggan that makes the ride that much more slippery, slidey and exciting. Minimum height is 42 inches.
The lazy river at the Kartrite is like a modern iteration of your typical floating attraction. Instead of balancing on steps in a few feet of water as you attempt to situate yourself in a tube, you walk directly into the river, grab a tube and gently push off. The current is a little faster than usual, and there are plenty of fountains and water falls to keep things interesting. Go around as many times as you please!
Endless Summer Flow Rider
If there’s one attraction that there’s sure to be a wait for, it’s the FlowRider, but most will agree that it’s totally worth it. Whether you’ve surfed before or never set foot on a board, the surf simulator is a thrill. Instructors demonstrate how to lay on your board and work your way from your belly to your feet step-by-step. Even the inevitable wipeout is a blast.
Later Gator Crossing
Later Gator is a fun obstacle that has kids and adults alike jumping and swinging between a series of large floating platforms to get from one side of the pool to the other. Those who can reach can use the assist of hanging overhead ropes if their arms are up for the challenge.
Just on the other side of the pool from Later Gator Crossing, families can swim and engage in a game of aqua hoops that will have everyone laughing and playing together.
Kartrite Island is a hub of water fun and exploration. It has over 100 water features including a massive dump bucket and two smaller ,but still super-fun body slides that can be enjoyed by everyone in the family, as well as an even shorter slide that kids love to go down side-by-side before ending in a big splash. The experience is made complete with lots of water squirters, waterfalls and fountains.
Over in Puddle Ducks, parents can chaperone their babies and tiny tots as they splash and wade in super-shallow waters, enjoy small fountains and even three tiny, but massively fun slides that are perfect for introducing little ones to all of the excitement a water park has to offer. We love that Puddle Ducks is tucked away into its own little corner and has some built-in seating so parents can keep a close eye on their toddlers while they explore.
Despite its low-key nature, Affinity Springs is arguably one of the most popular attractions at the Kartrite. It’s the only legitimate pool at the resort and is essentially a sprawling hot tub that is bisected by a set of double doors that allow visitors to swim or walk between the indoors and outdoors; this area remains open as long as the weather is pleasant enough for lifeguards to man the area comfortably. On our visit, the outdoor section only closed when it was raining and opened back up as soon as the sun came out, even though the outdoor temperature was below 50 degrees. It makes for a unique experience designed to mimic hot springs in places like Iceland, Canada and Japan.
The outdoor area at the Kartrite truly sets it apart from similar indoor water park resorts. It’s designed in a way that takes full advantage of its picturesque location in the middle of the Catskill Mountains. There’s an expansive and beautifully manicured lawn equipped with several large fire pits, lawn chairs, rockers and heavy wooden benches. There's even some tables situated under a covered patio where guests can enjoy their own food or takeout from one of the in-house restaurants. In the midst of what we'd call an outdoor relaxation area, there’s also a small obstacle-style playground that children from as young as one or two years old all the way up to teens were enthralled with during our visit. Be sure to bring your own S’mores supplies or pick up a kit or two at the resort’s sweet shop.
Various daily activities are held on the lawn, with a schedule for your stay provided at check-in. During our visit, some of the highlights were a well-attended chainsaw demonstration, a Bird of Prey demonstration, archery classes and local beer tasting.
Just a short walk from the lawn, visitors will find access to the Kartrite’s own dedicated hiking trails. There are five well-marked trails, the shortest just a half-mile loop, which is ideal for novice hikers and families with small children; the longest trail is a 2-mile loop. The scenery throughout the woods is impeccable, especially during the fall when the trees are in full color. Trail maps are available at reception.
There are a number of amenities and fun for the kids that don't require swimsuits. We found that while it’s easy to spend an entire day in the water park, on stays longer than a day or two, it’s great to have some dry options. Though most require an extra fee, the Kartrite offers some super-fun diversions. However, if your kids are younger than elementary age, the options are more limited.
Just outside the entrance to the water park, you’ll find Carabiners, an indoor ropes course that features several routes of varying heights and difficulty levels. Height and weight minimums apply, but we also recommend keeping in mind your child’s personality. Once you’re up in the harness and looking down, it can be a bit scary. Each pass on the ropes course is $12 per person.
Adjacent to Carabiners, there are three rock climbing walls, each with its own distinct challenge. One has a fairly traditional rock climbing set-up, another has box-like footholds and the third is more of a spider trap obstacle. Each has a buzzer at the top, so kiddos have a real sense of accomplishment if they make it all the way up. Scrapeskyer is $7 per person and you can choose a wall or climb all three.
Playopolis is the Kartrite’s arcade, which also features a 3D ride, laser tag, and a virtual reality experience, along with traditional and modern arcade games from Skeeball and Mario to virtual basketball and air hockey. Game cards and attractions can be purchased via electronic kiosk.
Van Winkle’s Alley
Van Winkle’s Alley is a miniature bowling alley complete with miniature balls and pins so even toddlers can join the family in a game—no shoe rentals required! There’s fun music and a nice lounge area where parents can keep an eye on their kiddos and enjoy a drink or snack from the adjacent sports bar. Games are $6 per lane.
Each day there are a number of seasonal activities organized in and around the resort, which may include a variety of arts and crafts, demonstrations and classes, laser tag and FlowRider competitions, family movie nights and more. The Saturday night Glow dance party is not to be missed—everyone gets a glow stick or bracelet and can dance the night away to tunes spun by a live DJ under the black lights. There are even pyrotechnics.
There are several options for dining at the Kartrite, most of which are casual and kid-friendly, and one that offers more upscale fare (though the dress code is still laidback). While you can't go wrong with any of the restaurants, don't expect to be wowed by any of them either; the items tend to be hit or miss at all of the venues, with some being excellent and others below average. Service is friendly, but a bit slow throughout.
We love that the Kartrite has partnerships with local farms and breweries, so visitors have the chance to sample some of the region’s best produce, meats, cheeses and brews.
Bixby’s Derby is the most upscale dining option at the Kartrite and while it definitely has a hip, modern vibe, it’s still rather laidback. The menu features high-end pub food, as well as some big-ticket items like hand-cut steaks, crispy skin Scottish salmon, and braised short ribs. We found our appetizers and veggies to be especially delicious.
Bixby’s Taproom & Tavern
Situated just between the lobby and Bixby’s Derby is the resort’s main bar with several lounge-style tables and chairs scattered around. It has the feel of a big-city bar and lounge—minus the pretension—and serves what's essentially an abbreviated/more casual version of the full menu at Bixby’s Tavern. Think burgers, wings, salads and sandwiches. Open for dinner only.
During our visit, Harvey’s Wallbanger—the Kartrite’s sports bar—was the only restaurant outside of the water park that was open for lunch. With so many hungry people stopping in for a late lunch after or just prior to checking in, the place was bustling and the wait for a table and starters was lengthy. But, some of the tastiest dishes we had were here. The marinated cheese and olive appetizers were excellent and plentiful, the burgers were well-cooked, the kids macaroni and cheese was house-made, and the cocktails were fantastic. Open for lunch and dinner.
Eat. Eat. Eat.
Eat. Eat. Eat. Is the Kartrite’s buffet restaurant and where you’ll find full breakfast offerings daily. From continental fare like muffins, bagels, donuts, fruit and yogurt to pancakes, waffles, a variety of breakfast meats and an omelette station, there’s something for everyone. During dinner, the options are also plentiful and include lots of American favorites and a wide variety of desserts like pie, cupcakes and chocolate lava cake. Open for breakfast and dinner.
When you’re having too much fun at the water park for anything more than quick and casual, you can grab a bite at Surfside Grille. Get a whole pizza for the family, burgers, hot dogs, and the like, or just a snack of hot, crispy fries, guacamole or hummus, among other options. Service is fast and the quality consistently good. Open for lunch and dinner.
Located on the water park’s second floor mezzanine, you’ll find Bar Mez, where you can imbibe in any number of fruity, frozen cocktails, grab a beer or let the bartender whip up one of their outstanding specialty drinks for you. You can also order food at Bar Mez, which shares a menu with Surfside Grille. If you happen to rent a cabana in the water park and would like to order food and drinks, you’ll get the Bar Mez menu. Open for lunch and dinner.
If you’re jonesing for a cup o’ joe, look no further than the Kartrite’s in-house coffee shop. From drip coffee to lattes, you’ll find something to keep your engine running. You can also pick up pastries, sandwiches and salads at the Highline throughout the day. Open all day.
Pop’s Sweet Shoppe
There's no doubt you’ll be tempted every time you walk by Pop’s Sweet Shoppe which is conspicuously located on the way to the water park and arcade. Gleaming glass cases show off giant cupcakes and cookies, caramel apples and hand-crafted candies. There’s even hand-scooped gelato and candy available by the pound. Oh, and if you want to take the kiddos out to the fire pits to make some S’mores, you can get supplies for that at Pop’s, too.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
- Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi is complimentary.
- Onsite Markets: The resort has a few shops onsite for families to visit when in need of an extra T-shirt, swimsuit, toothbrush or even a cozy blanket to wrap up in next to the fire pits. American is located right off the lobby and offers a bit of everything, including fun and unique souvenirs. You can also pick up just about anything you might need to complete your day in the water park, including flip flops and sunglasses at Sunsider’s, which is located just outside the park.
- Local Attractions: The area around the lodge also has multiple other attractions if you should get tired of the water. Casinos, hiking trails, ski resorts and outlets and lots more attractions are close by for families who need a break from the water fun and flashing lights of the arcade. Most families don’t spend more than a couple of days at the Kartrite, but there’s plenty to enjoy if you want to extend your vacation—just keep in mind that nearly everything but the water park will incur extra fees. Weather permitting, be sure to take advantage of the resort’s trails and outdoor common area—it’s truly a scenic area.
- Cabana Rentals: If it’s in your budget—especially if your kids are on the young side—consider renting a cabana in the water park. You can choose one either near the two spraygrounds or on the upper mezzanine and you’ll have a comfy space to take a break or even put your little one down for nap without ever leaving the water park. Each cabana is equipped with comfy chairs, sun loungers, a love seat and a television, as well as a mini-fridge stocked with fresh fruit, water and soft drinks (included in your rental). Plus, you’ll have a dedicated server for the entirety of the day, who will be sure to get you anything you might need to make your day more pleasant. Cabanas are available from $249 per day.
- When to Visit
The Kartrite is truly a year-round vacation destination, but keep in mind that New York state gets quite cold during the winter months, so some people may find it too cold to enjoy the outdoors, or snow could make the outdoor common area inaccessible. Every season has benefits, but winter is popular since there are so many indoor diversions to enjoy and excellent skiing nearby. In the summer, you’re sure to enjoy lots of daily outdoor activities and excellent hiking and in the fall, the leaf peeping opportunities make for a picturesque stay and some seriously cozy fun.
The resort is about an hour outside of New York City and just a few hours from Philadelphia—it's easily accessible by car for those in the tri-state area. It’s located in a rather remote area, but is on the same street as a number or resorts and casinos, so you won't likely miss the turn-off. However, our GPS took us right past the entrance and we had to turn around! There’s not great cell signal in the mountains so be sure to look out for the signs!
If exploring other attractions in the area, you'll want your own vehicle. Parking is complimentary at the resort.
Far from the hustle and bustle of the water park and various play areas, the Kartrite has a small, but well equipped fitness center with beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and an upscale spa offering massages, facials, mani-pedis, body treatments, waxing and even kids’ services. There are even fitness classes scheduled at select times.