Looking for a vacation that won’t get ruined by bad weather? Do you miss going to waterparks in the winter? Living in the Northeast, I know I do. A great solution to both issues is a vacation at an indoor water park, where you’re guaranteed fun without worrying about the rain or the snow.
If that sounds like a vacation for you and your family, check out The Kartrite Resort & Indoor Waterpark in Monticello, New York. It's only a 90-minute drive north of New York City into the Catskill Mountains. Recently, I enjoyed a weekend getaway with my daughter, Samantha, and we had a chance to sample many of the rides and amenities this resort offers.
Editor's Note: Our writer was hosted.
Lodging at The Kartrite Resort & Indoor Waterpark
There are quite a few room options to choose from if you plan an overnight visit. We stayed in a Junior Suite Double Queen room, which the resort touts as the most economical. It included two queen beds and one queen sleeper sofa. It was plenty of room for the two of us but could sleep up to six people.
The resort has 324 rooms that sleep from up to 12 guests, including Junior Suite Double King Suites, Two-Bedroom Grand Corner Suites, Deluxe Two-Bedroom Suites, and Family King Bunk Suites. Room rates start at around $240 and up per night and may be higher on Saturdays. Our room was clean, the beds were comfortable, and we had a small porch to relax. The room had a refrigerator, coffee machine, safe, and microwave. Save a few bucks and pack snacks like microwavable popcorn or fruit cups you can enjoy at night after your adventurous day. Also, if you’re enjoying an adults-only getaway, the resort designates quiet hours, but remember it’s filled with excitable children.
It’s important to note that the resort temporarily holds $150 per day for the length of your stay for incidentals (so if you stay for six nights, it's $150 x 6). This is a hold on your credit card versus a charge, but since this is more than many hotels that charge, the daily hold may impact you if you're on a tight budget.
It’s important to note that you do not need to stay overnight to enjoy the waterpark. The Kartrite offers day passes (family 4-pack, $360; per person full day, $99; half-day, $65) if you live nearby or are just passing through.
Once we checked in, it was time for some water fun! We used a lower-level cabana on day one and an upper level on day two. A cabana is a great place to call your own, where you can close the tent and muffle the noise from a very busy waterpark when needed.
Cabana rentals include cold drinks and chips, a television, couches, and chairs. The upper cabana also includes food and drink service from Bar Mez (that anyone can order from) and is located next to Bar Mez. I enjoyed the lower-level cabana ($299) more than the upper-level ($349), as the upper level was way too humid for me. However, no matter which you choose, you should enjoy a drink at the Bar Mez. We enjoyed a delicious pina colada.
I do wish that the cabana had a personal locker for our valuables. Although the park has lockers for rental (small: $15, medium: $20, large: $25), keeping all of our stuff together would have been nice.
The lazy river was next on our have-fun list – sounds relaxing, right? The Kartrite website even describes Empire Bay as the “not-so-lazy-river,” and we agree. First, when the park is crowded, you may need to wait for an empty tube, and the ride can become quite congested. Also, don't get too comfortable when you're floating down the river because you might find yourself bumping into other floats or heading under a waterfall. Even still, it was an excellent adventure to start our weekend.
Only about a foot deep, Kartrite Island is fun for little kids and parents alike. There are two slides that older kids can access on their own. Look up though because depending on where you stand a gigantic bucket filled with water will dump at regular intervals. It's fun to get wet – at least when you expect it.
It might sound wild to step into a warm pool on a hot day, but Affinity Springs was the most relaxing part of my entire stay. It is a warm indoor/outdoor pool. The indoor part is hotter than the outside part and has water jets that you can position on your back.
Next up, the water slides. The Nor'Easter was closed the entire time we were there, so we tried such thrilling rides as The Krakken, which makes you feel as if you're going to turn on your side, and the Jiggerty-Jaggerty, which splashes an ample amount of water into your face as you ride on your belly down the slide. And here’s your friendly warning (which we didn’t get) about The Time Warp the most intense of the open rides that weekend. It has an unexpected drop and a section of the ride that may spin you around and ultimately position you backward (it happened to us), so be wary if you're prone to motion sickness or dizziness.
We didn’t ride The Endless Summer Flowrider, the closest body surfing experience you can get there, but it looks like a rough ride if you don’t hold on.
Tip: Each slide has height restrictions, so check the website before you go to see what you and your children can ride, separately and together.
More Waterpark Attractions + a Free Second Day
Rounding out the water park attractions is the Later Gator Crossing, where young ones can pretend to cross treacherous waters, Puddle Ducks, a shallow tyke pool, and Cannon-Ballers. Samantha and I enjoyed playing hoops in the Cannon-Ballers pool area, but don't turn your back because basketballs can come from any direction.
The good news is if you stay one night, you can enjoy the waterpark for both days, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., even after you check out on the second day.
We can't change this, but we felt the park was missing a regular, deep, non-heated pool.
Outdoor Fun at The Kartrite
It might be an indoor water park, but The Kartrite has fun outdoor activities for all ages. There is lifesize Connect Four, chess, cornhole, and shuffleboard. We enjoyed Connect Four, my favorite game as a kid, and cornhole, and I'm willing to publicly admit that I lost both games to my daughter but had a blast.
There are also nets and balance beams for the kids to climb and firepits where you can enjoy s'mores. If you still need to get active, take a hike on one of the five trails with nearly 6 miles of scenic hiking.
Depending on the weekend you are there, there are other activities to choose from, including Goat Yoga (ages 8-12, $30; 13-up, $40); Family Yoga (Adults ages 18+, $20; 8-17, $15) and archery (Ages 10-up; $35 for two).
With so much to do, you'll quickly build up an appetite, and there are several dining options to feed the hunger, starting with The Highline, which offers muffins, donuts, breakfast sandwiches, cereal, and snacks.
On the first night, we ate at Bixby's Derby, which opens at 5 p.m., and although reservations were suggested, plenty of seating was available. I ordered the Drunken Penne while my daughter ate The Harvey Burger.
The second night we ate at Eat Eat Eat, the resort's buffet. At $32.99 per adult, we had quite a few options to choose from, including lasagna, fried chicken, meatballs, fish, seafood pasta, and more (the meatballs were delish). There was also a salad bar and a dessert bar.
I have a shellfish allergy, and none of the food at the Eat Eat Eat buffet was labeled. I explained my situation to the staff, and the chef came out and told me what food I should be concerned about.
Candy by The Pound and a Sports Bar, Too
To satisfy our sweet tooth, we indulged at Pop’s Sweet Shoppe, which serves ice cream, cupcakes, and other pastries. There is an option to buy candy by the pound.
Located near the arcade, Harvey's Wallbanger is more like a sports bar, and its menu is similar to Bixby's. Most dining venues do not open until after 2 p.m. or 3 p.m., but the Surfside Grille and Bar Mez, located in the waterpark, is open when the waterpark opens.
Arcade and Other Attractions
When you're getting a little waterlogged, dry off and head to the Playopolis arcade. You can purchase a card for a minimum of $25, which buys you 106 credits. There are also intervals of $50, $75, $120, $150, and $200 cards. Most games take a minimum of 10 credits to play. You cannot charge these cards to your room. However, the resort offers a Stay and Play Package where you receive a $75 Playopolis arcade card to enjoy when you’re on dry land if you book an overnight stay.
There is a 4D ride you can enjoy that takes credits, or you can pay separately. We enjoyed the Canyon Coaster, but be aware that the film has strobe lights. We also played ten frames of mini-bowling at Van Winkle's Alley. The Escape Cube and the Scrapeskyer were also closed during our stay.
The Carabiners Ropes Course Isn't for The Faint of Heart
Samantha tackled the Carabiners ropes course and found it challenging, but she advises skipping it if you fear heights. The zipline portion of the course was closed for the day, and there is a 300-pound weight limit.
If you want to try out the ropes course, make sure you observe the posted hours and give yourself enough time. During our visit, the posted signs said the attraction was open until 9:00 p.m., but climbers who showed up at 8:30 were turned away to give the current climbers time to be done by 9:00.
Free After Dinner Movies + More
If you want a free activity you and your children can enjoy together, go to the lobby for a movie after dinner. The lights are turned down, and a fire table is lit for ambiance. Sit together on the comfy couches while you watch a family-friendly movie. There was also a magician giving a free performance while we were there.
The resort also has additional projects that change regularly, such as making teddy bears and scratch art, each for an extra fee.
We finished our three-day weekend by visiting the nearby Resorts World Catskills Casino, a little more than a mile down the road. Also nearby is the Museum at Bethel Woods, the site of the 1969 Woodstock concert. I’ve already seen that, and it is worth the visit.
Themed Weekends and Parties at The Kartrite
Visit on a Sunday through October 15th and enjoy Goat yoga and pony rides. There's an additional fee for guests to enjoy these activities. Check out the festivities on these designated weekends. Contact the resort directly for more info.
July 15: Luau BBQ Bash
July 28: National Waterpark Day – Party in the Waterpark
Aug. 12: Carnival BBQ Bash
Aug. 20-26: Superhero Week
Sept. 3: Labor Day BBQ Bash
Sept. 14-18: Fall Festival
Oct. 26-30: Halloween Hullabaloo
Nov. 22-27: Friendsgiving Week
Dec. 21-27: Holly Jolly Holidays Week
Dec. 31: New Year’s Eve Bash and Noon Year’s Eve Party for the Kids