New Jersey families are back out in search spots for "free" summer fun. There are some public spray grounds, splash pads and splash parks around the state where you and the kids can beat the heat.

There are also a few that charge a fee. We'll get to those, too.

It's always good to check the park's website and maybe even call ahead before making a visit, as lingering pandemic restrictions in addition to maintenance and repairs can unexpectedly put a damper on plans.

Colonial Spray Park (Somerset County)

156 Mettlers Rd, Somerset
Open daily noon to 8 p.m. every day until Sept. 6. After that the spray park will be open weekends, noon to 7 p.m., until September 26.
After delays in 2018 and continued issues in 2019 — the pandemic halted this 6,500-square-foot park's reopening until now. The park is behind the Morgan Pellowski Playground, close to the Putting Course and Paddle Boats. Parents are allowed to accompany small children into the kids-only facility.

Veterans Park Spray Park and Playground (Middlesex County)

61 Avenue K, Monroe Township, NJ 08831
For summer 2021, the spray park will be open to the public on weekdays through July from 1 p.m. until 6 p.m., due to summer camp usage. On weekends, the park is open 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. It's right next to a playground and some picnic tables.

Ponderosa Park in Scotch Plains (courtesy of Allison Imbimbo)

Ponderosa Park (Union County)

1600 Cooper Rd, Scotch Plains
seasonal hours: 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.
The playground at Ponderosa is open year-round, but the water turns on Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend. No cost and no reservations are needed.

Snyder Avenue Park splash pad (Union County)

240 Snyder Ave, Berkeley Heights
Here's a place for devoted Gang Green fans in the off-season, as the NFL's Jets donated a goalpost sprinkler to the sprayground in Berkeley Heights. There's also athletic fields and a playground.

Warinanco Park Spray ground (Union County)

Open daily, Memorial Day through Labor Day, open from "dawn until dusk"
The Warinanco Park spray ground is located across from the Boat House. The bustling park tucked between Roselle, Elizabeth and Linden also has a lake with paddle boats, athletic fields, paved trails and a track.

Union County also operates spraygrounds in the following parks:

Cedar Brook Park, Plainfield

Mattano Park, Elizabeth

Rizzuto Park, Union (across from Kean University)

The City of Elizabeth also has seven spray fountains and 2 spray parks run by its own Department of Recreation. They are open daily from June through Sept., weather permitting, from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m.

Manalapan Recreation Center Splash Pad (Monmouth County)

93 Tennent Ave, Manalapan Township
The Manalapan Recreation Center has a splash pad, open 11 a.m. - 7 p.m., Memorial Day through Labor Day, weather permitting — however it will not be open during "Summer Camp" hours for 2021.

It's a large facility, alongside athletic fields, courts and playgrounds, according to the town's website "Splash Pad is next to Field L (behind Field 9) on the expansion property."

Cross Farm Park Splash Pad (Monmouth County)

10 Longbridge Road and Route 520, Holmdel
Look for the small, baseball-themed splash pad for a quick cool-off alongside the playground.

Veterans Memorial Park spray park (Erin Vogt, Townsquare Media)

Veterans Memorial Park (Monmouth County)

Lakeshore Drive/Ocean Blvd., Aberdeen (GPS address, Ocean Blvd &, Lakeshore Dr, Keyport)
In addition to a pirate ship themed spray park and playground, there's also a picnic grove with a few shade structures, multi-purpose field, 2 basketball courts, gazebo and Veteran’s Memorial Monument

Michael Lepp Park (Somerset County)

22 Park Avenue, Somerville
Summer operation, daily between 11 a.m. and74 p.m., weather permitting

John Long Park (Somerset County)

85 Mercer Street, Somerville
Summer operation, daily between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., weather permitting

John C. Bartlett, Jr. County Park at Berkeley Island (Ocean County)

399 Brennan Concourse, Berkeley Township
The spray park operates for the summer from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m., while the park is open 6 a.m. until 10 p.m.

Pine Lake Park & Playground (Ocean County)

This park in Manchester Township features a Splash Pad, playground, covered picnic areas and restrooms. The township website pinpoints it at the shoreline of Pine Lake, adjacent to Lake Drive.

Watsessing Park Spray Park (Essex County)

Bloomfield Avenue and Conger Street, Bloomfield
Splash park is open daily June 12 – Sept 6 from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Van Saun Park splash pad (Bergen County)

216 Forest Ave, Paramus
The splash pad at Harmony Playground is just one attraction at this massive recreation area in Paramus. For the playground, the park entrance from Continental Avenue seems most direct. The entire Bergen County park spans nearly 150 acres with playgrounds and picnic spots, plus Bergen County Zoo, a small train ride and a carousel (those will cost you to use).

Polifly Park Splash Pad (Bergen County)

59 Polifly Rd, Hackensack
Hours of operation 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., seasonal and weather permitting
Hackensack has this splash pad (with a 'dumping' water bucket) alongside a playground, picnic area and bathrooms.

Borough Park Spray Park (Bergen County)

500 Boulevard, Elmwood Park
This spot also offers a playground, baseball & soccer fields and a basketball court.

James J Braddock North Hudson County Park splash pad (Hudson County)

9003 Bergenline Ave, North Bergen
This Hudson County park is another massive rec area where you could splash for a while and spend the day. It also includes a castle themed-playground, picnic areas, nature trails, athletic fields, bocce courts and a dog run.

Newport Green Park (Hudson County)

14th St, Jersey City
Newport Green serves as a sun-and-sand oasis amid the concrete bustle of Jersey City. Aside from the sprayground, there's lounge chairs along the waterfront. The park also includes a seasonal carousel and outdoor ping pong.

Berry Lane Park (Hudson County)

1000 Garfield Ave, Jersey City

Fasola Park Splash Pad (Gloucester County)

12 Sycamore Ln, Deptford Township
This splash pad is at Charles Fasola Park alongside a playground, athletic fields, tennis courts, a pavilion and a lake with a fountain.

Delayed opening in 2021

Pirate’s Cove at Turkey Brook Park (Morris County)

30 Flanders Road, Flanders (Mount Olive)
As of June 29, a "parts failure" had cause the cove to push back its summer start. Once open, season hours are 10 a.m. - 7 p.m., weather permitting
Pirate’s Cove features interactive water features that are motion-activated, to help conserve water. Towering above, a huge splash bucket dumps water every few minutes.


You'll need cash to cool off at these

NJ spraygrounds and splash parks that charge admission — from a few bucks to a bit more.

Best free NJ spraygrounds and splash pads this summer (Erin Vogt, Townsquare Media)

Dorbrook Recreation Area Sprayground (Monmouth County)

353 County Route 537, Colts Neck
Weather cancellation number: 732-842-4000, ext. 6
Monmouth County's Sprayground in Colts Neck now operates on paid reservations, made online before your visit. Each week, additional dates and times are released for 90-minute slots at $3 a person. No walk-up purchases offered. Everyone entering the Sprayground must have a paid admission (including parents).

You may purchase no more than six reservations for each time slot, including children and adults. A receipt, either printed or viewable on your phone, needs to be shown for entry. Refunds for Sprayground closures — listed at least one hour before start time — will automatically be issued.

Wheeler spray park in Linden (ucnj.org)

Wheeler Spray Park (Union County)

Address (for GPS) 248 W Stimpson Ave, Linden
Starting June 21, there are two daily sessions by paid admission. All visitors 12 and younger must be accompanied by an adult (18 or older).
Session 1 – 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Session 2 – 3:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Paid admission is only good for one session
Kids 12 & younger (Union County residents) – $2
Kids 12 & younger (non-Union County residents) - $4
Adults 18 & older (Union County residents) $3
Adults 18 & older (non-Union County residents) $6
This spray park in Linden first opened in summer 2019, with a sea serpent, pirate ship, two tube slides and a VW bus sprinkler among its features.

Asbury Splash Park on the Asbury Park boardwalk (Monmouth County)

After the Splash Park was closed for all of 2020 — its operators were hoping to reopen in early July. Splash Park admission rates are as follows:
Children: $9
Adults: $5
Family (2 Children + 2 Adults): $20

Bridgeton City Splash Park (Cumberland County)

$3 a person, per 2 hour session (of which there are three a day). It's next to the Cohanzick Zoo. Water shoes required.

Waterworks Aquatic Complex in West Windsor (Middlesex County) 

Almost 20 bucks per adult/child, varying by day and age.

Randolph Park Beach (Morris County)

June 21 - August 29: Open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Weekend and holiday admission is reserved for beach club members and Randolph residents. Non-member visitors who are not Randolph residents can pay $10 per person for weekday admission (it's $5 for municipal residents for the day).

Closed to the public for 2021

Splash Pad at Michael J. Tighe Park in Freehold (Monmouth County)

Open to the public only summer weekends, unless otherwise noted, Sat & Sun 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. $4 Children 12 & under, $3 Adults.

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