These are the 10 Best Amusement Parks in the United States!

A family riding a carousel

These are the 10 Best Amusement Parks in the United States!

There are lots of good reasons to go to amusement parks—but do you really need a reason? Just picture it: pulse-pounding thrill rides, taste bud-tantalizing fair foods, and lazy river floats when you need a little break from all that excitement! Want some more reasons you don’t need? We’ve got you! 

Theme parks are usually located in areas that are easy to travel to, making them an ideal place for multiple families to meet up for a family reunion. The easier travel route also makes them a good place to go with young kids—and many are within driving distance, so check on local options!

Rather than being staggeringly expensive, visiting an amusement park can fit into most budgets, depending on where and when you go. While the largest parks don’t have much of an “off season,” there are still deals to be found by avoiding the busiest times of year, and you’ll also get shorter lines for all the rides.

Whether your family is the more adventurous type and are down for riding every rollercoaster at least once, or yours is into super fun experiences but hold the adrenaline, there’s a theme park somewhere across the country that’s perfect for you. Read on for our list of the ten best amusement parks in the United States!

Disneyland Park

What better place to start our list than “The Happiest Place on Earth”? Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California, is probably the most iconic amusement park on our list! You’ve either got childhood memories of visiting the park, childhood memories of being jealous of your friends who went, or childhood memories of watching a movie or TV show where the characters went to the park.

Disneyland’s claim to fame from the very beginning was its multiple themed “lands” featuring characters from different Disney properties, each with its own aesthetic, rides, mascot characters, and attractions. From the Pirates of the Caribbean to Star Wars, there’s something at Disneyland that will appeal to everyone’s inner child—and to your literal children!

Disneyland is open year-round, and you’ll want to plan ahead to get the most from your trip. There are many themed hotels affiliated with the park, as well as other lodging options nearby if you don’t want to stay right next to the park. For extra fun, consider visiting during one the themed holidays and plan accordingly.

Walt Disney World Resort

What better place to put second on our list than the home of the Magic Kingdom? Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, is perhaps the only amusement park on our list equally as well known as Disneyland Park! 

Walt Disney World has Disneyland beat, going beyond including different “lands” all the way to including four distinct and different theme parks within the resort.

The Magic Kingdom is what most people think of when they think of Disney World: Cinderella’s Castle, Space Mountain, Under the Sea, Tomorrowland, and more. The EPCOT center celebrates different cultures around the globe with rides, festivals and foods. Disney’s Hollywood Studios includes Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and the Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror. The fourth theme park within a theme park, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, has numerous rides along with rare animals.

Walt Disney World is open year-round, and you’ll want to plan ahead to make sure you’re able to see everything you want as the park is huge! Choose a home base because each area has its own on-site lodging with exclusive activities and areas.

Universal Orlando Resort

If you’re Team Universal, you’ll want to plan a visit to at least one of the three distinct theme parks within Universal Orlando Resort. Yes, we said three! (And yes, that would probably sound more impressive if it wasn’t following Walt Disney World, moving on!)

Universal Studios is where you’ll find tons of family-friendly rides, activities, and other attractions showcasing characters and locations from movies and TV series like Transformers, Despicable Me, and The Simpsons.

Universal’s Islands of Adventure features more thrill rides, including the Incredible Hulk Coaster, Jurassic Park River Adventure, and Skull Island: Reign of Kong; they also have a great play area for kids!

Universal’s Volcano Bay Water Theme Park is the waterpark of your dreams with over 15 rides including slides, pools, lazy rivers, and an aqua coaster.

Universal Orlando Resort is open year-round, and as with all the other larger parks on this list, you’ll want to make a plan and stick to it—a good place to start could be having each family member pick a few “can’t miss” rides and add more from there!

Six Flags Magic Mountain

If you’re looking for a park that can split the difference between fun attractions for kids of all ages and impressive thrill rides for adults (and maybe for some of the braver—and taller!—kids), Six Flags Magic Mountain is just the place!

Imagine family rides like bumper cars, swing rides, and a miniature train you can ride through the park. Now imagine a 250-plus foot drop and a roller coaster that’s the longest (3,300 feet) and tallest (131 feet) single-rail coaster in the United States. Both of these very different park experiences can be yours with one visit to one park, so if you want to min/max your vacation, Six Flags is the best park for you!

Six Flags Magic Mountain is open year-round (but not every day, so plan ahead). Nearby lodging options range from co-branded offerings like the Best Western Valencia/Six Flags to the Embassy Suites Valencia to smaller, more local choices. Many options are very close to the park as it’s only about 35 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari

We’re going to tell you something, and we want you to say the first thing you think of. Okay, ready? There is an amusement park in Santa Claus, Indiana. What do you think is at the amusement park? 

Did you guess it would be roller coasters and water rides? Neither did we, and we wrote this! It’s surprising, but true. Holiday World & Splash Safari is one of southern Indiana’s best kept secrets for families on a budget. Guests of the park get free parking, wi-fi, complimentary sunscreen and soft drinks, and admission covers both the amusement park and the water park!

Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari is open from May through mid-September, but make sure to align your schedule before heading on your way because it’s only open daily in June and July. For nearby lodging, consider adding camping to your amusement park trip at the Sun Outdoors Like Rudolph, a campground with RV and tent sites, rental cabins and cottages, and its own on-site water park.

Fun Spot America

Another more affordable option when it comes to family amusement park vacations, Fun Spot America, located in Orlando, Florida, offers roller coasters, drop rides, spin rides, a Ferris wheel, and more. One attraction that really helps to set Fun Spot America apart from other amusement parks is its premium go-kart tracks—yes, we said premium go-kart tracks (plural).

If your family wants to strap into some go-karts, strap on your helmets, and race each other around the track, or if you want to form a family league and spend the day racing other families in a head-to-head go-kart competition to show who’s the best on the track, we couldn’t think of a better place to do it than Fun Spot America!

Fun Spot America is open most days but check their calendar first if you’re visiting outside of the summer. Being in Orlando means plenty of options when it comes to finding nearby lodging, with prices ranging from economical to a bit of a splurge.

SeaWorld San Diego

SeaWorld isn’t just about orcas performing tricks, there’s a whole amusement park in there and it’s easily one of the best! Roller coasters and rides are scattered throughout the park with everything from swing rides to spin rides to drop rides. They also have a collection of large coasters, with the crown jewel of that collection being the Emperor, which is the tallest, longest, and fastest dive coaster in California. 

SeaWorld San Diego is open year-round. Unlike every other amusement park on this list, they don’t have any on-site hotels, but they do have partnerships with nearby resorts offering vacation packages.

Knott’s Berry Farm

Started as a small berry farm near Anaheim, California in the 1920s, Knott’s Berry Farm is now a large and sprawling theme park with four different themed regions. Camp Snoopy’s rides and attractions are for the youngest kids; the Old West Ghost Town has Western-themed coasters along with a saloon; Knott’s Boardwalk is So Cal beach vibes and offers the park’s most extreme roller coasters plus a stage for live entertainment; Fiesta Village showcases California’s Hispanic roots in its rides and architecture.

Knott’s Berry Farm is open every day, with the water park open from late May to early September. Nearby accommodations are available, or stay on-site at the Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel for the shortest commute possible to your best day ever!


Less of a Berry Guy and more of a Chocolate Guy? We got you!

Hersheypark has roller coasters, water rides, family rides, and it’s also home to Hershey’s Chocolate World. There you’ll find every possible chocolate dessert, drink, snack, and meal imaginable. (If we eat nothing but chocolate for lunch, that counts as a meal made of chocolate and we won’t hear otherwise.) Included with the entry fee to Hersheypark is admission to ZooAmerica, where you can see more than 200 animals native to North America.

Located in Hershey, Pennsylvania, you’ll have a range of accommodation choices, but if you want the real Hershey’s experience, you’ll want to stay at the Hershey Lodge. This resort has guest suites with lots of space for families, and its own indoor pool and chocolate-themed spa treatments at the on-site spa.

Busch Gardens

If you’ve never been, you might be thinking, “Busch like the beer?” and yes, it’s Busch like the beer! One thing Busch Gardens has over all the other amusement parks on our list is the free beer. (Two free seven-ounce beers per visit to the park for Pass Members and one free seven-ounce beer per visit to the park for guests that aren’t Pass Members.)

Now if you’re thinking free beer is cool, but what else do they have besides free beer? We’d have to agree with you: free beer is cool! And besides the free beer, they have a full theme park with its own water park, and a zoo with more than 200 species of animals.

Rides include a triple-launch roller coaster, a 335-foot drop tower, whitewater rafting, and family-friendly rides including a spin coaster. Throughout the park you’ll also see live shows ranging from live music to stories performed by Sesame Street characters.

Located in Tampa Bay, Busch Gardens is less than 10 miles away from downtown Tampa, which means lodging options are plentiful across a range of price points. Busch Gardens is open year-round and every day of the year.

Cornhole World

When you need the best, most affordable, most crowd-pleasing, and fun theme park to visit on short notice (say for a couple hours between dinner and bedtime), we’ve got just the perfect place! Pack up your wife, kids, and dog into the family car—and then get back out again because you’re already at Cornhole World, located right in your own backyard!

Whatever your reason for playing Cornhole—and honestly, who needs a reason?—do it with your own custom cornhole board from Cornhole Worldwide! All you need to do is submit a request, and one of our digital artists will bring your design to life. We also have hundreds of themed sets if you aren’t interested in designing your own.

Now that you’ve added every single one of the ten best amusement parks in the United States to your bucket list, the only question left is… which one do you want to go to first?

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