Theme parks a great way to thrill yourself and you find some of the best theme parks in the world in the US itself. From dizzy roller coasters to exhilarating thrill rides, theme parks can be a great way to break away from the norm and experience life on the edge. Apart from the excitement of rides at theme parks, they are also great places to enjoy shows or the slower-paced Ferris wheel.
When you consider theme parks, there is plenty of versatility with regards to the amusement they offer. From jaw-dropping state-of-the-art thrill rides to classical wooden roller coasters, there are theme parks in the US that are sure to keep you on the edge.
If you’re looking for the best theme park to visit in the US, or are looking for a bucket list of theme parks to tick off one by one, you have come to the right place. Regardless of which theme park you choose from our list, you are guaranteed a day of fun.
Hence, without further adieu, let’s take a look at some of the best amusement parks on the US map.
1. Legoland California, Calsbad, California
Legoland California is the first Legoland amusement park in the US. It offers a truly spectacular day of fun for the kids and families. Better aimed for younger children, Legoland offers plenty of Lego-themed rides. There are various attractions that you can partake in.
Legoland California offers a three in one package, with a theme park, a water park and a sea life aquarium. As mentioned prior, the park is better suited for younger children as opposed to teens and there are more than 60 ‘kid-powered, kid-tastic rides, shows and attractions.’
The rides are well suited for children between the ages of 2 and 12. Kids have the chance to drive their own cars at the Driving School or immerse themselves in shows with knights, princesses and dragons.
Apart from the live shows that are on offer, there is also a 4D movie experience that is sure to be appealing to not just the children, but adults too.
All in all, you are undoubtedly in for a fun ride!
For more information or to book your tickets, follow the link to the Legoland California website.
2. Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio
Considered an ultimate destination for fun, Cedar Point located in Ohio has 18 world-class roller coasters and three separate areas filled with rides.
Rides are only part of everything this theme park offers. They have a line-up of award-winning live entertainment. When you are all exhausted from riding one roller coaster after another, take a breather with some of the live shows which are on offer at Cedar Point. From rock to pop to country and more, there is surely something or the other that is sure to catch your eye and soothe your ear.
They also have special events such as Coaster Campout which is no ordinary camping trip; you would be camping inside the amusement park itself. There are various special events throughout the year brought to you by Ceder Point, so make to check their websites for what is happening around this time of the year. We have a link to their website later down this section of the article.
Cedar Point also has a great waterpark. Cedar Point Shores Waterpark is 18 acres of water sliding fun for the entire family. You can lounge in beautiful cabanas or test your courage on some of the craziest water slides.
Regardless of what you are looking to do, there is so much to do at Cedar Point that one day may simply not be enough to cover the whole park. After all, there are 18 roller coasters, which alone would take quite some time to cover.
3. Busch Gardens, Williamsburg, Virginia
This European themed amusement park is located near historic Virginia City. Busch Gardens is a treat for both children and adults. When you are all tucked out from enjoying the rides at Busch Gardens, you can enjoy some of the internationally-inspired cuisine, which is sure to delight you.
There is a Food & Wine Festival at the park which usually takes place in spring. There you have the chance to experience over 100 international flavours and sip some beautiful wines, brews and cocktails from around the world. It is Virginia’s largest spring food & wine festival. You have to make a reservation prior to arriving at the park and you should look to reserve your tickets well ahead of time. We will leave you a link to the website where you can reserve tickets, later on in this section of the article.
Apart from the rides and roller coasters that are plentiful in the park, there are also various animal attractions that can be great for younger children and adults. From aviary birds to Norway rats and red foxes, there a variety of programs aimed to both educate and entertain you.
All in all, you would find yourself spending a day filled with excitement and joy!
4. Nickelodeon Universe, Bloomington, Minnesota
Located in Minnesota on the US map, Nickelodeon Universe is a cartoon-inspired theme park that packs a punch for the entire family.
There are 27 rides and adventures including various thrill rides for older children and adults to slow-paced fun rides for the juniors such as the Back at the Barnyard Hayride. There are some great attractions for families, like the Backyardigans Swing-Along.
With a great combination of thrill and junior rides, the park is ideal if you have both old and young children. With the majority of the rides more suited for the juniors, the park is surely more suited for young children. Don’t get us wrong though, there are thrill rides such as the Shredder’s Mutant Masher, which is sure to be exciting for the older children and yourself.
You also have a chance to meet your favourite Nickelodeon character and take pictures with them.
All in all, the park is well suited for Nickelodeon lovers and there is plenty of fun to be had for the entire family. Capacity is limited, so you would have to ensure that you book your tickets ahead of time to avoid any disappointments.
5. Kentucky Kingdom, Louisville, Kentucky
Kentucky Kingdom with a giant Ferris Wheel and an amazing water park is sure to provide a day of fun for the whole family.
The theme park has six amazing rollercoasters and a great water park. There are various kid-friendly rides, with something for everyone. Whether you prefer lounging in the waters or screaming on a roller coaster, you can have your pick with regards to what you want to do.
The shows at the park changes throughout the year. You are sure to catch something exciting, hence be sure to check their website beforehand to make sure you don’t miss the shows on your visit.
The Kentucky Gardens is home to thousands of trees, shrubs, perennial plants and annual flowers and is sure to provide a relaxing time for the whole family.
6. Silverwood Theme Park, Athol, Idaho
Silverwood Theme Park is the northwest’s largest theme park with various waterslides, rides and attractions. Located in northern Idaho, the theme park has over 70 rides, slides, shows and attractions.
The Boulder Beach Water Park is sure to provide a cooling break from riding the thrill rides at the park. With plenty of live entertainment and restaurants, there is plenty to do for adults, while the children enjoy a day filled with thrilling rides and games.
There are various shows on offer at the theme park and a selection of arcade and carnival-style games.
There are some high-intensity rides, perfect for thrill-seekers. For those looking for slower-paced fun, there is a selection of low-intensity rides which are perfect for younger children.
7. Canobie Lake Park, Salem, New Hampshire
Listed as one of the top 10 amusement parks in America, the park offers more than 85 amazing attractions which include family and kids rides, exhilarating thrill rides and some cool water rides.
There are various games that you can partake in from midway classics to the latest arcade games. There are puzzle rooms and a VR maze. In fact, there are so many games on offer at the park that you simply would not find the time to play them all.
There are slow-paced rides that are perfect for young children and some amazing thrill rides more suited for older children and adults. If you have children both young and old, you are sure to find something here for everybody.
If you are looking to cool off, the Castaway Island Water Park offers various water rides including a Tidal River and Log Flume. Whether you are looking to get wet or stay dry, you are sure to have a fun time!
8. Dutch Wonderland, Lancaster Pennsylvania
This park is great for young children, however, if you are visiting with older children, this park may not offer as much. Just to clarify, right next to the Dutch Wonderland is the world’s first Cartoon Network Hotel which offers a surprising treat for any kid.
The park offers some great rides for kids and families and is a very kid-friendly theme park. It’s perfect for family time and the kids will simply love it.
If your kids are looking to get wet, Duke’s Lagoon is a great multi-level platform, filled with kid-sized slides, spray nozzles, jets and tipping buckets.
Exploration Island offers a Dino Dig and a Prehistoric Path with 22 life-like dinosaurs. All in all, the park is a great place for young children. There are also a variety of shows and some great thrill rides for young children.
9. Funland, Rehoboth Beach, Delware
Funland at Rehoboth Beach is a classic beach boardwalk park with dozens of carnival-style rides mostly suited for kids and young children. There are various games and an arcade, which all add up to the fun to be had here.
There are 17 rides at Funland which are sure to excite the whole family. From classic rides such as the carousel to more thrilling rides such as the Superflip360, there is a good mix of rides for both adults and children.
With the majority of the rides geared for the younger children, there are four major rides that would appeal to older children and adults.
This carnival-style theme park is sure to be a treat. We had to include a classic beach boardwalk park into this list. The list would be incomplete without it.
10. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Tampa Florida
Ranked amongst the top 10 best amusement parks by USA Today, Busch Garden Tampa Bay offers a great mix of fun for both young and older children. From animal safaris to thrilling rides, the park has a variety of attractions.
The park is an African-themed amusement park and has a highly accredited zoo with over 200 species of animals.
The rides are some of Florida’s best. If you are a thrill-seeker, this amusement park is sure to be a treat for you. There are even roller coasters that are suited for young children, like Air Grover, which is a Sesame Street kids’ ride which is located in Sesame Street Safari of the Fun play area.
As mentioned prior, the theme park offers a great mix of fun for both young and older children alike.
11. Seabreeze Amusement Park, Rochester, New York
Plenty of kid-friendly rides and coasters at Seabreeze Amusement Park in New York. There is a great amount of wholesome family fun to be had at the park, with a variety of games and shows.
There is an arcade with a great selection of machines to play and various prizes to be won. There is also an amazing water park at the Seabreeze Amusement Park which makes it a great place for both children and adults. There is a lazy river and a kiddie water area with kiddie slides and a tad pool.
If you are looking for thrill rides, the park has a great selection of rides that are sure to exhilarate you. The thrill rides are more suited to older children and adults, however, there are rides such as the Bobsleds which is open for children taller than 38″.
The park is sure to provide a great day of fun for the whole family.
12. Santa’s Village, Jefferson, New Hampshire
It’s Christmas, regardless of which time of the year you visit this amusement park. This holiday-themed amusement part has various winter and Christmas inspired rides that are great for young children.
You can feed the reindeer while the kids enjoy the various rides which are open to them. Though not limited to young children, this theme park is, however, more suited for the young ones. The majority of the rides are aimed at young children, from the Skyway Sleigh to the Reindeer Carousel.
When you are all tired from going on all the rides, you can cool off at the water park. The water park has four main features with various kiddie slides and splashes.
All in all, the children will have an amazing time and you will be more loved for taking them there.
13. Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg, Pennsylvania
Kneobels is the country’s largest free-admission park with various pay-as-you-go attractions for both children and adults.
There are some great treats for the young ones such as a Ball Crawl, while the older children can have a dizzying thrill on rides such as the Fandango.
With a variety of rides to choose from, there is surely plenty for kids of all ages. Whether you are travelling with young children or older teenagers, this theme park will not disappoint you.
If you are looking to cool off after running around the park, you can make a splash at the Knoebels Crystal Pool which is nearly 900,000 gallons of refreshing mountain stream water.
14. Fun Spot America, Kissimmee, Florida
Filled with classical amusement park rides and carnival-style games, Fun Spot America is a fun and affordable option for those who are looking for a spot to have fun.
There are rides for both kids and adults alike ranging from classics such as Bumper Kars to the thrills of the world’s tallest Skycoaster at 300 feet.
There are rides for children such as the Happy Swing at a height requirement of 36″ and a huge Ferris Wheel.
You can also catch the latest arcade games with something to play for everyone. You can go go-karting in a 4 story high track that features 32-degree banks.
All in all, as the name suggests, you are sure to have a whole lot of fun at this spot.
15. Bay Beach Amusement Park, Green Bay, Wisconsin
This amusement park opened in the 1890s and has entertained families for over a century. There is no entrance fee to the park, however, you do have to purchase tickets for the rides that you want to enjoy.
With a variety of rides for children and adults, this amazing amusement park is sure to provide you with a memorable experience and a day of quality time spent with the family.
There are various kiddie rides for the young ones such as Lady Bugs, Race Cars and Boats. For those looking for the thrill in visiting an amusement park, there are five major thrill rides including the vertical drop, Bay Beast which is perfect for adults.
16. Disney California Adventure Park, Anaheim, California
There is surely fun to be had at the Disney California Adventure Park. Not to be confused with Disneyland which is the parent resort, the Disney California Adventure Park packs a mean punch for both children and adults.
There are a host of fun rides to take part in, including the can’t miss attractions such as the Incredicoaster. Another attraction not to be missed is the airborne hang-gliding flight over the wonders of the world; Soarin’ Around the World. The ride is great for kids, tweens, teens and adults.
There is also some amazing cafes and restaurants where you can have some amazing food. There are kiddie rides for the young ones and all in all, regardless of your age, you are sure to have a delightful time.
17. Silver Dollar City, Branson, Missouri
This 1880s-style theme park has over 40 rides and attractions and plenty of live entertainment. Nestled in the Ozark Mountains, Silver Dollar City offers some great attractions.
There are some amazing coasters at the park and water-filled thrill rides. You can even jump aboard the cruise of Showboat Branson Belle or simply escape into the wilderness at Silver Dollar City’s campgrounds.
Rides like the Mystic River Falls to the American Plunge are sure to get you wet. For thrill-seekers, you can try your hand at the Firefall which is an eight-story fire tower that you rocket skywards at dizzying speeds.
The water park has over 13 acres of rides and slides and has been voted one of America’s best outdoor water parks by USA Today.
18. Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Orlando, Florida
If you ever wanted to carry in the footsteps of your favourite Disney character, then Disney’s Hollywood Studios should be the pick for you.
From building your own Droid at the Droid Depot to Star Tours which is a 3D motion simulation flight to iconic Star Wars destinations, the park is sure to provide a great time for both children and adults alike.
With a host of shows that you can watch, there are Disney characters out and about with whom you can take pictures.
If you are looking for more of a thrill, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will surely keep you entertained with a host of big drop thrill rides which are sure to keep you hanging on for dear life.
19. Disneyland Park, Anaheim, California
Considered one of the most iconic theme parks in the world, you are sure to have a delightful time amidst all the state-of-the-art attractions which leave crowds wanting to come back again and again.
For young children, there is nothing greater than Disneyland and the various enchanting experiences to be had at the park are sure to captivate the young minds. The Disney California Adventure Park as mentioned above is part of Disneyland.
From character interactions to amazing thrill rides, there is a host of things to do for the entire family. Regardless of your age, you are sure to find yourself entertained at Disneyland.
There are some amazingly scary big drop thrill rides and some cool wet rides that are sure to leave you wanting more. It goes without saying, that Disneyland from the name itself may be the most popular pick on this list.
20. Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Dollywood is located in the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. There is a great combination of thrill rides, family-friendly attractions and some amazing music and food to be had at the park.
There is surely something for every member of the family at Dollywood. From amazing dining opportunities to kiddie rides and jaw-dropping thrill rides, Dollywood is a great place for children and adults alike.
Rides like the Dizzy Disk and Daredevil Falls are some of the most favourite rides amongst park goers.
The water park is a great place to splash and cool off with numerous slides and rides to keep you entertained.
21. Universal Studios Hollywood, Los Angeles, California
This film studio theme park is considered one of the most popular destinations on this list for both children and adults alike.
You get to take tram rides through movie sets offering the most ultimate Hollywood experience. You can go behind the scene on the world-famous Studio Tour to explore the sets and learn first hand, how Universal makes such amazing movies.
There are great rides such as Jurrasic World which takes you up close and personal with the creatures of the Jurrasic era. With a host of 3D rides such as Transformers, there is surely so much to do at Universal Studios.
Whether you prefer taking pictures with characters or take on jaw-dropping thrill rides, you are sure to have an amazing time when you visit Universal Studios.
22. Universal Studios Florida, Orlando, Florida
Much like Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Florida offers you the chance the step inside your favourite films and TV shows. This is the second theme park in Universal Orlando Resort.
Once again, you have the chance to interact with your favourite Universal characters from Harry Potter to the minions of Despicable Me.
There are various motion simulation rides to choose from which is entertaining for both children and adults alike.
For the younger children, there are Kids’ Play Areas. Universal Studios Florida is surely a treat for any movie lover. Undoubtedly one of the more popular theme parks on this list, Universal Studios Florida will make you want to come back again.
23. Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Orlando, Florida
You have the chance to experience something truly spectacular here at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The animal-centric experiences at Disney’s Animal Kingdom offer something truly amazing for nature lovers.
You can take a flight on the back of a mountain banshee in the thrilling Avatar Flight of Passage or dive deep into the bioluminescent rainforest in the Na’vi River Journey.
There a host of big drop, spinning and scary thrill rides, perfect for older children and adults. That being said, this doesn’t mean that kids would find themselves bored. There are a host of attractions for kids including various animal encounters as on the Discovery Island Trails.
All in all, by the name of the brand itself, you are sure to expect results. You will not find yourself disappointed.
24. Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Orlando, Florida
There are some amazing movie-themed thrill rides that make this theme park a fan-favourite amongst park goers.
With a host of shows and rides, this theme park is more suited for older children and adults. If you are visiting with younger children, you still will not be disappointed considering the number of shows that are on offer. There are also rides such as the Hogwarts Express which is a great thrill ride for those above the height of 48″. The Caro-Seuss-el for instance is perfect for the little ones.
All in all, you are sure to have an amazing time here at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. If you have teenagers and you’re looking for the right theme park for you, Universal’s Islands of Adventure in Florida could be the right pick for you.
25. Magic Kingdom, Orlando, Florida
With the iconic Cinderella’s Castle and some loved and cherished Disney characters, this theme park is surely more family-friendly and is more suited for kids.
Magic Kingdom is one of the most visited theme parks in the world, with nearly 21 million guests each year. From musical parades to enchanting fireworks, this is a perfect selection if you are looking for a theme park to visit with young children.
There are various family-friendly thrill rides and enchanted characters you would meet on your walks at the park. There are some classic Disney attractions such as Peter Pan’s Flight where you get to fly over London with Peter Pan aboard a magical pirate ship to Never Land.
26. Schlitterbahn Water Park, Texas
This 65-acre water park has been titled the best water park by Amusement Today. There are beaches, uphill water coaster rides and even surfing to be had at Schlitterbahn Water Park.
There are a host of splash rides and slides with varying levels of intensity and thrill. The little ones have areas too, with activity areas such as Butterfly Bayou with kid-friendly slides and splashes.
With so many ride to partake in, you may find it difficult to cover them all on the same day. The park is great for older children and adults and even has something for the little kiddies.
27. Six Flags Magic Mountain, Los Angeles
Taking the top spot for the amusement park with the most roller coasters, Six Flags Magic Mountain has 18 roller coasters that are sure to thrill and excite you.
Better suited for older children and adults, there are also kid rides that are perfect for kiddies, such as the Canyon Blaster and Daffy’s Adventure Tours.
All in all, Six Flags Magic Mountain packs a mean punch for those looking for thrills with monstrous thrills such as the Dive Devil and Goliath which is a 255-foot hypercoaster.
If you are looking for thrills, you should seriously consider Six Flags Magic Mountain.
28. Hersheypark, Hershey, Pennsylvania
Part of the world-famous Hershey chocolate brand, the theme park is family-centric with over 70 rides. This 110 acre is the biggest theme park in Pennsylvania.
There is plenty of family-friendly rides and a good number of bigger rides which are great for older children and adults. That being the case, there are some great rides of the little ones like the mini pirate and mini scrambler.
There is also a wide selection of water rides that are perfect for a hot day.
29. SeaWorld San Diego, California
This theme park is varied from the other theme parks on the list. You get the chance to see a great variety of sea creatures and learn about them.
There are 15 rides at the theme park and 2 play areas. You even have the chance to swim with the dolphins here at SeaWorld San Diego.
Apart from learning about the animals which can be great for young children, there are some amazing thrill rides that are perfect for older children and adults. The Electric Eel is a favourite amongst older children, while the kiddies love rides like Elmo’s Flying Fish.
This varied theme park is sure to provide the whole family with an educative and fun experience.
30. Kings Island, Mason, Ohio
As one of the most visited theme parks in the US, Kings Island is really busy, especially during the summer. There are various family-friendly attractions at the park.
Soak City Water Park is a great place to cool off with tons of slides and attractions from free falls to swimming in the Lookout Lagoon. There is fun to be had for the whole family.
There are various fast lane coasters and thrill rides such as the Delirium which will have you spinning.
Kings Island, which is the last pick of the 30 best amusement parks on the US map, is only open during peak season. Hence before you make any plans, make sure to check on their website for more information. Follow this link to the Kings Island website.
You Decide on the Pick for You
With everything said and done, the decision with regards to which theme park works for you depends on more than one thing. First, you have to consider if the theme park has the right rides for the age group of the people you are travelling with. Surely, there are some theme parks that are more suited for older children and adults while some theme parks are simply better for the young ones.
Secondly, you have to consider the convenience of getting to the location of the park and may have to consider the logistics of planning a vacation. That being the case, a day spent in an amusement park is sure to be fun. Goes without saying, that if you stick to our recommended list and make a wise pick, you are sure to have an amazing time.
We hope that reading this word to word has provided you with the information that you required to start planning a trip to one of these theme parks. Who knows, you may even go-ahead to include them all on your bucket list and tick them off one by one as you go along.