A low balance in your checking account and not enough vacation time should not be factors in deciding to whether or where to have fun. Amusement parks are very entertaining, affordable and a wild substitute.
The amusement parks on the following list have been selected based on several criteria, including the variety of their features. The parks have many different types of slides – from water coasters to roller coasters, thrilling rides and heart-stopping vertical drops. Arcades, zip lines and gondolas have become a regular feature.
The 20 acre waterpark and amusement park located ¼ of a mile from the beach has the best collection of water rides on the Gulf Coast. One ticket gets you access to Waterville USA's waterpark, all of the water attractions, and the amusement park attractions, which include the Nascart Go-Carts, Cannonball Run roller coaster, 36 holes of miniature golf, Trampoline Thing, and the Flowrider.
There are no theme parks in Alaska, but the state’s only indoor waterpark is open year-round— even when it's really cold outside. H2Oasis, which is 56,000 square feet, making it the fifth largest indoor waterpark in the country, features a Master Blaster uphill water coaster, a wave pool, and a lazy river. You can learn how to swim there or take water aerobics.
The “Golf ~n~ Stuff” side of the park, which includes four world-class 18-hole, miniature golf courses, massive tri-level Arcade, Go Karts, and Bumper Boats, has been open since 1977. The “Rides ~n~ Stuff” part was added in 199. It includes the Desert Storm coaster, carousel, free fall adventure, spinning tops and flying bugs.
Magic Springs & Crystal Falls, really the only entrainment and amusement-style parks in Arkansas, has a lot of water and many thrill rides, family rides, and kid’s rides. Parents can relax at the cabanas or try their surfing skills on the Boogie Blast. The little ones love the High Sierra Slide Tower and Splash Island. Don’t miss the Gauntlet to travel hanging along 2,200 feet at speeds up to 50 mph. The Twister is also on the “must do” list.
There are a lot of awesome amusements parks in the Golden State. At Disney California you get to explore seven lands – from a desert to under the sea – with timeless entertainment showcases like World of Color, seasonal celebrations and transformations year-round. The newest attraction is Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!
Did you know that the park was also one of the first zoos west of Chicago? Two new thrill rides added last year, one wet and one wild. The most famous perhaps is the Star Flyer. It is a 17-story extreme swing ride on which people are flying round and round at more than 50 mph. In the water park, Mega Wedgie steals the show. People race down from 6 stories high.
Lake Compounce has something for everyone – roller coasters, water rides and shows. Hop on their newest coaster, the Phobia! For some adrenaline pumping fun, one of the world’s best wooden coasters is the Boulder Dash. Take the kids to Kids Comedy Hour where they will enjoy nonstop laughs and enjoy the Step Right Up show. Also make sure you slide down Lights Out, a high speed waterslide in the dark.
Funland is a free-admission amusement park. Visitors purchase a la carte tickets. A bonus is that they are also good forever – If you don’t use them all in one year, you can bring them back next season. There are 19 rides that range from classic rides, like the carousel, to more modern adventures aboard the Superflip or Freefall. The SeaDragon is among the more popular attractions. It is an open-seated gondola/pirate ship ride.
Universal Studios Florida is a place like no other. Explore iconic worlds, view otherwordy landscapes, ride adrenaline pumping rides, and watch family friendly shows. There are a variety of sections in the park, some of which include Woody Woodpecker’s Kidzone, Hollywood, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which is among the most famous adventure there, and World Expo, just to name a few.
This is among the most popular family attractions in the state featuring dozens of thrill rides, shows, and activities. The Acrophobia will get your hurt pumping really fast as you're dropped over 200 thrilling feet. Batman The Ride and Blue Hawk are also among everyone’s favorites. This season the famous wooden scream-maker will officially run backward for a limited time.
This is a large outdoor water park with thrilling slides. There are more than 25 exhilarating attractions that range from chill to moderate and extreme. The park is Oahu’s top 10 most visited family attraction on the island and recently voted Best of Honolulu Magazine’s “Best Family Attraction.” Located on 29-acres in lavish tropical landscaping and natural cliffs, visitors will find many different adventures for both kids and their parents.
This is the largest theme park in the Northwest with 65 rides, including six coasters. One of the most famous rides, the Tremors, is also one of the top-rated wooden coasters in the U.S. You slowly climb up 100 feet in the air, then turn and make a drop of 103 feet. Then you twist, drop some more and go through four tunnels. Another high intensity attraction is the Sky Diver – you twist and turn in every direction imaginable.
Goliath at Six Flags in Gurnee is one of the most extreme coasters in the world. It broke three world records at its debut: Fastest wooden coaster at 72 mph; tallest drop for a wooden coaster at 180 feet; and steepest drop for a wooden coaster at a near-vertical 85 degrees. It has three over-banked turns, a 180-degree zero G-roll twist, two wild inversions, and a spiraling inverted zero G stall.
Rent a locker and store your personal items, because Adventureland’s thrill rides are sure to blow you away. Spin and swing on the Sidewinder, ride the 3,200 foot long Tornado roller coaster and prepare to be launched straight into the sky on the Space Shot.
This is Kansas' largest 10-day event showcasing Kansas agriculture, industry, and commerce. There is a wide variety of entertainment and exhibits for people of all ages. One of its best perks is that you can reserve a campsite in the full-service RV park.
Get ready for some heart-pumping rides. Kentucky Kingdom and Hurricane Bay is full of full-filled attractions. Enjoy movies in the 5-D Cinema, see the park from above on the Giant Wheel, experience fast speeds on the Lightning Run, and get soaked on the Raging Rapids River Ride. Then make your way to Hurricane Bay and ride the Forbidden Passage. Have fun with your family in the Family Wave Lagoon and spike your adrenaline on the Waikiki Wipeout.
One price includes admission to the Blue Bayou waterpark. Dixie Landin’, which is designed with family-fun in mind, and the neighboring Blue Bayou have a total of 47 rides. The Azuka is the world's largest tornado slide. Four people are dropped from 80 feet into a 70-foot wide funnel where riders swing back and forth. One of Dixie Landin’s best known attractions is the Ragin Cajun. It is a giant steel looping roller coaster that drops from 14 stories up. The Splinter, a log flume ride, has drops between 26 and 50 feet.
With a combination of two parks, Funtown Ride Park and Splashtown Water Park, it’s no wonder this is the best amusement park in Maine. It features the state’s only wooden roller coaster – Excalibur, and New England’s longest and tallest log flume – Thunder Falls.
The park opened the Cyclone, the world’s first Cart Coaster, in 2015. A few years before then Aqua Loop, the East Coast’s only 360 Degree Looping Water Slide, was added at SplashMountain. Also, did you know that a free circus is offered twice daily at the amusement park?
This is the oldest Six Flags of all in the U.S. People go for thrilling rides, exciting events and tons of entertainment. Take the kids to character meet & greets, hop on the 7-story inverting coaster, the fireball and enjoy spectacular views from the tallest swing ride in the world, the New England SkyScreamer. This park has also partnered with local hotel and lodging locations.
The Shivering Timbers ride is not to be missed. This is the longest wooden roller coaster in the state with a half mile out, and then a half mile back. Riders plunge at speeds of up to 65 mph. Go on a kayaking trip along the Grand Rapids and get soaked as you board giant rafts and meet the challenge of rocks, drops, and even waterfalls. Try the RipCord to soar through the air after experiencing a 180 foot free fall at speeds of up to 80 miles per hour.
This is really a whole universe of entertainment opportunities for kids and adults. Ride a “wave of air” rocking back and forth to reach heights of 70 feet as air and fire forces rage in battle around you on the Avatar Airbender; spin round and round, upside down or backwards on the Brain Surge; or help rid a haunted mansion of its unwelcome guests on the Ghost Blasters. There are nearly 30 fun and thrilling attractions in the park. The mall has more to offer. The Water Park of America is the tallest indoor waterpark in the country (which only makes sense probably because it’s in the biggest mall in the nation). Its main attraction is the Eagles Nest 10th Floor Body Slide, also the tallest indoor waterslide in the U.S.
This is a unique outdoor water park that is actually part of the Pearl River Resort casino complex. Some of the better known attractions include a half-pipe ride, a wave pool, and a trio of speed slides built into the natural terrain of a 60-foot hill. The Backsplash is the first waterslide of its kind in America. Riders zip through a tunnel, after which an exciting drop into the ramp follows. Then they travel backwards into the splash pool. It’s basically a roller coaster and waterslide in one ride. For visitors who want to relax, go to the Clearwater Key – eight acres of white sand beaches and crystal clear pools in a tropical environment.
By far, the best amusement park in Missouri is the famous Silver Dollar City. It is a 1880s style theme park that features over 40 thrilling rides and attractions, award-winning food, live shows and concerts and 60 unique shops. Make time for the TIME TRAVELER, a revolutionary coaster the company says is the fastest, steepest and tallest spinning coater. It features a 95-foot tall vertical loop.
It features bumper cars, slides, a giant whirlpool, go-karts, mini-golf, and arcade games. Go on the Big Splash River Ride for a feel of what a kayaking trip along wild rapids would feel like; climb the seven-story GERONIMO Speed Slide; or play water wars with balloons.
One ticket gives you access to waterpark attractions and amusement park rides. This is the state’s premier ride and waterpark with The Big Ohhhhh! roller coaster, go-karts, Lazzzy River, Motion Ocean, and a challenging 18-hole mini golf course. Fun-Plex has Nebraska’s only swim up bar - 1,800 sq. ft. pool with bars & stools inside. Go on the Tilt-A-Whirl and enjoy one of the most popular carnival rides as you spin yourself around. Don’t skip the Typhoon Falls for some twists and turns down a 5-story, mountain waterfall.
Featuring 25 rides and attractions, this theme park will provide you with indoor fun for the entire family. Speed through the world’s only indoor double-loop, double-corkscrew roller coaster on the Canyon Blaster, hop on the Drifters, a hot air balloon ferris wheel, and enter the Xtreme Zone for indoor bungee jumping and rock climbing. You can also have fun in the arcade, play miniature golf and take on the Batman Laser Challenge.
This is the place to bring kids if you are planning a vacation in New Hampshire. Story Land has 21 kid’s attractions that are specially designed for a unique shared experience for both parents and their children. The newest attraction, the Roar-O-Saurus,” is the only wooden roller coaster of its kind in northern New England. It is the major component of Story Land’s new Dinosaur themed section of the park.
From fast roller coasters to kiddie rides, events and a variety of entertainment options, there are so many activities to choose from at this amusement park. Take the kids to character meet and greets, spike your adrenaline on Batman: The Ride, and get soaked on the Congo Rapids.
This is the largest amusement park in the state. The 30-acre amusement park, which has been opened since 1960 (it was first located in El Paso), has more than 25 rides and attractions, including the well-known roller coaster El Bandido and the popular Hurricane, Tsunami, Paratrooper, Tilt-a Whirl, and Pharaoh's Fury rides.
Coney Island is a world-famous, classic entertainment area in Brooklyn, with several small amusement parks with more than 50 separate rides and attractions. Make sure you go on the Cyclone roller coaster and explore the Luna Park. The iconic Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, which 15 is stories high and carries 144 people at a time, is a must-do when you visit. The design has been replicated full-size at Disney’s California Adventure and at Dreamland in Japan.
Carowinds is by far one of the best amusement parks. It features a variety of new experiences. Fury 325 is one of their most popular rides. It won the Golden Ticket Award for “Best New Ride in the World.” Ride their 13 world-class roller coasters, take the kids to Planet Snoopy, watch their live entertainment, hop on some family-friendly rides, and, when you get too hot, head to the Carolina Harbor Waterpark.
North Dakota doesn’t have theme parks but the Thunder Road Fargo is a great alternative. It features batting cages, mini-golf, go-karts, bumper cars, laser tag, and arcade games.
Also known as the “Roller Coaster Capitol of the World,” Cedar Point is the ultimate amusement park. With about 20 world-class roller coasters, a variety of family-friendly rides, kid’s areas, a waterpark and live entertainment, you will never run out of things to do. Summertime is one of the best times of the year to visit – there are tons of events, including Dive-In Movies, the North American Demo Boat Show, and Cedar Point Nights.
This is the only amusement park in the state. Frontier City has 50 thrill, family, kiddie and water rides and many free concerts and shows for different ages. Visitors love the Silver Bullet. They say it’s like being shot from a cannon as you rocket through a high-speed steel looping coaster. The wild thrill ride has people flip, twist, and spin in a dizzying 60-foot rise and descent. With two motor controlled rotations and a third driven only by gravity, it's a unique experience. Don’t skip the Tumbleweed to see what 3G of centrifugal force feels like as this barrel ride spins and the floor gives way.
This is the place for family fun in and around Portland. Amusement park operations open March-September, roller skating open year round. There are over 20 rides. The park specializes in family rides designed to be enjoyed together.
Sesame Place® has become the first theme park in the world designated as a Certified Autism Center. A signature ride is Oscar’s Wacky Taxi™. It is a one of a kind wooden-steel hybrid roller coaster. Thrill seekers of all sizes will enjoy the adrenaline-charged first drop and lots of air-time.
This is an old-fashioned family-fun oriented park with a carousel, batting cages, bumper boats, mini-golf, and an arcade. It started out as a wet/dry fun park. “This place is small, but packed with good, clean, outdoor fun for kids 6-16. Some adults will enjoy as well” and “We had so much fun here the combo prices are worth the money” are some of the reviews on TripAdvisor. People gave the park mostly great reviews on Yelp as well.
This family-friendly amusement park features more than 38 thrilling rides; some of their most famous include the Twist ‘n Shout steel roller coaster, Swamp Fox wooden roller coaster and the Slingshot Drop Zone. Enjoy tons of family rides, attractions, games and tasty treats.
Thunder Road Sioux Falls has golf carts, batting cages, laser tag, and human foosball for a fun twist on amusement parks. Fly high with the bungee trampoline which flings you in the air. Kids are also going to love the Lazer Maze. They will weave through a labyrinth of lasers and obstacles to beat the clock, feeling like they are in a Mission Impossible movie.
Dollywood, Tennessee’s most popular amusement park, is located on the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. It features over 40 rides, 15 spectacular shows, tons of festivals and delicious Southern-style dining options.
Swim with Beluga whales, sea lions and have an up-close encounter with Bottlenose dolphins. Go in time for the annual Seven Seas Food Festival between April 20 and May 28. Set sail on a celebration of flavors, cuisines and cultures. Don’t miss Aquatica right next to SeaWorld. It offers water rides from serene to extreme.
Experience their 50 thrilling rides, get your adrenaline pumping on their X-Venture attractions, slide through whitewater waves at Lagoon A Beach, explore the Wild West in Pioneer Village and watch tons of high-energy shows, each of which are free with admission to the park. Then, when you’re hungry, have a tasty meal in one of Lagoon Amusement Park’s many food locations.
The Mountain Adventure Park at Vermont's Summer Adventure is packed with fun for people of all ages. Shoot the rapids on the Big Splash, play basketball, go golfing...The park has it all. Enjoy the fast track on the triple-track Alpine Slide, challenge yourself on the 24' multi-faced "real-rock" wall, test your skills on the Giant Swing, and learn how to throw a back flip on the Trampoline.
The park has six roller coasters, tons of thrill rides and special events throughout the year. It’s also only three miles away from one of the best waterparks in the world – Water Country USA. Go on a white water rafting adventure, plummet down a 701-foot-long flume and go free-floating down a lazy river.
It’s full of exciting attractions. Twist and turn down the Mountain Dew Slide Complex, face the rapids on the Raging River Ride, and when you’re ready to relax, float around the Konga River or pop into one of their four Warming Tubs.
This is a small but classic trolley park that has been around for more than a century. It has more than 30 rides and attractions, the most famous of which may be the Big Dipper wood coaster and other common amusement park features such as Dodgems and log flume. Other major rides include the Rattler, the Flying Scouter, and Haunted House. Visitors also go for the games, fireworks, concerts and special events.
This is the Water Park Capital of the World. The gigantic indoor/outdoor Mount Olympus Water & Theme Park is one of the largest in the entire state. There is a huge variety of G-rated family fun attractions and more than 200 water slides. You’re also going to see six roller coasters, go karts, bumper cars, and batting cages.
Star Plunge is known as a water park with several pools and slides, but it’s mostly famous for it hot mineral tubs. Featured attractions at the park include three water slides, indoor pool, outdoor pool, sun decks, high jump, basketball hoop, hot tub, two Jacuzzis, steam cave, fitness room, baby pool and a new fountain waterfall.