Whether it’s scream-inducing roller coasters, grand shows, or the entertainment of it all that brings you to a theme park, the US has no shortage of them. It can be hard to figure out which ones are the best theme parks in the US though.

Many people don’t realize that there are so many other than Universal Studios and Disney World or Disneyland. There are fantastic theme parks scattered throughout the US that are lots of fun if you can just find them.

While Universal and Disney are iconic and deserve a visit, they are hard to get to for many people. To provide a little variety, here is a list of some of the best theme parks in the US!

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East Coast Theme Parks

Six Flags Great Adventure – Jackson Township, NJ

wooden roller coaster at one of the best theme parks in the US

Located just outside of Jackson, New Jersey, Six Flags Great Adventure lies an hour south of New York City and 1 hour East of Philadelphia. Internationally recognized as one of the best theme parks in the world, Great Adventure is certainly worth a visit when you find yourself around the East Coast. 

Originally opened in 1974, Great Adventure was acquired by Six Flags in 1977, and steadily grew to become one of the world-leading theme parks for thrill seekers and adrenaline-hunters. 

In 2012, the Great Adventure Theme Park was combined with the Wild Safari Animal Park, and at a combined 1,260 acres, it is now the second largest theme park in the world, only behind Disney’s Animal Kingdom. 

The Wild Safari Drive-Thru Adventure is a highlight for many guests who brave the 4.5 miles of paved roads in search of bison, elephants, lions, and llamas. 

The real draw for visitors to Six Flags Great Adventure however, are the thrill rides themselves. 

Nitro, the world-famous hypercoaster, has long been known as the flagship attraction at Great Adventure. Celebrating its 20th birthday this year, Nitro reaches an impressive 80mph, with guests even able to see Philadelphia in the distance when scaling its signature 233ft drop. 

Six Flags Great Adventure is also home to the world’s tallest roller coaster, and the fastest in North America, Kingda Ka. At a whopping 456 feet high, the equivalent of 45 storeys, and reaching 128mph in a breathtaking 3.5 seconds, Kingda Ka is certainly not for the faint hearted.

With the addition of the highly anticipated Jersey Devil Coaster in 2021 – set to be the world’s fastest, tallest and longest single rail coaster –  there has never been a better time to visit Six Flags Great Adventure.

Recommended by Ben of Ticket 4 Two Please

Cedar Point – Sandusky, OH

Nothing beats a beautiful Ohio day, sun shining, not a care in the world, your hair blowing in the wind from a coaster car rolling past you at a million miles an hour. Cedar Point is known as the roller coaster capital of the world. It is a family friendly roller coaster park with rides and fun for all ages (and heights). 

The Sky Ride is a great way to get around. Hit the park when it opens and head to the back to ride two top thrill rides (Steel Vengeance, Valravn, Top Thrill Dragster, Gatekeeper, or Maverick).

The lines tend to be pretty long – 1-2 hours, they have an app that will tell you estimated wait times. To avoid the wait you can purchase the Fast Lane Passes but there is an additional fee. 

Make Frontier Town a priority in the afternoon, the shaded tree area will be much appreciated. It is a great little area to check out the shops, grab a bite to eat, and catch a live show. Check the app for show times. 

Another way to cool off is to hit the water rides, just plan accordingly. That water ride seems like a good idea but without a change of shoes and pants you will regret it.

For that change of clothes and any other belongings you don’t want flying out of your pockets when you are upside down there are lockers all over the park to store them in. Invest in a fanny pack to carry your smaller belongings like your ID’s, car keys, cards, and phone. 

Recommended by Korri of Whatever Packs Your Bag

King’s Island – Mason, OH

Kings Island, the midwest’s largest amusement park, is home to rides and attractions that are fun for all ages. The park, which is located just a few miles outside of Cincinnati, Ohio, is definitely among the best theme parks in the USA.

The real star of Kings Island are the park’s roller coasters. There are 14 roller coasters at Kings Island, many of which hold world records.

The Beast, one of the most famous rides at the park, holds the records for being the longest, tallest, and fastest wooden roller coaster in the world. Orion, which just opened in 2020, is a giga coaster with a 300-foot drop and a top speed of 91 miles per hour. 

Kings Island also has an award-winning kids area: Planet Snoopy. There are more than 20 family-friendly rides in Planet Snoopy that are all themed after favorite Peanuts characters. If you’d prefer water slides over roller coasters, pay a visit to Soak City, Kings Island’s water park.

No matter how you choose to spend your time at Kings Island, make sure to indulge in a famous Kings Island blue ice cream cone. This delicious treat is the perfect way to cool down after a long day of riding rides!

Recommended by Sydney of A World In Reach

Hersheypark – Hershey, PA

Hersheypark sign with roller coaster in the background

If you’re looking for one of the best theme parks in the US, look no further than Hersheypark in Hershey, PA! With 15 roller coasters, a waterpark inside the park, and dozens of family-friendly rides, it’s no wonder Hersheypark is a popular destination for families and theme park fans of all ages.

Starting with the roller coasters, Hersheypark has coasters of all intensities. Visitors who want speed with loops, drops, twists, and turns will not be disappointed in rides like Fahrenheit, Skyrush, and their newest roller coaster, Candymonium.

Looking for a tamer ride? Try the classics like the Comet, Trailblazer, and Sooper Dooper Looper. For the younger visitors, the Cocoa Cruiser is a roller coaster built especially for them!

Looking for something other than a roller coaster? Hersheypark has dozens of kiddie rides for the younger visitors. Or, on a hot day, you can cool off at the Boardwalk, Hersheypark’s water park that is included with admission.

When you visit Hersheypark, make sure to wear comfortable shoes! The park is large and has many hills. And don’t forget to download the Hersheypark app. The app has ride wait times, the park map, and even the ability to order food. Free wi-fi in the park makes using the app even easier.

Recommended by Lauren of Where the Wild Kids Wander

Universal Orlando Resort – Lake Buena Vista, FL

Globe with the word Universal wrapped around it

Universal Orlando Resort is made up of two of the best theme parks in the US – Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure. Both have large thrill rides as well as shows and entertainment.

At Universal Studios Florida you’ll find the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit standing at 167 ft and reaching a top speed of 65 mph. Revenge of the Mummy and Harry Potter Escape From Gringotts are also fun coasters.

You’ll find all the water rides over at Islands of Adventure, but the best coasters are The Incredible Hulk Coaster and Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure.

One of my top tips for Universal Studios is to arrive at the park at least 30 minutes before they open. This gives you time to park, get through security, and make it to the entrance gate right on time.

Make sure you visit both sections of Harry Potter World in the parks! You’ll find Diagon Alley in Universal Studios Florida and Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure.

Recommended by me

Animal Kingdom – Lake Buena Vista, FL

Animal Kingdom is a Disney theme park centered entirely on the natural environment and wildlife. If you want to see live animals in the wild and live shows focusing on nature, Animal Kingdom is the park to explore.

Kilimanjaro Safari replicates a game drive through the Serengeti plains. This family favorite ride uses safari trucks to journey through savanna-like areas with many real African animals.

The self-guided Gorilla Falls Exploration trail highlights the animals of Africa. Visitors can see zebras, monkeys, hippos, and, of course, gorillas. Disney staff posing as researchers answer questions.

Another area of the park highlights Asian wildlife. It includes the classic Disney rollercoaster with a story, called Expedition Everest. Kali River Rapids is an exciting whitewater rafting ride.

The iconic Tree of Life, a 145-foot high artificial baobab tree is at the center of the park. It makes a good meeting spot for group members to find each other. The entertaining Bug’s Life show there is a kid favorite.

The newest land at Animal Kingdom is Pandora, based on the popular Avatar movie. There’s a 3D flying simulator and a wild river ride through a bioluminescent rainforest.

Add in some dinosaur-themed exhibits and rides, a stage show of the Lion King, and lots of conservation education and you have more than a day’s worth of fabulous entertainment at Animal Kingdom.

The best way to see the park is to come right at opening and head to Kilimanjaro Safari at the back of the park first to avoid the lines and to see the animals in the early morning when they are most active.

Recommended by Karen of Outdoor Adventure Sampler

Magic Kingdom – Lake Buena Vista, FL

Minnie and Mickey Mouse on top of a float at one of the best theme parks in the US

Magic Kingdom is one of the most iconic theme parks in the US.  It is full of Disney magic and should be on everyone’s bucket list. 

The park has a nice mixture of rollercoasters for the adults and slow, dark rides for the kids.  One ride that is loved by adults and kids alike is Big Thunder Mountain, which also happens to be my favorite in the park. 

The line is often quite long for Big Thunder, so you’ll want to try to get a Fastpass+ for it before you arrive. 

You can book three Magic Kingdom Fastpass+ attractions 60 days in advance if you’re staying at a Disney hotel or 30 days in advance if you’re staying off property.   

A Fastpass+ allows you to essentially skip the line and walk right onto an attraction, so you definitely need to make your reservations in advance.  Plus, they’re completely free! 

If you’re visiting Magic Kingdom during the Halloween or Christmas season, it is definitely worth splurging and attending a Halloween or Christmas party.

You have to purchase a separate ticket for the parties, but it is well worth the price of admission. 

You get to see the characters dressed up in special costumes, watch the special holiday parade you can only see at the party, and either trick or treat for candy or receive complimentary Christmas cookies and hot chocolate. 

There is no better way to spend a day at Disney than at Magic Kingdom.  There truly is something there for everyone!

Recommended by Erica of Travels With Erica

Epcot – Lake Buena Vista, FL

The silver dome from Epcot with characters cut out of bushes in front

Epcot has been my favorite part of Disney World ever since I was a kid. The striking silver geodesic dome known as Spaceship Earth at the entrance to the park is gorgeous any time of day and offers the perfect welcome to the park.

The front half of Epcot is focused on science and learning, with rides that send you on a space mission, transport you back in time to see how communication has changed over the centuries, and through a real working greenhouse that partners with NASA to test options for growing food in space.

The back half of the park is known as World Showcase and features eleven pavilions celebrating countries around the world set around a large lagoon. The pavilions offer shopping, dining, and drinking and are typically staffed by workers from those countries who come to the US to work for a year on a special exchange program.

If you’ve never tried food from Morocco or sake from Japan, this is a great chance to get a taste. Some of the pavilions, like Norway’s, have rides inside them, and others, like China’s and Canada’s, feature movies highlighting the culture, scenery, and history of the respective countries.

Epcot is also home to various festivals throughout the year, with events celebrating art of all kinds around the world, gardening, food and wine (a favorite!), and holidays around the world.

It’s also the best place to spend New Year’s Eve at Disney World with its variety of parties and special fireworks display at midnight. It’s truly a theme park unlike any other and a must-do on your visit to Orlando.

Recommended by Kris of Nomad by Trade

Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Lake Buena Vista, FL

One of the best theme parks in the US is Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando. This theme park is part of the famous Walt Disney World Resort.

What makes this theme park great is that the theme is “Hollywood” so many of the attractions are related to Hollywood. It’s is all about film, theater, and television.

There is a large variety of attractions at the park. For example, there are roller coasters, but there are also interactive rides. This makes the park suitable for everyone!

Besides the attractions, you can also find other entertainment at this park. There are many great events throughout the year and especially around the holidays. There are wonderful shows in the park that you can enjoy year-round.

Another great thing about Disney’s Hollywood Studios is that it is home to some of the most Instagrammable places in Orlando! One of my favorites is a very colorful roller coaster. Another great spot is in front of the attraction “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge”.

My favorite ride of the park is The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. This is a great attraction with a haunted theme and a very thrilling drop-down!

LEGOLAND Florida – Winter Haven, FL

an old ship and town scene made out of legos

LEGOLAND Florida is one of our favorite theme parks for families, especially if they have toddlers. Although this is a family-friendly theme park, you don’t have to have kids to go; you need to be young at heart. LEGOLAND Florida has something for everyone to enjoy. 

LEGO enthusiasts will love the creations throughout the park. Although there are no large roller coasters at this theme park, there is something to do everywhere. You can head to Rebuild the World to create anything you can imagine.

Spend some time in Miniland USA, where millions of LEGOS are used to create the most iconic places in the United States. See Washington D.C., the Las Vegas Strip, New York City, and the Daytona 500, and other iconic places in the U.S.

You can’t leave LEGOLAND Florida without having their famous Granny Smith Apple Fries. If you still have room after having the apple fries, be sure to stop at the Ultimate Sandwich Builder to get a mac n cheese sandwich on a sweet Hawaiian roll.

My favorite part of the park is Ninjago World. If you haven’t watched the LEGO Ninja show, it’s hilarious, so this section of the park reflects the cartoon. In this section, you can test your reflexes by playing the speed game, blasting the enemy on the LEGO NINJAGO 3-D ride. 

Recommended by Corritta of It’s a Family Thing

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay – Tampa, FL

If you are a true thrill-seeker, there is no better theme park in the USA for you to visit than Busch Gardens Tampa. Located in Tampa, Florida this park has been thrilling guests since 1959. 

The Tampa location offers something different from the other parks in the US. With roller coasters like Cheetah Hunt, Montu and Sheikra, the animal-themed park is sure to have something that will get your adrenaline pumping as well as entertain you with their live shows such as Sea Lion Splash or Bird Show – in fact, it showcases wildlife from all over the world. 

With roller coasters like SheiKra that speeds up to 70 miles per hour, it’s no wonder Busch Gardens Tampa has been voted one of America’s best theme parks.

Busch Gardens Tampa also offers plenty for those not looking to get their adrenaline pumping including animal encounters with monkeys swinging from trees or watching penguins waddle around on the ice. With roller coasters that defy gravity, you will never get bored at this park. 

It’s also just an hour away from Orlando which makes it even more convenient to visit multiple parks on your Florida vacation!

Recommended by Alice of Adventures of Alice

Central US Theme Parks

Michigan’s Adventure – Muskegon, MI

Are you a thrill-seeker and love amusement parks? Then add Michigan’s Adventure to your bucket list and live your best roller coaster life!

Shivering Timbers and Wolverine Wildcat are wooden coasters with pure adrenaline and with lots of humps that will make your stomach roll. The airtime and gravity drops are relentless. And classic rides, like the giant gondola ferris wheel, give breathtaking panoramic views from the top.    

Michigan’s Adventure features various rides, games, and water attractions.    

There is a water park, called WildWater Adventure, included in the price of admission. It’s a great place to splash, swim, dine, chill, coast, cruise, slide, and plunge with friends and family. You can also rent a cabana for a VIP experience in the shade.  

When we visited in June, the park was not overcrowded and easy to navigate. It’s great that we didn’t have to wait in lines. The wait time for popular rides was less than 20 minutes. My favorite ride is the Tilt-a-Whirl. It’s a carnival classic with non-stop twirls that leaves you laughing.

The park has a strict camera policy. Cameras are not allowed on most rides, including roller coasters. So make sure you smile and say cheese for the park cameras. There are hotels nearby where you can enjoy your stay near the great lakes of Michigan.

Recommended by Tanya of Travels and Treasures

Mt. Olympus – Wisconsin Dells, WI

Mt. Olympus entrance sign with a roller coaster in the background

Mt. Olympus in Wisconsin Dells is a water park and theme park with indoor and outdoor facilities. It’s considered one of the most popular parks in the resort city.

One of their most famous amusement rides you need to go on if you visit is the Hades 360. It’s a wooden roller coaster that has an underground track 1,400 feet in length. It reaches speeds of up to 70+ mph, and with a large 134 feet drop, it’s perfect for those who enjoy an adrenaline rush. It also holds the record for being the first wooden roller coaster that goes completely upside down.

Poseidon’s Rage is another must-see attraction in the park. It’s considered one of the largest wave pools worldwide, with massive 9 feet waves that follow one after another. To give you an insight into how large it is, it can hold up to 4000 people.

Mt. Olympus has just about everything you’d want out of a theme park. It has large rollercoasters, go-karts, thrilling water slides, indoor and outdoor pools, including the wave pool.

Wisconsin Dells itself also offers plenty of other attractions during the afternoons or nights when you’re not spending time at the park. There are diverse restaurants to try different foods, a downtown area with plenty of activities like museums, magic shows, and unique stores like Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.

Recommended by Martin of Travel Explorator

Silver Dollar City – Branson, MO

Buildings that look like an old western town in one of the best theme parks in the US

Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri isn’t as well known as many of the theme parks in the US, but it should be! There are a variety of rides at the park. You can find anything from tame rides perfect for young children to high-flying roller coasters. 

While you will have no problem finding a thrill at the park, there is so much more than rides. The park is divided into sections and has an old time Ozarks Mountain theme. Craftsmen demonstrating how to make everything from candy to lye soap can be found around the park. 

The entertainment and the food are my favorite parts of the park. There is more than your typical overly priced theme park hotdogs and soda here. Succotash, jambalaya and BBQ are among the southern staples to order. The shows are just as good. “Sadie’s Wild West” is a hilarious, musical show. It’s no surprise that it is the longest running show at Silver Dollar City. 

Like most of Branson, Silver Dollar City is closed the first two months of the year. The rest of the year the hours vary, but the park is open at least a few days every week. One of the best times of the year to visit Silver Dollar City is at Christmas! The park is coated in millions of twinkling holiday lights. The steam train ride turns into a Christmas sing-along and many of the shows have Christmas versions. 

Silver Dollar City is the perfect theme park for people of all ages.

Recommended by Elizabeth of The Fearless Foreigner

Elitch Gardens – Denver, CO

If you’re looking for a fun theme park to visit in the United States, don’t sleep on Elitch Gardens! This theme park and water park is located right in Denver. Yes, that means you could even take public transportation from downtown Denver right to the theme park within minutes! From any ride, you can see the entire city skyline.

This theme park opened in 1995 and has been a staple for Denver locals and tourists visiting the area ever since. There are a wide variety of rides, so no matter what your favorites are, you’ll be sure to find a version of it here. Elitch Gardens has six roller coasters, including the Boomerang and the Mind Eraser, which are some of the best rides in the park (and my favorites).

Like most other theme parks, you want to try to get to Elitch Gardens right when it opens. The longer the day goes on, no matter the time of year you’re visiting, the busier it gets. This is even more true in the summer, which is the park’s peak season! Try to ride the water rides first, too, because most people will opt to go on the theme park rides when they first get there.

Recommended by Krystianna of Delightfully Denver

Six Flags Over Texas – Arlington, TX

There are so many fun theme parks in the United States and Six Flags Over Texas is one of them. Located in Arlington, it’s the perfect day trip from Dallas. It’s a fun place to go to escape stress, to conquer your theme park ride fears, or to simply just have a good time.

This theme park boasts over 45 exhilarating rides and attractions and they’re perfect for adrenaline junkies, families, and kids.

Aside from rides, you can keep yourself entertained with the live shows. These include character meet and greats, dancing shows, and music shows.

There are also several restaurants and dining options where you can get some local Texas food or ice cream. Don’t forget to visit one of the many souvenir shops on your way out to bring home a piece of Six Flags.  

The park’s signature rides include the Superman, Texas SkyScreamer, BATMAN, and New Texas Giant. Fair warning — these rides are for thrill-seekers. But, don’t worry if you don’t want to brave these rides. You can go on other rides such as the Conquistador and El Aserradero.

If you’re looking for a fun 4D ride, you can enjoy JUSTICE LEAGUE: Battle for Metropolis. It’s an interactive ride that uses computer graphics, animatronics, and more.

Some insider tips include buying your tickets online so you can save time, downloading the Six Flags app for coupons for food, and researching the park map before you go so you know where everything is located.

Recommended by Disha of Disha Discovers

West Coast Theme Parks

Silverwood – Athol, ID

Silverwood is the largest theme park in the Pacific Northwest. It is just north of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. It is home to more than 70 rides, shows and attractions as well as the Boulder Beach Water Park. There are also four different roller coasters and a steam engine train.

There are a variety of rides for all ages visiting the park. All rides are categorized as low, medium and high intensity. If you’re looking for a high intensity ride, be sure to check out Panic Plunge. You drop at 47mph just after reaching the top.

If you’re visiting on a warm day, be sure to leave plenty of time to explore Boulder Beach. If you are visiting with younger kids, be sure to check out Polliwog Park, a shallow wading area with lots of slides. You can race your friends and family on Riptide Racer and do some relaxing at Elkhorn Creek.

If you are going to be the in the area for a couple of days, it may be worth spending a day at the theme park and another day in the water park if your group enjoys both the water rides and theme rides.

You can bring a soft-sided 10″x10″ cooler into the park for your own food and drinks. If you do want to eat in the park there are lots of dining choices like Lindy’s Restaurant and Castelli’s Pizzeria.

Parking is $5 per day and you can purchase your admission tickets online to save $5 each day.

Recommended by Candice of CS Ginger

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk – Santa Cruz, CA

an amusement park right on the beach

If you are looking for a classic California beach experience, look no further than the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. In operation since 1907, it’s one of the few boardwalk amusement parks on the west coast and it’s got something for everyone!

The Boardwalk is a great combination of carnival and traditional amusement park as it mixes carnival style rides with big roller coasters and other thrill rides.

Don’t miss riding The Giant Dipper, the oldest roller coaster in California, and a classic wooden roller coaster that still packs a punch even today. It opened in 1924 and is a National Historic Landmark along with the Boardwalk’s Looff Carousel.

The Looff Carousel is one of the last “pure” carousel’s as all the horses were carved by one person. It also has a ring dispenser where riders can grab a ring and try tossing it into the mouth of a Clown. The Carousel also has five organs, including the original from 1894.

The Beach Boardwalk is a great place for families with their large collection of family and kiddy rides. Favorites include Twirlin’ Teacups, Pirate Ship, Sea Swings and the Sky Glider which you can ride from one end of the park to the other all while looking out over Monterey Bay and the Boardwalk.

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is a unique and quintessentially Californian amusement park and definitely worth a visit when you are in the San Francisco Bay Area or near Big Sur.

Recommended by Carrie of Under Traveled

Universal Hollywood – Universal City, CA

When in Southern California you’ll want to head to Universal City for a theme park experience like no other. While it’s true that Universal Studios Hollywood has many similarities to its counterpart in Florida, the California tourist attraction has something so unique, it’s a must for every television or movie fan.

You’ll discover Universal Studios Hollywood is part of an actual working studio lot. This is Hollywood after all, and Universal Studios is a studio known for making incredible movies. They just happen to film many movie scenes and television shows a step or two from all the thrilling rides.

In fact, the world famous Studio Tour is one of the theme park’s best known attractions. No tour is ever the same. Though you might find yourself having to wait on the tram tour because of filming, or spy a celebrity or two in the distance, there are some sights along the way you are bound to recognize. Keep your eyes peeled.

While you won’t find any traditional rollercoasters here, never fear, as there are many thrilling rides like Revenge of the Mummy: The Ride, which has adventurers speeding along at 45 mph in virtual darkness.

Kids of all ages will love that there’s a Wizarding World of Harry Potter on the west coast. With cooling California temperatures at night, be sure to stroll along enjoying a hot butterbeer.

My favorite: Studio Tour is not to be missed.

Recommended by Debra of Finding Debra

Knott’s Berry Farm – Buena Park, CA

Knott’s Berry Farm, America’s first theme park, began as a simple berry stand in 1920. Walter Knott developed the land to include some shops and restaurants, and eventually it grew into the 57-acre theme park that it is today. Located in Buena Park, California, Knott’s Berry Farm welcomes 4 million visitors annually, and maintains the title of being the “friendliest place in the west.” 

Visitors to Knott’s can enjoy 40 different attractions, spread throughout 4 different themed areas. There is the Ghost Town, perfect for getting a taste of the old west by riding the Butterfield Stagecoach or enjoying a thrill on the all wooden rollercoaster, Ghostrider. There is the Fiesta Village, which celebrates California’s Mexican heritage with wild spinning rides and rollercoasters like La Revolucion. 

There is The Boardwalk, which celebrates California’s Pacific coast with surf-themed rides like the Pacific Scrambler, and my all time favorite, the Hang Time rollercoaster. Lastly, there is a section of the park called Camp Snoopy, where the little ones can enjoy kids rides themed with Snoopy and friends. 

Knott’s Berry Farm still sells berry products to this day, including many foods containing their infamous boysenberries. The sunny California skies always make it a perfect day to enjoy some boysenberry punch.

Insider tip: they sell boysenberry beer at the old west saloon. Knott’s Berry Farm is a fun time for the whole family and is a wonderful nod to the beautiful state of California 

Recommended by Olivia of Girl With Blue Sails

Disneyland – Anaheim, CA

The Disney Castle with a small waterfall on a cloudy day

Disneyland Park and California Adventure Park, located right next to each other, pack some of the best thrills an adventure seeking family can hope for. Both parks feature adrenaline pumping rides like the Incredicoaster that gets up to 55 mph and the Guardian of the Galaxy that drops passengers down a 139 foot elevator shaft. 

There are plenty of options for thrill seekers to get their fill at the parks, but there are also plenty of rides for those wanting to keep things a bit more calm. That’s what makes Disneyland one of the best theme parks in the US and is also why it’s a fantastic place for families with kids in different age groups. From teens to toddlers, you can easily spend several days exploring the two parks and keep everyone happy.

Although I do love a good rollercoaster, my personal favorite ride is Toy Story Midway Mania in California Adventure. There’s nothing like the combination of high-tech video, a rollicking, fun ride, and some good old-fashioned competition to get everyone smiling!

Be sure to learn how Disney’s FastPass+ works, since that will save you a lot of time standing in lines when you could be out having fun instead. There are also several apps available to download that give up-to-the-minute wait times so you can plan out all your rides.

To make your visit even more special, you can make a reservation to dine with your favorite Disney Characters. There are multiple dining options to choose from.

Recommended by Karee of Our Woven Journey

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This post contains 20 of the best theme parks in the US! If you are looking for fun theme parks to visit then make sure you check these out. #themeparks #travel

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  1. This is such a great guide! I’ve been to Six Flags Great Adventure and Hershey Park and both are so much fun! I also love Busch Gardens in Virginia and Dollywood in Tennessee. 🙂 Of course the Disney parks too!

    1. Yes, I loved all the ideas that people contributed! How fun, you’ve been to lots of them! 🙂

  2. I really like the sounds of the Hershey park! I haven’t been to many of these except for Disney and Universal, so this is a great reference to use!

  3. This is such a fun post! I love theme parks so much. Disneyland just opened to out of state visitors, and my sister and I are already planning our trip for later this summer 🙂 I’ve heard such great things about Cedar Park. I’d love to visit!

    1. Thank you, I love theme parks too! Hope you guys have a wonderful time at Disneyland! 🙂

  4. I’ve always loved theme parks, but I can’t remember the last time I’ve been to one! I live not too far from Six Flags Great America (north of Chicago) so maybe I’ll get a chance to visit this summer and see if I still love roller coasters as much as I did as a kid :p

    1. I highly recommend it! It had been a while since I had visited one before I went to Universal last month. I can confirm – they are still so much fun!

  5. Great round-up of amusement parks. Happy to see my home state of Pennsylvania and my current state of NJ represented. I have fond memories of both parks.

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