The United States is full of amusement parks designed to bring happiness and fun for all ages. These theme parks each vary in their landscapes, rides, and atmosphere providing you with a unique experience when exploring them. However, narrowing down the right ones to visit can be a tough task. Below you’ll find some of the best amusement parks in the country and what they have to offer you. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
© Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
This amusement park is located in Tampa Bay, Florida and is meant to take you on a thrilling adventure into Africa. Visitors will find numerous rides to hop on which range from roller coasters to river rapid rides. For those who might want something a bit calmer, there are cable car excursions across the park. In addition to rides, you’ll discover many animals living in the park, like lions, elephants, rhinos, gorillas, and cheetahs. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay also puts on many different shows and events throughout the day, including a safari ride where visitors can meet the animals in the park up close.
10165 N McKinley Drive, Tampa, Florida 33612, Phone: 813-884-4386
2.California Adventure Park
The California Adventure Park is situated in Disneyland and is home to a variety of fun rides and themed areas. Some fantasy worlds you’ll find here include Cars Land and Pixar Pier which are filled with exciting buildings to explore and rides. Visitors will discover plenty of shopping and restaurant districts, like Buena Vista Street and Pacific Wharf. While touring the park, guests can meet some of Disney’s famous characters, like Anna and Elsa from Frozen and the gang from Toy Story. This park puts on a handful of shows each day which range from dance parties to evening firework displays.
1313 Disneyland Drive, Anaheim, California 92802, Phone: 714-781-4565
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3.Cedar Point, Ohio
Cedar Point first opened in 1870 and is one of the oldest amusement parks in the United States. The park features hundreds of thrilling rides, including 18 roller coasters. Cedar Point puts on numerous shows throughout the day, such as musicals and Broadway-inspired plays. In addition to this, you’ll discover many different restaurants to grab a bite to eat at, many of which offer dietary-restrictive options. This amusement park also has a waterpark built to serve both kids and adults. You’ll find a few exclusive experiences to sign up for while visiting the park, like wine tastings and glass blowing classes. There are a few hotels and campgrounds located on the grounds.
1 Cedar Point Drive, Sandusky, Ohio 44870, Phone: 419-627-2350
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4.Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Florida
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is situated in the heart of Orlando, but is designed to make you feel as if you’re in the middle of the African savanna. Guests will be able to view and learn more about many of Africa’s native animals. Besides this, you’ll find plenty of other attractions while exploring the park, including rides, animation stations, conservation spots, and safari journeys. Visitors can also attend one of the many shows held during the day here and ask for an autograph from one of the various characters roaming around the park. During the evening, you could visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom again to view dazzling illuminations.
2901 Osceola Parkway, Orlando, Florida 32830, Phone: 407-939-5277
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5.Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Florida
Created over 30 years ago, Disney’s Hollywood Studios celebrates the art of moviemaking. Visitors will transport themselves into many famous movie settings, such as from The Twilight Zone, Indiana Jones, Star Wars, and Toy Story, and even come across characters from these films. You’ll not only be able to learn more about cinematography while here, but enjoy rides and many interactive shows as well. Guests to Hollywood Studios will discover many unique restaurants that range from glamorous Hollywood eateries to nostalgic 50s-era diners. There are some behind-the-scenes tours available that will give you some intriguing insight into how the park operates.
351 S Studio Drive, Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830, Phone: 407-939-5277
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6.Disney’s Magic Kingdom
© Klaus Nowottnick/stock.adobe.com
This amusement park is designed to bring you into a magical fantasy land. Visitors will discover many of Disney’s most iconic characters strolling through the park, like Mickey Mouse, Pluto, Cinderella, Peter Pan, and Winnie the Pooh. Besides this, there are a handful of rides to enjoy while here which range from a journey through a haunted mansion to one that spins you around in teacups. Disney’s Magic Kingdom is broken up into different sections which each focus on a specific theme, including a classic Americana area and futuristic part. There is a special After Hours feature allowing guests to tour the park during the evening.
1180 Seven Seas Drive, Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830, Phone: 407-939-5277
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Built in 1955, Disneyland was the first of Walt Disney’s famous theme parks. Situated in Anaheim, the park features a handful of different lands for guests to explore. This includes Adventureland, Critter Country, Toontown, Tomorrowland, and Main Street USA. While it’s always adding new rides and events, visitors can still experience many of its classic attractions such as It’s a Small World and Pirates of the Caribbean. You’ll also find characters you can meet, like Aurora and Darth Vader. Disneyland has a handful of hotels guests can stay at which are located within the park, many of which feature fun themes.
1313 Disneyland Drive, Anaheim, California 92802, Phone: 714-781-4636
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This amusement park first opened in 1961 and is situated within Tennessee’s Smoky Mountain area. Thrill-seekers will discover plenty of roller coasters to ride in Dollywood. You’ll find many other rides to enjoy, like bumper cars, a giant swing, and the chance to drive a vintage Thunderbird around a racetrack. Dollywood features entertainment services that range from plays to local music festivals. Visitors will find a handful of shops inside the park which sell various local goods and antiques. Many also allow you to view artists at work. Restaurants are abundant here as well and tend to serve Southern favorites, like grits, funnel cake, and barbecue.
2700 Dollywood Parks Boulevard, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee 37863, Phone: 800-365-5996
© Epcot - Walt Disney World
Epcot is one of Disney World’s theme parks and lets visitors easily travel the world. The park is broken up into different countries, such as Germany, France, China, Morocco, and Italy. While touring the grounds, you’ll be able to experience each country’s culture through rides, shops, and restaurants. Epcot also hosts many special events throughout the day for all ages. This includes short film festivals, behind-the-scenes tours, and animal encounters. There is an International Food and Wine Festival held in the latter part of each year allowing you to attend workshops, try intercontinental food and wine, and view performances and concerts from artists across the globe.
200 Epcot Center Drive, Orlando, Florida 32821, Phone: 407-824-4321
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10.Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park
© Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park
Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is located in Glenwood Springs, Colorado and is one of the only amusement parks in the United States to be located on a mountain. In addition to the numerous rides in the park (including an alpine coaster), visitors can explore Glenwood Caverns which features winding pathways and light displays. There are guided tours available as well as a thrill-seekers option which takes you deep into the caverns requiring you to crawl through tunnels. Other attractions in the park include a laser tag room, 4D motion theater, zip line, and climbing wall. This adventure park also hosts many music festivals and a major Oktoberfest celebration.
51000 Two Rivers Plaza Road, Glenwood Springs, Colorado 81601, Phone: 800-530-1635
Filled with the thick aroma of chocolate, Hersheypark was originally created by Milton S. Hershey as a recreational area for his chocolate factory workers. Today, it is open to the public and not only allows you to try thousands of different types of chocolate, but spend time on rides and enjoy various performances. Visitors will find numerous shops to browse in and a variety of Hershey characters to meet, like Hershey’s Bar and Twizzler. The park is open year-round and is home to seasonal attractions which include a waterpark in the summer and a sweet winter wonderland during the holiday season.
100 Hersheypark Drive, Hershey, Pennsylvania 17033, Phone: 800-437-7439
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© Holiday World
Holiday World is located in Santa Claus, Indiana and operates not only as an amusement park, but water park as well. Visitors will find a lot of family-friendly rides here, including many geared toward young children. Thrill-seekers will also discover some fun options to ride here, like a water coaster and a launcher that will throw you up and down hundreds of feet into the air. The amusement park also has a few roller coasters available. Holiday World hosts many different shows that appeal to all ages. Some you’ll find here include magic shows, comedy tours, and storytimes. There are a handful of restaurants in the park that serve everything from pizza to fresh salads.
452 E Christmas Boulevard, Santa Claus, Indiana 47579, Phone: 812-937-4401
13.Kings Island, Mason, Ohio
© Kings Island, Mason, Ohio
Kings Island first opened in 1972 and spans over 364 acres. Considered to be one of the largest amusement parks in the Midwest, Kings Island is filled with rides like the Adventure Express, Invertigo, Surf Dog, and Slingshot. The park also has live entertainment which ranges from performances by musicians to theater groups. There are special events during the year as well, like an ugly sweater day and Halloween haunt. Kings Island is connected to a water park known as Soak City which features 50 water attractions that range from calm swimming pools to extreme water slides. The park is conveniently located next to many hotels and campgrounds.
6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason, Ohio 45040, Phone: 513-754-5700
14.Knoebels Amusement Resort
© Knoebels Amusement Resort
Knoebels Amusement Resort was created in 1926 and is one of the largest free-admission amusement parks in the United States. The park features hundreds of attractions which include roller coasters, ball crawls, bumper cars, and a giant flume that plunges you off a waterfall. You’ll find many different shops and eateries that are designed to cater to the needs and tastes of all visitors. In addition to this, the park features a water park. Visitors to Knoebels Amusement Resort can stay at a variety of different campgrounds located within the grounds. There are also cottages for rent and a bed and breakfast.
391 Knoebels Boulevard, Elysburg, Pennsylvania 17824, Phone: 570-672-2572
15.Knott’s Berry Farm, California
Situated in Buena Vista, California, Knott’s Berry Farm has been around since the 1920s. It first began as a berry farm and eventually grew to be a major tourist attraction. Since then, it has evolved to be an amusement park. Featuring hundreds of different rides, Knott’s Berry Farm puts on a variety of performances throughout the day, including Native American dances and a Wild West stunt show. Visitors will also find plenty of other activities to do while here, like gold panning, touring an old schoolhouse, watching a blacksmith at work, and meeting the friendly horses in its Livery Stable.
8039 Beach Boulevard, Buena Park, California 90620, Phone: 714-220-5200
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Nickelodeon Universe features two locations with one at the Mall of America in Minnesota and the other at the American Dream Meadowlands in New Jersey. Filled with many kid-favorite cartoons, visitors will be able to meet-and-greet Spongebob, Blues Clues, and Dora the Explorer to name a few. Each park is home to various rides, including a few roller coasters, that accommodate both kids and adults. There are a handful of shows during the year and a few shops where you can buy Nickelodeon merchandise. Tickets are required to enter and can be bought either online or at one of the park’s kiosks.
5000 Center Court, Bloomington, Minnesota 55425, Phone: 952-883-8800
1 American Dream Way, East Rutherford, New Jersey 07073, Phone: 833-263-7326
© Santa’s Village
Santa’s Village is designed to celebrate the Christmas holiday year-round. This charming village is filled with festive decor and buildings visitors can tour. Some attractions you’ll find here include Elf University (where you learn how to become an elf), the Blacksmith Shop, St. Nicholas Chapel, and Santa’s Home. While here, visitors can also greet Santa’s famous reindeer in their stable and feed them their favorite treats. In addition to this, there are a few Christmas-themed rides at Santa’s Village, like a chimney drop and yule log flume. Visitors can also stop by the village’s 3D theater to view festive movies.
528 Presidential Highway, Jefferson, New Hampshire 03583, Phone: 603-586-4445
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18.Silver Dollar City
© Silver Dollar City
This theme park opened in 1960 and gets its name from a publicist’s idea to give visitors silver dollars as change as a way to help the park gain exposure. Silver Dollar City is filled with rides, including a few roller coasters, and is always adding new ones for visitors. The park features a few small historic buildings to explore, like a log cabin and 1800s schoolhouse. Besides this, there are plenty of live entertainment options, shops, and restaurants. You’ll also find culinary and craft classes you could attend. Silver Dollar City hosts numerous festivals during the year, such as Country Music Days, The Festival of Wonder, and Bluegrass & BBQ.
399 Silver Dollar City Parkway, Branson, Missouri 65616, Phone: 800-888-7277
19.Six Flags Great Adventure, New Jersey
Six Flags Great Adventure is packed with rides that are geared toward not only families, but thrill-seekers as well. Visitors can hop on the park’s massive Ferris wheel, swinging pirate ship, or plunging dare devil dive. This amusement park hosts many different forms of entertainment during the day such as music shows. Guests can also meet some of its animal ambassadors, like tortoises, sea lions, and alligators, by attending a safari or signing up for a behind-the-scenes tour. Park-goers will find a handful of shops and eateries on the grounds, including a massive candy store, Mexican restaurant, and caricature stations.
1 Six Flags Boulevard, Jackson Township, New Jersey 08527, Phone: 732-928-2000
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20.Six Flags Great America
Located in Gurnee, Illinois, Six Flags Great America first opened in 1976 as Marriott’s Great America before it was bought by Six Flags in 1984. This theme park is full of attractions, including roller coasters, kiddie rides, restaurants, and shops. Six Flags Great America also hosts various events during the day, like character storytimes and light shows. During the summer, this park has a waterpark filled with various types of pools and slides. Tickets are required to enter and season passes are available. Six Flags Great America is open for most of the year, although the hours are limited during the off-season.
1 Great America Parkway, Gurnee, Illinois 60031, Phone: 847-249-1776
21.Six Flags Magic Mountain, Valencia, California
Located only 35 miles away from downtown Los Angeles, Six Flags Magic Mountain is an adventure-seeker’s paradise thanks to its many roller coasters that will take riders flying through the air in adventures that only seem to defy gravity. Some rides the park is home to include CraZanity, Full Throttle, and Goliath. In addition to this, there are family-friendly rides, like bumper cars and a carousel. There is plenty of entertainment at Six Flags Magic Mountain and visitors will find Justice League superheroes and Looney Tunes characters walking around. This theme park houses plenty of shops as well that sell everything from apparel to souvenirs.
26101 Magic Mountain Parkway, Valencia, California 91355, Phone: 661-255-4100
22.The Island in Pigeon Forge
The Island in Pigeon Forge is a free theme park filled with unique attractions designed to please all ages. A few rides at this theme park include the 7D Dark Ride Adventure, Island Mirror Maze, and ThunderDome. The Island in Pigeon Forge is full of shops like a winery, candy kitchen, and farmhouse mercantile. Foodies will discover a treasure trove of snack shacks and restaurants here as well which serve everything from fresh pretzels to artisan pizza. There are a few events held here during the year, like Chalkfest and a concert series. Visitors can stay at one of the two hotels located on the grounds that provide you with easy access to the park.
131 The Island Drive, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee 37863, Phone: 865-286-0119
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23.Universal Studios Florida
Universal Studios Florida is designed to take you behind-the-scenes of some of the most famous films in the world. A few themed areas you’ll be able to explore in the park include the settings from Despicable Me and Harry Potter’s Hogwarts. These areas are filled with shops and fun activities to do and often are filled with costumed characters. This amusement park holds live entertainment throughout the day which range from parades to stunt shows. Guests will find many restaurants to stop by at, including a few fine dining options. For young children, there are a handful of playgrounds built throughout the park for them to romp on.
6000 Universal Boulevard, Orlando, Florida 32819, Phone: 407-363-8000
24.Universal Studios, Hollywood
This theme park is situated near Los Angeles and operates not only as a theme park, but film studio as well. Universal Studios Hollywood provides visitors with numerous things to do, like watching live performances, meeting the studio’s animal actors, or attending one of its seasonal events. Tours are also available of its movie studios where you’ll be able to learn more about how movies are made. Besides this, guests can hop on one of the many rides in the park, each of which has its own distinctive theme. VIP experiences are available which give you exclusive access to the park’s off-limit areas and provide you with extra perks during your stay.
100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, California 91608, Phone: 800-864-8377
25.Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Florida
Universal’s Islands of Adventure first opened in 1999 and is filled with creatures and superheroes roaming the park. Universal’s Islands of Adventure is designed to transport you into a magical universe where you can experience various types of fantasy worlds, like Hogwarts and Jurassic Park. You’ll discover numerous rides in the park as well as fun shows, like superhero battles and sing-offs. Shops are abundant here and sell a variety of goods such as comic books, candy, and stuffed animals. You’ll also find a handful of restaurants to eat at. Universal’s Islands of Adventures hosts many events throughout the year like rock concerts and holiday parades.
Universal Boulevard, Orlando, Florida 32819, Phone: 407-224-4233
25 Best Amusement Parks in the United States
- Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Photo: Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
- California Adventure Park, Photo: Disneyland
- Cedar Point, Ohio, Photo: digitalwhiz/stock.adobe.com
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Florida, Photo: Prostock-studio/stock.adobe.com
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Florida, Photo: scyrus/stock.adobe.com
- Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Photo: Klaus Nowottnick/stock.adobe.com
- Disneyland, California, Photo: satur73/stock.adobe.com
- Dollywood, Photo: Alexi/stock.adobe.com
- Epcot, Florida, Photo: Epcot - Walt Disney World
- Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, Photo: Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park
- Hersheypark, Pennsylvania, Photo: Hersheypark
- Holiday World, Photo: Holiday World
- Kings Island, Mason, Ohio, Photo: Kings Island, Mason, Ohio
- Knoebels Amusement Resort, Photo: Knoebels Amusement Resort
- Knott’s Berry Farm, California, Photo: stock.adobe.com
- Nickelodeon Universe, Photo: Margie Hurwich/stock.adobe.com
- Santa’s Village, Photo: Santa’s Village
- Silver Dollar City, Photo: Silver Dollar City
- Six Flags Great Adventure, New Jersey, Photo: Jin/stock.adobe.com
- Six Flags Great America, Photo: Jean/stock.adobe.com
- Six Flags Magic Mountain, Valencia, California, Photo: andov/stock.adobe.com
- The Island in Pigeon Forge, Photo: Kirsten/stock.adobe.com
- Universal Studios Florida, Photo: Peter/stock.adobe.com
- Universal Studios, Hollywood, Photo: ingusk/stock.adobe.com
- Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Florida, Photo: Alliance/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: MaciejBledowski/stock.adobe.com
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