Travel's Best Amusement Parks and Water Parks 2014

From Tokyo’s DisneySea to Tennessee’s Dollywood, our advisors handpicked the most thrilling theme parks for our family fun list, Travel's Best Amusement and Water Parks 2014.

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Best Brunch: The Beachcomber at Crystal Cove, Newport Coast, CA

Best Brunch: The Beachcomber at Crystal Cove, Newport Coast, CA

Situated right on the beach, the Beachcomber is a favorite among locals and tourists who flock to historic Crystal Cove in Newport Coast, CA. It’s open for lunch and dinner as well, but breakfast is a must. Indulge in favorites such as its beignets, lemon ricotta blueberry pancakes, and crab cake Benedict. 960 1280

The Beachcomber at Crystal Cove  

Best Barbecue: Smitty’s Market, Lockhart, TX

Best Barbecue: Smitty’s Market, Lockhart, TX

When you arrive at Smitty's Market, expect to get up close and personal with your barbecue. No sticky-sweet barbecue sauces or forks are offered at Smitty’s, and we kind of like that. Situated in the sleepy town of Lockhart, TX, 30 minutes south of Austin, Smitty’s is not to be missed. 960 1280

Smitty’s Market  

Best Seafood: Cantler's Riverside Inn, Annapolis, MD

Best Seafood: Cantler's Riverside Inn, Annapolis, MD

Cantler’s restaurant in Annapolis, MD, is the perfect setting year-round but is especially appropriate in the summer, when it’s crab crackin’ time! We love the Maryland blue crab, of course, with potatoes, corn and bread. 960 1280

Cantler's Riverside Inn  

Best Summer Pie: Four & Twenty Blackbirds, Brooklyn, NY

Best Summer Pie: Four & Twenty Blackbirds, Brooklyn, NY

You can find the perfect pie at Four & Twenty Blackbirds, a creative pie shop that turns out a flawless all-butter crust. The seasonal fillings really make the pies; try the rhubarb crumble, birch beer float or the year-round salted caramel apple. They’re also available at the Brooklyn Public Library and all 3 locations of Shake Shack in Brooklyn. 960 1280

Gentl & Hyers  

Best Ice Cream: Laduree SoHo, New York City

Best Ice Cream: Laduree SoHo, New York City

Enjoy the savory and sweet of Paris at Laduree SoHo bakery, where the locals and Francophiles flock. For a can’t-miss experience, settle in to Laduree’s outdoor seating while indulging in a cup or bowl of its macaron glaces. Flavors include raspberry, citron, pistachio and rose petal. 960 1280

Ladurée  

Best Ballpark Food: Blue Smoke on the Road, Queens, NY

Best Ballpark Food: Blue Smoke on the Road, Queens, NY

Try something new but classic at the ballpark this summer: a North Carolina pulled-pork sandwich in New York City! Blue Smoke on the Road has acquired prime real estate at Citi Field. Sure, there are countless other vendors to choose from, but this 1 comes from the creative mind of Danny Meyer, founder of Shake Shack. 960 1280

Melissa Hom  

Best Food Truck: Mei Mei, Boston

Best Food Truck: Mei Mei, Boston

Visit the Mei Mei food truck at Boston’s SoWa Open Market each Sunday between May and October. Thanks to its fresh, seasonal offerings, it has been dubbed Boston’s best food truck. The menu is forever changing, so make sure to follow Mei Mei on Twitter to lock onto its location Tuesday through Sunday and to find out the day’s food options. 960 1280

Fotodish  

Best Food Festival: Feast Portland, Portland, OR

Best Food Festival: Feast Portland, Portland, OR

Send summer off with a bang at the Feast Portland food festival Sept. 17-20. Artisans, breweries, cider houses, chefs and distilleries descend upon Feast Portland for 3 days of elaborate collaboration dinners, hands-on butchery demonstrations, brewery classes and a downright good time. 960 1280

Courtesy of Feast Portland  

Best Bar Food: Bartaco, Atlanta

Best Bar Food: Bartaco, Atlanta

With a bar scene you've only dreamed of — outdoor and indoor seating with a Mexican-style décor — Bartaco is the place to eat, drink and be seen. Don’t miss out on its sesame rib-eye taco, which is juicy and flavorful with just the right amount of spice. 960 1280

Manny Vargas  

Best Restaurant With a View: Da Salvatore Ristorante, Ravello, Italy

Best Restaurant With a View: Da Salvatore Ristorante, Ravello, Italy

Picture this: You’re driving along the Amalfi Coast when you arrive in the small, quaint town of Ravello and realize you’re starving! Head straight to Da Salvatore Ristorante for amazing cuisine, such as cocoa- and coffee-braised veal cheek with ricotta gnudi, accompanied by an unmatched view, easily one of the best in the world 960 1280

Da Salvatore Ristorante A Ravello  

Heritage Highway 89, Utah

Heritage Highway 89, Utah

"This route links several distinct areas of scenic beauty and Western history. Glass and woodworking studios reflect this heritage, and the towns boast numerous well-preserved historic buildings," says travel writer Mark Sedenquist. "Visit the Butch Cassidy Museum in Richfield; take a dip in the Mystic Hot Springs in Monroe; and shop for antiques in Sevier. Finish up exploring other wonderful destinations within easy reach, including Zion and Bryce Canyon national parks." 960 1280

Adam Kliczek [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Skyline Drive, Virginia

Skyline Drive, Virginia

"This road through Shenandoah National Park in Virginia has the views to live up to its name, but get out and hike for the real reward," says 100RoutesAcrossAmerica.com founder Shannon Entin. "Stop at a camp store — if only to observe the Appalachian Trail hikers gathered to rest, refuel and socialize. Strike up a conversation, and you'll hear true tales of stamina and fortitude." 960 1280

By Philip N. Wheeler [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Olympic Peninsula, Washington

Olympic Peninsula, Washington

"Seattle is known for its robust ferry system, which connects the islands of Washington state. From downtown Seattle, you can drive onto a ferry that will take you across the Puget Sound to Bainbridge Island, the start of a fantastic road trip around the Olympic Peninsula," says award-winning travel journalist Mike Shubic. "Fantastic inns, restaurants and outdoor activities await. On a clear day, drive to the top of Hurricane Ridge for views of Vancouver Island and the Strait of Juan de Fuca." 960 1280

Danita Delimont / Gallo Images / Getty Images  

Beartooth Highway, Montana and Wyoming

Beartooth Highway, Montana and Wyoming

"Beartooth Highway itself is the highest-elevation highway in the Northern Rockies and one of the most rugged areas in the Lower 48 states (20 peaks surpass 12,000 feet in elevation)," says RoadTrippers.com CEO James Fisher. "Hit the Rock Creek Vista Point rest area (which is at 9,000 feet above sea level) and the West Summit (whose highest point is at 11,000 feet) to feel the full significance of Beartooth’s elevation. Note that gnarly weather is a factor, so double-check that the passes are open before you make the trek." 960 1280

WizardFusion [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons  

Sea to Sky Highway, British Columbia, Canada

Sea to Sky Highway, British Columbia, Canada

"The Sea to Sky Highway from Vancouver to Whistler, British Columbia, is a beautiful drive with lots of great attractions along the way. The road hugs the North Shore Mountains, offering picturesque views of the many small islands in the Pacific Ocean," says avid road tripper Michelle Bucher. "Take a ride up the Sea to Sky Gondola, which takes you to the top of the iconic Stawamus Chief. This mountain is known worldwide for its rock climbing and hiking trails, as well as its stunning vistas of the valley below." 960 1280

By D. Vincent Alongi (Sea to Sky HwyUploaded by Skeezix1000) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Great River Road, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa

Great River Road, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa

"Start in picturesque Dubuque, IA, home of the shortest, steepest railway in the world and an aquarium that showcases the fish of the Mississippi," says travel writer Mark Sedenquist. "Head north on the Great River Road to Prairie du Chien, WI, a river town with a colorful past. Visit villages such as Harpers Ferry and Lansing, IA, or check out the world’s largest six-pack of beer in La Crosse, WI." 960 1280
Gulf Coast, Alabama

Gulf Coast, Alabama

"Road trip along the Gulf of Mexico, and you'll want to spend most of your time — and food budget — on Alabama's coast. Yes, you'll love its sugary white-sand beaches and Caribbean-like waters, but the real treasure here is the food," says 100RoutesAcrossAmerica.com founder Shannon Entin. 960 1280

toddmedia / E+ / Getty Images  

Page-Lake Powell, Arizona and Utah

Page-Lake Powell, Arizona and Utah

"Located on the central border of Arizona and Utah is one of the most stunning recreational areas in the country, Page-Lake Powell," says award-winning travel journalist Mike Shubic. "It’s extremely scenic, with tall canyons, red-rock formations and sand dunes, and it’s an unparalleled place for activities such as houseboating, waterskiing, kayaking, fishing, hiking, camping and so much more." 960 1280

Wolfgang Staudt from Saarbruecken, Germany (Lake Powell) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

17-­Mile Drive, California

17-­Mile Drive, California

"The 17-Mile Drive through the Monterey Peninsula rivals the Pacific Coast Highway in quintessential California fame and beauty," says RoadTrippers.com CEO James Fisher. "This loop hugs the coastline, running alongside Pebble Beach Golf Links, past the landmark Lone Cypress and through the Del Monte Forest." 960 1280
Extraterrestrial Highway, Nevada

Extraterrestrial Highway, Nevada

"Just a short 2-hour road trip north of Las Vegas, you’ll find State Highway 375, aka the Extraterrestrial Highway. This is the place where more UFO sightings are reported than anywhere else in America. Highway 375 is located fairly close to Area 51, making it a unique road-trip experience," says avid road tripper Michelle Bucher. "Along the way, you’ll pass several alien-themed shops and roadside attractions." 960 1280

By Famartin [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Best Ballpark Food

Best Ballpark Food

Steering away from the ballpark classics (i.e. peanuts hot dogs French fries) we've got our eye on the best ballpark food at Washington DC's Nationals Park stadium: the roasted cauliflower sandwich from Chef Mike Isabella's G. "There is no better bite during a ballgame than a sandwich from G" says Nevin Martell. "Choose from a rag?-rich chicken Parmesan accented with Thai basil or a roasted cauliflower soaked with poppy paprika lemon vinaigrette" add Martell. The roasted cauliflower sandwich packs a flavorful punch especially for vegetarians or vegans looking for something delightful at the game. You're welcome! 960 1280

Greg Powers  

Best Ice Cream Shop

Best Ice Cream Shop

We're taking you back in time to the heyday of shave ice but this time with a twist: it's accompanied by ice cream! Our pick for best ice cream shop in the summer is Matsumoto on Hawaii's North Shore. Established in 1951 Matsumoto provides over 1000 shave ices to tourists each year. "Make sure you get with ice cream underneath. Will change your life" says Chef Michael Voltaggio. Who doesn't love a little ice accompanied by cream? 960 1280

Matsumoto Shave Ice  

Best Seafood Restaurant

Best Seafood Restaurant

Summers in the Northeast automatically mean that it's time for fresh lobster. Our pick for best seafood restaurant to get said lobster is the adorable Beach Plum Restaurant (connected to The Beach Plum Inn) located in the small town of Menemsha in Martha's Vineyard MA overlooking Menemsha Harbor. "Chef Chris Fischer grows his own vegetables at his Beetlebung Farm. The food is fresh delicious and not too fussy. You can watch the fishing boats come in with their daily haul" adds Peden and Munk. 960 1280

Elana Carlson/Ashley Jardim  

Best Brunch Spot

Best Brunch Spot

Plump tomatoes certainly say summer and eating them when they are green and fried is a Southern tradition (also eating them outside in the summer sun is a must). Fried green tomatoes are served at Baltimore's legendary brunch spot Miss Shirley's which has locations in Baltimore's Inner Harbor and a few short minutes from Annapolis Harbor. "They've got just the right amount of tang inside and savory crunch outside" says Robin Bennefield. "For a twist on eggs Benedict have them with mini crab cakes and poached eggs dusted with Maryland's Old Bay seasoning. You'll need to walk off Miss Shirley's hearty portions with a stroll along the shimmering harbor." 960 1280

Miss Shirely?s Cafe  

Best (Summer) Restaurant with a View

Best (Summer) Restaurant with a View

Summer can mean a lot of things, but to us it means shorts, flip flops and burgers. And there is no better place to find this than at Le Tub in Hollywood, FL. While you're sinking your teeth into one of their critically acclaimed burgers, enjoy a gorgeous, "Why don't I live here?" view of the Intracoastal Waterway. "You'll gladly wait a well-worth-it hour for a burger as you sip a cold beer overlooking the water, watching mega yachts cruise by," says Robyn Lindars. 960 1280

Mchael Marusin Scott Audette for VISIT FLORIDA  

Best BBQ

Best BBQ

We probably need to create an entire "Best of Barbecue" list to tackle this one but Southern barbecue is at its finest at Southern Soul Barbeque on charming St. Simons Island GA. Their juicy slow-smoked chicken pairs perfectly with their Hoppin' John (black-eyed peas and rice) collard greens and cornbread. "Sit on one of their outdoor picnic benches or grab your BBQ to go and head to one of the many beach areas (just 5 minutes away)" says Danielle "Diva Q" Dimovski. "It is like a mini vacation as you smell the Atlantic Ocean and the delicious wafts of barbecue smoke from one of their many pits" she adds. 960 1280

Benjamin Galland, h2o Creative Group  

Best Food Truck

Best Food Truck

From Washington DC to California there are some "out-of-this-world" food trucks! But "1 truck has never escaped my mind -- Kogi BBQ Taco Truck" says Rani Robinson-Kiganda. Located in Los Angeles Kogi jams an incredible amount of flavor into each bite of its tacos and burritos. "I highly recommend the chicken taco and the sliders -- what used to be a 'special' occurrence on the menu and has since become a permanent menu option. Order either the short rib slider or replace it with a meat of your choice (chicken please!)" adds Robinson-Kiganda. Three different trucks are positioned from Long Beach to Burbank in LA County from Monday to Friday. Follow the Kogi BBQ Taco Truck on Twitter @kogibbq. 960 1280

Eric Shin  

Best Bar Food

Best Bar Food

When choosing the best bar food spot we really had to concentrate on location. There are some great bars out there but Big Sur's Nepenthe made the cut with its stunning mountain views of the California countryside. "I'm one of those beat travelers who stop at Nepenthe in Big Sur after a day of hiking for a few simple pleasures: a glass or 2 of wine from Monterey County and some California-made snacks" says Casey Barber. "Order Nepenthe's Laura Chenel goat cheese and creamy roasted Gilroy garlic while taking in the 360-degree views from the mountain perch of the restaurant's outdoor terrace" adds Barber. 960 1280

Tom Birmingham  

Best Food Festival

Best Food Festival

Nearly every state in America hosts a State Fair each year and with that comes irresistible fair foods. The Minnesota State Fair made our list as one of the best. When it comes down to it it's a massive food fest with nearly 1000 vendors offering favorites like fried cheese curds jumbo buckets of double-dipped French fries giant melt-in-your-mouth chocolate chip cookies grilled pork chops on a stick and classics like hamburgers and hot dogs. "Every year I start every day at the fair with a real natural casing German-style foot long hot dog with mustard grilled onions and sauerkraut" says Andrew Zimmern. 960 1280
Best Place for Pie

Best Place for Pie

Using only fresh seasonal ingredients Dangerously Delicious Pies (2 locations in DC 1 in Baltimore MD) quickly rose to the top of our "Best Place for Pie" list. Order summer classics like cherry strawberry blueberry and their noteworthy Key lime pie or go for something authentic -- the Baltimore Bomb pie. "Dangerously Delicious Pies has a unique pie that is stupidly addictive. Berger cookies thick with fudge are melted into a vanilla chess filling to make up the gooey Baltimore Bomb" says Amy McKeever. 960 1280

Dangerously Delicious Pies  

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