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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Out-of-This-World Views: The Lasso, SD, to Devil’s Tower, WY

Out-of-This-World Views: The Lasso, SD, to Devil’s Tower, WY

TV host Don Wildman chose the 110-mile loop from Rapid City, SD, to Devil’s Tower, WY, as one of the country's best road trips. While Wildman was brave enough to cover the Badlands during the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, he says it’s just as memorable to travel by car, since either way you’ll drive through deep forests and thrilling mountain vistas. If you’re not brave enough to ride a Harley like Wildman, you can at least follow in his footsteps and stop at the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum in South Dakota.

"Maybe you’ll even have a close encounter to write home about,” adds Wildman; Devil’s Tower is the site where the iconic alien landing scene was filmed in the movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
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South Dakota Department of Tourism  

Off-Road Adventure: Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Off-Road Adventure: Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

For the intrepid road tripper, Bolivia offers off-road adventures across otherworldly landscapes. “The world’s largest salt flat, Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni is a surefire, natural amazement,” says Don Wildman, host of Mysteries at the Museum. After a short flight south from La Paz, Bolivia, a number of skilled tour companies will house you in a hotel constructed entirely of salt and then drive you out to experience extraordinary visuals not to be missed in this life, adds Wildman.

While the salt flats are the smoothest “road” you’re likely to drive on, keep in mind you’re at an altitude of 12,500 feet, so take measures to prevent altitude sickness.
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AFP / Getty Images  

Unexpected Fall Foliage: Glacier National Park, Montana

Unexpected Fall Foliage: Glacier National Park, Montana

One of the most iconic drives in the country, Montana's “Going to the Sun Road,” is a true bucket list drive not to be missed, says RoadTrippers.com CEO and founder James Fisher. The road spans a breathtaking 50 miles of Glacier National Park's most beautiful twists and turns. Considered an engineering marvel, the road was completed in the fall of 1932, after workers blew through half a million pounds of explosives for its construction.

Jackson Glacier Overlook, between Logan Pass and St. Mary offers the park's best views of a glacier from the road. And while Montana might not be the first place that comes to mind for viewing fall foliage, we suggest taking a drive here in autumn to witness the dazzling color show.
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David Restivo / NPS  

Castles, Caves and Cheese: Cheddar Gorge, Somerset, England

Castles, Caves and Cheese: Cheddar Gorge, Somerset, England

It’s no surprise that Fisher, born and raised in the English countryside, also picks a road trip in the United Kingdom. It all starts at a castle, says Fisher: Tintagel Castle, located high atop the rugged coast of Cornwall. Fisher advises then taking the scenic route to Bath, past the fishing village of Boscastle, which dates back to the 1500s. The gorge itself is one of England's most interesting areas, a land of witches, caves and waterfalls.

Fisher adds, “But most importantly it is home to the original, cave-matured, cheddar cheese.” See the cheese being made by the town’s only remaining cheesemakers at Cheddar Gorge Cheese Factory, followed by free tastings of the town’s namesake.
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Britain On View / Getty Images  

Mountains and Mining Towns: The San Juan Skyway, Colorado

Mountains and Mining Towns: The San Juan Skyway, Colorado

Nicknamed the "Road to the Sky," the San Juan Skyway loops through the heart of southern Colorado's towering San Juan Mountains and is a "must-do" for road tripping fans, says filmmaker, photographer and road tripper, Allison Otto. The Skyway passes through old Colorado mining towns like Ouray, Telluride, and Silverton, climbs to an elevation of more than 14,000 feet and circles down to the ancient cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde National Park.

“The views are dazzling, especially in the late summer/early fall, but be careful along the cliffside-clinging stretch known as the ‘The Million Dollar Highway,’ where there are parts of the road that lack guardrails," adds Otto.
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Dorling Kindersley / Getty Images  

Adventure South of the Border: Creel to Batopilas, Mexico

Adventure South of the Border: Creel to Batopilas, Mexico

Skip the touristy beaches of Mexico and take an adventurous road trip instead. Otto suggests driving from the Mexican town of Creel to Batopilas: “This is an amazing white-knuckle, eye-popping drive to the base of Mexico's Copper Canyon, which is actually a series of 20 canyons formed over the years by 6 rivers,” says Otto. The narrow, mostly dirt road begins in Creel, which has a frontier feel, and ends in Batopilas, a sleepy old silver mining town at the base of the canyon.

There are no guardrails on this route and drivers can expect to weave through a few cattle, donkeys and goats along the way. “The views are truly breathtaking, though, and Batopilas, which was founded around 1632, is definitely worth a visit and a perfect base for day hikes in the canyon,” adds Otto.
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Altrendo / Getty Images  

Beaches and Leaf Peeping: Michigan's Gold Coast

Beaches and Leaf Peeping: Michigan's Gold Coast

“Leaves, lighthouses, and sugary beaches! New England? Nope: Michigan!” reveals Robert Firpo-Cappiello, executive editor of BudgetTravel.com. Treat yourself to a 3-day autumn road trip starting in Grand Rapids, MI, where you can soak up serious art, public gardens and craft beer, suggests Firpo-Cappiello. Drive along the “Gold Coast” highway west to the jaw-dropping shoreline of Lake Michigan. “From Grand Haven down to Saugatuck and on to South Haven, you'll have a great weekend and bring home bragging rights for having 'discovered' some of the finest beaches, highest dunes and freshest seafood in America,” says Firpo-Cappiello.

Take a break from driving and ride on Saugatuck’s ferry to Oval Beach, the only remaining chain-driven ferry in the United States.
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Thinkstock  

The European Tour: France to Italy to Switzerland

The European Tour: France to Italy to Switzerland

Skip the train, and travel at your own speed on a road trip through Europe’s charming lakeside towns. Start your journey along the banks of Lake Annecy that sits under the French Alps’ Mount Blanc, advises travel writer and TV personality, Kim Mance. “You’ll cross many picturesque canal bridges as you drive toward Italy, with countless castles on hilltops,” says Mance.

After you stop for an Italian fondue lunch (yes, that exists!), Mance suggests you head back north toward Switzerland’s tiny villages, which dot the mountainside. From here, make your way to the stunningly beautiful Belle Époque city of Montreux, Switzerland on the shore of Lake Geneva. The entire drive from Annecy to Montreux can be done in about 4 hours, but Mance suggests taking a week.
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Switzerland Tourism  

Tour of the Island: Oahu, Hawaii

Tour of the Island: Oahu, Hawaii

The best way to explore the island of Oahu? By car, preferably a Mustang convertible to be exact, says Kathleen Rellihan, interactive producer for TravelChannel.com. Escape Honolulu’s crowds and explore the hidden gems on Oahu, from the Halona Blowhole to Lanikai Beach (often ranked as one of the world’s best beaches) and Tropical Farms’ Macadamia Nut Farm.

Plan to stay at least a night on Oahu’s famed North Shore , a relaxed surf mecca that’s home to Pipeline, a world famous surf break, and beach-basking sea turtles. “Don’t miss the garlic shrimp trucks along Kamehameha Highway and stop at Waimea Bay and Sunset Beach to watch big wave surfers and incredible sunsets,” adds Rellihan.
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Hawaii Tourism Authority / Tor Johnson  

Seaside Foodventure: Puglia, Italy

Seaside Foodventure: Puglia, Italy

If you’re looking for a road trip off the beaten track with plenty of unforgettable food stops, look no further than Italy’s Puglia region. With over 250 miles of ancient olive groves, charming fishing villages and glistening Adriatic coastline, Puglia “the heel on Italy’s boot,” is less tourist trodden than other regions in Italy and best explored on a slow-paced road trip, says Rellihan.

As you drive along the coast of Puglia, steering clear of cattle and steep rocky drops, stop at cliffside wonders like Vieste’s fortified whitewashed castle and Bari’s Grotta Palazzese, one of the many restaurants nestled inside ancient caves perched over the blue-green Adriatic Sea.
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E+ / Getty Images  

Hudson Valley, New York

Hudson Valley, New York

“What’s on my fall drive checklist? Sinuous roads, sweeping vistas, elevation changes, barns and more barns, pleasant farm animals, homes you wish you could live in, a farmers market and and a cool diner for lunch. My favorite fall drive this year has all of the above and then some. As an agricultural area, Duchess County in New York’s Hudson Valley has some of the most beautiful land you’ll ever set your eyes on.” – Samantha Brown, Travel Host 960 1280

Dutchess County Tourism  

Hudson Valley Road Trip

Hudson Valley Road Trip

“Use Route 82 and Route 44 in Salt Point, NY, as your bookends and all the roads in between as your playground.” – Samantha Brown, Travel Host

See Interactive Map
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Deep Creek Lake, Maryland

Deep Creek Lake, Maryland

“Head to Deep Creek Lake in Maryland to enjoy gorgeous views by car along 2 fall foliage heritage tours. Motor along Route 219 up to the Deep Creek Lake overlook in McHenry for a look at the lake, ski slopes and breathtaking autumn foliage before heading back to the visitors center as part of a 90-minute driving loop.”  -- <i>Erin Gifford, Family Travel Expert, Kidventurous.com</i> 960 1280

Garrett County Chamber of Commerce  

Deep Creek Lake Road Trip

Deep Creek Lake Road Trip

“For a longer drive try Historic National Road, which starts near Deep Creek Lake and winds through 6 states. Foliage peaks in early- to mid-October. Slow down for parades, pumpkin chucking and ice cream sundae-eating contests at the annual Autumn Glory Festival (Oct. 9-13), a real family favorite.” -- Erin Gifford, Family Travel Expert, Kidventurous.com

See Interactive Map
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Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

“An easy drive from Washington, DC, Harpers Ferry in West Virginia has fall foliage that’s worth the drive the third to fourth week in October. When we take the kids, I like the Jefferson Rock hike, which is less than 1 mile and has a vista overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains.” -- <i>Erin Gifford, Family Travel Expert, Kidventurous.com</i> 960 1280

Jeffrey D. Walters / Moment / Getty Images  

Harpers Ferry Road Trip

Harpers Ferry Road Trip

“Another good spot for leaf peeping is Bolivar Heights, a Civil War battlefield across from the park entrance. You’ll find easy, flat trails and great views.” -- <i>Erin Gifford, Family Travel Expert, Kidventurous.com</i><br/><br/><a href="https://roadtrippers.com/trips/521e22ce9d0782c36b0000f3 " target="_blank"><b>See Interactive Map</b></a> 960 1280

  

Route 112, New Hampshire

Route 112, New Hampshire

“This grand dame of foliage routes -- the ‘Kanc’ (Kancamagus Highway) -- is always worth a drive, but I suggest taking Route 112 west past the quaint little town of Woodstock, NH. Continue on Route 112 to Kinsman Notch at Beaver Pond -- a great spot for beginners and pros alike to photograph fall foliage.” -- <i> Jeff “Foliage” Folger, Fall Foliage Sage and Photographer</i>  960 1280

Denis Jr. Tangney / E+ / Getty Images  

Route 112 Road Trip

Route 112 Road Trip

“The best part of this area outside of the White Mountains is all the little side roads to explore. I found Coffin Pond off Route 116 -- don’t get going too fast or you will miss it. On a windless day it can have incredible reflections of the low hills surrounding the pond.” -- Jeff “Foliage” Folger, Fall Foliage Sage and Photographer

See Interactive Map
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Route 7, Vermont

Route 7, Vermont

“In southern Vermont, Route 7 runs north/south through the Green Mountains. During a stretch just north of Bennington is a valley between 2 ridgelines covered in trees, many of them maples and birch. Around Oct. 12-15 is a great time to take a drive up Route 7 to see peak colors.” -- Jeff “Foliage” Folger, Fall Foliage Sage and Photographer 960 1280

Jeff Folger  

Route 7 Road Trip

Route 7 Road Trip

“You also have a great little college town in Manchester to explore and shop in and the home of Robert Todd Lincoln for history buffs. Then the road names are very interesting. If you get a good map book out, you will find places like Mad Tom Notch -- doesn’t that scream to be explored?” -- Jeff “Foliage” Folger, Fall Foliage Sage and Photographer

See Interactive Map
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Frank Lloyd Wright’s Wisconsin

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Wisconsin

"Wisconsin is a magical land in the North, where the beer flows like wine and there are rivers of cheese. Not really, but pretty close to it. The Badger State is also the homeland of American architectural icon Frank Lloyd Wright. Fall is the perfect time of year to visit his organic designs, which are particularly stunning when set amidst the changing fall foliage.” -- James Fisher, Founder and CEO of RoadTrippers.com 960 1280

Taliesin Preservation, Inc.  

Wisconsin Road Trip

Wisconsin Road Trip

“Frank Lloyd Wright’s homes and buildings were designed to work in harmony with their environment. Driving through southern Wisconsin, some highlights include Taliesin, Wright’s summer home, Wingspread, the ‘epitome of organic architecture,’ and the Seth Peterson Cottage, which you can rent as a vacation home." -- James Fisher, Founder and CEO of RoadTrippers.com

See Interactive Map
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Twain’s Great River Road, Mississippi to Hannibal, MO

Twain’s Great River Road, Mississippi to Hannibal, MO

"As a boy in England, I was obsessed with The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Loquacious and satirical, Mark Twain really knows how to woo a man. Driving down the Mississippi to Hannibal, MO, it isn’t too hard to find the inspiration behind Twain’s iconic coming-of-age novel. Traveling along Twain’s Great River Road during autumn provides incredible leaf-peeping opportunities at every bend.” -- James Fisher, Founder and CEO of RoadTrippers.com 960 1280

Courtesy of the Missouri Division of Tourism  

Twain’s Great River Road Trip

Twain’s Great River Road Trip

“This road trip finishes up in Hannibal, where you can visit Twain’s boyhood home and a slew of other Twain-inspired attractions." -- James Fisher, Founder and CEO of RoadTrippers.com

See Interactive Map
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Ricketts Glen State Park, Northeast Pennsylvania

Ricketts Glen State Park, Northeast Pennsylvania

“Living in the Northeast we are blessed with beautiful fall foliage color due to an abundance of sugar maple and birch trees that turn vibrant orange, red and yellow each year. One of my favorite local drives for a day of leaf peeping is Ricketts Glen State Park off Route 29 and Route 487 in northeast Pennsylvania. The combination of 22 waterfalls, mountains and gorgeous 200-year-old trees make for absolutely stunning photos.” -- Bill Kirk, CEO of Weather Trends International and Meteorologist 960 1280

OGphoto  

Ricketts Glen State Park Road Trip

Ricketts Glen State Park Road Trip

“While the drive here is spectacular, you’ll have to brave a 3-mile hike to really experience the stunning fall color. The waterfalls make it well worth getting out of the car, and the photos and memories of a great day trip will last a lifetime.” -- Bill Kirk, CEO of Weather Trends International and Meteorologist

See Interactive Map
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Skyline Drive, Virginia

Skyline Drive, Virginia

“I fell in love with the Blue Ridge Mountains when I went to college in the “Valley” in Harrisonburg, VA. Weekend trips to escape campus often included hiking or driving through the 105-mile-long Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. There’s no better time to visit this National Scenic Byway than fall, when the fall foliage peaks the second to third week in October. Now that I live in Washington, DC, it’s only a few hours away -- still perfect for a weekend fall getaway.” -- Kathleen Rellihan, Interactive Producer, Travel Channel 960 1280

Getty Images  

Skyline Drive Road Trip

Skyline Drive Road Trip

“One of the best parts of Skyline Drive is from Front Royal to Rt. 211 -- it’s around 32 miles, with plenty of overlooks for snapping photos. These days, I like to combine my leaf peeping with wine tasting in Virginia’s Wine Country, too. There’s no shortage of wineries to stop at in the area, but some of my favorites include Fox Meadow Vineyards and Gray Ghost Vineyards.” -- Kathleen Rellihan, Interactive Producer, Travel Channel

See Interactive Map
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Lake Wallenpaupack, Northeast Pennsylvania

Lake Wallenpaupack, Northeast Pennsylvania

“Another great spot even closer to the Big Apple is Route 507 around Lake Wallenpaupack in northeast Pennsylvania. The good news: Here at Weather Trends we are projecting ideal fall color this year in the Northeast due to very favorable summer and fall weather conditions unlike last year when record October cold and Superstorm Sandy made for a very short and somewhat dull season.” -- Bill Kirk, CEO of Weather Trends International and Meteorologist 960 1280

Lake Wallenpaupack/ The Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau, PoconoMountains.com  

Lake Wallenpaupack Road Trip

Lake Wallenpaupack Road Trip

“Stop in Hawley for some lunch and be sure to take the hour scenic boat ride around the lake for more stunning photos.” -- Bill Kirk, CEO of Weather Trends International and Meteorologist

See Interactive Map
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Fan Favorite: Smoky Mountains

Fan Favorite: Smoky Mountains

We asked you what we missed on our list and for you to tell us your favorite fall foliage road trip. It was a landslide – The Great Smoky Mountains won out! Hop in your car and take in the scenery as you drive around Gatlinburg, a picturesque mountain town nestled in the scenic Smokies. Now is the perfect time -- fall colors peak here in mid-October. 960 1280

Zhuzhu / iStock / Getty Images  

Lodge in Private Game Reserve, South Africa

Lodge in Private Game Reserve, South Africa

Wedding Salon founder Tatiana Byron’s favorite honeymoon spot is Londolozi's Granite Suites in South Africa. This uber-exclusive lodge in one of the original private game reserves consists of just 3 incredibly spacious, stand-alone suites. 960 1280

Londolozi  

Cultural and Culinary Tour of Spain

Cultural and Culinary Tour of Spain

For 2015, the luxury travel group Black Tomato's co-founder Tom Marchant believes Spain in particular is emerging as a perfect honeymoon destination. With its incredible gastronomic experiences, amazing art and architecture, and luxurious properties this is the ideal spot for a luxurious and culturally immersive honeymoon. 960 1280

Black Tomato  

Spice Up the Romance in Zanzibar

Spice Up the Romance in Zanzibar

Dubbed the “Spice Islands,” Zanzibar was the hub of both the spice and slave trades, and its capital city, Stone Town, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Jenna Mahoney, Bridal Guide's travel editor, recommends staying at Kilindi Zanzibar, an intimate beachside retreat of 15 individually appointed, villa-like accommodations. Mahoney says to savor not only the scenery and impeccable service here, but also the literal melting pot of Zanzibar via the hotel’s fantastic cuisine. 960 1280

Elewana Collection  

A Private Villa in St. Barts

A Private Villa in St. Barts

The best way to honeymoon in St. Barts? Rent a villa with a pool and hot tub says Wedding Salon founder Tatiana Byron. Be sure to select a villa rental agency with a permanent presence on the island, so it will be able to assist you in booking everything from a sunset cruise to a private chef and spa services.     960 1280

Don Hebert/The Image Bank/Getty Images  

Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands

Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands

Tom Marchant, co-founder of bespoke luxury travel group Black Tomato, suggests that couples maximize their time away post-nuptials by combining different destinations and experiences. His pick for intrepid honeymooners? An action-packed adventure in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.  960 1280

Black Tomato  

Mini-Moon in a Private Cabin in Pennsylvania

Mini-Moon in a Private Cabin in Pennsylvania

A perfect spot for a “mini-moon” (a 2-4 night getaway)? Bridal Guide travel editor Jenna Mahoney suggests Relais & Chateaux Lodge at Glendorn in Bradford, PA. This sprawling resort in the Allegheny Mountains is driving distance from Pittsburgh, NYC and Columbus, Ohio. 960 1280

The Lodge at Glendorn  

Great Barrier Reef in Australia

Great Barrier Reef in Australia

Katie Frederick, founder of the honeymoon planning service Ever After Honeymoons, recommends the Great Barrier Reef for an unforgettable romantic getaway. Another can’t-miss activity for honeymoon couples Down Under? “Taking a helicopter ride over the Whitsundays, where you can see the famous heart-shaped reef!” Katie says. 960 1280

One&Only Resorts  

Stargazing in the Atacama Desert, Chile

Stargazing in the Atacama Desert, Chile

The reason that Bridal Guide travel editor Jenna Mahoney picks the Atacama Desert as a top honeymoon destination? Stargazing. “Hands down, there is no other place on the planet where the night skies are so spectacularly clear — a reason why the international space station ALMA is here.”  960 1280

Tierra Atacama Hotel Boutique & Spa  

Overwater Bungalow in Cambodia

Overwater Bungalow in Cambodia

Staying in an overwater bungalow is a dream for many honeymooning couples, as Katie Frederick, founder of honeymoon planning agency Ever After Honeymoons, very well knows. Honeymoon in your own intimate paradise at the stunning Song Saa Private Island, a pair of islands set off the coast of Cambodia with just 27 villas, either overwater or in the jungle, all featuring private pools. 960 1280

Song Saa Hotels & Resorts  

Mediterranean Cruise

Mediterranean Cruise

For those who want more than just a beach or a quiet hideaway, Shane Green, host of Resort Rescue and veteran hospitality consultant, suggests a Mediterranean cruise to take in the romance, culture and indulgences of the region. If you want something a little more exclusive and private, he recommends the small-ship, yacht-style Windstar Cruises.  960 1280

Windstar Cruises  

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