Travel's Best Culinary Destinations

Food lovers make it their mission to experience mouthwatering meals -- and they're willing to travel far and wide to do so. From Sweden's flavorful shellfish to the fresh flavors of Bangkok street food, and the United States' hottest dining trends, our panel of experts has helped select Travel's Best Culinary Destinations. With their passports in hand and appetites in check, travelers can feast on the world's most memorable meals.

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Dyker Heights Lights, Brooklyn, NY
Dyker Heights Lights, Brooklyn, NY

Dyker Heights Lights, Brooklyn, NY

What’s Travel Channel host Samantha Brown’s favorite hometown holiday tradition? Taking in "the most delightful, delirious and over-the-top Christmas decorations" with her family in the Dyker Heights neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY. 960 1280

Michael Heiman/Getty Images  

Christkindlesmarkt, Nuremberg, Germany

Christkindlesmarkt, Nuremberg, Germany

Samantha Brown has always wanted to visit this world-famous Christmas market filled with decorations and treats galore, including Nuremberg bratwurst, gingerbread and mulled wine. Yum. 960 1280

Sean Nel/Getty Images/Hemera  

Santa Claus Village, Rovaniemi, Finland

Santa Claus Village, Rovaniemi, Finland

Want to visit Santa Claus on his own turf? Meet Santa in his office in the Arctic Circle. Families can send letters with the assistance of Santa's official postal elves.  960 1280

shashinkoubou/Getty Images  

Skating by the Sea, San Diego

Skating by the Sea, San Diego

San Diego’s landmark Hotel del Coronado offers an ice rink on the lawn with breathtaking ocean views. Travel blogger Amie O’Shaughnessy, founder of Ciao Bambino!, thinks skating by the Pacific Ocean makes for the best family holiday card photo.   960 1280

Sam Antonio/Getty Images/Flickr Vision  

George Balanchine's The Nutcracker, New York

George Balanchine's The Nutcracker, New York

One of the most treasured holiday traditions in New York City  is seeing the spectacular dancers of the New York City Ballet perform George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center. Mickela Mallozzi, host of the travel dance series Bare Feet, says it's a must-see for any dance lover. 960 1280

Paul Kolnik  

12 Pubs of Christmas, Dublin

12 Pubs of Christmas, Dublin

A recent tradition in Dublin includes the 12 Pubs of Christmas, where revelers will don tacky sweaters and then make their rounds to 12 different pubs, swigging a pint at each one.  960 1280

Getty Images  

Sponza Palace, Dubrovnik, Croatia

Sponza Palace, Dubrovnik, Croatia

Mickela Mallozzi, host of the travel dance series Bare Feet, suggests visiting the Christmas fair in Dubrovnik’s Old Town. This 1-000-year-old city turns into a Christmas mecca right out of a storybook, hosting local artisans and musical performances. 960 1280

Jean-Pierre Lescourret/Getty Images/Lonely Planet Images  

Santa Claus, Indiana

Santa Claus, Indiana

One of the festive towns featured on ChristmastownUSA, Santa Claus, IN, celebrates Christmas 365 days of the year. Family-owned since 1946, the town’s popular amusement park, Holiday World, boasts 3 of the world’s top 10 wooden roller coasters. 960 1280

Spencer County Visitors Bureau   

Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik, Iceland

You couldn't dream up a more magical place to spend the holidays than Reykjavik, with its vivid winter wonderland landscape and unique traditions. Visit the Christmas Village in Hafnarfjordur or Reykjavik's main Christmas market in Ingólfstorg Square for traditional Nordic holiday gifts, mulled wine and Yuletide music.  960 1280

Getty Images/Arctic-Images  

North Pole, Alaska

North Pole, Alaska

Yes, there really is a North Pole, and believe it or not, 3 men named Santa Claus live there.  Opened in 1952, Santa Claus House, the town’s biggest attraction, is a Christmas-themed gift shop with oodles of ornaments, a 42-foot Santa statue and real reindeer you can visit. 960 1280

Davidd/flickr  

Bloody woman crawls from underneath floorboard at 13th Gate in Baton Rouge, LA
13th Gate (Baton Rouge, LA)

13th Gate (Baton Rouge, LA)

Located in downtown Baton Rouge, 13th Gate has been used as a film location for photo shoots and movies, such as The Reaping, because of its realistic and detailed rooms. This creepy attraction keeps haunted revelers frightened by revamping its 13 different themes each year. New haunts this year include Possession, an old cabin infested with demonic entities; and Scary Tales, a new feature that pays homage to the famous Grimm Fairy Tales, but it has a 13th Gate twist. “This haunted house is so realistic that you will scream for mercy. It will give you one of the best Halloween experiences in the industry,” says Larry Kirchner, owner and publisher of Hauntworld.com and HauntWorld Magazine. 960 1280

13th Gate  

The Corn Maze at Oakes Farm (Knoxville, TN)

The Corn Maze at Oakes Farm (Knoxville, TN)

The Corn Maze at Oakes Farm is a less scary, kid-friendly attraction for families who live near Knoxville, TN. Children will enjoy the new Fairy Tale Trail, where kids follow 12 storybook pages as their guide through the kid’s corn maze. This year, the owners have also doubled the size of the corn pit, a huge box packed corn kernels for kids and adults to play. And after 15 years, this Halloween may mark the last time locals and tourists will be able to take the creepy journey along the Trail of Doom. “After several hours in the corn maze, if you happen to find yourself lost -- you may find the sound corn beneath your feet creepy rather than comforting,” says Daniel Schwartz, executive producer of Travel Channel’s TV show Ghost Adventures. 960 1280

Oakes Farm  

The Darkness (St. Louis)

The Darkness (St. Louis)

The Darkness is one of the oldest running haunted houses in St. Louis. This haunted attraction has been updated with new features, including a haunted library filled with evil spirits. The owners have also created the new Scream Zone -- equipped with a mega-scream movie wall and roaming zombies, monsters and demons -- to keep the crowd waiting outside preoccupied. And inside, it’s 2 floors of special effects and more! “The Darkness is considered America’s most detailed and technologically-advanced haunted house in America with over 200 animations, 75 CGI effects, hundreds of zombies, monsters, man-eating puppets and animated effects that grab and bite customers,” says Larry Kirchner. 960 1280

Scarefest.com  

Eastern State Penitentiary’s Terror Behind The Walls (Philadelphia)

Eastern State Penitentiary’s Terror Behind The Walls (Philadelphia)

It made our list, Travel’s Best Halloween Attractions 2013, and we decided to add it again this year. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Eastern State Penitentiary’s Terror Behind The Walls was once home to imprisoned bank robber Willie Sutton and mob boss Al Capone. Today, this penitentiary utilizes its spooky surroundings to create 6 different scare zones, including Quarantine 4D and Breakout, 2 groundbreaking attractions this year. “I’m excited about Breakout, which is a prison break area where inmates – and visitors – attempt to gain their freedom, using barrels, ropes, tunnels and ladders,” says Aaron Sagers, geek culture and paranormal culture expert. 960 1280

Eastern State Penitentiary’s Terror Behind The Walls   

Fear Factory (Salt Lake City, UT)

Fear Factory (Salt Lake City, UT)

Located on 2.5 acres or a full-city block in Salt Lake City, UT, the Fear Factory features a post-apocalyptic setting with underground tunnels, towers, mazes and “2 of the largest indoor slides in North America,” according to the owners. For extreme thrills, we suggest the controlled free fall from the factory’s tower or ride the Last Ride zip line to witness the terror from above. Fear Factory, formerly a cement factory built in the late 1800s, is rumored to be haunted by the ghosts of former workers who died here. “People should check out the Fear Factory because this site is one of the rare locations in the US where the history is even more terrifying than that depicted in the haunted house,” says Daniel Schwartz.   960 1280

Breck Gonzales  

The Haunted Trail of Balboa Park (San Diego)

The Haunted Trail of Balboa Park (San Diego)

Set in the middle of San Diego is Balboa Park, an idyllic escape from life in the city, but when the sun goes down the monsters emerge on the mile-long Haunted Trail. Beware of creepy characters and horror movie legends such as Freddy Kruger, Michael Meyers and Jason Voorhees.  “But, there’s more than just monsters that will spook you, the psychological terrors to make you want to flee the darkness,” says Arthur Hsu, producer of America’s Scariest Halloween Attractions. Visitors can also experience the Experiment, a horrifying maze with more than 3,500 square feet of freak-infested terror. We recommend wearing good running shoes. 960 1280

Mike Rollerson  

Hundred Acres Manor (Pittsburgh, PA)

Hundred Acres Manor (Pittsburgh, PA)

Hundred Acres Manor offers 6 haunted houses in one location and has been terrifying the victims for over a decade. “With nearly 200 actors you never know when the next scare is going to jump out at you,” says Arthur Hsu. The Vodou Bayou is the new attraction this year. Visitors can take a tour through the Deep South, where the spirits of the bayou beckon, the stitchers want your body, the priestess wants your soul. Dead Lift, Damnation, Torture Bank, The Maze and the Brine Slaughterhouse are the other scary highlights of this bone-chilling haunt. But, there’s a glimmer of light in the darkness, this is a charity scary attraction that donates to Homeless Children’s Education Fund and Animal Friends 960 1280

Hundred Acres Manor Haunted House  

Lord Chaz Ghost & Vampire Tours (New Orleans, LA)

Lord Chaz Ghost & Vampire Tours (New Orleans, LA)

“I like my Halloween scares dished out with a serving of history and a helping of theater,” says Aaron Sagers. “Add in a dash of jazz spirit, and you have the spooky gumbo of Lord Chaz’ Ghost & Vampire Tour in New Orleans.” Lord Chaz – actor, author, musician and street performer – provides guided tours of the French Quarter year round, but his tours are best experienced in October. His Ghost & Vampire Tour starts at Johnny White’s Hole in the Wall on Bourbon Street. On this walking tour, Lord Chaz guides haunted history aficionados through the streets and talks about the infamous murders, suicides and tragedies that have inspired well-renowned authors such as Anne Rice. 960 1280

Lord Chaz  

Netherworld (Atlanta)

Netherworld (Atlanta)

Netherworld received our stamp of approval and made our Travel’s Best Halloween Attractions last year, and again this year. It has 2 new features, including the Toxic Foam Room, where patrons step into this one-of-a-kind decontamination chamber after exiting Vault 13. Try the new Elevator of Death, where up to 20 people can ride the elevator down to Vault 13, but be prepared for the flickering lights and bumpy descent. “Netherworld is one of Hauntworld’s scariest haunted houses because they spend a long time developing one-of-a-kind costumes, masks, animation and set design that can only be experienced in Atlanta,” Larry Kirchner.  960 1280

Netherworld Haunted House  

Robert Kurtzman’s Mad FX Lab (Crestline, OH)

Robert Kurtzman’s Mad FX Lab (Crestline, OH)

You may know makeup-effects master Robert Kurtzman’s work – co founder of KNB and owner of Robert Kurtzman's Creature Corps. Kurtzman is known for his work in blockbuster movies such as From Dusk Till Dawn, Army of Darkness, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare and John Carpenter's Vampires. Every year, fans converge on the Mad FX Lab in Crestline, OH, to walk through the alien lab, Freddy’s Tunnel, the home of Leatherface and the Butcher’s Room. “Robert Kurtzman and his associates apply their creative skills and imagination to this unique haunt, bringing Hollywood-caliber frights to the locals of this small town,” says Aaron Sager. 960 1280

Robert Kurtzman's Mad FX Lab  

Photos

Dyker Heights Lights, Brooklyn, NY

Dyker Heights Lights, Brooklyn, NY

What’s Travel Channel host Samantha Brown’s favorite hometown holiday tradition? Taking in "the most delightful, delirious and over-the-top Christmas decorations" with her family in the Dyker Heights neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY. 960 1280

Michael Heiman/Getty Images  

Christkindlesmarkt, Nuremberg, Germany

Christkindlesmarkt, Nuremberg, Germany

Samantha Brown has always wanted to visit this world-famous Christmas market filled with decorations and treats galore, including Nuremberg bratwurst, gingerbread and mulled wine. Yum. 960 1280

Sean Nel/Getty Images/Hemera  

Santa Claus Village, Rovaniemi, Finland

Santa Claus Village, Rovaniemi, Finland

Want to visit Santa Claus on his own turf? Meet Santa in his office in the Arctic Circle. Families can send letters with the assistance of Santa's official postal elves.  960 1280

shashinkoubou/Getty Images  

Skating by the Sea, San Diego

Skating by the Sea, San Diego

San Diego’s landmark Hotel del Coronado offers an ice rink on the lawn with breathtaking ocean views. Travel blogger Amie O’Shaughnessy, founder of Ciao Bambino!, thinks skating by the Pacific Ocean makes for the best family holiday card photo.   960 1280

Sam Antonio/Getty Images/Flickr Vision  

George Balanchine's The Nutcracker, New York

George Balanchine's The Nutcracker, New York

One of the most treasured holiday traditions in New York City  is seeing the spectacular dancers of the New York City Ballet perform George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center. Mickela Mallozzi, host of the travel dance series Bare Feet, says it's a must-see for any dance lover. 960 1280

Paul Kolnik  

12 Pubs of Christmas, Dublin

12 Pubs of Christmas, Dublin

A recent tradition in Dublin includes the 12 Pubs of Christmas, where revelers will don tacky sweaters and then make their rounds to 12 different pubs, swigging a pint at each one.  960 1280

Getty Images  

Sponza Palace, Dubrovnik, Croatia

Sponza Palace, Dubrovnik, Croatia

Mickela Mallozzi, host of the travel dance series Bare Feet, suggests visiting the Christmas fair in Dubrovnik’s Old Town. This 1-000-year-old city turns into a Christmas mecca right out of a storybook, hosting local artisans and musical performances. 960 1280

Jean-Pierre Lescourret/Getty Images/Lonely Planet Images  

Santa Claus, Indiana

Santa Claus, Indiana

One of the festive towns featured on ChristmastownUSA, Santa Claus, IN, celebrates Christmas 365 days of the year. Family-owned since 1946, the town’s popular amusement park, Holiday World, boasts 3 of the world’s top 10 wooden roller coasters. 960 1280

Spencer County Visitors Bureau   

Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik, Iceland

You couldn't dream up a more magical place to spend the holidays than Reykjavik, with its vivid winter wonderland landscape and unique traditions. Visit the Christmas Village in Hafnarfjordur or Reykjavik's main Christmas market in Ingólfstorg Square for traditional Nordic holiday gifts, mulled wine and Yuletide music.  960 1280

Getty Images/Arctic-Images  

North Pole, Alaska

North Pole, Alaska

Yes, there really is a North Pole, and believe it or not, 3 men named Santa Claus live there.  Opened in 1952, Santa Claus House, the town’s biggest attraction, is a Christmas-themed gift shop with oodles of ornaments, a 42-foot Santa statue and real reindeer you can visit. 960 1280

Davidd/flickr  

13th Gate (Baton Rouge, LA)

13th Gate (Baton Rouge, LA)

Located in downtown Baton Rouge, 13th Gate has been used as a film location for photo shoots and movies, such as The Reaping, because of its realistic and detailed rooms. This creepy attraction keeps haunted revelers frightened by revamping its 13 different themes each year. New haunts this year include Possession, an old cabin infested with demonic entities; and Scary Tales, a new feature that pays homage to the famous Grimm Fairy Tales, but it has a 13th Gate twist. “This haunted house is so realistic that you will scream for mercy. It will give you one of the best Halloween experiences in the industry,” says Larry Kirchner, owner and publisher of Hauntworld.com and HauntWorld Magazine. 960 1280

13th Gate  

The Corn Maze at Oakes Farm (Knoxville, TN)

The Corn Maze at Oakes Farm (Knoxville, TN)

The Corn Maze at Oakes Farm is a less scary, kid-friendly attraction for families who live near Knoxville, TN. Children will enjoy the new Fairy Tale Trail, where kids follow 12 storybook pages as their guide through the kid’s corn maze. This year, the owners have also doubled the size of the corn pit, a huge box packed corn kernels for kids and adults to play. And after 15 years, this Halloween may mark the last time locals and tourists will be able to take the creepy journey along the Trail of Doom. “After several hours in the corn maze, if you happen to find yourself lost -- you may find the sound corn beneath your feet creepy rather than comforting,” says Daniel Schwartz, executive producer of Travel Channel’s TV show Ghost Adventures. 960 1280

Oakes Farm  

The Darkness (St. Louis)

The Darkness (St. Louis)

The Darkness is one of the oldest running haunted houses in St. Louis. This haunted attraction has been updated with new features, including a haunted library filled with evil spirits. The owners have also created the new Scream Zone -- equipped with a mega-scream movie wall and roaming zombies, monsters and demons -- to keep the crowd waiting outside preoccupied. And inside, it’s 2 floors of special effects and more! “The Darkness is considered America’s most detailed and technologically-advanced haunted house in America with over 200 animations, 75 CGI effects, hundreds of zombies, monsters, man-eating puppets and animated effects that grab and bite customers,” says Larry Kirchner. 960 1280

Scarefest.com  

Eastern State Penitentiary’s Terror Behind The Walls (Philadelphia)

Eastern State Penitentiary’s Terror Behind The Walls (Philadelphia)

It made our list, Travel’s Best Halloween Attractions 2013, and we decided to add it again this year. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Eastern State Penitentiary’s Terror Behind The Walls was once home to imprisoned bank robber Willie Sutton and mob boss Al Capone. Today, this penitentiary utilizes its spooky surroundings to create 6 different scare zones, including Quarantine 4D and Breakout, 2 groundbreaking attractions this year. “I’m excited about Breakout, which is a prison break area where inmates – and visitors – attempt to gain their freedom, using barrels, ropes, tunnels and ladders,” says Aaron Sagers, geek culture and paranormal culture expert. 960 1280

Eastern State Penitentiary’s Terror Behind The Walls   

Fear Factory (Salt Lake City, UT)

Fear Factory (Salt Lake City, UT)

Located on 2.5 acres or a full-city block in Salt Lake City, UT, the Fear Factory features a post-apocalyptic setting with underground tunnels, towers, mazes and “2 of the largest indoor slides in North America,” according to the owners. For extreme thrills, we suggest the controlled free fall from the factory’s tower or ride the Last Ride zip line to witness the terror from above. Fear Factory, formerly a cement factory built in the late 1800s, is rumored to be haunted by the ghosts of former workers who died here. “People should check out the Fear Factory because this site is one of the rare locations in the US where the history is even more terrifying than that depicted in the haunted house,” says Daniel Schwartz.   960 1280

Breck Gonzales  

The Haunted Trail of Balboa Park (San Diego)

The Haunted Trail of Balboa Park (San Diego)

Set in the middle of San Diego is Balboa Park, an idyllic escape from life in the city, but when the sun goes down the monsters emerge on the mile-long Haunted Trail. Beware of creepy characters and horror movie legends such as Freddy Kruger, Michael Meyers and Jason Voorhees.  “But, there’s more than just monsters that will spook you, the psychological terrors to make you want to flee the darkness,” says Arthur Hsu, producer of America’s Scariest Halloween Attractions. Visitors can also experience the Experiment, a horrifying maze with more than 3,500 square feet of freak-infested terror. We recommend wearing good running shoes. 960 1280

Mike Rollerson  

Hundred Acres Manor (Pittsburgh, PA)

Hundred Acres Manor (Pittsburgh, PA)

Hundred Acres Manor offers 6 haunted houses in one location and has been terrifying the victims for over a decade. “With nearly 200 actors you never know when the next scare is going to jump out at you,” says Arthur Hsu. The Vodou Bayou is the new attraction this year. Visitors can take a tour through the Deep South, where the spirits of the bayou beckon, the stitchers want your body, the priestess wants your soul. Dead Lift, Damnation, Torture Bank, The Maze and the Brine Slaughterhouse are the other scary highlights of this bone-chilling haunt. But, there’s a glimmer of light in the darkness, this is a charity scary attraction that donates to Homeless Children’s Education Fund and Animal Friends 960 1280

Hundred Acres Manor Haunted House  

Lord Chaz Ghost & Vampire Tours (New Orleans, LA)

Lord Chaz Ghost & Vampire Tours (New Orleans, LA)

“I like my Halloween scares dished out with a serving of history and a helping of theater,” says Aaron Sagers. “Add in a dash of jazz spirit, and you have the spooky gumbo of Lord Chaz’ Ghost & Vampire Tour in New Orleans.” Lord Chaz – actor, author, musician and street performer – provides guided tours of the French Quarter year round, but his tours are best experienced in October. His Ghost & Vampire Tour starts at Johnny White’s Hole in the Wall on Bourbon Street. On this walking tour, Lord Chaz guides haunted history aficionados through the streets and talks about the infamous murders, suicides and tragedies that have inspired well-renowned authors such as Anne Rice. 960 1280

Lord Chaz  

Netherworld (Atlanta)

Netherworld (Atlanta)

Netherworld received our stamp of approval and made our Travel’s Best Halloween Attractions last year, and again this year. It has 2 new features, including the Toxic Foam Room, where patrons step into this one-of-a-kind decontamination chamber after exiting Vault 13. Try the new Elevator of Death, where up to 20 people can ride the elevator down to Vault 13, but be prepared for the flickering lights and bumpy descent. “Netherworld is one of Hauntworld’s scariest haunted houses because they spend a long time developing one-of-a-kind costumes, masks, animation and set design that can only be experienced in Atlanta,” Larry Kirchner.  960 1280

Netherworld Haunted House  

Robert Kurtzman’s Mad FX Lab (Crestline, OH)

Robert Kurtzman’s Mad FX Lab (Crestline, OH)

You may know makeup-effects master Robert Kurtzman’s work – co founder of KNB and owner of Robert Kurtzman's Creature Corps. Kurtzman is known for his work in blockbuster movies such as From Dusk Till Dawn, Army of Darkness, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare and John Carpenter's Vampires. Every year, fans converge on the Mad FX Lab in Crestline, OH, to walk through the alien lab, Freddy’s Tunnel, the home of Leatherface and the Butcher’s Room. “Robert Kurtzman and his associates apply their creative skills and imagination to this unique haunt, bringing Hollywood-caliber frights to the locals of this small town,” says Aaron Sager. 960 1280

Robert Kurtzman's Mad FX Lab  

Epcot at Walt Disney World, Orlando

Epcot at Walt Disney World, Orlando

Theme parks aren’t just for kids, especially ones like Epcot at Walt Disney World. "While it has fun and thrilling attractions for the whole family, including Test Track, Mission: SPACE, Soarin', Spaceship Earth, etc., the real attractions at Epcot are the World Showcase's 11 countries, where you can sample food and drinks from Germany, Mexico, Norway, Canada, Japan, Italy, France...," says Alvey. In the fall, Epcot's World Showcase transforms into the International Food & Wine Festival, an event featuring food and drink samples from nearly 30 different countries. 960 1280

Gene Duncan, Disney  

Aquaventure, Atlantis Paradise Island, Bahamas

Aquaventure, Atlantis Paradise Island, Bahamas

While the region's beautiful beaches might beckon you to the Bahamas, your kids will be in paradise at the largest water park in the Caribbean, Aquaventure at Atlantis. A free perk for overnight guests of the Atlantis resort, the water park has it all: a gentle lazy river, exciting rapid rides and multiple water slides that take guests on huge vertical drops, around 5-story corkscrews and along twisting water coasters. "Kids will love jungle-themed slides and fountains, as well as Splasher's, a Mayan-themed water playground that’s perfect for the smallest guests," adds Gifford. 960 1280

Courtesy of Kerzner International  

Schlitterbahn, Kansas City

Schlitterbahn, Kansas City

Get ready for the world’s tallest waterslide, set to open at Schlitterbahn in summer 2014. According to Insane Coaster Wars producer Steve VanDis, the excitement is building for this one. "This 17-story waterslide will be the tallest waterslide in the world, with just the construction of this massive coaster dominating the skyline," he says. Those not so keen on stomach-hurling rides may be more comfortable floating on the lazy river or relaxing in a private beach cabana (which you can reserve ahead of time) while watching the kids play on 13 mini-slides. Looking to save money? Pack a picnic (you can bring your own food and drinks into the park) and grab a table near Henry’s Hideaway so you can have a breather while the kids play nearby, suggests VanDis. 960 1280

Schlitterbahn Kansas City  

Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Calling all Dolly Parton and country music fans! Nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, Dollywood combines a family-fun atmosphere with down-home country music and fare, including a new lemonade stand featuring over 300 flavors. Kreischer says Dollywood is his favorite family-friendly park, and a perfect spot for a family reunion. Dollywood hosts 5 annual festivals in 2014, including the popular Barbeque & Bluegrass festival that pairs the best barbecue in the South with the biggest names in bluegrass (May 24 -June 8). Fair warning, don’t expect to see Dolly here in person, but you can visit Dolly’s Smoky Mountain Home, an attraction modeled after the country singer’s childhood home. 960 1280

Dollywood  

Noah’s Ark, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

Noah’s Ark, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

When it comes to water parks, Kreischer’s pick is Noah's Ark, the largest water park in the US located in Wisconsin Dells, WI, and for one simple reason: Scorpion's Tail! "This is a ride you have to ride multiple times just to figure out what is happening to your body. You start in a coffin-like capsule, then the floor drops out from underneath you, and you freefall for roughly 40 to 50 feet before you're flipped upside down and around in the high-speed, G pulling loop. Before you know it you're squirted out for the masses with a look of shock on your face as they giggle and see you try to figure out what just happened," says Kreischer, who rode this ride over 20 times the first day it opened. Don’t miss trying to hang 10 on the park's newest attraction, Surfing Safari. Or for gentler rides, there’s Bumper Boats and several lazy rivers to relax on in family-size tubes. 960 1280

Noah’s Ark  

Busch Gardens, Virginia

Busch Gardens, Virginia

Don’t have the time or money to take the family to Europe? Head to Busch Gardens for a taste of the "Old World" culture in Williamsburg, VA, which features attractions like Escape from Pompeii, Loch Ness Monster and the 3-D ride, Europe in the Air. There’s more here than just the coasters according to VanDis. "Whether you’re here for the annual Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival or just enjoying the food stands and eateries, the food is always amazing. I love the BBQ spot and I try to stop by every time I’m there," he says. Steve’s all-time favorite coaster? Griffon. At over 200 feet high, it’s still the fastest dive coaster in the world, reaching speeds over 70 mph. Just plan on eating after riding this one. 960 1280

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment  

Tokyo DisneySea, Japan

Tokyo DisneySea, Japan

"There is nothing like Tokyo DisneySea anywhere else on the planet. The moment you step foot inside the park you are transported to another world unlike any other Disney park you've ever seen, with some of the best themed environments ever created," says Robb Alvey, theme park expert, Insane Coaster Wars. Attractions like Journey to the Center of the Earth (a thrilling voyage through the park's centerpiece volcano); a Japanese version of Tower of Terror; 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea; a section dedicated to The Little Mermaid, and the Raging Spirits roller coaster make up just a handful of the unique Disney rides and attractions found at this park. 960 1280

stevenocchipinti, flickr  

Blizzard Beach at Walt Disney World, Orlando

Blizzard Beach at Walt Disney World, Orlando

Walt Disney World has more to offer than just its 4 main parks – there is also a water park you can’t miss during your stay, too. "Themed as a 'ski resort that is melting' this water park stands out as my favorite water park in the world," says Alvey. There is something for everyone here. For thrill seekers, there is Summit Plummet, once the world's tallest water slide, and for families there are many different attractions including Teamboat Springs, Alvey’s favorite "family raft ride." 960 1280

Gene Duncan, Disney  

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