Complete Guide to U.S. Amusement Parks

Summer’s here, and the kids are getting restless. That means one thing: Time for an amusement park! From coast to coast, these parks keep kids (and kids at heart) happy with fun rides and more!

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Castle Park in Riverside, California

In Southern California, head to Castle Park. You’ll love the park’s medieval castle, mini golf course and 21 amusement rides, such as Merlin’s Revenge and Dragon Flyer (pictured).

More California Amusement Parks:

Adventure City - Anaheim

Belmont Park - San Diego

California's Great America - Santa Clara

Castle Park - Riverside

Children's Fairyland - Oakland

Funderland Amusement Park - Sacramento

Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park - Gilroy

Disneyland in Anaheim, California

Beyond Disneyland’s entrance, the wonder of childhood dreams await: Step inside Sleeping Beauty’s Castle; take a ride through Splash Mountain; and hop aboard a carriage as you take in the sights of Main Street, in the “happiest place on Earth.”

More California Amusement Parks:

Knott's Berry Farm -- Buena Park

Pacific Park -- Santa Monica

Pixieland Amusement Park -- Concord

Rotary Storyland & Playland -- Fresno

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk -- Santa Cruz

Legoland in Carlsbad, California

Love Legos? You got to visit this Legoland -- the first one outside of Europe. Spread across 128 acres in Carlsbad, California, "Legoland greets the kids with a welcoming dinosaur right by the entrance. Lie inside a life-sized dinosaur footprint on Dino Island; venture into the wilds of Africa in Duplo Village or get soaked with 350 gallons of water at the waterpark.

More California Amusement Parks:

Scandia Amusement Park -- Sacramento and Victorville

SeaWorld San Diego

A San Diego attraction since 1964, SeaWorld San Diego upped the ante in summer 2012 when it launched Manta, the mega-coaster that features two launches of up to 43 m.p.h. Manta joins park mainstays like the Dolphin Point exhibit, the Bayside Skyride gondola ride and the Sky Tower, a 320-foot-high panoramic tower.

More California Amusement Parks:

Six Flags Magic Mountain -- Valencia

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom -- Vallejo

Universal Studios Hollywood in California

Don’t panic! That guy going up in smithereens is part of the moviemaking magic at Universal Studios Hollywood. The movie studio is one of the oldest and most famous Hollywood movie studios still in operation. One of its theme park highlights is Transformers: The Ride, which opened in 2012 featuring 3-D technology, fight simulation and more!

Elitch Gardens Theme Park in Denver

From late April through Halloween, this seasonal, 70-acre park in Denver is worth a family’s visit. With 30 rides, including nine roller coasters, Elitch Gardens's attractions include Half Pipe, a snowboard ride that will have you thrashing and spinning around … and around. Plus, cool off in Elitch’s waterpark.

Lake Compounce in Bristol, Connecticut

You’re looking at the oldest continuously-operating amusement park in the U.S. Lake Compounce first opened its doors in 1846. Today, the amusement park spans 332 acres, with more than 40 rides, including Thunder n' Lightning (pictured). The park also has a beach and waterpark.

More Connecticut Amusement Parks:

Quassy Amusement Park -- Middlebury

Funland in Rehoboth, Delaware

There’s something for the whole family at Funland. Choose from among 19 rides -- everything from the carousel to the more fast-paced Sea Dragon thrill ride. The kids and you can also enjoy games, from Ring Fling to amusement-park fave Whac-a-Mole. Perhaps the coolest part about Funland: Many of the rides are decades old, so adults can enjoy a walk down memory lane while the kids discover rides for the first time.

Aquatica Orlando in Florida

There’s a reason this is the ninth-most visited amusement park in the U.S.: Spanning 200 acres, Aquatica Orlando showcases live shows and animal exhibits -- stingrays, turtles, flamingos and more -- plus rides like Dolphin Plunge, the most popular ride in the park.

More Florida Amusement Parks:

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay -- Tampa

Fun Spot -- Kissimmee

Fun Spot -- Orlando

Legoland Florida -- Winter Haven

Old Town -- Kissimmee

Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida

What kid wouldn’t love swimming with (and smooching!) a bottlenose dolphin? Interactive fun is yours at Discovery Cove. Also snorkel alongside rays in the Grand Reef and wade through water in the Freshwater Oasis, where a face-to-face encounter with an otter awaits.

More Florida Amusement Parks:

Sam's Fun City -- Pensacola

Silver Springs -- Ocala

Weeki Wachee Springs -- Spring Hill

SeaWorld Orlando in Florida

Along with Discovery Cove and Aquatica, this massive theme park is part of the SeaWorld Parks and Resorts entertainment complex. You could spend days in this one alone: Spanning 200 acres, SeaWorld Orlando boasts four roller coasters, including the fierce Manta and Kraken.

Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida

It’s a small world after all… except at Walt Disney World! As the largest vacation resort in the world -- and the most visited -- this legendary entertainment complex is pretty darn big: over 30,000 acres, with 24 themed resorts, four theme parks and two aterparks.

Six Flags Over Georgia in Austell, Georgia

Just west of Atlanta, Six Flags Over Georgia spans 290 acres, with more than 40 rides -- including Batman: The Ride (pictured). Twirl in a 98-foot-wide circle -- as your feet dangle 24 stories above ground and wind blows in your face at 40 m.p.h. You just might scream.

More Georgia Amusement Parks:

Lake Winnepesaukah -- Rossville

Wild Adventures -- Valdosta

Silverwood in Athol, Idaho

Live in the Northwest? You’ll want to check out Silverwood. Spread across 413 acres, the amusement park is the largest theme and waterpark in the region. Silverwood has more than 65 rides, slides and other attractions. Top draws include Silverwood’s Aftershock, the champion of inverted coasters!

Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Illinois

Another reason Chicago is our kind of town: Six Flags Great America. Located in Chi-town’s metro area, this theme park boasts 51 rides (including 13 roller coasters and four water rides) spread across 304 acres. Hop aboard Columbia Carousel, the world’s tallest carousel, and Raging Bull, the park’s tallest, longest and fastest coaster.

More Illinois Amusement Parks:

Santa's Village Azoosment Park -- East Dundee

Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana

This combo theme park-waterpark in southern Indiana celebrates the holiday spirit year-round; Holiday World is divided into four themes: Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Fourth of July. Its Splashin' Safari waterpark has the two best-ranked water coasters in the world: Wildebeest and Mammoth.

More Indiana Amusement Parks:
Indiana Beach -- Monticello

Adventureland in Altoona, Iowa

This family-owned amusement park has you covered, with more than 100 rides, shows and attractions. Adventureland spans 180 acres, making it the biggest family resort in all of Iowa. Don’t miss the Giant Skywheel, the largest open-gondola wheel built in the U.S. since the 1800s. Plus, take a dip in Adventure Bay waterpark.

More Iowa Amusement Parks:

Arnolds Park Amusement Park -- Arnolds Park

Beech Bend Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky

If you’re in Kentucky with the kids, Beech Bend is the place to go. Take a ride on one of three coasters (Kentucky Rumbler is the star, with a 96-foot drop). Enjoy Granny Jones’ Petting Farm (sheep, goats and more); and ride Sea Dragon, which was purchased from Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch.

More Kentucky Amusement Parks:

Guntown Mountain -- Cave City

Carousel Gardens in New Orleans

The 15 rides at this seasonally operated amusement park will have your kids smiling. Hop aboard the antique coaster -- one of only 100 carousels of its kind in the U.S. -- that’s been a fixture of Carousel Gardens for more than a century. Take a ride on the Miniature Train, or cool off with a trip down the Fun Slide.

More Louisiana Amusement Parks:

Dixie Landin' -- Baton Rouge

Funtown Splashtown USA in Saco, Maine

This family-owned amusement park features Excalibur, the only wooden roller coaster in Maine; it’s also the tallest and longest roller coaster in northern New England. Funtown’s other attractions include Dragon’s Descent (a 220-foot-tall drop tower) and Splashtown waterpark, with 18 waterslides and pools.

More Maine Amusement Parks:

Palace Playland -- Old Orchard Beach

York's Wild Kingdom -- York Beach

Six Flags America in Mitchellville, Maryland

Just 15 miles from D.C., and 30 miles southwest of Baltimore, Maryland’s only theme park goes all out, with more than 100 rides, slides and shows. Of them all, Six Flags America’s top attraction is Superman: Ride of Steel, one of the tallest coasters on the East Coast.

More Maryland Amusement Parks:

Frontier Town -- Berlin

Jolly Ranger -- Ocean City

Trimper Rides -- Ocean City

Six Flags New England in Agawam, Massachusetts

Visiting Connecticut or Massachusetts this summer? Take the kids to Six Flags New England. Less than a mile from the Connecticut border, and three miles from Springfield, Massachusetts, this park houses Superman: The Ride, formerly called Bizarro, one of the world’s top coasters with a new virtual reality feature.

More Massachusetts Amusement Parks:

Edaville USA -- Carver

Salem Willows -- Salem

Michigan’s Adventure in Muskegon, Michigan

You want adventure? You’ve come to the right place! Spanning 250 acres, Michigan’s Adventure is the largest amusement park in the state, with 53 rides -- including Shivering Timbers roller coaster -- as well as WildWater Adventure, an outdoor waterpark.

More Michigan Amusement Parks:

Crossroads Village -- Crossroads Village

Deer Acres Storybook Amusement Park -- Pinconning

Dutch Village -- Holland

Stagecoach Shop USA -- Irish Hills

Valleyfair Amusement Park in Shakopee, Minnesota

This 125-acre playground is your ticket to fun! At Valleyfair Amusement Park, choose from among 48 rides, including eight roller coasters -- try Wild Thing, a steel beast that’s currently the tallest coaster in the park.

More Minnesota Amusement Parks:

Como Town -- St. Paul

Six Flags in St. Louis, Missouri

Home to nearly 10 roller coasters, Six Flags St. Louis added Boomerang to its lineup in 2013. The steel roller coaster leads you on a pulsating vertical loop ride reaching speeds of 47 m.p.h. -- in just under two minutes. Keep the adrenaline pumping at Six Flag’s Hurricane Harbor water park, home to Bonzai Pipeline, the looping waterslide.

More Missouri Amusement Parks:

Route 66 Carousel Park -- Joplin

Silver Dollar City -- Branson

Worlds of Fun -- Kansas City

Fun-Plex in Omaha, Nebraska

Take the family to the largest amusement park in Nebraska. Fun-Plex is also home to the Big Ohhhhhh!!! -- the only roller coaster in the state. Also enjoy a “Putt-Terrific” 18-hole golf course, a twisty ride down a five-story waterslide and slip-and-slide fun in a speedy go-kart.

The Roller Coaster in Las Vegas, Nevada

Head to the New York-New York Hotel & Casino on the Strip for the ride of your life: a 203-foot lift, then a 144-foot drop -- that’s just the start of what awaits aboard The Roller Coaster. Did we mention the speed on this exhilarating ride is 67 m.p.h.

More Nevada Amusement Parks:

Buffalo Bill's Hotel and Casino -- Primm

Stratosphere Tower Thrill Rides -- Las Vegas

Santa’s Village in Jefferson, New Hampshire

Since 1953, Santa’s Village has entertained the whole family with holiday magic. Ride above the trees in Santa’s Skyway Sleigh; hop aboard Rudolph on the Reindeer Carousel; and get behind the wheel of a bumper car -- they’re among the 16 rides the kids will enjoy at this Christmas-themed amusement park.

More New Hampshire Amusement Parks:

Canobie Lake Park -- Sale

Clark's Trading Post -- North Woodstock

Hampton Beach -- Hampton Beach

Six Gun City -- Jefferson

Story Land -- Glen

Luna Park in Coney Island, New York

Ride the granddaddy of all roller coasters: Coney Island’s Cyclone. Luna Park’s other thrill rides include Elctro Spin and Sling Shot -- who wouldn’t want to get shot up over 150 feet in the air… at 90 mph?

More New York Amusement Parks:

Adventureland -- Farmingdale

Darien Lake -- Darien Center

Deno's Wonder Wheel -- Coney Island

Enchanted Forest -- Old Forge

The Great Escape -- Queensbury

Carowinds in Charlotte, North Carolina

See the Thrill Capital of the Southeast! The 398-acre Carowinds is home to 13 roller coasters. Can you brave Afterburn and Intimidator?

More North Carolina Amusement Parks:

Ghost Town in the Sky -- Maggie

Gold City -- Franklin

Santa's Land -- Cherokee

Tweetsie Railroad -- Bowling Rock

Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio

Explore the second-oldest amusement park in the U.S. (behind Connecticut’s Lake Compounce). Opened in 1870, Cedar Point boasts 72 rides, including stars like Millennium Force!

More Ohio Amusement Parks:

Coney Island -- Cincinnati

Jungle Jack's Landing -- Powell

King's Island -- Mason

Memphis Kiddie Park -- Brooklyn

Stricker's Grove -- Hamilton

Oaks Amusement Park in Portland, Oregon

A short way’s from downtown Portland is Oaks Amusement Park. Spread across 44 acres, the park includes Looping Thunder, a steel looping roller coaster; Disk'O, a pulsating flat ride; and the Rock-O-Plane, kind of like a Ferris wheel, only these seats rock and roll!

More Oregon Amusement Parks:

Enchanted Forest -- Salem

Dorney Park in Allentown, Pennsylvania

“Two Great Parks for the Price of One” is no exaggeration: Located between N.Y.C. and Philadelphia, Dorney Park is also home to Wildwater Kingdom waterpark. Try braving Steel Force, the world’s ninth-longest steel roller coaster. Or kick back in a cabana rental within the waterpark.

More Pennsylvania Amusement Parks:

Bushkill Park -- Easton

DelGrosso Amusement Park -- Tipton

Dutch Wonderland -- Lancaster

Idlewild and Story Book Forest -- Ligonier

Kennywood -- West Mifflin

Knoebels Amusement Resort -- Elysburg

Hersheypark in Hershey, Pennsylvania

More than 65 rides and other attractions await at this oh-so-sweet family theme park. Head to Hersheypark for a mix of high-adrenaline thrill rides and more laid-back fun, from the extreme coaster Skyrush, to the more leisurely Intercoastal Waterway water ride.

More Pennsylvania Amusement Parks:

Lakemont Park -- Altoona

Sesame Place -- Langhorne

Waldemeer Park -- Erie

Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Head to the biggest ticketed tourist attraction in Tennessee: Spread across 150 acres, Dollywood showcases 27 rides, including six roller coasters: You owe it to yourself to try Dollywood’s Thunderhead -- our own Bert Kreischer calls it the best wooden coaster he’s ridden!

More Tennessee Amusement Parks:

Lake Winnepesaukah Amusement Park -- Chattanooga

Fun Mountain -- Gatlinburg

Ober Gatlinburg -- Gatlinburg

Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels, Texas

“Slippery road” is what this waterpark’s name literally translates to -- and with three locations in Texas, Schlitterbahn delivers with tube chutes, kiddie pools and water coasters. Brave the Downhill Racer -- we dare you not to scream.

More Texas Amusement Parks:

Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier -- Galveston

Joyland -- Lubbock

Kemah Boardwalk -- Kemah

Kiddie Acres -- Austin

Kiddie Park -- San Antonio

Six Flags Over Texas -- Arlington

SeaWorld San Antonio in Texas

One of the largest of the three parks in the SeaWorld chain, SeaWorld San Antonio spans 250 acres, with a marine mammal park, oceanarium and theme park. See One Ocean (the newest Shamu show), explore aviary habitats, and ride on The Great White, the park’s first coaster, which reaches speeds of 50 m.p.h.

More Texas Amusement Parks:

Six Flags Fiesta Texas -- San Antonio

Lagoon in Farmington, Utah

Head 17 miles north of Salt Lake City to Lagoon. Its star attraction is Wicked, which speeds up to 55 mph across more than 2,000 feet. Also step back in time at Pioneer Village, a reconstruction of a late 1800s frontier community.

Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia

Head to Busch Gardens for an edge-of-your-seat ride on coasters Alpengeist, Griffon and Apollo’s Chariot.

More Virginia Amusement Parks:

Dinosaur Land -- White Post

King's Dominion -- Doswell

Riverfront Park in Spokane, Washington

Every spring and summer, Spokane’s 100-acre Riverfront Park sees its Pavilion transformed into an amusement park wonderland: Enjoy rides like the Sizzler, which speeds up to 70 m.p.h., and the Spider, which, you guessed it, will have you spinning and twirling.

More Washington Amusement Parks:

Wild Waves -- Federal Way

Fun Forest -- Seattle

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