Are you looking for some excitement and adventure during your time here in the U.S.? If you're into thrills and rides to enjoy the nice weather, take a trip to a local amusement park with some friends and have some fun! Below you will find some great parks that not only provide you with some great roller coasters but that also cater to the entertainment enthusiast with a variety of shows and concessions for an overall great time!
1. Cedar Point in Sandusky Ohio: Welcome to Cedar Point! These 364 acres of joy are filled with 75 rides, ten shows, a water park and seventeen roller coasters! Here you will find the most thrills per square foot than anywhere else. The roller coaster selection is great for the ride enthusiast, but Cedar Point also provides several award- winning shows. If you're looking to cool off in the summer months you can head over to the adjacent water park, named Soak City. You can buy a separate or combo admission ticket for both parks. Daily hours last from late May to early September.
2. Walt Disney World in Orlando Florida: Disney is the largest, most-attended recreational complex in the world and attending the park has become one of America's favorite pastimes. Although Disney World is known to be expensive, it is worth the experience of four theme parks and numerous other attractions, including water parks, shopping districts, concert venues and shows. The original park, the Magic Kingdom, home to the world famous Cinderella Castle is still the most popular today! Disney also hosts an Animal Kingdom for animal lovers alike. There's so much to see and do at Disney it's hard to do it all in one day!
3. Busch Gardens Williamsburg in Williamsburg, Virginia: Busch Gardens Williamsburg is one of the most beloved theme parks in America. Not only is the park itself beautiful, but it is cut into ten sections, inspired by countries in Europe, from Scotland to Germany. Like the park itself, the rides are also inspired by the countries that present them, such as the "Griffon", the world' tallest and fastest dive machine coaster. Seasonal hours are from April to October.
4. Legoland in Carlsbad, California: If you don't want to sit at home and build things out of Legos, take a trip to Legoland! Legoland is for all ages and offers over 50 rides, shows and attractions. We recommend visiting Miniland USA, a favorite to visitors. Here you will find stunningly accurate Lego models of New York City, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and many others. If you're in the Florida area, we also recommend Legoland Florida.
5. Knoebels Amusement Resort in Elysburg, Pennsylvania: Knoebels, which first offered visitors a swimming pool, steam-powered carousel and a few picnic tables in 1926, now offers a historic park and the claim "America's Largest Free Admission Park". The admission and parking are free and visitors may purchase ride tickets a la carte ($.75-$4.00) or through an all-day pass (29.50 - $37.00). Knoebels is an Amusement Today Golden Ticket winner for best food for seven years running now. There are several great restaurants, both sit-down and counter-style, or you may also enjoy a favorite called The Alamo! Season runs May to September.
6. Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels, Texas: If you're looking for a way to cool off in the summer months, head on over to a water park! Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort features three incredible parks for one admission. Here you will find over 40 rides, 17 slides, nine tube chutes, uphill water coasters, three lazy rivers and more than three miles of tube rides. One unique quality of this park is that Schlitterbahn still allows guests to bring their own concessions.
7. Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Illinois: This park, just north of Chicago, has the thrills to satisfy the most diehard amusement park fan. Here you will find the most variety, with coasters, flat rides, shows, an adjacent admissions-included water park, and great concessions. The newest ride, Dark Knight, is an indoor coaster opened just last year and has become quite popular with its partial-dark track. Six Flags in Gurnee also offers the Raging Bull, the United States' first "hyper-twister", meaning not only is it fast and aggressive, but it also twists and turns about itself so that you always feel like your body is twisting on itself! Six Flags also offers a Flash Pass, which allows you to wait in line for some rides without the hassle of actually waiting in line. Six Flags also offers locations in Georgia, Texas, Maryland, California, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey and New York.
8. Universal Studios in Orlando Florida: Universal Studios holds more entertainment than you can experience in a whole week across two large parks. This is a must-see park! At this theme park, rides and attractions are based on popular movies and TV show properties, so you can enjoy your love of home and theater entertainment in the park. Even more exciting than Universal Studios is the sister park, Universal's Islands of Adventure which is separated into five islands, including Marvel Super-Hero Island, Toon Lagoon, Jurassic Park, The Lost Continent and Seuss Landing, all providing once-in-a-lifetime thrill.
9. Kings Island, Cincinnati, Ohio: Kings' Island is the largest amusement park and water park in the Midwest! This is for good reason! Come enjoy the thrill rides, such as The Beast that travels across a 35-acre site at 65 mph or the WindSeeker, which takes you 301 feet above the park for an unparalleled swing ride. Here you can also find Dinosaurs Alive!- 60 life-sized dinos spread across seven acres of Jurassic thrills. If you ever get tired of the amusement park rides, head over to Soak City, where you'll find huge slides, wave pools and rushing rivers.
10. Family Kingdom Amusement Park, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: Welcome to Family Kingdom, South Carolina's only seaside amusement park and oceanfront water park. This charming, old-fashioned amusement park offers over 30 rides including an all-wooden roller coaster, Log Flume, Go-Kart tracks, historic carousel and the largest Ferris Wheel in South Carolina. If the rides aren't enough for you, head over to their Oceanfront water park just across the street!
Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Ani is a fan of exploring new places through photography and the local cuisine. After earning her BFA in photography from NYU and gaining communications experience at International Planned Parenthood Federation, she joined InterExchange in 2012, and worked as the Marketing Producer until 2016.