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Best Theme Parks in the US

Updated on September 7, 2014

Who doesn't love a day at the theme park? Unless you're terrified of roller coasters of course. There is no comparison to the rush you get from riding thrill rides, or seeing the joy on your child's face while they're riding their favorite ride. Not only do theme parks provide us with fun and exciting rides, but they also provide us with entertainment. Many of them have shows throughout the day, interesting exhibits, or exotic animals to look at. I created this list so that if you get that theme park craving, you'll know where to go!

Parks are listed in alphabetical order.

Busch Gardens

If you have ever been lucky enough to visit Busch Gardens, you know how incredibly awesome these theme parks are. I personally have only been to the Busch Gardens in Tampa. But, I heard the Busch Gardens in Williamsburg is even better. Honestly, if it's better than the one in Tampa, then it must be out of this world. Aside from the numerous world-class roller coasters and water rides this place has, it also won awards for Best Landscaping, Best Food, and Cleanest Park. Busch Gardens is also home to numerous wild animals, including hippos, lions, tigers, and gorillas.

Locations:

  • Tampa, Florida
  • Williamsburg, Virginia

Visit their website

Carowinds

While the address for this park is technically Charlotte, North Carolina, it actually straddles the border between North and South Carolina. How neat! There is a golden concrete state line that can be seen from any of their 13 roller coasters. Therefore, you'll know which state you're in while you're twisting and turning in the air.

Visit their website

Cedar Point

Located in Sandusky, Ohio, this is the second oldest amusement park in the United States. This 34 acre amusement park includes 15 roller coasters, 15 thrill rides, 11 family rides, 3 water rides, and 13 kid's rides. This theme park has previously won the award of "Best Theme Park in the World".

Visit their website

Dollywood

Dollywood is a theme park that I have been to multiple times. I didn't put this park on the list because of personal favoritism. It is also listed on multiple websites as the best theme park in Tennessee. Located in the wonderful city of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, this park is owned by the one and only...Dolly Parton. Aside from all of the exciting rides in the park, you can also find Dolly Parton's memorabilia at every turn! The park is so clean and has such a welcoming, country environment. I absolutely love this place.

Visit their website

Hersheypark

Just the name of this theme park makes me want to give it a visit (sorry I love chocolate). Located in Hershey, Pennsylvania, this park is based off of...you guessed it, Hershey's chocolate. Even the height requirement for each ride is represented by a Hershey's candy bar. This park has the perfect balance of thrill rides and kid rides. They also have a waterpark inside the theme park! This place sounds so fun, it has me wanting to plan a trip to Pennsylvania.

Visit their website

King's Island

This park, located in Mason, Ohio, is one of the most visited parks in the US. This park is especially family-friendly. Admittance into the theme park will also get you admittance into Boomerang Bay, a nearby water park.

Be sure to visit King's Island's sister park located in Doswell, Virginia. The two parks are very similar.

Visit their website

Knoebels

This park, located in Elysburg, Pennsylvania, is perfect for those that like that old school feel. The feel of the park is very old-fashioned. This is the place to go for those on a budget. Admittance and parking are free of charge.

Visit their website

Six Flags

Six Flags Over Texas

This was the first park for Six Flags, located in Dallas. It must be a pretty amazing park seeing how popular Six Flags is today. The park's signature ride, the Texas Giant, won best new ride the year it opened.

Six Flags Great Adventure

While this is one of Six Flag's smaller parks, it is still home to one of the tallest and fastest roller coasters in the world; Kingda Ka. You can find this adrenaline junky park in Jackson, New Jersey.

Six Flags Great America

This theme park, located in the city of Gurnee (right outside of Chicago), Illinois, was built on the top of a small mountain! How cool is that? The park is home to over seventy rides, ten of those being huge roller coasters (for you thrill lovers). The park is divided into nine themes, one of which includes a ride called "Vertical Velocity" which is pictured to the right. Now I am someone that has been to my fair share of theme parks, and I've never seen a ride like this.

Six Flags New England

This exciting park, located in Agawam, Massachusetts, is perfect for everyone. Whether you love thrill rides or have small children and prefer kid rides, this park won't disappoint you. They also have a new coaster coming to the park in 2015 called "The Wicked Cyclone" which has the speed of a steel track, but the thrills of the classic wooden coasters.

Six Flags Over Georgia

I was fortunate enough to be able to go to this park, located in Austell (right outside of Atlanta), Georgia, in eighth grade for a field trip. Living in Florida my entire life, I had been to all of the parks in Orlando numerous times. This park was unforgettable for me because the type of rides they have are so unique. They don't just have your typical roller coasters. On Superman, you are laying on your stomach for the entire coaster, Batman is the fastest roller coaster I have ever been on, and Goliath is the tallest roller coaster I've ever been on. If you're a coaster lover, then this is a great park for you.

Additional Locations:

  • Mitchellville, Maryland (Six Flags America)
  • Vallejo, California (Six Flags Discovery Kingdom)
  • San Antonio, Texas (Six Flags Fiesta Texas)
  • Valencia, California (Six Flags Magic Mountain)
  • Mexico City, Mexico (Six Flags Mexico)
  • Eureka, Missouri (Six Flags St. Louis)

Visit Six Flags' general website

Universal Studios Hollywood

Located in the heart of California, Los Angeles, this theme park is very unique in its theme. Not only is it one of the most famous movie studios in the world, but the rides and attractions are based on popular movies and TV shows.

Visit their website

Universal Studios Orlando

Universal Studios, located in Orlando, Florida, is my all time favorite park. Universal Orlando contains two parks; Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. These parks are home to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. After you're done sipping on your Butter Beer, you can head over to ride The Incredible Hulk, The Revenge of the Mummy, or any of the other incredible rides or shows these parks have to offer.

Visit their website

Walt Disney World

It's probably no surprise that Orlando, Florida is the home of amusement parks. However, Walt Disney World is the most visited theme park in Orlando. It is also the largest park in the entire world. Disney World is home to 4 theme parks (Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios), 2 water parks, and numerous resorts and hotels.

Visit their website

If you absolutely love going to theme parks, how old are you? I want to make sure I'm not the only person above the age of 15 who still loves theme parks this much.

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Do you have a favorite theme park that you didn't see on the list? Please, leave the name of it or any additional comments as well!

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    • greatstuff profile image

      Mazlan 

      4 years ago from Malaysia

      You are so lucky to have so many great theme parks in your country. Not sure when I can go again. In my last trip to the USA (2013) I didn't time to go and besides, it was winter. The previous visit was in the '90s and it was the theme parks in LA. Ahhh.. must save some money for this, but there are so many other countries that are still in the list!!!

    • torriecarroll profile imageAUTHOR

      Torrie Carroll 

      4 years ago

      Thank you very much! Wow I'm jealous, I reallyyyy want to go to Hershey Park! How fun is it? And yes, you HAVE to go to Busch Gardens. You'll absolutely love it.

    • bwhite062007 profile image

      Brianna W 

      4 years ago from East Coast

      I Love theme parks and try to go to one at least every year. Luckily for me, I live in an area where if I travel 2 1/2 hours north I'm at Hershey Park, which is amazing! Or I can travel 2 1/2 hours south and be at Paramounts Kings Dominion which is pretty amazing too. Busch Gardens is definitely next on my list. I hear it's pretty awesome there, especially at Christmas time. Thanks for the read and voted up!

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