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One of the best memories of my life was when I was 17.  I packed up the car and headed from Pennsylvania to Ohio with 3 friends and we went to Cedar Point Amusement Park.  It was fun.  We were independent.  And we loved everything about it.  Though I am getting older, amusement parks have always had an allure, whether it was going with my family to Disneyland in California in the 70’s, to taking my own kids to Universal Studios in Florida in the 90’s.

Irrespective of the age of any person, amusement parks are full of fun and bring happiness to most people. Every theme park is unique and varies in the atmosphere, rides and landscapes. But selecting the best one for your next visit can become difficult. Let us look at some of the best amusement parks in the US. It might help you make a quick decision.


Dollywood — Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

This amusement park owned by Dolly Parton is home to 160 acres of theme park and water park with over 40 rides. Dollywood is located in the Tennessee Smoky Mountain area and was first opened in 1961. 

Lightning rod and Tennessee Tornado coaster are the top attractions of this theme park. You can also find other rides like a giant swing and bumping cars. To keep the kids entertained and happy, they have small rides like Busy Bees and Black Bear Trail. 

This theme park also offers other entertainment services like local music festivals and plays. A water park of this sort features plenty of slides, a lazy river and several water coasters. It also owns DreamMore Resort and Spa with facilities like on-site kids activities and two pools.



Knoebels Amusement Resort — Elysburg, Pennsylvania

Created in 1926, Knoebels Amusement Resort is the country’s largest free-admission park. They offer three types of rides- thrill rides, family rides and kiddie rides. Rides for more adventurous and older guests include the Impulse coaster with a 90-degree free fall and four upside-down turns, the Giant Flume ride, and the Black Diamond mine car ride.

You will find many eateries and shops that cater for the taste and needs of all visitors. Additionally, this park also has a water park and resort. The resort has various lodging options, including cosy log cottages that can accommodate up to 16 people.


Universal Studios Florida — Orlando, Florida

Older kids and adults can enjoy their time in this studio which is famous for thrilling, fast and perfectly themed attractions. It has three distinct parks that offer something for everyone. One of the parks allows you to step inside your favourite television shows and films, including Harry Potter, The Simpsons, Transformers, Despicable Me and many more. 

Universal’s Volcano Bay Water Theme Park located here provides pools and slides galore to soak up some sun. You can buy passes to three parks separately, but bundled pricing is also available. Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort located in this region is ideal for overnight stays (or even more). It consists of several restaurants and lounges, a meandering lazy river, two huge pools, and its own bowling alley.



Disneyland Park — Anaheim, California

This place is often mentioned as the “happiest place on Earth.” Constructed in 1955, this park was the first of Walt Disney’s famous theme parks. This park boasts multiple themed “lands,” like Main Street USA, Tomorrowland, Toontown, Critter Country, and Adventureland, meant to create unique experiences that you will never forget. 

It is open all year round, and if you want to extend your trip, you can stay at the award-winning Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa.



Silver Dollar City — Branson, Missouri

Located in the Ozark Mountains, this theme park is an 1880s-style park that owns over 40 rides and attractions and has facilities for live entertainment and craftspeople. It also boasts a water park having over 13 acres of water slides, rides, a lazy river and a 500,000-gallon wave pool.

It opens daily from late May through early August. Through early September, it is only open on the weekends. If you wish to stay at the site in a rental cabin or inside a tent/RV, you can check Silver City Campground. It offers a swimming pool, free internet access, and complimentary shuttle service to and from the park.



Six Flags Magic Mountain — Valencia, California

This place is known for its massive roller coasters, and thrill-seekers love it the most. In summer 2022, this park will be opening its 20th coaster, Wonder Woman Flight of Courage, which will be the longest (3,300 feet) and tallest (131 feet) single-rail coaster in the world. Other rides that you can enjoy here are swing rides, Goliath, Full Throttle, CraZanity, and family-friendly rides, like the carousel, miniature train and bumper cars. 


It is open 365 days a year and is located about 35 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. There are many lodging options nearby, like the Embassy Suites Valencia and Best Western Valencia/Six Flags, both of them offer outdoor pools and complimentary breakfast.


Knott’s Berry Farm — Buena Park, California

Built-in the 1920s, Knott’s Berry Farm is entirely themed after the humble boysenberry. It features four distinct regions, all with unique attractions and rides. Young children love the saloon, Camp Snoopy and western-themed coasters located in the Old West Ghost Town. The Knott’s Boardwalk offers some of the park’s most extreme roller coasters.

After a fun-filled day, you should plan your dinner at the Mrs Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant located here. You can enjoy boysenberry-infused cocktails, a funnel cake with whipped cream and berries, along with fried chicken platter. You can check the on-site Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel if you wish to stay in this region.



Cedar Point — Sandusky, Ohio

This amusement park is known for its diverse selection of 70 rides, including 17 world-class roller coasters. It is one of the oldest amusement parks in the US and has been welcoming guests since 1870. It has several Broadway-inspired plays and musicals throughout the day. The notable coasters located here are Valravn and Steel Vengeance, boasting 30 seconds of airtime (the feeling of weightlessness). 

Cedar Point is open from May till October. It also has a water park located next to it, where you can enjoy some water slides and pools to cool off in the hot summers. Tickets for both the parks are available separately. There are a few campgrounds and hotels located on the grounds. 


Our Final Word

Whatever your age, amusement parks are fun and exciting.  Each one is unique and has a different feel, but all bring you happiness.  So pack your bags, get into that old station wagon and take the kids to the closest amusement park.  You will not regret it.


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