Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio

(Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash)

A trip to the amusement park is a must for any family’s summer agenda. From thrilling rides to delicious, sugary treats, amusement parks are packed full of fun activities for the whole family. If you’re a family of thrill-seekers, you’ll want to visit each and every one of the best amusement parks. 

Research shows that the average child wants their summer to include three trips to an amusement park. With 91 percent of parents willing to do anything they can to make their child’s summer dream come true, the time to nail down tickets and travel is closing in.

Families with children aren’t the only ones descending on the amusement parks! A recent survey found that amusement parks made the top 10 best daytime date ideas. These fun-packed parks have something for everyone. Just make sure you aren’t prone to motion sickness — that might not make for the most romantic date.

If you’re ready to feel the thrill of a steep roller coaster ride, enjoy some deep-fried food, and feel the sun on your shoulders, you aren’t alone. Trying to narrow down your amusement park itinerary to just the best of the best? Here at Study Finds, we make it easy. We looked for expert opinions on the best amusement parks to compile this list. But of course, if you have a favorite that didn’t make the list, let us know in the comments below.

The List: Best Amusement Parks, According to Experts

1. Cedar Point

Our top choice for amusement parks goes to Cedar Point, the largest and second oldest amusement park in the United States. Located in Sandusky, Ohio, Cedar Point is a favorite of coaster enthusiasts. “Located along the shores of Lake Erie, Cedar Point is known for its diverse selection of 70 rides, including 17 world-class roller coasters,” says U.S. News. “Notable coasters range from Steel Vengeance, boasting 30 seconds of airtime (the feeling of weightlessness), to Valravn, which drops riders 223 feet at a 90-degree angle before spinning on a 270-degree roll.”

Those who would rather keep their feet on the ground can also find enjoyment at Cedar Point. “For something a little less daunting, Cedar Point has family-friendly attractions such as water playgrounds, kid-sized slides, carousel, and mini cars,” adds Hotels.com.

“Cedar Point, with its accompanying water park Cedar Point Shores, is a fantastic family vacation destination within a few hours’ drive of Chicago, Cleveland, and Detroit,” Trip.com says.

2. Knott’s Berry Farm

Named and themed after the boysenberry, Knott’s Berry Farm is a Buena Park, California attraction full of rides and activities for all ages. “Knott’s Berry Farm really did start out as a berry farm, and guests can still dine at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant to sample her boysenberry jam,” explains USA Today.

“The theme park has four themed areas, including one very authentic 1800s ghost town. Kids will enjoy Camp Snoopy, which was the first-ever theme park area made just for kids,” adds Time Out

Located outside Los Angeles, “Knott’s Berry Farm operates year round, meaning there’s always an opportunity for you to come and enjoy yourself,” Trip.com says. “A trip to Knott’s Berry Farm is a great addition to a Los Angeles vacation.”

3. Hersheypark

Central Pennsylvania’s claim to fame, Hersheypark is a chocolate lover’s delight. “Hersheypark features several roller coasters, family rides like bumper cars, and water rides,” says Trip.com. “Visitors can tour Hershey’s Chocolate World where they can explore the history of the famed brand and see all sorts of delicious treats being made right before their eyes.”

Activities at Hersheypark are suited for all kinds of interests. “Hersheypark features 121 acres with 70 rides (including more than a dozen roller coasters), strolling shows, five stages, three additional performance areas, a waterpark and an 11-acre wildlife park, all accessible via a single admission,” USA Today says.

“The park is open year-round and is home to seasonal attractions which include a waterpark in the summer and a sweet winter wonderland during the holiday season,” notes VacationIdea.

4. Dollywood

Named for and co-owned by country superstar Dolly Parton, Dollywood is a family-friendly amusement park located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. “Dolly Parton’s Dollywood amusement park is dually known for its delicious cinnamon bread and its thrilling attractions,” says Best Life Online.

“Dollywood celebrates life in the Great Smoky Mountains, with more than 40 different attractions, and an onsite water park,” Time Out adds. 

The park includes many shows, rides, and food offerings that nod to its country music theme. “Live craft demonstrations, lavish stage shows and a full calendar of special events mean there’s always something going on, and the Southern-inspired food offerings are a cut above the typical theme park fare,” says USA Today.

5. Six Flags Magic Mountain

Six Flags Magic Mountain is a roller coaster lover’s dream. “Six Flags Magic Mountain is an adventure-seeker’s paradise thanks to its many roller coasters that will take riders flying through the air in adventures that only seem to defy gravity,” says VacationIdea.

“The park is getting ready to open its 20th coaster in the summer of 2022, Wonder Woman Flight of Courage, which will be the longest single-rail coaster in the world,” adds Time Out

Located in Valencia, California, Six Flags Magic Mountain is easy to add to the itinerary of any California adventure. “Magic Mountain’s setting on the other side of the Santa Susana Mountains makes visiting the park feel like going on a road trip adventure,” Trip.com says. “Coupled with the adjacent Hurricane Harbor water park, Six Flags Magic Mountain is a dynamite family entertainment combination located a mere half an hour from Downtown Los Angeles.”

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This article may contain affiliate links.

About Anna Landry

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StudyFinds publishes digestible, agenda-free, transparent research summaries that are intended to inform the reader as well as stir civil, educated debate. We do not agree nor disagree with any of the studies we post, rather, we encourage our readers to debate the veracity of the findings themselves. All articles published on StudyFinds are vetted by our editors prior to publication and include links back to the source or corresponding journal article, if possible.

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