The INSIDER Summary:
- Theme parks are popular attractions all over the US. With research and the help of Foursquare we found the cream of the crop.
- Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri, for example, is themed entirely around the 1880s.
- Lagoon in Farmington, Utah, is an amusement and water park that’s been open since 1896.
Visiting theme parks is a beloved pastime of Americans of all ages. From parks with record-breaking roller coasters to water parks with slides and wave pools, amusement parks have long been the perfect place for thrill seekers and people just looking to cool off from the summer heat.
While theme parks are often associated with the summer months, some parks in places like California and Florida are enjoyable year-round, while others, such as Santa’s Village in Jefferson, New Hampshire, are holiday-themed and specialize in wintertime fun.
We turned to Foursquare as well as our own research to find the very best theme park in every state.
Keep scrolling to see the cream of the crop.
ALABAMA: Alabama Splash Adventure in Bessemer
“This family-owned and operated park is great! Be sure to take advantage of the free beverages and sunscreen!” — Foursquare user Coaster Addict.
ALASKA: Pioneer Park in Fairbanks
“[The park is] hopping in summer with shows, the salmon bake, air museum, & the train (a must for all ages). The gallery is open year around,” — Foursquare user Rachael Kvapil.
ARIZONA: Castles N’ Coasters in Phoenix
“Awesome arcade! Log ride [was] super fun! Staff was VERY friendly!” — Foursquare user Alexandria Briggs.
ARKANSAS: Magic Springs And Crystal Falls Theme Park in Hot Springs
“This amusement park is amazing. When you want a thrill but not the overload of Disneyland, come here. Awesome new rides and an amazing waterpark for the summertime. They have live bands & awesome food,” — Foursquare user Candace F.
CALIFORNIA: Disney California Adventure in Anaheim
“The coaster, California Screamin’, is incredible!!! DO IT!” — Foursquare user Linda Robinson Barr.
COLORADO: Fort Fun in Fort Collins
“We had our daughter’s birthday party here. It was a very fun day. The staff was excellent & friendly & the food was tasty. Everyone had a great time both at the indoor activities & the outdoor ones,” — Foursquare user S J.
CONNECTICUT: Lake Compounce in Bristol
“I love this place! Very family oriented. Small and not overwhelmingly crowded,” — Foursquare user Shena.
DELAWARE: Funland in Rehoboth Beach
“The haunted mansion is the best ride here for all ages,” — Foursquare user Ang Pontius.
FLORIDA: Universal Studios in Orlando
“The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was the best,” — Foursquare user Cansu Ece B.
GEORGIA: Wild Adventures Theme Park in Valdosta
“Nice amusement park! Compared to most parks the lines here aren’t long at all!” — Foursquare user Yasmine Dumas.
HAWAII: Wet’n’Wild Hawaii in Kapolei
“A perfect way to wear out the kids,” — Foursquare user Anthony Freda.
IDAHO: Silverwood Theme Park in Athol
“There is something for everyone here. I loved this theme park,” — Foursquare user Paul Lewandowski.
ILLINOIS: Six Flags Great America in Gurnee
“Fun coasters and the water rides are cool,” — Foursquare user Chelsea Paul.
INDIANA: Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari in Santa Claus
“Four incredible coasters. Two record breaking water coasters. But, it’s the people here that make the difference,” — Foursquare user Andy Guinigundo.
IOWA: Adventureland Park in Altoona
“Awesome rides. Hardly any wait time during September,” — Foursquare user Kaitlyn Marie.
KANSAS: Schlitterbahn Kansas City in Kansas City
“This place is underrated. Awesome time! Lazy river is good. RAGING RIVER is awesome!” — Foursquare user Ramsey Mohsen.
KENTUCKY: Ark Encounter in Williamstown
“Love the exhibits, videos, lots of attention to detail. Lots of attention to the comfort of guests,” — Foursquare user Becky Nunya.
LOUISIANA: City Park Carousel Gardens in New Orleans
“Great date place or family outing,” — Foursquare user Ashley Coleman.
MAINE: Funtown Splashtown USA in Saco
“Great small amusement park! I love the Wild Mouse and the Astrosphere! Tilt-A-Whirl is the fastest around! Best water slide is the Mammoth! Enjoy!” — Foursquare user Michael Sales.
MARYLAND: Six Flags America in Bowie
“If you love rollercoasters but hate the huge wait times at other parks, this is perfect. You can easily ride every coaster in the park in a day — no wait was over 15 minutes.” — Foursquare user Angie Harmon.
MASSACHUSETTS: Six Flags New England in Agawam
“The water park and rides park are both great!!! There is always something to do,” — Foursquare user Ali Allen.
MICHIGAN: Michigan’s Adventure in Muskegon
“Great place for the whole family! Lots of kiddie rides… and hardly any wait for anything. Waterway is awesome!” — Foursquare user Stacy Wysocki.
MINNESOTA: Valleyfair in Shakopee
“Great for dates, family fun, or singular fun. Workers are polite and the food is always really good,” — Foursquare user Leilani Andrews.
MISSISSIPPI: Big Play Family Fun Center in Biloxi
“Fun Spot for kids or Big kids! Arcade, Goofy Golf, Bumper cars, slides, food and fun!” — Foursquare user Exclusive Taxi Transportation.
MISSOURI: Silver Dollar City in Branson
“The most authentic theme park I’ve ever visited. No fake plastic “log cabins” — it’s all the real deal, and some of the sights are historic landmarks. Tons of trees keep the park cool and beautiful,” — Foursquare user Jenna Rose Robbins.
MONTANA: Big Sky Waterpark in Columbia Falls
NEBRASKA: Fun-Plex in Omaha
“Loved it! Great for everyone! The rides, multiple places to eat, arcade, wave pool and shallow pool, along with volleyball and grassy areas make it hard to get bored… I’m 100% sold,” — Foursquare user Crystal L.
NEVADA: The Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas
“All day unlimited ride pass for $36 gets you to the top and a chance to get on Insanity, Big Shot and X-Scream as many times as you want,” — Foursquare user Vladimir Kovtun.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Santa’s Village in Jefferson
“The best kiddie park in New Hampshire hands down! Very friendly staff and extremely clean! Not one piece of trash seen on the ground. A+++” — Foursquare user Eric Gagne.
NEW JERSEY: Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson
“Go to Great Adventure and see if you can keep your hands in the air during the entirety of the first drop on Nitro (which happens to be the best ride in the park!)” — Foursquare user Katie Baker.
NEW MEXICO: Cliff’s Amusement Park in Albuquerque
“Not a very big place but it is still fun. Was able to ride every single ride there,” — Foursquare user Samantha Soliz.
NEW YORK: Luna Park Coney Island in Brooklyn
“Great rides for kids. I thought this place was super old school and not that friendly, but I was wrong. Perfect day outing with kids,” — Foursquare user Oz Lubling.
NORTH CAROLINA: Carowinds in Charlotte
“The rides are a thrill, the food is amazing, and the staff is friendly and courteous. If you want to have a great time at an amusement park, this is the place to go,” — Foursquare user Kali Girl.
NORTH DAKOTA: Thunder Road in Fargo
“Mini golf is a unique course,” — Foursquare user Mathew Gallagher.
OHIO: Cedar Point in Sandusky
“An amazing place to spend the day with friends, family, or both! There is plenty to do for riders and non-riders,” — Foursquare user Phillip Boyle.
OKLAHOMA: Wheeler Ferris Wheel in Oklahoma City
OREGON: Enchanted Forest in Turner
“Surprisingly fantastic! This little theme park is a trip and has a whole lotta heart,” — Foursquare user Eric Lynxwiler.
PENNSYLVANIA: Knoebels Amusement Resort in Elysburg
“Great place to take the family. Free parking, free admissions, free use of the picnic areas, and free entertainment at the grand stand. Rides are inexpensive and the food is fantastic,” — Foursquare user Jason Percival.
RHODE ISLAND: Watch Hill Carousel in Watch Hill
“Childhood memories. Enough said,” — Foursquare user Karl With A “K”.
SOUTH CAROLINA: Family Kingdom Amusement Park in Myrtle Beach
“Great oceanfront amusement park with all the rides you would expect… Ferris wheel overlooking ocean and more… Just great for adults and kids alike!” — Foursquare user Rob Price.
SOUTH DAKOTA: Wild West Waterpark in Sioux Falls
TENNESSEE: Dollywood in Pigeon Forge
“Had an awesome time with my family at Dollywood. Nice staff, great food, awesome rides and attractions. Totally worth it!” — Foursquare user Christina Bullock.
TEXAS: Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio
“The roller coasters are top notch, and worth waiting for,” — Foursquare user Andres Elizondo.
UTAH: Lagoon Amusement Park in Farmington
“Great weekend place to visit. Go at opening, and you can get on all the major attractions without lines,” — Foursquare user Eric Davis.
VERMONT: Bromley Mountain in Peru
“Alpine slide will cost you $15 a ride but totally worth it. Feels like you’re in an 80s movie,” — Foursquare user Daniel McDonough.
VIRGINIA: Busch Gardens in Williamsburg
“If you love rollercoasters and beautifully themed parks, this is your place. This park makes you feel like you’re in Europe indeed. It’s breathtaking. Don’t underestimate any of the rides,” — Foursquare user Yuri Bello.
WASHINGTON: Wild Waves Theme & Water Park in Federal Way
“A lot of fun! The combination of the wet and dry rides made for a wide variety and a great day,” — Foursquare user Alex Gahan.
WEST VIRGINIA: West Virginia State Fairgrounds in Lewisburg
“You have to get the cinnamon rolls,” — Foursquare user Brandon Tuckwiller.
WISCONSIN: Bay Beach Amusement Park in Green Bay
“A great place for families and kids of all ages on the banks of Green Bay. Tons of great rides and all for less than a dollar. Also home to the famous and historic Zippin Pippin roller coaster,” — Foursquare user Tony Tandeski.
WYOMING: Snow King Mountain, Jackson
“Don’t forget to ride the alpine coaster!” — Foursquare user Ashley Rose.
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