Cedar Point wins title of Best Amusement Park in the USA
Six Flags Magic Mountain, Dollywood, Holiday World and Busch Gardens Williamsburg in top five
Nothing says "summer vacation" quite like a day at an amusement park. The United States is home to more than 400 amusement parks and attractions, visited by some 375 million guests each year.
Disneyland Park (Anaheim, Calif.)
The original "Happiest Place on Earth," Disneyland Park in Anaheim was the brainchild of Walt Disney himself. Dedicated by Disney in 1955, the 85-acre park features eight themed "lands" with more than 60 attractions. Some of the most iconic theme park rides out there - It's a Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Haunted Mansion and Star Tours to name a few - can be found here (nearly every ride is a highlight), making up for what the park lacks in more adrenaline-pumping offerings. Photo courtesy of Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland
Knott's Berry Farm (Buena Park, Calif.)
Making up for what nearby Disney once lacked in thrill rides, Knott's Berry Farm really did start out as a berry farm, and guests can still dine at Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant (complete with her boysenberry jam). But today, the park is better known for its lineup of thrill rides and roller coasters, like the launched coaster Xcelerator with speeds of 82 miles per hour in three seconds, as well as the kid-friendly Camp Snoopy. Photo courtesy of Visit California
Sesame Place (Langhorne, Penn.)
Popular among families with younger children, Sesame Place brings to life the world of Sesame Street
, complete with Big Bird, Cookie Monster and the rest of the gang. Attractions include 16 kid-friendly rides, three live shows and the guest favorite Neighborhood Street Party Parade each day. Photo courtesy of R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia
Magic Kingdom Park (Orlando)
The Magic Kingdom, the Florida version of the original Disneyland, was the first Walt Disney World park to open, and much like it's West Coast predecessor, it's divided into six themed "lands" with some of the same attractions that have made Disney a household name when it comes to theme parks: Space Mountain, It's a Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean and the Jungle Cruise, among others. Newer attractions like the Seven Dwarves Mine Train showcase the ongoing creative efforts of Disney's Imagineers. Photo courtesy of Kent Phillips/Disney
Hersheypark (Hershey, Penn.)
The amusement park of every chocolate lover's dreams, Hersheypark features 110 acres with 70 rides (including 13 roller coasters), five strolling shows, six stages, three additional performance areas, a waterpark and an 11-acre wildlife park, all accessible via a single admission. Fahrenheit, one of the park's most popular thrill rides, is a vertical lift coaster with a 90-degree, 121-foot lift followed by a breathtaking 97-degree drop. Photo courtesy of Hersheypark
Busch Gardens Williamsburg (Williamsburg, Va.)
The European-themed installment of Busch Gardens in Williamsburg transports visitors to England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Germany and Italy circa 17th century, albeit a rather exciting version of the era, with more than 50 rides and attractions spread over 100 acres. Busch Gardens Williamsburg frequently ranks among the world's most beautiful theme parks, and its thrill ride options are top notch. The guest favorite? Griffon, the world's first floorless dive coaster that plunges 205 feet at 75 miles per hour. Photo courtesy of Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Holiday World (Santa Claus, Ind.)
It's Christmas year-round at Holiday World in the town of Santa Claus, Ind. The park celebrated its 70th birthday in 2016 – it's one of the oldest theme parks in the country – with a major renovation of The Legend wooden roller coaster, which now a double-down and a fifth tunnel. Thunderbird steel roller coaster is another guest favorite, and Firecracker, one of the only remaining classic Calypso rides in the nation, will open in summer 2017. Photo courtesy of Holiday World
Dollywood (Pigeon Forge, Tenn.)
Tucked amid the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, country music-themed Dollywood has all the makings of a great theme park – thrill rides, coasters, kiddie rides and everything in between. It really shines in its other extras; 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. Photo courtesy of Dollywood
Six Flags Magic Mountain (Valencia, Calif.)
For roller coaster lovers, it doesn't get much better than Six Flags Magic Mountain. The park boasts the world's largest lineup of coasters – 19 of them – including some rather inventive offerings and record-breakers. Stars of the heart-pumping ride list include The New Revolution Galactic Attack, the first giant looping mixed reality roller coaster in the world, and Twisted Colossus, the world's longest hybrid coaster. Debuting in summer 2017 is Justice League: Battle for Metropolis with an appearance by fan-favorite village Harley Quinn. Photo courtesy of Six Flags Magic Mountain
Cedar Point (Sandusky, Ohio)
Located on a Lake Erie peninsula in Sandusky, Ohio, Cedar Point bills itself as "the roller coaster capital of the world" with 17 thrilling coasters covering 10 miles of track (out of more than 70 total rides). The 364-acre park has a history dating back to 1870, making it the second oldest continually operated amusement park on the continent, and it's managed to maintain that classic park feel, complete with 3 miles of midway and one of the only operating D.C. Muller carousels in the world. Photo courtesy of Cedar Point
We asked a panel of theme park and family travel experts to nominate their favorite parks in the nation for the title of Best Amusement Park. For the past four weeks, readers have been voting for their favorites, and the results are in.
The top 10 winners in the category Best Amusement Park are as follows:
- Cedar Point - Sandusky, Ohio
- Six Flags Magic Mountain - Valencia, Calif.
- Dollywood - Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
- Holiday World - Santa Claus, Ind.
- Busch Gardens Williamsburg - Williamsburg, Va.
- Hersheypark - Hershey, Penn.
- Magic Kingdom Park - Orlando
- Sesame Place - Langhorne, Penn.
- Knott's Berry Farm - Buena Park, Calif.
- Disneyland Park - Anaheim, Calif.
A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Robert Niles (ThemeParkInsider.com), Jacqui Boland (Red Tricycle) and Mommy Nearest (mommynearest.com) were chosen based on their knowledge and experience of family travel and theme parks in the U.S.
Congratulations to all these winning amusement parks!