Best Amusement Park (2019)


North America is home to more than 400 amusement parks and attractions attracting some 375 million visitors annually, according to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions. That's an overwhelming number of options when faced with planning that perfect family vacation. To make it easier, 10Best asked our readers to vote for their favorite parks across the continent.

  • Cedar Point

    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 18 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

  • Knoebels


    Knoebels, the nation's largest free-admission amusement park, offers rides, games and attractions geared toward visitors of all ages. Spread across 45 acres, the park includes 64 rides, a 900,000-gallon Crystal Pool, 28 midway games, two arcades and 34 places to grab a bite to eat.
    Photo courtesy of Knoebels

  • Kings Island

    Kings Island
    Mason, Ohio

    Kings Island, sister park of Kings Dominion and one of the nation's most visited theme parks, has plenty of family-friendly offerings among its 100 rides, shows and attractions, but the roller coasters are king. The park boasts 15 of them, including the world's longest wooden roller coaster, The Beast, as well as Diamondback, one of the top steel coasters in the country. Park admission also includes entrance into the 33-acre Soak City water park.
    Photo courtesy of Don Helbig, Kings Island

  • Silver Dollar City

    Silver Dollar City
    Branson, Mo.

    Stepping into Silver Dollar City is like stepping back to an 1880s mining town. Covering over 100 acres, the park is the largest family-owned amusement park in the nation, attracting some two million visitors annually with its combination of on-park entertainment, festivals, 100 resident craftsmen and more than 40 rides and attractions. Time Traveler, the world's tallest, steepest and fastest complete-circuit spinning roller coaster, opened in 2018.
    Photo courtesy of Silver Dollar City Attractions

  • 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 Great Adventure

    Six Flags Great Adventure
    Jackson, N.J.

    Six Flags Great Adventure is home of the world's tallest steel roller coaster, Kinda Ka, as well as Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom, the world's tallest and fastest drop ride. The park boasts around a dozen coasters in all, plus a slew of tamer rides and attractions, Looney Toons character meet-and-greets, live stage shows and a 350-acre safari park with 1,200 animal residents.
    Photo courtesy of Six Flags Great Adventure

  • SeaWorld Orlando

    SeaWorld Orlando

    Most famous as a marine zoological park, SeaWorld Orlando has made a name for itself in the world of high-octane thrill rides as well, including Manta – one of the only coasters of its kind in the world – and Mako, a hyper coaster with deep dives, high speeds and and thrills a plenty. Young visitors can now walk down Sesame Street and interact with their favorite furry friends.
    Photo courtesy of SeaWorld Orlando

  • Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

    Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

    African-themed Busch Gardens Tampa opened in 1959, making it somewhat of a trailblazer in the Orlando theme park boom. It's since expanded to include nearly 300 acres of attractions, thrill rides and even a 12,000-animal zoo. While the park offers animal shows and interactions, as well as character encounters with the folks from Sesame Street to appeal to pint-sized park goers, the real draws are the coasters and thrill rides, including a coaster with a 70-foot vertical lift called Cobra's Curse.
    Photo courtesy of Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

  • Hersheypark

    Hershey, Penn.

    The amusement park of every chocolate lover's dreams, Hersheypark features 121 acres with 70 rides (including 14 roller coasters), strolling shows, five 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

    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

The top 10 winners in the category Best Amusement Park are as follows:

  1. Cedar Point - Sandusky, Ohio
  2. Knoebels - Elysburg
  3. Kings Island - Mason, Ohio
  4. Silver Dollar City - Branson, Mo.
  5. Dollywood - Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
  6. Six Flags Great Adventure - Jackson, N.J.
  7. SeaWorld Orlando - Orlando
  8. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay - Tampa
  9. Hersheypark - Hershey, Penn.
  10. Busch Gardens Williamsburg - Williamsburg, Va.

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

Congratulations to all these winning parks!

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