America is home to some of the world’s greatest theme parks, and while everyone knows about the classics like Disney, there are many underrated gems that offer incredible thrills and unique experiences. In fact, there are theme parks in the U.S. that date back to the 1800s that continue to thrive and innovate.
From parks with river views to authentic European villages, these US theme parks are the ideal summer destination!
Knott’s Berry Farm (CA)
Located on the outskirts of Los Angeles in Buena Park, CA, Knott’s Berry Farm is a large and historic theme park that has been thrilling visitors since 1920. As one of the most-visited theme parks in North America, there are over 40 rides including 10 roller coasters, water parks, plus interactive towns and villages scattered around. One of the most famous towns is the Ghost Town which draws on Wild West folklore and architecture including saloons, cowboy aesthetics, plus a multitude of games for the whole family. The Ghostrider roller coaster is one of the world’s tallest wooden coasters which provides thrill-seekers with an old-school experience that is unlike anything else around today!
The park also features modern roller coasters with loops and spinning cars along with more relaxing rides for children. Old-time train rides are great for a scenic adventure while the river ride is perfect for all ages to enjoy. Along with live music, lively restaurants, plus a localized shopping center, Knott’s Berry Farm continues to please families after all of these years!
Busch Gardens (VA)
Busch Gardens has been consistently rated as one of the most beautiful theme parks in the world, and it’s easy to see why. Located in Williamsburg, VA right near the James River, Busch Gardens provides exciting rides with a grand natural background. The park prides itself on its conservation efforts, and this is immediately noticeable upon entering the pristine parkway. The central theme of the park is classic European culture, and this includes nine distinct villages celebrating multiple cultures and events from Oktoberfest to the winding cobblestone streets of Paris.
The serene atmosphere is perfect for families wishing to unwind, and the amount of activities is exciting for kids and parents alike. Take a ride on a wooden or steel roller coaster, enjoy rides for kids including bumper cars and trains, or relax at one of the nightly shows and events. The animal area features bald eagles, wolves, and exotic birds for all to enjoy, and the restaurants feature world-class meals that rival your typical theme park fare. With cultural villages, modern and exciting rides, plus an environmentally friendly atmosphere, it’s no wonder that Busch Gardens is known as the most beautiful theme park in the world!
Cedar Point (OH)
Located on the beautiful Lake Erie peninsula in Ohio, Cedar Point remains one of the oldest and best theme parks in the US today! Since 1870, Cedar Point continues to evolve by bringing in new rides, parks, and areas for kids including games and family-friendly rides. The park currently has 18 intense roller coasters, four distinct kid zones with age appropriate rides, plus a giant water park. The on-grounds hotel is both luxurious and cozy with buffets and scenic views of the lake. With over 100 years of history, Cedar Point continues to enthrall families and guests!
Located near the border of North and South Carolina, Carowinds is a large-scale theme park with a special campground feel. The nearby hotels feature woodsy scenery and cabin-themed rooms which provides a great contrast to the park’s modern and exciting rides. The park has 13 high-speed roller coasters, water rapids and scenic drop towers for the whole family, plus a kid’s zone called Planet Snoopy featuring Charlie Brown and friends. There is also an onsite water park that is open to all Carowinds guests, but one of the most unique perks of the park is the new Dinosaurs Alive area which includes over 30 animatronic dinosaurs and more!
All of these theme parks are family-friendly and offer a number of activities for all ages. Plus, these parks are all located near wonderful natural attractions so that you have the option for scenic hikes and excursions. For unforgettable summer excitement, you can’t go wrong with a world-class theme park!
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