May 22, 2024

10 Best Theme Parks of 2024

North America is home to more than 400 amusement parks and attractions with some 375 million visitors annually, according to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions. For those looking to plan the perfect theme park vacation, trying to pick which park to visit can potentially be overwhelming.

To help narrow down the options, we asked a panel of experts to nominate their top 20 parks across the country. Then, our readers voted for their favorites. Here are the 10 best theme parks in the United States.

No. 10: 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 more than 10 miles of track. The park's history dates 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 a generously sized midway and one of the only operating D.C. Muller carousels in the world.

No. 9: Busch Gardens Tampa Bay - Tampa, Florida

While Busch Gardens is most famously known as an amusement park filled with thrill rides, the Tampa location is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and offers abundant animal encounters as well. Between roller coaster rides, visitors can board an open-air touring vehicle on a Serengeti Safari, where it’s possible to spot giraffes, zebras, ostriches, and other African animals living in wide open spaces.

No. 8: Kennywood - West Mifflin, Pennsylvania

If you love a theme park with oodles of history and a collection of iconic rides, Kennywood is your place. Witness over 120 years of innovation in classic favorites that include wooden roller coasters like the side-by-side Racer, the intense Thunderbolt, and the circa 1920 Jack Rabbit. Plus, there's an unmatched collection of dark rides like the Old Mill and the last-of-its-kind Noah's Ark, as well as modern thrill rides like the Steel Curtain coaster.

No. 7: Busch Gardens Williamsburg - Williamsburg, Virginia

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. Busch Gardens Williamsburg frequently ranks among the world's most beautiful theme parks and its thrill ride options are top-notch.

No. 6: LEGOLAND California - Carlsbad, California

There's a lot more going on than connecting bricks at this theme park in Carlsbad, California, with more than 60 rides and attractions designed for kids ages 2-12. Not to mention, there are entertaining shows and active playgrounds like a rock-climbing wall, and a LEGO brick building zone. Want to create a theme park fan for life? Make LEGOLAND's Coastersaurus or LEGO TECHNIC Coaster their first roller coaster ride, then cool off at the Swabbie's Deck splash area or on the pirate-themed Splash Battle ride.

No. 5: Dollywood - Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Tucked amid the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, Dollywood has all the makings of a great theme park: thrill rides, coasters, kiddie rides, and everything in between. 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.

No. 4: Hersheypark - Hershey, Pennsylvania

The amusement park of every chocolate lover's dreams, Hersheypark features 121 acres with more than 70 rides (including more than a dozen roller coasters), strolling shows, multiple stages and additional performance areas, a water park, and an 11-acre zoo — all accessible via a single admission. Fahrenheit, one of the park's most popular thrill rides, is a vertical lift coaster with a 121-foot lift followed by a breathtaking 97-degree drop. Candymonium, the park’s tallest, fastest, and longest hyper coaster debuted in 2020.

No. 3: SeaWorld Orlando - Orlando, Florida

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, thanks to Manta — one of the only coasters of its kind in the world — and Mako, a hyper coaster with deep dives, high speeds, and thrills aplenty. Young visitors to the park can now walk down Sesame Street and interact with their favorite furry friends.

No. 2: Knoebels - Elysburg, Pennsylvania

The pizza at this vintage amusement park in Pennsylvania's coal country is nearly as famous as its rides, but don't discount the family-friendly thrills at this Susquehanna River Valley institution. The rare amusement park that's still free to enter (rides require old-school-style tickets), Knoebels is home to Phoenix, one of the most popular wooden roller coasters in the United States. And it's a virtual museum of still-operating classic rides like Whipper, Flying Turns, the Haunted Mansion dark ride, and Sky Slide. Add in some modern thrills and water rides and you have the perfect mix for a relaxed yet thrilling day in the park.

No. 1: Silver Dollar City - Branson, Missouri

Silver Dollar City, with its 1880s mining town theme, attracts some 2 million visitors annually with its combination of entertainment, festivals, 100 resident craftsmen, and more than 40 rides and attractions. The park is also home to Time Traveler, the world's fastest, steepest, and tallest spinning coaster.

Copyright 2024 All rights reserved. From

To view all articles, check out the Internet Travel Monitor Archive