UPDATED February 2017
Nothing says summer like fun in a theme park. If you love roller coasters, Mickey or Harry Potter, water parks, parades and more – or just love watching the kids enjoy them – you’ve come to the right place.
We rounded up some favorites in the U.S. and around the world, dividing the list into geographical sections. It includes park information, tips on finding discounts and how to fly to your favorite park.
Best Amusement Parks, Theme Parks in the World
The information links have details on attractions, park hours and prices. The city links will help you find the cheapest flights.
Disney: The granddaddy of all Walt’s parks is Disneyland in Anaheim (just south of Los Angeles), which opened in 1955. This was soon followed by mega-park Disney World in Orlando, and Mickey Mouse and his colleagues also welcome you to Disney Paris, Tokyo Disney and more (see below). More information.
Six Flags: If you like the biggest, baddest and scariest of thrill rides, these are the parks for you. Don’t worry, they also have plenty of rides for younger kids (and nervous grown-ups). With so many parks across the U.S., chances are good there’s a Six Flags near you. More information.
- Six Flags Magic Mountain: Fly to Los Angeles
- Six Flags Hurricane Harbor: Fly to Los Angeles
- Six Flags: Discovery Kingdom: Fly to San Francisco or Oakland
- Six Flags Over Georgia: Fly to Atlanta
- Six Flags White Water: Fly to Atlanta
- Six Flags Great America: Fly to Chicago
- Six Flags America: Fly to Baltimore or Washington, D.C.
- Six Flags New England: Fly to Hartford
- Six Flags St. Louis: Fly to St. Louis
- Six Flags Great Adventure: Fly to Trenton (numerous Frontier flights) or Newark
- Six Flags Hurricane Harbor: Fly to Trenton or Newark
- The Great Escape & Splashwater Kingdom: Fly to Albany or Burlington, Vt.
- Six Flags Great Escape Lodge & Indoor Waterpark: Fly to Albany or Burlington, Vt.
- Six Flags Fiesta Texas: Fly to San Antonio
- Six Flags Over Texas: Fly to Dallas
- Six Flags Hurricane Harbor: Fly to Dallas
Universal: These theme parks have something the others don’t – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in both Hollywood and Orlando – plus a wide range of attractions such as rides based on popular movies like Jurassic Park and ‘insider’ studio tours. More information.
- Universal Studios Hollywood: Fly to Los Angeles, Burbank or Long Beach.
- Universal Orlando Resort: Fly to Orlando
Cedar Point: The self-proclaimed roller coaster capital of the world is located in Sandusky, Ohio but it offers more than dizzying heights including family-friendly and kid-sized attractions plus water rides. More information.
- Fly to Cleveland.
Hershey Park: The Pennsylvania home of the Hershey Kiss (and all that other great chocolate) is also a theme park with rides and water fun, concerts and shows. Best of all, most of the dining includes chocolate. More information.
- Fly to Harrisburg.
King’s Island: This Ohio park bills itself as the largest amusement and water park in the U.S. offering up thrill rides, a kids’ park, water slides and 65 life-sized dinosaurs in a forest setting. More information.
Knott’s Berry Farm: This Southern California landmark has plenty of rides for the younger set but also offers 4-D rides, water rides and live shows. Don’t miss Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant. More information.
Schlitterbahn: There are four of these water park resorts in Texas and one in Kansas featuring acres of watery fun including “the world’s tallest waterslide.” More information.
- Schlitterbahn Galveston: Fly to Houston
- Schlitterbahn South Padre Island: Fly to Brownsville
- Schlitterbahn New Braunfels: Fly to San Antonio or Austin
- Schlitterbahn Corpus Christi: Fly to Corpus Christi
- Schlitterbahn Kansas City, Kansas: Fly to Kansas City
Zero Gravity: This Dallas amusement park says it’s all about “extreme rides for extreme family fun.” Try the Texas Blastoff and Skycoaster. More information.
- Fly to Dallas.
- Fly to Beijing.
Dubai: Aquaventure Water Park has some incredible slides include the Tower of Poseidon and the Tower of Neptune. It’s got a beach, too. More information.
- Fly to Dubai.
Hong Kong: Hong Kong Disneyland features fan favorites like the Jungle River Cruise and It’s a Small World. More information.
- Fly to Hong Kong.
Shanghai: Think the Shanghai Disney Resort as the Magic Kingdom of China. More information.
- Fly to Shanghai.
Singapore: Universal Studio Singapore features the Battlestar Galactica and big scary dinosaurs. More information.
- Fly to Singapore.
Seoul: LotteWorld is a sprawling complex including the world’s biggest indoor theme park, outdoor amusement park and water park; truly something for everyone. More information.
- Fly to Seoul.
Tokyo: Tokyo Disneyland has popular rides like the Pirates of the Caribbean and the Jungle Cruise. More information.
- Fly to Tokyo.
Osaka: Universal Studio Japan is home to Harry Potter, big dinosaurs and Spider-Man. More information.
- Fly to Osaka.
Sydney: Its website calls Luna Park the place to “catch a concert at the Big Top, eat classy cuisine at The Deck or take in the million dollar views as you ride the Tango Train or Ferris Wheel.” More information.
- Fly to Sydney.
Amersterdam: Snow World Zoetermeer combines the world’s largest indoor ski resort with a climbing park plus a fun park for kids. More information.
- Fly to Amsterdam.
Barcelona: Tibidabo Amusement Park is a 100 year old landmark that’s always changing. Check out the Tibidabo Sky Walk for amazing views of an amazing city. More information.
- Fly to Barcelona.
Barcelona: And as long as you’re in this lovely town, check out Illa Fantasia Water Park’s 20 waterslides and plenty of pools. More information.
- Fly to Barcelona.
Berlin: Biosphere Potsdam is a “mystical, tropical world” which includes butterflies and waterfalls. More information.
- Fly to Berlin.
Paris: Disney Paris has Dumbo, Big Thunder Mountain and other favorite attractions. More information.
- Fly to Paris.
Mexico City, Mexico: Six Flags Mexico has plenty of thrill rides but there are also fun attractions for little ones. More information.
- Fly to Mexico City.
Montreal, Canada: La Ronde is a Six Flags property with the usual complement of scary rides plus the new Labyrinth of Terror. More information.
- Fly to Montreal.
Vinhedo, State of Sao Paulo, Brazil: Hopi Hari is an amusement park with rides and other attractions but it’s also part of a larger complex that includes the Wet n’ Wild water park and a shopping center with a premium outlet stores. More information.
- Fly to Sao Paulo.
Discounts, Coupons, Savings for Six Flags, Disney, More
Four places to check for discounts, coupons or deals for favorite parks and attractions.
- Park sites: Always check park websites (links shown above). Some feature discounts, coupons, two-for-one deals, even discounted seasonal passes.
- Tourism sites: Official city or regional visitor/tourism sites often have a wide-range of deals and discounts to local attractions. A good example is the official Visit Orlando site.
- Disney tips: We’ve put together several ways to save time, money and stress at Disney parks.
- Discounts: Groupon and RetailMeNot sometimes offer deals for Six Flags and other parks. Just search for the name of the park. Mousesavers has tips and savings advice for theme parks in California and Florida.
Tell Us About Your Favorite Park
As you can see, this is not a comprehensive list. If we’ve missed your favorite amusement park (or theme park or water park), please tell us about it on Facebook. Safe travels and hope you have a wonderful time.