These Are the Best Theme Parks in the United States
Editor's Note: Those who choose to travel are strongly encouraged to check local government restrictions, rules, and safety measures related to COVID-19 and take personal comfort levels and health conditions into consideration before departure. Some images may depict pre-pandemic conditions.
Jaw-dropping thrill rides and dizzying roller coasters can be found all over the U.S., but which ones are truly the best? Ask TripAdvisor.
With thousands of users and reviews for different attractions around the world, TripAdvisor is a treasure trove of incredible and highly recommended places to visit on your next vacation. We asked the travel review website for the best amusement parks in the U.S., and naturally, there are a lot of amazing ones to choose from.
From sea to shining sea, there are plenty of places to enjoy a calming Ferris wheel, ride a classic wooden roller coaster, or scream your head off on a state-of-the-art thrill ride. Of course, Disney World and Disneyland take some of the top spots, since there seems to be something for everyone at these two locations. Disney rides in general tend to be pretty mild in terms of thrills, as both parks are designed to be family-friendly for all ages. But if you're a true coaster lover, there are some incredible parks with record-breaking rides that will truly blow your hair back.
Some locations are owned by beloved international brands, while others are more of a local favorite, but every park listed below practically guarantees a day of fun.
These are the best theme parks in the United States, according to TripAdvisor.
1. Magic Kingdom Park — Orlando, Florida
With classic, family-friendly attractions, beloved Disney characters, and the iconic Cinderella's Castle standing at the center of it all, it's no surprise that Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort claimed the number one spot. This Disney theme park isn't just the most popular among TripAdvisor users — Magic Kingdom was the most-visited theme park in the world in 2019, with nearly 21 million guests.
2. Universal’s Islands of Adventure — Orlando, Florida
Exciting thrill rides, including the new VelociCoaster set to debut this summer, and a Harry Potter-themed land make Universal's Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando Resort a fan-favorite theme park.
3. Disney’s Animal Kingdom — Orlando, Florida
Since opening in 1998, Disney's Animal Kingdom has wowed crowds with its immersive, animal-centric experiences. The 2017 addition of Pandora — The World of Avatar and its incredible Avatar Flight of Passage attraction makes this park a winner for nature lovers and ride enthusiasts alike.
4. Universal Studios Florida — Orlando, Florida
Guests are invited to step inside their favorite films and television shows, including The Simpsons, Harry Potter, and more at Universal Studios Florida, the second of two theme parks at Universal Orlando Resort.
5. Universal Studios Hollywood — Los Angeles, California
This film studio theme park features many of the popular attractions that you'll find at its East Coast counterpart, plus the Studio Tour, a tram ride through movie sets.
6. Dollywood — Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Dolly Parton-owned Dollywood, located in the picturesque Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, offers a unique combination of thrill rides, family-friendly attractions, musical entertainment, and delicious comfort foods.
7. Disneyland Park — Anaheim, California
The theme park that started the Disney parks empire comes in at number seven on TripAdvisor's list of the best theme parks. Packed with nostalgic experiences and state-of-the-art attractions, Disneyland Park is truly one of the world's most iconic amusement parks.
8. Disney’s Hollywood Studios — Orlando, Florida
Thanks to the addition of Toy Story Land and Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, this Disney World theme park has become increasingly popular among guests of all ages who want to follow in their favorite characters' footsteps.
9. Silver Dollar City — Branson, Missouri
Located in Missouri's Ozark Mountains, Silver Dollar City is an 1880s-style theme park with over 40 rides and attractions, plus demonstrations from craftspeople and live entertainment.
10. Disney California Adventure Park — Anaheim, California
This California-inspired park isn't quite as popular as neighboring flagship Disneyland Park, but it's still a top choice for fun attractions and themed lands, including the upcoming Avengers Campus, which is set to open this summer.
11. Bay Beach Amusement Park — Green Bay, Wisconsin
This Green Bay amusement park opened in the 1890s, so it has entertained families for over 100 years. Plus, there's no entrance fee (although guests do have to purchase tickets to enjoy the rides).
12. Fun Spot America — Kissimmee, Florida
Arcade and carnival-style games, as well as classic amusement park rides like bumper cars, go-karts, and more, make this a fun and affordable option in Central Florida.
13. Knoebels Amusement Resort — Elysburg, Pennsylvania
As the country's largest free-admission park, Knoebels has something for the whole family, including pay-as-you-go attractions ranging from thrilling coasters to kiddie rides.
14. Santa’s Village — Jefferson, New Hampshire
It's Christmas all year round at Santa's Village, a holiday-themed amusement park with winter and Christmas-inspired rides and attractions in Jefferson, New Hampshire.
15. Seabreeze Amusement Park — Rochester, New York
Kiddie rides, coasters, a water park, and wholesome family fun are all on offer at this Rochester, New York, amusement park.
16. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay — Tampa, Florida
This African-themed amusement park features exciting rides for the entire family, plus over 200 species of animals at one of the country's most highly accredited zoos.
17. Funland — Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
No list of America's top amusement parks would be complete without a classic beach boardwalk park. Funland has over a dozen carnival-style rides (mostly geared toward kids), games, an arcade, and more.
18. Dutch Wonderland — Lancaster, Pennsylvania
This kid-friendly amusement park is located just over an hour and a half from Philadelphia, and the world's first-ever Cartoon Network-themed hotel is next door.
19. Canobie Lake Park — Salem, New Hampshire
This amusement park offers over 85 rides and attractions, plus classic snacks like popcorn, caramel apples, lemonade, and more, on Canobie Lake in New Hampshire.
20. Silverwood Theme Park — Athol, Idaho
Located in northern Idaho, Silverwood Theme Park is the northwest's largest theme park, with dozens of waterslides, rides, and attractions.
21. Kentucky Kingdom — Louisville, Kentucky
This Louisville amusement and water park offers six coasters, a Ferris wheel, kid-friendly rides, and more.
22. Nickelodeon Universe — Bloomington, Minnesota
Located at Mall of America in Minnesota, Nickelodeon Universe packs plenty of family-friendly fun in its indoor, cartoon-inspired theme park.
23. Busch Gardens Williamsburg — Williamsburg, Virginia
Visit Italy, Germany, France, and more all in one afternoon when you go to Busch Gardens Williamsburg, a European-themed amusement park located near the historic Virginia city. What could be better than coasters followed by internationally inspired cuisine?
24. Cedar Point — Sandusky, Ohio
Cedar Point, located on the shores of Lake Erie, is known for thrilling roller coasters (the amusement park has a whopping 18, to be exact) and a history dating back 150 years.
25. Legoland California — Carlsbad, California
The first U.S. Legoland amusement park, Legoland California offers a range of Lego-themed rides, attractions, and experiences — primarily geared toward kids and their families.