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What are the top 20 best amusement parks in the US?

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Infographic and Map of Top 20 Amusement Parks in USA

The United States has some of the best amusement parks in the world. Each park boasts its own unique theme and entertainment options for all ages. Most come with hotels and resorts within the park, making each a complete holiday destination for the family.

The Top 20 Best Amusement Parks

The Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort
Location: Bay Lake, Florida
Attendance (2016): 20,395,000

Owned by the Walt Disney Company and operated by the Walt Disney World Resort, the Magic Kingdom was conceived by Walt Disney and inaugurated on October 1, 1971. One of the four theme parks built around popular Disney characters, the Magic Kingdom, holds the world record for the most visitors for the 11th year running. For the last seventeen years, it has been North America’s most visited amusement park.

Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort
Location: Anaheim, California
Attendance (2016): 17,943,000

This was one of the two original theme parks conceived by Walt Disney and opened on July 17, 1955. Over the years, the resort has evolved around several themes and has expanded the range of entertainment options. The Disneyland Park is divided into eight themed parks – Main Street, USA; Fantasyland; Frontierland; Tomorrowland; Critter Country; Adventureland; Mickey’s Toontown; and New Orleans Square.

EPCOT, Walt Disney World Resort
Location: Bay Lake, Florida
Attendance (2016): 11,712,00

Epcot offers the Permanent World’s Fair, where the latest technological innovation blends with dazzling creativity to offer wholesome entertainment to all. Visiting Epcot is like going on a world tour. Travel through China’s Forbidden City, a British Village, Japan’s World Showcase Lagoon with its distinct Torii Gate, the Aztec Temple of Mexico, or simply go under the sea with Nemo, or catch NASA’s Space Shuttle, Epcot has it all and more.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort
Location: Bay Lake, Florida
Attendance (2016): 10,844,000

It’s one Animal Kingdom you would never want to leave. A world of magical rides, fantasy travels and Jungle Treks where one can come face-to-face with popular jungle characters everyone loves.  The nights in this kingdom are as dramatic as the ones during the day, perhaps even better. Nights come alive with color, dazzle, and sounds of the jungle. There’s plenty of music, dance and entertainment with the Discovery Island Carnivals, Light and sounds of the River of Light show, and many more.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Resort
Location: Bay Lake, Florida
Attendance (2016): 10,776,000

Disney’s Hollywood fantasyland comes alive with popular character-inspired themes. This year, the famous and very popular movie Toy Story Land comes alive in June. This is in addition to other popular theme-based attractions like StarWars Launch Bay, Indiana Jones Epic Stunt show, the Muppet Show coming alive in 3D, among many others.

Universal Studios, Universal Orlando Resort
Location: Orlando, Florida
Attendance (2016): 9,998,000

Universal Orlando opened in 1990 with Universal Studios Florida and later in 1995, the Islands of Adventure. Universal Studios Florida is all about cinema and fantasy. It was built to compete with Disney’s Hollywood Studios and remains very popular with a large number of visitors heading there.

Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Universal Orlando Resort
Location: Orlando, Florida
Attendance (2016): 9,362,000

Islands of Adventure is part of Disney Orlando and was opened in 1999 along with CityWalk. Visitors get to experience adventure journeys to eight fantasy islands that are themed on characters, cartoons, dinosaurs, and superheroes, including Harry Potter. The amusement park remains one America’s popular entertainment destinations for the family.

Disneyland California Adventure Park, Disneyland Resort
Location: Anaheim, California
Attendance (2016): 9,295,000

Visitors get to experience fantasy rides on a wide variety of Disney’s popular characters. Children love the Grizzly River Runs, adrenalin-triggering Soarin’ Around the World, and joining the singing and dancing with Timon and the lovable pets. Disneyland California Adventure Park continues to remain among Disney’s popular amusement destinations.

Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal City
Location: Los Angeles, California
Attendance (2016): 8,086,000

Universal Studios is where one can take the famous World-Famous Studio Tour, walk through the mysterious castle of Harry Potter, get creepy, spine-tingling sensations at the world of The Walking Dead, get the wet experience in Universal’s most popular WaterWorld action, or wait for the finale ride – Fast & Furious. All crafted to have you wanting more.

Location: Orlando, Florida
Attendance (2016): 4,777,000

Experience the best of an aqua world coming up close with some of the most exotic creatures of the sea. Don’t miss out the gut-wrenching tall drop at Infinity Falls – an attraction this year along with some of Orlando’s longest, fastest and most exciting roller coasters. This is one of the best of sea-themed amusement parks in America.

Busch Gardens, Florida
Location: Tampa Bay, Florida
Attendance (2016): 4,169,000

Tampa Bay’s star sea world attraction draws people with its complete package of family entertainment. Choose from exciting roller coaster rides or come up close and personal with over 12,000 animals from over 300 species, or simply catch up with some of the best live-entertainment shows that everyone in the family is going to love.

Knott’s Berry Farm
Location: Buena Park, California
Attendance (2016): 4,014,000

Owned by Cedar Fair, Knott’s Berry Farm offers 35 exciting rides, including water and historic rides for children and family. In May 2018, the park launches HangTime, California’s first and only Dive Coaster Ride. The Knotts Berry Theme Park, Water Park, and Hotel together make a wonderful experience for all in the family.

Cedar Point
Location: Sandusky, Ohio
Attendance (2016): 3,604,000

The 364-acre property located on Lake Erie in Sandusky, OH first opened in 1870, making it the second oldest in the United States. Since then, the park has evolved with the latest attractions making it a complete amusement and entertainment destination. Cedar Point offers 72 rides making it the largest in the world. In May 2018, Steel Vengeance became the park’s latest roller coaster attraction.

Location: San Diego, California
Attendance (2016): 3,528,000

Owned by the City of San Diego and operated by SeaWorld Entertainment, SeaWorld offers entertaining shows and presentations that brings everyone delightfully close to the beautiful living world under the sea.

King’s Island
Location: Mason, Ohio
Attendance (2016): 3,384,000

The 364-acre King’s Island first opened in 1972, 24 miles outside Cincinnati, OH. Visitors get to choose from a variety of attractions including Coney Mall, Action Zone, Planet Snoopy, Rivertown, Soak City and many more. It remains Ohio’s most popular amusement park.

Six Flags Magic Mountain
Location: Valencia, California
Attendance (2016): 3,332,000

The park initially opened as Magic Mountian in 1971 and was bought by Six Flags in 1979 and was renamed Six Flags Magic Mountain. Presently, the 262-acre property is divided into eleven-differently themed areas, each having its own set of coaster rides, amusement and dining options. The park boasts of Twisted Coaster – the world’s longest and most innovative hybrid ride.

Location: Hershey, Pennsylvania
Attendance (2016): 3,276,000

Owned by Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company, the 126-acre Hersheypark offers a total of 76 different rides including 14 water rides, and 13 roller coasters. One can also get to see over 200 animals that are part of ZooAmerica within the park.

Six Flags Great Adventure
Location: Jackson, New Jersey
Attendance (2016): 3,220,000

Popular attractions include Main Street, Fantasy Forest, Safari Kids, Adventure Seaport, Movietown, Lakefront, BugsBunny National Park, among many others.

Six Flags Great America
Location: Gurnee, Illinois
Attendance (2016): 2,950,000

The 304-acre property was originally owned by Marriott Corporation before Six Flags took it over in 1984. The 20-acre Hurricane Harbour is very popular for its water rides. Other attractions include Hometown Square, Southwest Territory, Country Fair – the largest section in the park, among others.

Busch Gardens
Location: Williamsburg, Virginia
Attendance (2015): 2,780,000

Virginia’s largest water parks offer season-based experiences from Halloween to the 360° Battle for Eire in Virtual Reality; there is so much and more. Roller coaster rides, animal shows, dining and beer festivals, something is happening all the time at Busch Gardens.

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