For many families, a trip to an amusement park is a summer adventure that is planned months in advance. Not all families, however, can afford to spend a weekend at a resort or at one of the largest and most popular theme parks in the country (you know these parks!). So if you’re on a budget, check out other options…and, ideally, find one in your own home state!
This new theme park offers daring roller coasters for adrenaline enthusiasts, spinning rides that swirl the senses and smaller rides for younger guests. Families will love spinning in the teacups or taking flight in a massive butterfly. Tickets are $34.99 for adults but discount admission is available for children, seniors and members of the military. If you’re located in-state, consider season passes!
This must-see attraction is part museum and part fun park. This unique destination offers games like skeeball, a mini golf course, an inflatable igloo and even a place to pan for gold. The best part? Mukluk Land is extremely budget friendly. Adults gain entry for only $5 and kids (up to age 19) are only $2 and seniors also receive discounted tickets! If you want to try your luck at sifting for gold nuggets, the experience is just $5 more.
Phoenix is home to this amusement park that features a mix of rides, games and entertainment. Take a ride on a roller coaster, play mini golf or take a ride on a magic carpet! There also are smaller rides suitable for younger guests as well as go-karts for racing enthusiasts. Ticket packages/prices vary, and what you spend depends on what attractions you wish to enjoy!
Enjoy one of the many roller coasters like the SkyShark or the X-Coaster. Or just take a relaxed ride on some of the family fun options like the Rum Runner Pirate Ship. There are also many rides just for kids and a water park! Ticket prices may vary as special promotions may reduce the price of admission. However, if you’re local, consider the season pass!
This sunny state offers many, many theme and amusement parks. Knott’s Berry Farm is extremely popular, and it’s also a must-visit. Coasters, and family rides like the Butterfield Stagecoach and the Hat Dance ensure that everyone has fun. There are also rides for the kids that feature characters from the Peanuts gang and lots of shows. Looking to play for one day? Opt for online tickets for the best prices.
Head to Denver to experience Elitch Gardens, which offers both a theme park experience and a water park, too (during the appropriate season, of course!). Elitch Gardens offers a traditional theme park experiences and features major thrill rides for adrenaline addicts and easier rides for those who might not be interested in racing down high-speed hills. The park is open from April through early November. Purchase tickets online for the best prices.
Dare to challenge the Wooden Warrior—a wooden roller coaster that will leave you screaming. Or feel your stomach drop on Free Fall‘N. Kids can enjoy smaller thrills or gather the family for a ride on the bumper cars. When the temps soar, spend the day at Splash Away Bay Water Park. Tickets for both park admissions are $29.99 (adults) and $25.99 for kids, military and seniors. Families also can purchase tickets for the water park for a lower price.
Located in Rehoboth Beach, this amusement park features boardwalk type fun. Kids can enjoy the carousel, a fire engine ride and more. But adults will love the bumper cars, the Haunted Mansion and the SuperFlip 360. Rides are purchased with tickets, and each ride varies in cost. Tickets may be purchased individually or in books of 20, 50 or 100.
Florida is home to almost every major theme park, and Orlando is arguably one of the most popular destinations for family vacations. But Orlando isn’t the only thematic hot spot in this tropical state. Visit Tampa and explore Busch Gardens, which offers amazing roller coasters, water rides and a safari that allows visitors to check out many amazing animals. Ticket prices begin at $79.99.
While Georgia is home to big parks like Six Flags, Lake Winnie (as it’s nicknamed) is a popular destination that offers roller coaster thrills, cool water rides and spinning thrills that leave riders in circles. Lake Winnie also features a water park for splashing fun when the heat hits. Ticket prices (that include dual admission to the theme park and water park) are $34.95.
If you’re on the hunt for coasters and spinning thrill rides, you’re out of luck on the islands. Instead, you will find a Wet ‘n’ Wild, a water park that offers slides and lots of refreshing waves to cool you off in the tropical sun! If you’re planning a Hawaiian vacation, be sure to purchase your Wet ‘n Wild tickets at least 10 days in advance online to get the best deal!
This park offers the typical thrills and fun of roller coasters, including the inverted Aftershock. But you also can bump into family members on the bumper cars, ride through the swift currents of Thunder Canyon or just ride the train. There are rides for all sizes and ages, so everyone can enjoy the day! Feeling too hot? Hop over to Boulder Beach water park. Ticket prices vary by the season; summer prices, however, is $53. Seniors, firefighters, police, military and younger kids receive discount admission.
This park features the typical coaster thrills, family rides and kid options of most theme parks. However, Santa’s Village also includes lots of animal attractions. Check out parakeets, tortoises, barnyard animals, and, of course, deer and more! Ticket prices vary, depending on if you want basic admission or if you wish to include a souvenir cup (with all-day refills) and other options.
Themed to celebrate all the holidays, Holiday World is unique in that the price of admission also covers all your drinks for the day…and bottomless sunscreen! Spin around in the Firecracker, soar through the sky in an eagle or hunt for lost turkeys! The holiday-themed rides vary in intensity, but there is something for everyone! Buy tickets online for the best prices!
Stay and play or just visit for the day. Chill out at the water park or explore the many rides at the theme park…including the teacups! Tickets are $35, but two-day tickets and season passes also are available.
Schlitterbahn is a water park that offers rides of all levels. Enjoy a lazy river, water slides or crazier thrills. Obviously, this park is only open during summer. Purchase tickets for $39.99; kids and seniors receive discount prices.
Swishing swings in the sky, bumper cars, mini golf, a haunted house, coasters and more! This theme park also features a water park. Campgrounds and a drag strip also are a part of the Beech Bend development.
This park includes a carousel (of course) and lots of classic rides, too. Enjoy bumper cars, the Tilt-A-Whirl, spinning Slime Buckets, a massive slide and more! Pay $18 to enjoy endless rides!
Located on the beach for a boardwalk-style experience, Palace Playland offers coaster thrills, classic rides including a carousel and a Ferris wheel, and lots of great games! Purchase day passes or opt for ticket books.
There are two locations for Jolly Roger amusement parks: 30th Street and the Pier. Roller coasters, spinning rides (like the Heart Flip), Tea Cups, a carousel, kids rides and much more create the ideal family play area. Ticket prices vary (by ride times…you can select day or night). Or buy a Big Ticket that includes admission to multiple rides and parks.
A water park, roller coasters and thrill rides plus lots of options for the kids, Canobie Lake Park is a destination for the whole family. While this park has all the classics, Canobie also features Puzzle Rooms to challenge your brain and every minute matters in the Puzzle Rooms! Tickets are around $29, but discounts are available for military
Soaring airplanes, spinning drums, roller coasters, a petting zoo, a Scrambler, water rides (at the water park), a carousel and so much more, Michigan’s Adventure is the perfect family outing. Purchase tickets online for great rates!
Nickelodeon’s very own theme park, this family-friendly park includes all your kids’ favorite cast of characters. Kids will love Blue’s Skidoo, the Wonder Pets Flyboat, and the Rugrats Raptormobiles and older kids will seek the thrill on SpongeBob SquarePants Rock Bottom Plunge or the Fairly Odd Coaster! Ticket prices vary depending on how many rides you wish to experience.
This is a different kind of adventure! Instead of thrill rides, you can experience zip lines, swings and climbing adventures! Experience tree-top games and challenges, like bridges and swaying logs. You’ll need to make your reservations in advances; prices vary per experience.
Located in Branson in the heart of the Ozarks, Silver Dollar City takes you back in the past. Check out candy making, the blacksmith or experience a train ride that features a live-action adventure. There are plenty of thrills—like Fire In the Hole and Lost River of the Ozarks. Kids can explore a tree house and much more!
Forget waiting for summer, take the kids to a water filled adventure any time at The Reef. Water slides, a wave pool and even a hot tub create an ideal aquatic escape even during the coldest days. Admission is inexpensive; guests taller than four-feet (48 inches) are $14.95. There also are discount admissions for members of the military and smaller guests.
The Fun-Plex includes traditional rides like a hot-air balloon Ferris wheel, bumper boats, a carousel and a Tilt-A-Whirl. Summer heat means visiting the water park for water slide adventures, a wave pool and a classic lazy river. Guests 54 inches and taller are $29.95, but younger guests and seniors receive a discount.
Sin City offers many entertainment options, but, for families, the Adventuredome is the best bet for G-rated entertainment and thrills. Clown shows, coasters, rock climbing, games, a laser gun game and more offer up a mix of options for the whole family. Purchase a wristband for $33.95 (or $19.95 for those under four-feet) for all day adventure!
This is a great destination for younger kids, as so many of the attractions and rides are made for younger guests! Hop in Cinderella’s Pumpkin Coach, spin in a barrel at Cuckoo Clockenspiel, take a ride around the park aboard the train, fly in a Dutch shoe…and so much more! Kids can even visit with Storybook animals. Day tickets cost $31.99, but take advantage of special online offers!
This amusement park features rides for everyone. But it also includes fun mazes and games. Land of Make Believe also includes a Jenny Jump House & Legend. Admission includes access to the water park and parking also is free. Kids (ages 2 through 18) are $30, but seniors and adults receive discount admission. Children younger than two get in for free!
Water rides, roller coaster and all the classics families love, Western Playland offers excitement for all ages. Families can purchase a wristband that includes all rides. Or pay for each ride separately: admission is $5 and each ticket is $2.50.
A Six Flags property, Darien Lake offers LOTS of thrill rides as well as more relaxed options…and a kid’s area. There also is a water park to keep cool during the summer months. Buy tickets online to take advantage of special sales or deals.
Follow the yellow brick road to fun. This Oz-themed park is open on a limited basis, but the novelty is well worth planning a trip. Events feature a petting zoo and characters from the story. And, yes, you can skip along the yellow brick road! Check the web site to find out when events will take place so you can book your visit!
Lucy’s features a mini golf course, a moonwalk, a big slide and several other attractions. Prices vary per ride.
No visit to Ohio is complete without visiting Cedar Point. Billed as “the roller coaster capital of the world,” Cedar Point is all about the thrills. The only problem? Getting all those coaster rides in during one trip! Of course, there also are other ride options for those who don’t love speed and adrenaline. Buy tickets online to take advantage of promotions or other offers.
Take a trip to ye olde frontier! This theme park features thrill rides like Silver Bullet and Tumbleweed. Kids and parents can play in Paul Bunyan’s Timbertown. Or the whole family can enjoy the Old ’89er Express (train!) or the Prairie Schooner. Buy tickets online for the best rate.
The stories come to life at Enchanted Forest. Explore Storybook Lane where you can visit the witch’s castle, explore the rabbit hole from Alice in Wonderland and more. This park also includes a western town (pan for gold!) and an Old European Village. Of course, there are plenty of rides and entertainment options. The admission price (everyone must pay!) is $13.50 (adults), but children and seniors receive a discount. Rides cost extra; purchase a bracelet or pay for tickets for the rides you wish to enjoy.
Sesame Place is home to all your Sesame Street friends! This is an ideal destination for younger kids to explore, and rides are geared with kids in mind. Yes, there’s even a family-friendly roller coaster…led by Oscar the Grouch! You also can spin in cookie jars, enjoy the Sunny Day Carousel and more! Purchase tickets online to get the best prices!
This is a family-friendly destination that features a carousel and lots of games. But you also can enjoy carnival style rides and bumper cars. Purchase tokens to pay for each ride; tokens be purchased individually or opt for 5 or 10 for a discount.
Located in Myrtle Beach, Family Kingdom offers thrills and fun. There’s also Splashes Oceanfront Water Park for those who want to bask in the sun and hit the waves. Enjoy roller coasters and other thrill rides as well as classics like a swinging ship, bumper cars, the Scrambler, a Log Flume and much more! Purchase a wrist band for full ride access or pay per ride. Check out the web site for more details and pricing info.
While you won’t find thrill rides here, you will enjoy go-karts, mini golf, bumper boats, laser tag and more. Prices vary per attraction.
Located in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. in the heart of the Smoky Mountains, Dollywood includes great rides, food and entertainment options. You also can explore an old schoolhouse and Dolly’s tour bus! And, yes, there’s also a water park! Tickets start at $69.95.
There are many theme parks in Texas, but Kemah Boardwalk is unique. There are many carnival-style rides, including a roller coaster. You also can play games and play in the Dancing Water Fountains. Prices vary per ride and attraction.
Step into fantasy, because Evermore isn’t your typical theme park. Each season of the park adheres to a different mythology. So, your experience will vary throughout the year. “Lore” is based on Celtic myths, “Mythos” is themed for Norse mythology, and Aurora is a winter festival.
Visit with Santa during the summer (or fall and winter!). Kids can enjoy rides fit for them, and the family can hop on the Alpine Express Train. Of course, you also can explore gift shops and enjoy lots of great food. General admission is $12.95, but seniors receive a discount! Enjoy free parking, too!
This is a classic amusement/theme park with rides for everyone. Enjoy thrill rides like roller coasters or just more laid-back options like the carousel or log ride. Or opt for a cool dip at Soak City, the water park. Shop online to check out all the deals and ticket prices.
Water rides, roller coasters and so much more, explore all the options at Wild Waves. When the temperature soars, head to the water park to stay cool! Looking for tickets? Head online for the best deals.
Take a ride on the carousel, get spooked in the haunted house or feel your stomach drop on the Big Dipper roller coaster and other thrill rides, Camden Park has all the rides you want. Head to the Kiddie Land for pint-sized rides and attractions. Or play a round of mini golf! Tickets are $16.49 (all ages!) online.
This is one of the most affordable parks to visit! There are numerous carnival-type rides and tickets are only a quarter! Prices per ride may vary.
This is all about the zip line adventure! Pair this attraction with other Yellowstone adventures to bundle and save. Go online to find pricing and packages!
Not all theme parks cost $100+ for admission, and not all families have the budget to afford such a massive price tag for rides, characters and entertainment. Many theme parks and amusement parks are affordable and just as much fun as the bigger names. Check out the many park options across the country or discover one within driving distance from your own home! Adventures are everywhere…so start exploring!