All over the United States, we are in the height of summer, which means we have a lot of free time to enjoy the incredible weather. Of course, being out in the sun for so long requires two things: first, a good sunscreen with a high SPF (don’t get burned!), and second, some entertainment that is going to cool you down. At GotoBus.com, we love a good thrill, so we know plenty of great amusement parks around the country that feature rollercoasters, water rides, and many other attractions that are guaranteed to excite family members of all ages. Below, we’ve included descriptions for the best amusement parks for summer fun around the country.
Disney’s Blizzard Beach / Typhoon Lagoon / Universal’s Wet ‘n Wild
It’s pretty well known that Orlando is the amusement park capital of the U.S. as the home of both the Disney World and Universal Studios parks (among a long list of other exciting locations). Most people know the big four Disney World parks (Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Animal Kingdom, and MGM Hollywood Studios), but not everyone knows that the company also operates two water parks as well: Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. The first is themed like a tropical island. The centerpiece is a boat on top of a jagged rock, making it seem like a shipwreck stranded the boat’s crew in the area long ago. If you try hard enough, you can imagine that you’re Tom Hanksfrom Cast Away or a character from Lost. Typhoon Lagoon features one of the largest outdoor wave pools in the world. Blizzard Beach, like its name suggests, is laid out like an arctic oasis, making it the perfect place to escape the Florida heat. The main attraction is called “Summit Plummet,” a 120-foot-tall free fall slide, where you might reach speeds up to 60 miles per hour! Not to be outdone by Disney, the rival Universal Studios owns Wet ‘n Wild, and visitors will get exactly what that name promises. The best slide here is the brand new Aqua Drag Race, a four lane slide where you can your friends down a winding, 360-foot course into a pool below. You could spend the entire day racing and not get bored, so just imagine all the other excitement you can find here!
This family-oriented theme park is located a short drive from Harrisburg, PA and is themed after Hershey’s Chocolate (though it should not be confused with nearby Hershey’s Chocolate World) and the heritage of the state of Pennsylvania. Originally opened in 1906 to provide a fun retreat for the families of the iconic chocolate company’s workers, nowadays the park covers an area of 121 acres and features 74 rides. Of these, there are 13 roller coasters and 14 water rides, so this is a great place to spend a summer’s day (or two, if you want to make sure you hop on all the rides). The Comet roller coaster is the oldest in the park, built in 1946. It’s like riding a piece of amusement park history!
Picture a 365-acre plot of land that features a world-record number of rides. It sounds too good to be true, right? Wrong! The park we’ve just described is the very real Cedar Point, located in Sandusky, OH, and nicknamed the “Rollercoaster Capital of the World.” Opened way back in 1870, it is the second-oldest operating amusement park in the U.S. With 16 rollercoasters, the fun only ends when you choose (or, technically, when the park closes for the day). The newest coaster, GateKeeper, opened in 2013, and claims to have the highest inversion (meaning you’re going to go upside-down) at 164 feet. Having since broken records for height, speed, length, and more, this is coaster you can’t afford to miss.
Knott’s Berry Farm
Maybe you’re on the West Coast and don’t want to have to travel across the country just for a few water rides and coasters. That’s completely understandable. If so, then you should check out Knott’s Berry Farm, located in Buena Park, CA (in the Greater Los Angeles Area) and home to 40 rides and 10 coasters. It is divided into four areas: the Ghost Town, which takes you back to the Wild West; Mexican-themed Fiesta Village; the Boardwalk, home to the park’s most thrilling rides; and Camp Snoopy, themed after the beloved Peanuts dog. Check out the Boomerang coaster, designed in a corkscrew style. For readers unfamiliar with types of roller coasters, “corkscrew” basically, means “you’re going to be upside-down and twisted around – a lot!” It’s no wonder this ride carries a thrill rating of 5 out of 5.
The name Six Flags has become iconic among amusement parks, and now the chain has locations all over the country, including New England, New Jersey, and its home state of Texas. Its location in Valencia, CA, dubbed Six Flags Magic Mountain – just north of Los Angeles – is one of its most popular. The 262 acre area features an amazing 19 rollercoasters. Are you a big comic book fan? There are even a few rides based on famous DC Comics characters, like Batman: The Ride, Superman: Escape from Krypton, and Lex Luthor: Drop of Doom, all of which will help you get ready for the new Batman v. Superman movie. There are so many rides here that you would be foolish to think that you could take them all on in one day, even if you only went for the rollercoasters. Take a few days. Enjoy the rides. Have fun and smile. No one will blame you. Just watch out for the Riddler!
Once you’ve figured out the park that you think offers the most entertainment, head over to GotoBus.com to purchase affordable bus tickets to your destination. You’ll be able to find routes to cities all over the country, and even book a local hotel for when you arrive, meaning you’ll have so much less to worry about when you use GotoBus. Don’t forget, you’ll save even more when you book your bus tickets and hotel together! We make it our mission to provide customers with well-priced travel fares and a convenient shopping experience. Summer will be over before you know it, so hurry up and book now!