The U.S. has more amusement parks than any other country, with nearly 500 parks to choose from, ranging from the mega-famous ones that we all know to many smaller local hometown favorites.
With so many parks, it’s no wonder the number of roller coasters in America is high, with around 620 steel roller coasters and over 115 wooden ones.
In 2019, nearly 160 million people visited the top 20 theme parks in America, and post-pandemic attendance is poised to return to similar figures, with over 60% of Americans stating that they enjoy a visit to a theme park.
A recent study from holiday car rental experts at Stress Free Car Rental found the most popular amusement parks in America. The rankings were determined by the following factors:
- 2019 visitor numbers for the park
- The number of Instagram hashtags (as of Feb 24, 2023)
- The park’s overall score on Tripadvisor (as of Feb 24, 2023)
- The park’s distance from the closest airport
- The number of hotels within a 15-minute walk
- The average cost of an adult ticket during peak times
- The total number of food and drink options
- The number of water rides, roller coasters, and overall number of attractions
Here Are the Top Amusement Parks In The U.S.
1. Disneyland, California
The original Disney park is still the best, according to this study at least. Since 1955, Disneyland has been drawing millions to visit Anaheim, California each year.
Visitor numbers from 2019 clock in at almost 19 million people, and the park has over 30 million Instagram hashtag mentions.
With a handful of airports nearby, visitors can choose to fly into Long Beach, Santa Ana, Burbank, or LAX. With 12 hotels located within close walking distance, it’s easy to stay while you play.
Although there are multiple ticket options, entrance to one park will run you about $170 this summer.
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@doseofdisney The best ride at Disneyland! #disneyland #theincredibles #disneyrides #disneycaliforniaadventure #incredicoaster #disneyparks #rollercoasters #themeparks ♬ original sound – Zach | Theme Park Creator
2. Cedar Point, Ohio
If Florida or California is too far to travel, and if you live anywhere near Ohio, you are in luck.
Cedar Point is beloved by roller coaster enthusiasts for its 15 thrill rides, although its famed Top Thrill Dragster, unfortunately, has been closed for good.
Cedar Point, however, does not have as many hotels within a 15-minute walking radius, although there are numerous campsites nearby for those who are looking to enjoy the park for more than one day.
In addition, Cedar Point’s surrounding town of Sandusky is a nice place to visit after the park. Cedar Point is a cheaper option amongst others on this list, with a 2023 average ticket price of about $50 if purchased online.
@coasterquestofficial Millennium Force @officialcedarpoint #themepark #amusementpark #thrillseeker #thrillride #thrill #fyp #foryou #pov #pointofview #ohio #rollercoaster #coaster #cedarpoint ♬ original sound – Coaster Quest
3. Hersheypark, Pennsylvania
Hershey Park is America’s largest theme park outside of Florida and California, with its 75-plus attractions spread out over more than 120 acres in central Pennsylvania.
Although there are no hotels within a 15-minute walking distance, both Hotel Hershey and The Hershey Lodge are nearby and offer shuttles.
With almost 70 food and drink services and a whopping 16 water rides, Hershey Park offers something for everyone, oh and all the chocolate and candy attractions and experiences don’t hurt either!
@travelwithsudipa Stuff your own Reese’s cup 📍Hershey, PA#chocolate #peanutbutter #reeses #foodcoma #hersheys #hersheypark ##hersheyschocolate #pensylvaniacheck #fypシ ♬ Pure Imagination – Kathleen
4. Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Florida
The next entry on our list brings us to Orlando, Florida, known by many as the theme park capital of the world. Orlando has over 14 amusement parks, and Universal’s Islands of Adventure is the one that ranked highest on this list.
With over 10 million visitors in 2019 and nearly a million Instagram hashtags, Islands of Adventure has gained quite a following since its opening in 1999.
Based around eight islands with different themes, the park has 19 attractions, including 5 roller coasters and 3 water rides. Tickets run about $150, so make sure to save up and plan your visit accordingly to maximize your ride time.
@exhilar8 VelociCoaster at Universal’s Island’s of Adventure! #rollercoaster #themepark #florida #orlando #jurassicworld #fyp #fypシ ♬ El Chino Piloto – Los Alegres Del Barranco
5. EPCOT, Florida
Disney’s EPCOT has been a favorite for as long as it’s been open, a whopping 41 years.
EPCOT, which stands for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (raise your hand if you had no idea), offers visitors the chance to travel around the world all with the comforts of one park.
While many come here simply to sample various worldwide cuisines, the attractions do not hurt either. The park boasts 63 food vendors, 68 attractions, only one roller coaster, and no water rides.
This year marks Disney’s 100-year celebrations, and EPCOT’s popular ride Spaceship Earth will celebrate with a nightly light show.
EPCOT is set to undergo some major changes soon, so those who are looking to visit should make sure they are up to date on anything that might disrupt their visit.
@alyssaabina there was so much more i wanted to eat but soo little time!😩 #disneyworld #themeparkfood #epcotfood #epcot #disneyfood ♬ Old Disney Swing Jazz – Nico
6. Knott’s Berry Farm
Known to many as the other mega-popular theme park in California, Knott’s Berry Farm has been charming visitors since 1923.
What began as a restaurant in the 1930s by the Knott family to help support their berry farm during the hard time of the Great Depression eventually grew into one of the biggest theme parks in America.
Although not owned by the Knotts family anymore, the park is a family-friendly favorite with 48 attractions, 10 roller coasters, 2 water rides, and 36 options for food and drink.
With ticket prices at just about $100 this year, the park is a cheaper option for those looking to visit a California amusement park, although it’s located only about a 15-minute drive from Disneyland, so those thrill seekers with deep pockets can easily visit both in one vacation.
@themepark_explorers Coaster with a beyond vertical drop 🤯🎢 #knottsberryfarm #hangtime #rollercoaster #drop #coaster #themepark #california #usa ♬ original sound – Themepark Explorers
You can read the whole list of the top 20 here, but to finish off the top 10 are:
- Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Florida
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Florida
- Six Flags Great America, Illinois
- Dollywood, Tennessee
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
Friday 5th of May 2023
Terrible article and misinformation. Epcot doesn't have 68 attractions. It has less than 20.
Tuesday 2nd of May 2023
Apparently Disney World has no hotels. Whoever compiled this should be laughed at and condemned. Don't take them seriously.
Tuesday 2nd of May 2023
Poppycock. Awful list.
Monday 1st of May 2023
Disneyland has 4 major rides closed for most of the summer. Dollywood should be on here. Bad list.
Sunday 30th of April 2023
Cedar Point has no hotels within a 15 minute radius? The historic Breakers Hotel is On Site!