With high-intensity rides, popular attractions and celebrated live acts, these acclaimed amusement parks have truly mastered the art of terrifying and entertaining visitors. Find out if you have the nerve – or the stomach – to handle their fearsome rides.
This premier adventure park has been thrilling Long Islanders since 1962. Here visitors can enjoy a selection of arcade games, rides and attractions that are geared to a range of ages. Along with refreshing water rides and thrill rides such as the spinning Turbulence Coaster and Ghost House, special events are held at the park throughout the year, including a Halloween trick or treat weekend and a seasonal magic show.
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Coney Island, N.Y.
In an attempt to blur the line between fantasy and reality, Luna Park features head-spinning rides, optical illusions and vibrantly colored embellishments. Among the many rides at the historic beach-side site are the 150-foot-tall Sling Shot, the Soarin’ Eagle roller coaster, and the longstanding Wonder Wheel ferris wheel and Cyclone wooden roller coaster. Complete the trip with a hot dog from the original Nathan’s Famous. One of the top cheap amusement parts in our area, from nostalgia to one-of-a-kind entertainment, you’re sure to get a lot of bang for your buck at Coney Island.
Spanning across 510 acres, this Great Adventure includes 11 themed areas, three of which were designed for young children, and filled with a variety of scream-inducing rides. Those who survive the 70 mph blast and 76-degree drop of the wooden coaster El Toro may feel brave enough to attempt Nitro – the fastest steel roller coaster in New Jersey and the tallest on the East Coast.
For those in the Rhode Island and Massachusetts area, this Six Flags is a closer option that certainly does not lack in adrenaline rush opportunities. For drops, spins and high-flying stunts, look no farther than this “coaster capital of New England,” where rides include the 400 foot-tall New England SkyScreamer swing, The Joker 4D Free Fly Coaster and Superman The Ride (featuring a 221 foot drop!). Same as Great Adventure, they have Hurricane Harbor Water Park for the summer and great seasonal events like Fright Fest and Holiday in the Park to keep the good times going long after the warmer months are over. AAA members save at all Six Flags parks. Click here to learn more.
The little ones will fall in love with Edaville Family Theme Park, especially those who are fans of Thomas the Tank Engine. Thomas Land is a top attraction that brings all of your children’s favorite characters and places to life. Hop the aboard Thomas locomotive for a story while he takes you for a ride around the property’s scenic cranberry bogs. And there’s even more to explore. In addition to traditional rides and meet-and-greets with classic storybook characters like Madeline and Curious George, at Dino Land, you’ll come face-to-face with 23 moving dinosaurs!
Often referred to as the world’s most delicious amusement park, this chocolate-themed site uses exhilarating rides and tasty indulgences to delight all who visit. Click here to find AAA savings at Hersheypark.
This Pennsylvania theme park is equipped with both acclaimed roller coasters and award-winning water attractions. Take a ride on the 5,600-foot-long Steel Force roller coaster to drop 205 feet in the air, or battle the waves in the 590,000-gallon wave pool. The many themed rides, restaurants and activities are ideal for a day of fun family bonding.
Canobie Lake Park has been bringing family fun to New Hampshire since 1902. Live shows, games, rides for all ages, and even puzzle rooms for anyone who is up for a challenge, are guaranteed to deliver smiles all day. The bravest thrill-seekers in your group can enjoy the Yankee Cannonball wooden coaster, or take on Untamed, where grizzly bear-shaped cars take riders through a series of loops, turns, banks, rolls and a stomach-dropping 72 foot fall.
Claiming to be the oldest continuously operating amusement park in North America, Lake Compounce has over 170 years of experience in family-friendly attractions and entertainment. From classics like bumper cars and a carousel to shows, roller coasters, adventure rides and Crocodile Cove – the largest waterpark in Connecticut, there’s fun around every turn.
Tell us about your favorite nearby amusement parks or amusement park rides in the comments below.
This post was originally published in April 2018 and has been updated.