Circular Park Tours From Chicago.... Where to??

Hey everyone! I'm driving myself a bit crazy trying to make a decision on this one, so I figured why not open this up to discussion...?

I'm going to be back in the US the first two weeks of August this summer and wanted to take a week (or less... Like 5 days if possible) to do a roadtrip from Chicago. Two important notes: 1) I hate retracing my steps, and 2) I will be doing SFGAm separately, so no need to mention it.

So here are my 3 ideas that I'm torn between. Is it doable? Any suggestions? Here goes...

(*, year I last visited that park, if ever)

  • Option 1: CHICAGO > Cedar Point (*,'08) > Kings Island (*,'10) > Kentucky Kingdom (*,'08) > Holiday World (,'01) > Chicago
  • Option 2: CHICAGO > Cedar Point (*,'08) > Kings Island (*,'10) > Indiana Beach (*,'00) > CHICAGO
  • Option 3: CHICAGO > Cedar Point (*,'08) > Waldameer > Conneaut Lake > Kennywood > Kings Island (*,'10) > CHICAGO

Cool, any ideas or thoughts is greatly appreciated!

Last edited by Eric y Alvaro Van A,

Eric & Álvaro
YouTube: Eric y Álvaro Van A

rollergator's avatar

Never been to Kennywood or Waldameer? I'm going option 3...option 1 also looks good. KK v2.0 rocks, but you've been to the other parks...

Option 2 *might* be good too, but I'd give the new owners at IB a little time to work with what was left...

You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

I also like option 3, though Conneaut is kind of a crapshoot. Waldameer is supposedly a lovely park and is home to one of the highest rated woodies in the country, and Kennywood apparently has a plethora of great wood and some great steel.

Looks like a great trip any way you slice it, but good wood is hard to find.

And yes, I know...that's what she said.

"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band

I think that's the way I'm leaning too... And honestly, Conneaut is just on the way, so my idea was to do that in the same day as Waldameer en route to Kennywood.

The only thing I'm not pumped about is the long haul from Kennywood to PKI and then from there back to Chicago... That might be a killer back to back.

Thanks for the insight!

eightdotthree's avatar

It's been awhile since you've been to those parks and you haven't ever been to Waldameer so I don't think you can go wrong with any of them really. I don't think Conneaut Lake or Waldameer are worth it if you're not already in the area when compared to the other parks that you're passing up. So are you most interested in Kennywood, Kentucky Kingdom and Holiday World, Kings Island?

I would go with 1 or 2 myself or combine them. Two days at CP, one at KI, half day at KK, one day at HW, hit IB on the way home.

slithernoggin's avatar

Waldameer is wonderful, and Ravine Flyer is amazing.

Having been to Conneaut, I'd skip Conneaut.

I would recommend, if the timing works out, stopping off at the White Turkey Drive in Conneaut, Ohio. Delicious food and a wonderful slice of Americana.

Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

Oh cool! Thanks for the tip! Definitely the kind of things we are looking for... Full on American experience :).

Eric & Álvaro
YouTube: Eric y Álvaro Van A

I'll second eightdotthree's suggestion and itinerary. His itinerary also would allow you the opportunity to have some flexibility with scheduling if you run into bad weather.

The other reason I'd go that route is because Holiday World and Kentucky Kingdom both have good waterparks. You didn't specifically mention if you're a waterpark fan, but you are going during the warmest and most humid time of the year in this part of the country. Do not underestimate having these at your disposal.

ApolloAndy's avatar

While you're in the area, have you considered Magic Mountain and Six Flags Mexico City?
(Ashamed of my fellow Buzzers at how long it took for this meme/joke to rear its head)

For real though, the spur out from Kentucky Kingdom to Beech Bend isn't that long and Kentucky Rumbler is a top notch GCI. That said, nothing else about Beech Bend is notable in any way.

Last edited by ApolloAndy,

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

I'd go with option 3 for the same reasons that Gator mentioned. If you plan it right, you really could do Waldameer and Conneaut in the same day. And I'll second slithernoggins suggestion of the White Turkey.

slithernoggin's avatar

Yes, the reason to go to Beech Bend is Kentucky Rumbler. It is a magnificent ride.

Although I would say sitting in a rocking chair on the porch of Rumbler Cafe has its charms :-)

Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

Option three puts the biggest of the themers as bookends. The other parks, if your looking for a slice of America (besides drive-ins), offer what we consider traditional and nostalgic, with a dose of downright tacky thrown in there.
They all have at least one great ride in them and to me are worth visiting. Kennywood is a treat for first-timers.
The downside for me for a couple of these itineraries, especially as I get older, would be the windshield, ass-in-the-seat-time. Option two would be speediest on the return leg, but with no new parks for you. I'm glad to see KI on all three, they've added nice things since you've last been.

Ok, since you've received solid advice and recommendations for all three, (which we knew would happen), the time has come for you to decide.
Which, Eric y Alvaro Van A, do you choose? Option 1, 2, or 3?

Tommytheduck's avatar

If you do find yourself at Beech Bend, you'll be less than a mile (no CB joking here) from the Corvette assembly plant and museum. You can take a factory tour. That's about as American as apple pie and Chevrolet !

Last edited by Tommytheduck,

RMCAC, I think we are going to end up doing Option 1 with Indiana Beach added in as an ass-rest stop if there is time :).

I totally agree, as I get older I like being in the car less and less (and actually, we don't even drive or own a car at home, so it would be extra shocking for our systems lol).

I am absolutely dying to do Kennywood, but I think that's going to have to wait for another trip.

I think it's going to be a blast (and of course, I'll make sure and bring along the camera), thank you all for you great advice!

Eric & Álvaro
YouTube: Eric y Álvaro Van A

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