US Parks: Must Visits?

PRWagner's avatar

Hello everyone,

I'm located on the east coast of the United States, right outside Baltimore. Over the years I've managed to hit up some of the parks in this and the nearby states, but I'm looking for some advice on what parks are MUSTS to visit if you're a coaster fan. I finally got out to Ohio to visit Cedar Point last summer and had a great time. Here are the parks that I've visited, most of which, numerous times:

  • Cedar Point, OH
  • Six Flags America, MD
  • Six Flags Great Adventure, NJ
  • Busch Gardens, VA
  • Kings Dominion, VA
  • Hershey Park, PA
  • Dorney Park, PA

Obviously, I've heard of places like Magic Mountain and Kings Island, but any other advice for some parks that a coaster lover would enjoy? I'll probably make myself get out to Kennywood and Knoebells since they're in nearby Pennsylvania, but what parks does everyone suggest for a possible road trip or a much needed vacation destination?


eightdotthree's avatar

Follow the conversations on this site for awhile and you will start to see the same parks mentioned over and over again. Places like Holiday World, Indiana Beach, Dollywood, the Orlando parks are IMO must visits.

Silver Dollar City

Mamoosh's avatar

Here are some I'd suggest. These are smaller parks but what they lack in quantity they make up for in quality. You can find info about the park & coasters at the roller coaster database, (which I would suggest you bookmark if you have not done so already)

Holiday World (Santa Claus, IN) - this one is a must.
Indiana Beach (Monticello, IN)
Lake Compounce (Briston, CT)
Dollywood (Pigeon Forge, TN)
Mt. Olympus (Wisconsin Dells, WI)
Silverwood (Athol, ID)
Waldameer (Erie, PA)
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk (Santa Cruz, CA)
Silver Dollar City (Branson, MO)

I'm sure someone else will chime in on some of the bigger parks not on your list (Knotts, Valleyfair, Worlds of Fun, etc).

You can get a lot of good advice from people on this site about road tripping and planning park visits. But it would help if we knew what time frame you're working in ( one week? two?), how you're traveling, and if there's a specific region of the country you're looking to visit. Unless you're only interested in hitting individual parks then heading back home.

eightdotthree's avatar

Oh yeah, Lake Compounce is pretty cool. Piggyback a trip to Six Flags New England which despite insane crowds is one of my favorite Six Flags parks and home of my #1 coaster.

I would definitely say Holiday World! Free Parking, Free Sodas, Cheap Meals (the best price for food I have ever seen in an amuesment park $2.49 for a funnel cake!!!), clean and friendly staffed park, plus an incredible waterpark (which is free with admission), and 3 great wooden rollercoasters makes this park a must visit! Home to the #1 Wooden rollercoaster the Voyage!!! Plus, they just added the worlds tallest water ride (Pilgrams Plunge). I know you know about Kings Island so now you should visit! It is a wonderful park as well! 14 total roller coasters including the new 215 foot 80mph Diamondback coaster! (Great one IMO). Plus they have the longest wooden coaster in the world (Beast) and the tallest and fastest wooden coaster in the world (Son of Beast). Their flying coaster (Firehawk) is very fun as well. This park is only 193 miles from Holiday World roughly a 3 hour drive which isn't bad.

Collin Aynes

6 posts and no love for Knoebels?

Mamoosh's avatar

Ummm...see the very first post? He's going to Kennywood & Knoebels and was asking for other suggestions.

I'll probably make myself get out to Kennywood and Knoebells since they're in nearby Pennsylvania, but what parks does everyone suggest for a possible road trip or a much needed vacation destination?

crazy horse's avatar

Disney, universal, magic mountain, Dollywood, Holiday world, and of course...charmland. ;)

what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard.
Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it.
I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Mamoosh's avatar

You can't be a coaster enthusiast if you don't own a Charmland season pass!

Kennywood, Knoebels, come to mind

^^^ I meant from others touting the awsomeness that is Knoebels! :)

rollergator's avatar

Knoebels kills your koaster kount...but it is SO worth it...again and again. :) ;)

Mamoosh's avatar

As good as Phoenix and Twister are, for me it is the Knoebels "entire package & experience" that makes it my favorite park in the U.S.* Honestly even if the park didn't have the two woodies I'd still find lots to do there. Best bumper cars in the world. Awesome flyers. Fascination parlor. Fun and challenging mini-golf. Haunted House, the sky ride....I could go on and on.

It took me a while to learn that there was value in slowing down and enjoying smaller parks; that I didn't need a big park with a double-digit coaster count to make me happy.

(*Sorry, Holiday World. You're in the #2 spot. Get a Fascination Parlor and I'll consider moving you into a tie for #1).

DaveStroem's avatar

If you are doing a driving trip from Baltimore, I would hit Dorney Park, Knoebels, Hershey Park, Kennywood, Kings Island, Kentucky Kingdom & Holiday World then head north to Indiana Beach and SFGA. On the way back you could hit Michigan's Adventure, Cedar Point, Waldameer, Darien Lake, Canada's Wonderland.........

I could keep going but I think you get the idea.

If you start with Knoebels, you could take in these other PA parks, on your way to Kennywood;




After Kennywood, you could continue onto;

Conneaut Lake


I'm gonna suggest that you continue up into NY state, and take in;

Martin's Fantasy Island

(You could go up to Canada's Wonderland from here, but I don't know if you have your passport.)

Darien Lake


From here you have 2 options;

The longer one being, Travel East on I90 to Six Flags NE;

Then south to Lake Compounce, and Quassy.

The shorter option being just travel south, from Seabreeze, back into PA, and work your way down to Dorney, on your way back home.

PRWagner's avatar

Thanks for all the advice everyone. I really don't have a timeframe or dates set aside for a trip. A bunch of us from work are going to Dorney Park in July (no ones but me has been there) and we hit Kings Dominion a few weeks ago.

Honestly, my asking is more of trying to figure out what other parks I "should" get out to, if I come across some time or make myself take a few days off for a trip. Thanks for all the awesome advice/suggestions from everyone. Looks like I'll need another job soon. ROFL

Sell your house, and live out of a conversion van. You'll be able to drive your home to all of the parks mentioned. ;)



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