A Definitive Ranking of the Most Popular Amusement Parks in the United States

Some might argue the best part of summer is having the time to relax, but the true answer is that it's peak time to go to an amusement park.

The breeze that hits your face while you're riding peak speeds on a rollercoaster. The frozen treats that are twice as enjoyable under the hot summer sun. If you're extra lucky, you'll even have the chance to dip in the pool at one of the respective waterparks.

There are so many amusement parks in the United States, but which is the best? Thrill-seekers, we're ranking the six most popular amusement parks in the United States, so you can know which one is worth your next visit.

6. Knott's Berry Farm

Knott's Berry Farm, located in Buena Park, California, has been around since 1923 as one of the largest competitors of Disneyland. It has a waterpark, nearly 50 rides and plenty of food options. During Halloween, they transform the park into Knott's Scary Farm.

By no means is Knott's Berry Farm a bad amusement park, despite being at the bottom of our ranking. They have much to offer (and for a great price), but there isn't enough range between rides. Basically, there are two types of attractions: for children and for the ultimate adrenaline junkies.

Unfortunately, we are people who enjoy a slight thrill, and that means Knott's Berry Farm is not the place for us. There are more diverse amusement parks in California that cater to all kinds of park-goers. But if you fall into one of the two major categories and are on a budget, Knott's Berry Farm will be great for you.


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5. Busch Gardens

We have a very similar sentiment about Busch Gardens. However, the Tampa Bay location is probably the best alternative to Disney World and Universal Studios in Florida, and the park in Virginia is one of the only ones in the state.

Beyond attractions, Busch Garden has a waterpark, zoo and live shows, and there are seasonal festivals to enjoy. So, if you aren't interested in going for the rides, there are plenty of other attractions!


4. Six Flags

Six Flags is definitely lots of fun for teens and adults. There aren't many rides for children, but the Looney Tunes and superhero characters that appear around the park and live shows can make it enjoyable for them. That said, there are just enough rides to fill up the entire day for kids. However, that also means they have a variety of attractions available for the older crowd.

Fright Fest is known to be one of the very best Halloween amusement park attractions. We can attest that the actors do a stellar job of making you terrified, and their haunted houses are intense.

Six Flags also has 27 parks across North America, so chances are it's easily accessible for you.

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3. Dollywood

Who doesn't love Dolly Parton?

Dolly's Pigeon Forge, Tennessee theme park, Dollywood, has a waterpark, amusement park, cabins, restaurants and historical shows. Next to the Disney ecosystem and Universal, Dollywood is the most family-friendly amusement park. For those who love maximum heights and speeds, Dollywood probably won't be the best park for you.

Dollywood is a lot more affordable than Disney and Universal but has an equal amount of fun. The park also offers a super healthy work environment and has plans to pay for 100% of its workers' school tuition.


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2. Universal Studios

Universal Studios, along with the Disney parks, has some of the highest quality rides in all of North America. A few of the rides at Universal Studios (we're looking at you, Men in Black) are outdated, but there's also an endearing quality to them. There is something magical about entering newer areas, like the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and we are so excited for Super Nintendo World to finally come to the Orlando location.

Universal Studios and the Disney parks are extremely close. If Universal Studios had the number of (themed) hotels as Disney parks, it might just land in our top slot.


1. Disney Parks

The grandeur of Disney World and Disneyland obviously had to make it the top amusement park in the United States. They offers the most rides, have the best hotels and food and, without a doubt, you will go to Disney and still think about your trip months later.

When you go to Disney, you will be fully immersed in the park universe. Heading to Star Wars Galaxy Edge? You will literally feel like you landed on planet Batuu—and the same goes for any other attraction.

And Disney isn't just fun for kids and families. Rides like Expedition Everest and Tower of Terror offer the same thrill as other parks like Six Flags and Knott's Berry Farm, but the high production of rides like Na'vi River Journey and Elsa's Frozen Adventure still appeal to adults.

You must go to Disney at least once in your life!


Have a trip planned to one of the Disney parks? Read HERE find the most Instagram-worthy treats on their menu.