14 Best Amusement Parks On The East Coast


Looking for the most thrilling and best amusement parks on the East Coast of the United States? You’ve come to the right place. From classic wooden rollercoasters to high-tech virtual reality rides, the East Coast is home to some of the best amusement parks in the country. In this comprehensive guide, we will take a closer look at the top amusement parks located along the eastern seaboard, from Florida up to New England.

We will explore family favorites like Walt Disney World and Hersheypark, which have delighted guests of all ages for decades. We will also cover state-of-the-art parks such as Six Flags Great Adventure, known for pushing boundaries with record-breaking rides. Theme parks nestled in scenic natural settings and those housed in bustling urban areas will both be highlighted. From coasters and water slides to character meets and live shows, there is something for everyone at these top-rated East Coast amusement parks.

By the end of this guide, you will have learned about all the heart-pumping, smile-inducing thrills that await at over 10 of the best amusement parks on the East Coast. We break down the highlights, must-rides, and best times to visit each one. So read on to discover your next amusement park adventure, and start planning your visits today.

Walt Disney World – Orlando, Florida

Best Amusement Parks On The East Coast

Spread across four huge theme parks, two water parks, and a downtown district, Walt Disney World is truly an amusement park destination in itself. Magic Kingdom is the heart of the resort, bringing classic Disney stories to life through beloved attractions like Space Mountain, Jungle Cruise, and It’s a Small World. Hollywood Studios focuses on movies and television with jaw-dropping shows and rides like Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Star Tours. Epcot offers rides, exhibits, and a Food & Wine Festival, while Animal Kingdom brings the wonders of wildlife with attractions such as Kilimanjaro Safaris.

Top Rides: Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, Expedition Everest, Test Track

Best Time to Visit: Mid-January to mid-February (fewest crowds).

Universal Orlando Resort – Orlando, Florida

Best Amusement Parks On The East Coast

With immersive lands based on licensed properties and innovative ride systems, Universal Parks pushes creative boundaries. At Islands of Adventure, Marvel characters leap off the pages in amazing ride-through attractions like The Incredible Hulk Coaster and The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man. Nearby, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter brings the magical world to life, from Hogwarts Castle to thrilling rides like Escape from Gringotts. Universal Studios highlights popular films and TV shows through pulse-pounding rides like Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit and Men in Black Alien Attack. Volcano Bay Water Park offers thrills for all ages.

Top Rides: The Incredible Hulk Coaster, Escape from Gringotts, Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit

Best Time to Visit: Late January to mid-February (low season)

Busch Gardens Tampa – Tampa, Florida

Best Amusement Parks On The East Coast

Nature and thrill rides combine seamlessly at Busch Gardens Tampa. Set against a backdrop of open savanna, rides follow the migration paths of African animals. Standouts like Cheetah Hunt, Sheikra, and Tigris lean heavily on launches for their intensity. Sesame Street Forest of Fun and Kids’ Areas ensure even little ones get their fair share of fun, too. Live entertainment like bird and animal shows accentuates the lush, tropical environment. Behind-the-scenes tours provide a glimpse into the animal care facilities. When you need a break, tasty international cuisine and craft brews await.

Top Rides: SheiKra, Montu, Cheetah Hunt
Best Time to Visit: Spring or fall for mild weather and smaller crowds

Hersheypark – Hershey, Pennsylvania

Best Amusement Parks On The East Coast

As the sweet-scented home of chocolate treats and rollercoasters, Hersheypark has delighted generations since 1906. The massive park has more than 70 rides, shows, and attractions, with a focus on family fun. Classic wooden giants like Comet, Wildcat, and Storm Runner still thrill. Newer rides like Skyrush and Candymonium pack speeds and heights into compact footprints. Kids love Chocolatetown for kiddie rides and entertainment. Come summer, Hersheypark stays open late for concerts and fireworks. With over 4.5 million lights, this park transforms into a winter wonderland after dark during Christmas Candylane.

Top Rides: Skyrush, Storm Runner, Great Bear, Candymonium
Best Time to Visit: Summertime for extended hours and events

Knoebels Amusement Resort – Elysburg, Pennsylvania

Best Amusement Parks On The East Coast

Steeped in old-fashioned charm, Knoebels Amusement Resort has been a family favorite for over 100 years. Located in rural Pennsylvania, this classic park has mastered the art of low-key fun. Wooden coasters like Phoenix and Twister bring retro thrills alongside gentle carousels and merry-go-rounds. You won’t find bells and whistles here; smiles from guests enjoying simple pleasures like balloon animals, country stores, and picnic groves. Seasonal events like the Halloween Haunt and Winterfest light up the classic midway with live music and activities for all ages.

Top Rides: Phoenix, Twister, Black Diamond
Best Time to Visit: Summer weekends for the biggest crowds and atmosphere

Kennywood – West Mifflin, Pennsylvania

Best Amusement Parks On The East Coast

Dating to 1898, Kennywood charms guests with a distinctive Pittsburgh flavor. The Phantom’s Revenge inverted coaster awakens screams from brave riders as it whips through the tree line. Steel Curtain, the new world’s tallest, fastest, and longest hybrid coaster, delivers airtime and inversions in spades. Kids clamor for junior coasters like the Kangaroo and MiniPhantom. Parades, live shows, and old favorites like the Turtle and Dark Ride Kennywood Aviator entertain those seeking lighter fare. Be sure to try classic park foods like french fries and pierogies.

Top Rides: Steel Curtain, Phantom’s Revenge, Thunderbolt
Best Time to Visit: Summer weekends for a full park experience

Six Flags Great Adventure – Jackson, New Jersey

Best Amusement Parks On The East Coast

Six Flags Great Adventure combines massive rollercoasters with themed lands and a Wild Safari drive-through park. World-class rides like El Toro thrill coaster connoisseurs with its extreme drops and airtime. Bizarro turns riders upside down across five inversions. Kids have all-day fun at the neighboring Six Flags Hurricane Harbor waterpark. Behind-the-scenes tours offer unique, up-close animal encounters. Special events invite guests to howl at haunted nights or meet superheroes. This park goes all out in both thrill scale and guest experience.

Top Rides: El Toro, Bizarro, Nitro
Best Time to Visit: May to early June for mild weather and midweek discounts

Six Flags America – Baltimore, Maryland

Best Amusement Parks On The East Coast

Just outside Baltimore city limits, Six Flags America packs top coasters into a compact space. The Joker acts as the face of the park with three gravity-fueled inversions. Wild One offers neck-snapping spins on a wild mouse layout. Meanwhile, Batwing mimics the swooping dives of its namesake with a 144-foot first drop. Young guests love whirling, twisting rides, and kid-sized junior coasters. Special events throughout the year throw unique themes into the seasonal calendar. Compact yet jam-packed, this park maximizes thrills per square foot.

Top Rides: Joker, Wild One, Batwing
Best Time to Visit: Fall for comfortable temperatures and Halloween season festivities

Lake Compounce – Bristol, Connecticut

Best Amusement Parks On The East Coast

Lake Compounce, the oldest continuously running amusement park in America, has a history to spare. The Boulder Dash invites brave souls to race headlong down its wooden structure. The newest rollercoaster, Phobia, provides an adrenaline rush for enthusiast-level thrill-seekers. Gentler options let families bond over carousel rides, miniature golf, and annual festivals. In summer, waterpark additions like rapids, rides, and slides help beat the heat. The friendly atmosphere and scenic lake backdrop create lasting memories for guests of all ages at this classic New England-style park.

Top Rides: Boulder Dash, Phobia, Dragon Coaster
Best Time to Visit: Summer for waterpark access and festival programming

DelGrosso’s Amusement Park – Tipton, Pennsylvania

Best Amusement Parks On The East Coast

Family-operated DelGrosso charms guests with friendly Midwestern hospitality. Located in central Pennsylvania farmland, attractions pay tribute to agricultural heritage. Coasters like Little Thunder offer wood thrills. Wildcat Zip Line flies guests high over lush scenery. Theme weekends featuring princesses, pirates, and more keep young guests engaged. Seasonal festivals like Pumpkin Glow spotlight community spirit. Well-loved traditions include fried dough, rodeo shows, and animal interactions that make you feel like part of the farm family. Unique character gives this smaller park a lasting charm.

Top Attractions: Little Thunder wooden rollercoaster, Wildcat zipline, Quarter Horses
Best Time to Visit: Summer weekends for most activities

Quassy Amusement Park – Middlebury, Connecticut

Best Amusement Parks On The East Coast

Wood and water combine at the charming Quassy Amusement Park. Classic wooden coasters create adrenaline pairs: Wooden Warrior brings speed, while Wooden Hurricane hurls through fast turns.

Splash Mountain sends riders on a 450-foot twisting ride through dark tunnels. When temperatures rise, Water Safari Water Park offers a reprieve with raft rides, tube slides, and wave pools. Throughout summer, live entertainment delights all ages at this family-oriented destination. Friendly staff ensures lasting memories for generations of guests. Tuck family picnic baskets into scenic spots for a true taste of classic amusement park fun.

Top Rides: Wooden Warrior and Wooden Hurricane coasters, Splash Mountain log flume
Best Time to Visit: Summer for waterpark access and events

Morey’s Piers – Wildwood, New Jersey

Best Amusement Parks On The East Coast

Situated along Wildwood’s sunny shoreline, Morey’s Piers offers a unique beachside boardwalk experience. The Giant Wheel rotates guests high for panoramas of the ocean and rides. Rollercoasters like Great White and Monster thrillseekers at three different piers. When temperatures spike, all rides become exclusively water-oriented, with the Boardwalk Aquarium Pier serving as an oasis. Special events pay homage to the area’s unique Jersey Shore heritage and culture. Unbeatable ocean views amplify the park’s charm and energy. Just don’t forget to save time for classic boardwalk fares like fries and hand-rolled doughnuts!

Top Rides: Great White, Monster, and Hurricane, at three separate piers
Best Time to Visit: Summer for water rides and lively atmosphere

Six Flags New England – Agawam, Massachusetts

Best Amusement Parks On The East Coast

Massive rollercoasters take center stage at the regional northeast park. Bizarro whips through five inverted loops as only an intimate floorless coaster can. Wicked Cyclone debuted in 2021 as the steepest hybrid coaster in the world, dropping riders down a 95-degree straightaway into waves of airtime. When not rushing headlong onto rides, guests can learn about American history and wildlife at the neighboring Six Flags New England theme park. This park maximizes space with record-breaking rides and family attractions tucked into the Connecticut River Valley woodlands.

Top Rides: Bizarro, Wicked Cyclone, Superman: Ultimate Flight
Best Time to Visit: Late spring and early fall for comfortable temperatures

Island Waterpark – West Haven, Connecticut

Best Amusement Parks On The East Coast

Unleash your inner water-loving kid at the family-oriented Island Waterpark. Riders twist through rapids on Black Diamond Run before drifting lazily down the Congo River. Kid-sized slides invite smaller guests to join the splashes. Outside thrill rides, games, playgrounds, and picnics entertain all ages equally well. The Caribbean-themed atmosphere brings island vacation vibes to shoreline Connecticut. Friendly staff ensures even timid guests feel comfortable slipping into refreshing waters on a hot summer day. Come early to have a day of carefree fun in this aquatic oasis.

Top Attractions: Black Diamond Run rapids ride, Congo River lazy river, Junior Island playground
Best Time to Visit: Summer weekends when the park operates extended hours

So, in summary, these amusement and water parks shine as top picks for family fun and thrill-seeking adventures along the eastern United States. From classics beloved for generations to record-breaking new rides, they cover a diverse range of experiences. Consider your travel plans, group size, and tastes when selecting parks to visit this year. Let the rollercoaster and water slide journeys begin!

Best Amusement Parks On The East Coast

Here is a summary of the amusement parks in table format:

ParkLocationTop RidesBest Time to Visit
Walt Disney WorldOrlando, FLSpace Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, Expedition EverestMid-January to mid-February
Universal Orlando ResortOrlando, FLThe Incredible Hulk Coaster, Escape from Gringotts, Hollywood Rip Ride RockitLate January to mid-February
Busch Gardens TampaTampa, FLSheiKra, Montu, Cheetah HuntSpring or fall
HersheyparkHershey, PASkyrush, Storm Runner, Great Bear, CandymoniumSummertime
Knoebels Amusement ResortElysburg, PAPhoenix, Twister, Black DiamondSummer weekends
KennywoodWest Mifflin, PASteel Curtain, Phantom’s Revenge, ThunderboltSummer weekends
Six Flags Great AdventureJackson, NJEl Toro, Bizarro, NitroMay to early June
Six Flags AmericaBaltimore, MDJoker, Wild One, BatwingFall
Lake CompounceBristol, CTBoulder Dash, Phobia, Dragon CoasterSummer
DelGrosso’s Amusement ParkTipton, PALittle Thunder, Wildcat zipline, Quarter HorsesSummer weekends
Quassy Amusement ParkMiddlebury, CTWooden Warrior, Wooden Hurricane, Splash MountainSummer
Morey’s PiersWildwood, NJGreat White, Monster, HurricaneSummer
Six Flags New EnglandAgawam, MABizarro, Wicked Cyclone, Superman: Ultimate FlightLate spring, early fall
Island WaterparkWest Haven, CTBlack Diamond Run, Congo River, Junior IslandSummer weekends

The eastern United States offers an abundance of world-class amusement parks and water parks to provide fun and thrills for the whole family. From classic wood and steel coasters to cutting-edge rides utilizing the latest technologies, these top-rated East Coast parks strive to push boundaries and deliver unique experiences for guests of all ages. Whether you enjoy character meets, high-energy shows, or seeking out record-breaking rollercoasters, there is truly something for everyone.

With so many quality options throughout states like Florida, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and beyond, it’s no wonder the East Coast is considered a top amusement park destination. Be sure to use this guide to plan your next vacation and tickle your inner thrill-seeker at one or more of these highly acclaimed East Coast amusement parks. You’ll be making fun family memories for years to come at these top amusement parks on the East Coast of America.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. What is the biggest amusement park on the East Coast?

Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, is considered the largest amusement park destination on the East Coast. It takes up over 25,000 acres and includes four theme parks and two water parks.

Q2. Which parks have the best rollercoasters?

Six Flags Great Adventure, Cedar Point in Ohio, and Busch Gardens Tampa are known for their intense and groundbreaking rollercoasters. Some top rides include El Toro, Steel Vengeance, SheiKra, and Montu.

Q3. How expensive are tickets to the major amusement parks?

Ticket pricing varies by park and season. Expect to pay around $100–200 per person for a single-day ticket to parks like Disney World and Universal Studios. Multi-day and annual passes provide better value. Many parks offer discounted tickets online.

Q4. When is the best time to visit to avoid crowds?

The best times vary by park but generally include early spring before summer break (mid-January to mid-February), fall after Labor Day (September–October), and select weekdays year-round when possible. Avoid summer holidays and weekends.

Q5. What types of thrill rides and attractions can be expected at these parks?

Patk’s offerings include wooden and steel rollercoasters, water rides, drop towers, swinging rides, 3D motion simulators, and more. Many feature licensed IP-based attractions like Harry Potter or superhero-themed rides utilizing unique technologies.

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