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The Best Theme Parks for Family Vacations

Even before "National Lampoon's Vacation," theme parks have always been a popular location for family summer getaways. Hair-raising roller coasters, slipper water slides, delicious food and tremendous shopping make these venues a great place to retreat with the kids. We have created a list of our favorite spots for rides, attractions and, most important, quality time with the people you love the most.

Holiday World

There couldn't be a better name than Holiday World for an amusement park located in Santa Claus, IN. This amazing place will allow your family to experience Christmas all year round! Unlike many of the competing theme parks, Holiday World gives free soda, sunscreen and parking to each family that comes to enjoy all of their exciting rides. This is especially helpful for larger groups who want to get out and enjoy rides, while not using their entire summer-fun budget. With a plethora of coasters, water slides, shows and events, you'll be delighted for Christmas in July every year!

Cedar Point

Sandusky, OH is home to the roller coaster capital of the world, better known as Cedar Point. Their newest record-breaking coaster, known as the Valravn, takes passengers up two-hundred and twenty-three feet in the air before dropping down at a ninety-degree angle at nearly seventy-five miles per hour. For those who have the need for speed, Cedar Point is the obvious choice. There are also family-friendly rides if your clan includes younger children. You can even beat the heat at Cedar Shores Water Park with a lily pad walk, water slides and a lazy river, making this Ohio hot-spot fitting for everyone.

Universal Studios

As one of the many theme parks families can visit together in Orlando, FL, Universal Studios has a lot of competition. Lucky for them – and us – they continue to add electrifying new attractions. You can visit Hogwarts castle and channel your inner Harry Potter. If you prefer water parks, you can splash over to Volcano Bay that features aqua coasters, slides and a gorgeous beach. The Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, excellent shopping and giant parks make Universal Studios the perfect place to spend a week or longer, if you've got the time to relax.

Dollywood

Are you and your family ready to disconnect from the rest of the world? Then you need to pack up the car and head to Dollywood! Set in the Smoky Mountains, Dollywood provides each and every visitor with a gorgeous backdrop for photos. The rides aren't bad either! Over forty attractions, its own water park and award-winning entertainment make Dollywood the ideal place to spend a long weekend with the kids. The southern hospitality and cuisine will have you planning a return trip and calling the grandparents to see if they'll watch the kids while the grown-ups relax.

Hershey Park

HersheyPark is an excellent place for family fun. With three parks all in one, covering the entire park in one day is nearly impossible. This amusement park offers a full water playground and zoo in addition to the coasters, rides and attractions. Situated in Hershey, PA, you can even take the whole crew on the Hershey's Chocolate Tour and create your own personalized candy bar. Free chocolate, stimulating roller coasters, refreshing water rides and quality time together make a trip to HersheyPark an absolute must for any family.

LEGOLAND

Located just thirty minutes north of sunny San Diego, LEGOLAND California is the perfect location for families with children aging from two to twelve. From giant slides to thrilling rides, The Land of Adventure offers a slew of entertainment that will have the kids screaming for more. The MINILAND USA section of the park features your favorite American cities reconstructed completely from legos. You will find Las Vegas, New York City and New Orleans on a much smaller scale, of course. If you find it's much too hot to pound the pavement all day, you can always head over to the LEGOLAND WATER PARK to cool down. With slides, rafts and a lazy river, there's something for every member of the family to enjoy!

 

Regardless if you have tots or teenagers, amusement parks are a tremendous place to make lasting memories. Gather the kids and some snacks, and hit the road to enjoy rides, attractions and shows at a theme park you've never visited together!