Theme Park Escapes That The Whole Family Will Love

published on May 17, 2022 by

Getting the entire family to agree on a vacation destination can be a challenge. But if you throw in the idea of a trip centered on a theme park, things get much easier. From Disney to LEGOLAND, there are plenty of options from coast to coast. Below, we help you narrow it down. 

Orlando, Florida

If there was a theme park capital of the world, it would have to be Orlando. Perhaps the ultimate family friendly vacation option, the destination is famously home to the Walt Disney World entertainment complex where you’ll find four theme parks — Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Epcot and Magic Kingdom Park. Each one could be an entire trip filled with unforgettable moments for your entire crew. But wait, there’s more. Orlando is also home to Universal Orlando, which brings the magic of Hollywood to life through thrilling rides and multimedia experiences. If even that isn’t enough, SeaWorld offers visitors up-close-and-personal encounters with amazing aquatic creatures. 

Newport Coast, California

North of San Diego, the Newport Coast itself doesn’t have any theme parks to call its very own. But it’s just a short drive away from both Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm, which means that you can combine your dream California beach vacation with a theme park getaway. Disneyland needs no introduction — it’s the grandfather of the modern amusement park. And with the recent addition of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, it’s even more fun than ever. Located nearby, Knott’s Berry Farm is less well-known, but it’s worth a visit for its wild west-themed roller coasters, youngster-friendly Camp Snoopy area and generally laid-back vibes. 

  • Newport Coast Travel Tip: It’s not as big as Disneyland — not even close — but Balboa Island is an extremely charming spot that’s been attracting fun-seekers for more than 75 years with its classic Ferris wheel, carnival games and more. 

San Diego, California

Over on the west coast, San Diego is no slouch when it comes to theme parks and kid-friendly attractions. The original SeaWorld is here, offering more than 100 acres of splash-filled excitement, in addition to the brand-new, toddler-beloved Sesame Place, featuring all your favorite Sesame Street characters. Nearby, discover LEGOLAND, with more than 60 rides, attractions and shows all using the classic LEGO toys as a launchpad for fun. No trip to San Diego is complete without a visit to the world-famous San Diego Zoo, a wildlife wonderland housing more than 12,000 animals, including polar and panda bears, giraffes, elephants and beyond. 

  • San Diego Travel Tip: The San Diego Zoo is part of the Balboa Park complex, home to several fascinating museums, botanic gardens, great restaurants and much more. Plan to spend at least an entire day here. 

Branson, Missouri

Families will fall in love with Branson. It’s a destination in the heart of the Ozarks that’s packed with all kinds of entertainment, from Old West revue shows, famed country music and pop performers, and several terrific amusement parks. At the top of the list is Silver Dollar City, a 61-acre amusement park that takes visitors back to the 1880s. Rides include the American Plunge, a traditional log flume ride that reaches speeds of up to 35 mph, and the Fire-In-The-Hole, an indoor roller coaster that whisks riders through a wild night in the Ozarks. Silver Dollar City also features White Water, a water park full of slides, lazy rivers and splashdowns. 

  • Branson Travel Tip: If you didn’t get enough Dolly during your visit to Dollywood, have no fear. Dolly Parton’s Stampede is an action-packed dinner theater experience with awe-inspiring stunts and pyrotechnics.

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

You may not know the town of Pigeon Forge. But you do know its claim-to-fame attraction. Pigeon Forge is home to Dollywood, country music legend Dolly Parton’s Appalachian-themed amusement park. Like its namesake, Dollywood is utterly unique, offering roller coasters, traditional southern food and crafts, and endless live entertainment. You can even take a tour of Dolly’s “Home-On-Wheels” — her tricked out tour bus. 

  • Pigeon Forge Travel Tip: Located nearby, the Great Smokey Mountains National Park is a natural playground, and one of the most popular national parks in the country, filled with cascading waterfalls, spectacular views and an array of wildlife. 

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