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These California Theme Parks Will Blow Your Kids' Minds

Michelle Maffei is a freelance copywriter covering a variety of topics both online and in print, from parenting to beauty and more. Combining her two favorite loves, writing and motherhood, she has found joy in even the most challenging ...

Planning a West Coast amusement park tour this summer? You're gonna want to check out this list

There's a lot to be enamored with about the West Coast — beautiful beaches, perfect weather and a fun-loving attitude to name a few — but the things we might love the most are all the choice theme parks in California.

If you're trying to plan a family vacation your kids will remember forever, try hitting one (or all!) of these seriously awesome amusement parks.

1. Best amusement park roller coaster

Planning a West Coast amusement park tour this summer? You're gonna want to check out this list
Image: Jeremy Thompson/Flickr

Six Flags Magic Mountain
26101 Magic Mountain Parkway, Valencia

Whether it's the more than 200-foot drop into a hole in the ground or the complete stop, leaving you hanging on your side above the ground, Six Flags Magic Mountain's Goliath is known as one of the best roller coasters in California. For the best experience, wait the extra few minutes for the front seat.

More: 50 Essential Vacations That'll Put the Cherry on Top of Any Childhood

2. Best theme park thrill ride

Planning a West Coast amusement park tour this summer? You're gonna want to check out this list
Image: Jeremy Thompson/Flickr

Knott's Berry Farm
8039 Beach Boulevard, Buena Park

Be warned — the Knott’s Berry Farm Supreme Scream ride has been categorized as a level 5 “Aggressive Thrill.” If that doesn’t deter you, then get ready for the ride of your life. Located on the park's boardwalk, the 45-second ride hits a top speed of 50 mph as it propels riders 252 feet straight up into the air, where you will experience three seconds of weightlessness before being plummeted back to earth. We recommend riding this thriller before lunch.

3. Best theme park for families

Planning a West Coast amusement park tour this summer? You're gonna want to check out this list
Image: Anna Fox/Flickr

Disneyland & Disney's California Adventure
1313 Harbor Boulevard, Anaheim

The "happiest place on earth" offers two great amusement parks for every member of your family. With baby centers that include facilities for diaper changing, nursing and bottle feeding throughout Disneyland, Disney's California Adventure and the Downtown Disney District, visitors young and old can have fun with the comforts of home while hanging with the Disney family of characters.

More: 7 Mistakes Parents Make When Traveling With Kids

4. Best amusement park for adults

Planning a West Coast amusement park tour this summer? You're gonna want to check out this list
Image: Michael Sheehan/Flickr

Universal Studios Hollywood
100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City

Hollywood magic is brought to life when you get a VIP pass to Universal Studios' movie-based theme park. Although there are attractions and shows for every age, this amusement park is best suited for teens and adults due to loud noises, high action and life-like special effects. Heads up: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is the big attraction coming in spring 2016.

Next Up: Best water park

Originally published June 2011. Updated July 2017.

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