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.
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.
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.
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.
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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