It’s time to plan a trip to the amusement park! Our favorite parks run the gamut of attractions, from enticing shows to hair-raising rides, but they also offer extra perks for families, such as ticket savings and affordable accommodations nearby. Plus, all of them are on the up-and-up in 2015, with new rides and more.

Written by Amanda Geronikos

Cedar Point

TripAdvisor Rating: TripAdvisor Owl
427 Family Reviews
In Sandusky, Ohio, Cedar Point continually reinvents itself -- it’s impossible to get bored there. In 2015, changes include the addition of Rougarou, a floorless roller coaster (situated right on Lake Erie), and extensive renovations at Hotel Breakers, an affiliate hotel. Just a few steps from the park’s entrance, the hotel now features indoor and outdoor pools, onsite dining and free Wi-Fi. Bonus: Hotel Breakers and other onsite hotels offer early and discounted admission (up to 37 percent off rates) to the park.

Recommended Hotel: Hotel Breakers


TripAdvisor Rating: TripAdvisor Owl
89 Family Reviews
In 2015, Carowinds has introduced Fury 325, the world’s tallest and fastest giga coaster, though the park has long attracted families. Located in Charlotte, North Carolina, Carowinds also features Dinosaurs Alive, where animatronic reptiles come to life, along with Boomerang Bay, a traditional water park. Families can find affordable accommodations right onsite, from campsites to a full-service hotel -- both of which offer free shuttle service and discounted admission to the park.

Recommended Hotel: Carowinds Great Wilderness Resort


TripAdvisor Rating: TripAdvisor Owl
61 Family Reviews
Located in Elysburg, Pennsylvania, Knoebels is an old-fashioned amusement park in the woods. It’s also budget-friendly, allowing families to pay per ride or game; attractions start as low as $1! In 2015, the little park has big plans to launch Impulse, a steel tower roller coaster. Families (many of whom are repeat visitors) always return to enjoy the Phoenix, a now-legendary wooden coaster, as well as the park’s onsite campsites and cottages.

Recommended Hotel: Knoebels Campground


TripAdvisor Rating: TripAdvisor Owl
323 Family Reviews
Just over an hour from Knoebels, Hersheypark offers big-time thrills, with 13 roller coasters on offer. The newest coaster, Laff Trakk, has been advertised as the first indoor, spinning, glow-coaster in the U.S., and rip-roars through funhouse-themed features, such as a wall of mirrors and a rotating tunnel. Families can save with a stay at Hersheypark Camping Resort (where nine deluxe cabins have opened), or at an official resort of Hersheypark; many hotels offer packages with accommodations and tickets.

Recommended Hotel: Homewood Suites by Hilton Harrisburg East-Hershey Area


TripAdvisor Rating: TripAdvisor Owl
880 Family Reviews
Owned by Dolly Parton, Dollywood is the culmination of a theme park, water park, renowned show (Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede) and, new in 2015, Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort. Opening in July 2015, the onsite hotel features a spa, pools and kids’ club, plus family suites. In 2014, Firechaser Express stormed into the park, adding another reason for teens to visit, though the park’s fun extras -- including a chance to see Ms. Parton’s tour bus -- have always been fun.

Recommended Hotel: The Inn at Christmas Place

Six Flags Great Adventure

TripAdvisor Rating: TripAdvisor Owl
139 Family Reviews
Six Flags has 16 locations in the U.S., and Great Adventure is surely one of the best -- particularly for thrill-seeking teens. The park, located in Jackson, New Jersey, houses Kingda Ka, the tallest and fastest roller coaster in North America, and Zumanjaro, the tallest drop tower in the world. The adrenaline rush continues with El Diablo, a new, looping roller coaster inspired by the Jersey Devil. Families can save up to $25 when they purchase tickets online, and can also opt to purchase Stay & Play Packages (accommodations and tickets) at affiliate hotels.

Recommended Hotel: Holiday Inn East Windsor

Busch Gardens Williamsburg

TripAdvisor Rating: TripAdvisor Owl
555 Family Reviews
Attention daredevils: Busch Gardens Williamsburg recently launched -- literally -- Tempesto; the new coaster hurls riders three times, at speeds of 63 mph. Other elements include a vertical loop (loop-de-loop) -- 154 feet in the air. Even if your kids aren’t old enough to ride the coasters, you’ll be able to take advantage of discounted admission for preschoolers. Large groups also have the option to book meals in advance of their trip for a savings of up to 30 percent.

Recommended Hotel: Kingsmill Resort & Spa

Silver Dollar City

TripAdvisor Rating: TripAdvisor Owl
97 Family Reviews
We can’t get enough of Silver Dollar City, the most notable attraction in Branson, Missouri. The park specializes in rides for families -- so much that it’s launching 10 family-specific attractions at Fireman’s Landing. Attractions include Firefall, an eight-story drop ride, and Firehouse Splash Yard, a water spray area. Guests of The Wilderness Log Cabins, located onsite, enjoy complimentary shuttle service to Silver Dollar City, and all visitors can take advantage of discounts and package deals at the park.

Recommended Hotel: Silver Dollar City's The Wilderness

Knott’s Berry Farm

TripAdvisor Rating: TripAdvisor Owl
706 Family Reviews
Many families flock to California’s Disneyland, but shouldn’t overlook Knott’s Berry Farm, just 15 minutes away. The park recently opened Voyage to the Iron Reef, an interactive ride in 4D. Knott’s also has an onsite hotel with packages that combine accommodations, breakfast and tickets. Plus, kids eat free. Even if you don’t plan to stay onsite, you can save up to $25 on admission when you purchase tickets online.

Recommended Hotel: Knott’s Berry Farm Resort Hotel

Six Flags Fiesta Texas

TripAdvisor Rating: TripAdvisor Owl
50 Family Reviews
Batman: The Ride is worth a visit to Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio, as is the park’s extensive set of thrill rides and family rides (some of which are in the water park). The new roller coaster is getting attention for features in 4D and not one, but two 90-degree drops. The park has also launched season dining passes for regulars. When tickets are purchased online, families can save up to $20 on admission.

Recommended Hotel: Courtyard San Antonio Six Flags at The RIM

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Hotel Breakers Reviews
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Carowinds Great Wilderness Resort Reviews
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Knoebels Campground Reviews
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Homewood Suites by Hilton Harrisburg East-Hershey Area Reviews
Doubl7eh - Jun 29th, 2012

We loved staying here! The size of our two bedroom two bathroom suite provided us with more than enough space. ... read more
Homewood Suites by Hilton Harrisburg East-Hershey Area reviews
The Inn at Christmas Place Reviews
mabel - Jun 29th, 2013

This was our best vacation vacation. Loved our shopping and theme park adventures. The Christmas Place Inn is the best hotel we ever stayed in. Great staff, great breakfast great rooms. Everyone is so friendly at this hotel. It's a home away from ... read more
dakatz - Jun 2nd, 2013

I brought my family to this place for 4 days, and my ipad and ipad mini couldn't connect to their wireless service. I tried over 30 times and kept getting an authentication server connection error. If you don't mind being completely off the grid, ... read more
The Inn at Christmas Place reviews
Holiday Inn East Windsor Reviews
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Kingsmill Resort & Spa Reviews
danmar1124 - Sep 5th, 2014

Conveniently located between Busch Gardens and Colonial Williamsburg, this resort was the perfect oasis after a day at the Amusement Park or colonial village. We also just spent days at the resort at the lazy river pool soaking in the sun and fun. T... read more
Kingsmill Resort & Spa reviews
Silver Dollar City's The Wilderness Reviews
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Knott's Berry Farm Resort Hotel Reviews
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Courtyard San Antonio Six Flags at The RIM Reviews
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