Amusement parks don’t have to amount to expensive family outings. In fact, some of our favorite amusement parks are also the most affordable, allowing guests to pay a flat rate of $35 per person (or less) or better yet, pay per ride! Many of the cheapest amusement parks are small in size, too, with fewer crowds and shorter lines. Consider one of these cheap amusement parks for your annual summer trip!
Nickelodeon Universe -- the famed amusement park inside the Mall of America -- charges just $35.99 per person for an all-day wristband. That's pretty darn good, considering all of the rides this indoor amusement park features! Families also have the option to pay per ride with point passes -- pay $3.45 for a three-point pass for one ride; $6.90 for a six-point pass for one or two rides; $19.99 for an 18-point pass toward three to six rides and so on.
There are separate fees for the Dutchman's Deck Adventure Course (zip-lining) and Moose Mountain Adventure Golf, or you can lump those in with the cost of your wristbands.
Located on the boardwalk in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, Funland prides itself on offering a cheap amusement park experience; in fact, its motto is "today's fun at yesterday's prices." You'll pay just 35 cents per ride! Funland features 20 rides, many of which are geared toward young kids and families. Other fun includes midway games and an arcade. Another reason to visit?
A small, family-owned, and cheap amusement park in the woods of Elysburg, Pennsylvania, Knoebels Amusement Park charges per ride. You can also purchase all-day passes for as little as $32. Entertainment inside the park and parking outside of the park are free, and there are cheap cabin and tent camping sites available. Another bonus -- Knoebels (pronounced Kuh-No-Bels) is just over an hour's drive from Hershey should you want to tack that on to your family vacation.
Another cheap amusement park in Pennsylvania, DelGrosso's Amusement Park offers 30 rides and attractions for children of all ages. And if the name sounds familiar, that's because it is! This DelGrosso family is the same family that makes the famous pasta sauces! The family's amusement park includes an Italian-themed water park, complete with a replica of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Families can pay per ride or buy an All-Day Fun Pass for $29.95 (or $21.95 in May and September).
Skip the San Diego Zoo and head to a local favorite: Belmont Park. Located on Mission Bay in San Diego, this cheap amusement park offers families the option to pay per ride for favorites that include everything from Krazy Kars and the Tilt-a-Whirl to the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster and Vertical Plunge. The park also offers an Unlimited One Day Ride Pass for $30 for adults and $20 for kids (48 inches tall and under).
Pay $3 to get into Lakeside Amusement Park in Denver, and then per ride for anything the kids want to try. Or pay $16 (weekdays) and $25 (weekends) for access to everything at this cheap amusement park -- train rides, roller coasters, Kiddies' Playland and more. Parking is free.
Just outside of downtown Portland, Oregon, Oaks Park is a small, cheap amusement park that includes roller skating in the fun! Other highlights include carnival games, mini-golf, food and of course, rides! Individual ride prices start at $3.75 and go up to $31.25 for the Premier Bracelet that provides access to everything.
Outside of San Antonio is ZDT's Amusement Park, with admission priced at $24.99 per adult and $17.99 for kids under 42 inches in height. This cheap amusement park offers discounts for seniors and military, as well as an incentive for late-day visitors, charging just $14.99 for those who enter the park within three hours of closing time. This affordable amusement park is also home to Switchback, a crazy wooden roller coaster!