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The 7 Best Amusement Parks Near NYC

Being in New York City can already be an adventure, whether it’s for tourists or locals. It’s not Anaheim or Orlando, where people visit mostly for the amusement parks, but you can still find thrilling fun for the whole family near the city. NYC is convenient in the way that it’s practically in the middle of so many other states that are usually only one to two hours away by car or public transportation.

Hitting up an amusement park in the summer is a great way to get some sun, fun, and bonding time with the whole family or with your friends. Even with big crowds and long lines, the anticipation of riding tall rollercoasters and going down drops that take your heart to your throat can be quite enchanting. 

However, before you just up and go, there’s some prep work to do before spending a day at an amusement park.

  • Most people tend to spend a whole day at a park, which means getting a good night’s rest is key to having enough energy to move about.
  • Make sure to dress appropriately for the weather, especially when picking out the shoes. You’re on your feet most of the day and wearing loafers or pumps might not be the best of the best.
  • If you are planning on bringing a bag, smaller ones tend to be more convenient. A lot of amusement parks do have lockers (usually pay is required), but bringing a smaller bag means less back and forth to the lockers to grab essentials.
  • The summer sun is strong and harsh on your skin, so be sure to slap on some sunscreen before leaving and also throughout the day.
  • If you’re not planning on buying overpriced water at the park, pack a smaller reusable bottle, or a few water bottles. The fun never ends as long as you are energized, hydrated, and not sunburnt.

With all that being said, here are some amusement parks to visit in New York and near the city.

Amusement Parks Near Me

Six Flags Great Adventure | Jackson Township, NJ | $$

About two hours away from Manhattan by car, Six Flags Great Adventure is a park full of heart-pounding rides and exciting family activities. Home to the world’s tallest rollercoaster, the Kingda Ka is also the fastest rollercoaster in North America. The El Toro is another one to watch out for with its classic wooden rollercoaster look, but being a smoother ride with its ultra-modern engineering techniques. Six Flags Great Adventure is great for all ages. They have kids’ rides, family rides, and thrill rides. The park also has the Wild Safari Drive-Thru Adventure if you buy an annual pass. And if you get tired of waiting in lines or walking around, the park has plenty of eats, drinks, and even live shows. Be sure to check park hours before leaving, as they are different during the weekday and weekends.

Hersheypark | Hershey, PA | $$

Originally created by Milton S. Hershey as leisure grounds for the employees of Hershey’s Chocolate Factory, it has become an all-year-around family theme park. Each season is themed such as Springtime In The Park, Summer Season, Hersheypark In The Dark, and Hersheypark Christmas CandyLane. You can enjoy their waterpark in the summer heat or feel the wind in your hair on one of their many rides like the Lightning Racer or the Storm Runner. Be sure to check out the free Hershey’s Chocolate World where you get to create your own chocolate bar and eat so many chocolate delights. They are open daily until September 5 during their summer season.

Nickelodeon Universe and Dreamworks Water Park | East Rutherford, NJ | $$$


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A fan of Nickelodeon and Dreamworks? The Nickelodeon Universe and Dreamworks Water Park are either a 25-minute car ride away from Manhattan or about an hour by public transportation. Whether you have kids obsessed with Nickelodeon and Dreamworks characters, or you’re the one who grew up watching the cartoons, this theme park is huge and full of things to do. Both parks are located inside the American Dream mall. The Nickelodeon Universe is full of favorite characters like Spongebob Squarepants, Dora, Avatar, and more. They have great kiddie rides like Fairly Odd Airways and Boots’ Banana Swing. For the older generation, the Nickelodeon Slime Streak and the Sandy’s Blasting Bronco are for sure to make you scream. You can even meet different characters on the Slime Stage.

The Dreamworks Water Park is open year-round with the largest selection of water rides worldwide. Even better, they keep the park a tropical 81 degrees all year long. This is the largest indoor water park in all of North America and also boasts the world’s biggest indoor wave pool. Pretty impressive, right? They have a wide selection of slides and water activities from level kiddie to total pro. Start off with Shrek’s Sinkhole Slammer and The Carnivortex, then end it with the Bubbly Lazy River and Forbidden Waters. Make sure to check the hours for both parks in case of ride closures and other news. 

Adventureland | East Farmingdale, NY | $$

Located on Long Island, it’s either a one-hour car ride or three hours by public transportation, Adventureland is fun for the whole family. The site suggests checking their social media for updated operating hours, but the park is open and their summer hours start June 22. They just opened up a new ride this year, Fireball, and have other iconic rides like the Pirate Ship, Frisbee, Turbulence Coaster, and Wave Swing. They also have kiddie rides like NYC Race, Tea Cups, and Viking Voyage. They even have water rides for those who need a break from the summer heat. If you get hungry and need to rest your feet, Adventureland has a sit-down restaurant serving American-style foods or you can choose the food court and many food stands located throughout the park.

Luna Park | Brooklyn, NY | Free Entry – Pay Per Ride

Located in Coney Island, Luna Park is one of NYC’s most iconic destinations for fun. Coney Island has a history of rollercoasters that have been demolished and an old Luna Park that was destroyed by a fire in 1944. The current Luna Park opened up in 2010 and was the first new amusement park in Coney Island in over 40 years. Entry to Luna Park is free, but it is pay-per-ride with wristbands. The Coney Island Cyclone is known as the “Big Momma” of the neighborhood. Some other notable rides include the Zenobio, Thunderbolt, The Tickler, and the Brooklyn Flyer. Coney Island is right off of the Q and D line. Be sure to check out their “Know Before You Go” page.

Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park | Brooklyn, NY | Free Entry – Pay Per Ride


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Another Coney Island amusement park, Deno’s Wonder Wheel is a family-friendly park right on the beach. It’s located on the boardwalk at Denos Vourderis Place, which is right between the Original Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Restaurant and the New York Aquarium. It takes about 40 minutes by car from Manhattan and you can get there by taking the N, D, F, or Q lines all the way to Stillwell Avenue. Deno’s Wonder Wheel is a famous NYC landmark that was built in 1920. It’s the perfect ride to look at Manhattan’s skyline. If you’re looking for something more thrilling, be sure to check out the Phoenix Roller Coaster and the Spook-A-Rama. If you’re visiting the park sometime from July 9th to September 3rd, stick around and enjoy free Friday fireworks show on the boardwalk. Entrance is free but you’ll need to pay for individual tickets or credits for rides.

Legoland New York | Goshen, NY | $$$


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More for kids or anyone who loves Legos, Legoland New York is great for those who love little bricks enlarged 10 times. About one hour by car and 2 hours by public transportation, Legoland is a great amusement park to spend a day at. With family fun rides like Merlin’s Flying Machines that take you soaring through the sky, The Dragon that challenges you to become a champion, and Driving School where your kid can get a license before they’re 16, prepare to have a blast with the family. Check out their operating hours before going, as they are requiring dated tickets or advanced reservations.

Nina Yu is a freelance writer who is currently based out of Salt Lake City. They are interested in topics like social justice issues, travel, and beauty/skincare. When they are not writing, you can find them hiking, laughing to a fun podcast, or reading a good book.