Our research is editorially independent but we may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
California is home to a number of great amusement parks that have been pleasing guests for decades. From thrilling roller coasters to incredible live shows, the amusement parks on this list will not disappoint. You’re guaranteed to have an unforgettable day at one of these top amusement parks in California.
Six Flags Magic Mountain, Santa Clarita
One of the top amusement parks in the Golden State is Six Flags Magic Mountain. Roller coaster fans flock to this amusement park simply because it has the most roller coasters out of any amusement park in the world. Found an hour away from L.A., Magic Mountain boasts a superhero theme. So the coasters here are mostly based on comic book characters, like Batman, Superman and the Green Lantern. Not all the attractions at Magic Mountain are adrenaline-inducing rides however; there are smaller rides catered to kids and live shows that will please visitors of all ages. Although not included in admission, there is a water park adjacent to Magic Mountain, Hurricane Harbor, that draws plenty of visitors during those hot California days.
Knott's Berry Farm, Buena Park
Knott’s Berry Farm was a farm that turned into an amusement park. Spanning 160 acres, Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park is a family-friendly attraction that offers a wide variety of rides and games for all ages. If you’re looking for a thrill, ride the Supreme Scream or the dozen other thrilling rides and coasters catered to adrenaline junkies. For an experience the entire family can enjoy, consider the Timber Mountain Log Ride, one of the park’s most popular rides. Full of great rides and a fun atmosphere, there is a reason why Knott’s Berry Farm is one of the nation’s most visited amusement parks.
Disneyland Park, Anaheim
One of the first amusement parks that come to mind when visitors think of California amusement parks is Disneyland. Disneyland is truly a bucket-list destination for many travelers to California. This Disney park in Anaheim is Walt Disney’s original theme park. Enjoy the classic Disney rides, as well as exciting new coasters and top-notch live shows too. The park offers an array of dining options that any foodie will enjoy, as well as a collection of top hotels nearby.
Legoland California Resort, Carlsbad
Enjoy rides, shows and other fun attractions at this Southern California amusement park. This park is targeted specifically for kids from ages three to 12. Inspired by Lego toys, Legoland is home to both awesome attractions and impressive Lego art. Kids will have a blast riding the kid-friendly rides, experiencing the interactive exhibits in the Imagination Zone, and playing with the tubs of Legos that are found around every corner of the park. Legoland is also home to a water park, which is a great way to stay cool during a hot Carlsbad day.
Disney California Adventure Park, Anaheim
Disney fans have not one but two Disney-themed parks to explore in Anaheim. In addition to Disneyland, Disney California Adventure Park is another Disney park that should be added to the bucket list. Found next to Disneyland, Adventure Park is a sister park to Disneyland that focuses on Disney’s most popular films. Explore the world of your favorite Pixar and Disney characters from The Little Mermaid to Toy Story to Cars.
Universal Studios Hollywood, Los Angeles
Universal Studios Hollywood is one of the top attractions in Los Angeles, perfect for movie buffs. Many people flock here for the roller coasters, but studio tours are also a popular attraction here too, as this California amusement park is also a working studio. Enjoy a glass of butterbeer in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter or have a thrilling experience on the Transformers 3-D ride. When you aren’t on the rides at Universal Studios Hollywood, viewing the actual sets and props from popular movies is another way to experience this unique amusement park in California.
Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, Vallejo
Another Six Flags amusement park to make this list is Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, California. Discovery Kingdom isn’t just an amusement park full of rides and roller coasters; it’s also a zoo and aquarium too. The Dare Devil Coaster should be on your “must-ride” list. However, after enjoying Discovery Kingdom’s thrilling rides, you should also visit other aspects of the park, including the wildlife attractions such as Seal Cove and the butterfly habitat.
California's Great America, Santa Clara
If you’re in the Bay Area, then you must visit California’s Great America amusement park. This amusement park is home to over 50 attractions, including the popular wooden roller coaster known as the Gold Striker. Unlike other amusement parks on this list, the water park next to California’s Great America is included in admission. So guests can enjoy Boomerang Bay waterpark along with all the fun things to do at Great America – all for one price.