4 Under-the-Radar Amusement Parks

As shocking as it may seem, the United States is home to hundreds of theme parks not owned and operated by Walt, a studio or any one of the Six Flags. Although they may not offer the same magic, characters or Hollywood-tinged excitement of the more popular theme parks, they do offer experiences you won’t find at any chain park (often at a way friendlier price).

Knott’s Berry Farm

With tickets starting at just $46, this berry farm-turned California’s theme park offers dozens of rides and shows in addition to world-famous fried chicken dinners and homemade jam.

Cedar Point

Adrenalin junkies will find a new home in Ohio’s borderline hall-of-fame for roller coasters. Aside from a healthy collection of tame rides, the park features over 20 coasters that have all held accolades or top spots at some point during their lifetime. Their current highest rated coaster is also one of the world’s fastest, reaching 93mph.


Admittedly an oddity in the theme park scene, this Dolly Parton-owned amusement offers 40 rides across 150 acres in Tennessee’s stretch of the Smoky Mountains. With dozens of awards including “the friendliest amusement park,” guests are sure to find something they love.

Hershey Park

Chocolate and thrill rides: a winning combo. With dozens of rides and entertainment venues centered around Hershey’s various world-famous candy brands, guests get the best of both worlds for under $70 per person.