Sometimes inspiration comes from the weirdest place. We're always trying to find a way to get more of "Team Park Journey" involved in things so you know who they all are, because we do have the best damn team ever. But sometimes with all of the goings on in the Theme Park World it's hard to.
Then we get a random PM and decide to try something new. And that's just what's happened here. We hope you enjoy our new segment "Ask Team Park Journey".
Written by Team Park Journey
A couple of weeks ago we got this PM on our Facebook page from fan of the site Matthew, so we decided to throw the question out to the team and then it just grew from there into what will hopefully become a new site segment. The question is:
Hello I was wondering if you could recommend the best theme parks in the USA excluding Southern California, Orlando, and Six Flags Over Texas. Just trying to make a bucket list. Thanks.
We're assuming Matthew has been to SFOT which is why it's included, but that doesn't mean we don't DEFINITELY have a list of Bucket List parks that every enthusiast should probably have on their list of "must visits".
First on our list is Pennsylvania. Yes, the entire state of Pennsylvania. Because the parks in PA are just THAT good and it was pretty impossible for Andrew to pick just one. From Hersheypark to Knoebels, Kennywood and Waldameer, and everything else in between. If these parks were in a year-round state like CA or FL they would be among the best parks in those states. But lets face it, if they were year-round parks it would take away some of what makes these parks so special.
Next up we're going to head south a bit and to RD and Randy's favorite vacation spot, Dollywood. I don't think we've ever hidden our love for this park, and why would we. From world class coasters, amazing food and the friendliest staff ever you really can't go wrong. Oh, and of course, Dolly. Be sure to visit on opening weekend when she opens the park herself.
From Dollywood we're going to head just a bit west and visit Holiday World in Indiana. Stephen being Stephen listed off a whole bunch of parks (not even in the US) but this one totally stood out as needing to be included in our list. If there is any park that can rival Dolly's park for most awesome staff and southern hospitality it's Holiday World. Home to three of the best wooden coasters on the planet they took the country by storm a few years ago with the first launched B&M Wing-Rider which isn't to be missed.
We'd be remiss if we failed to include the two amazing Busch Gardens parks located in Williamsburg and Tampa Bay. Sure, Tampa Bay is "Orlando adjacent" but even our Orlando resident Renée thinks it's far enough away and is amazing enough where we have no issues including it on any list of bucket-list parks.
The Williamsburg park on the other hand is charming and beautiful but that doesn't mean they don't have some of the best coasters on the planet in Apollo's Chariot, Verbolten, Loch Ness Monster, Alpengeist and of course the all new InvadR. I think this is the one park everybody on the team has visited and there was an overall consensus that this needed to be here.
Just down the road from Busch Gardens Williamsburg is the park which has arguably the #1 coaster in the US, Kings Dominion. But don't let Intimidator 305 fool you into thinking this is all about extreme thrills, they have one of the only Bobsled coasters in the US and if rumors are to believed, a kick-ass RMC coming for 2018.
We also have to include one of the other crown jewels in the Cedar Fair chain just a bit to the south in the Carolina's. Carowinds has made a name for itself over the past decade with some amazing thrilling coasters but they haven't forgotten about making an awesome well-rounded park with this years County Fair area.
Speaking of chain parks, we of course have to include a few of our favorite Six Flags parks in Georgia (RD and Randy's home park), San Antonio, St Louis, Chicago (JoAnna's home park) and Vallejo (Stephen and Andrews home park). These are some of the most well-rounded parks in the entire Six Flags chain with amazing thrills, great shows and family rides. Each of these parks has managed to keep their identity while definitely having the thrills worthy of the Six Flags name.
What would any "Bucket List" be without adding in some parks that you probably wouldn't think of, and two of those parks are Adventureland in Iowa and Glenwood Caverns in Colorado. You may have never even heard of these parks, but they are so worth going out of your way a few hours or in the case of Gregg's road-trip in 2014, many hours.
Adventureland is a great traditional park with a great line-up of coasters, flat rides and some rides you might not even expect. Glenwood Caverns on the other hand uses it's natural terrain better than any other park we've been to and is not to be missed.
No list of this kind would be complete without an amazing traditional boardwalk park and Matt blew it out of the water with the inclusion of Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Classic Woodie. Check. Haunted Dark Ride. Check. Amazing Flat Rides. Check. The beach. Check, check, and check.
Lastly, we're going to end this list with one of the parks that all coaster enthusiasts should visit at least once, and that's Lagoon in Farmington, UT. It's definitely an enthusiasts paradise as we saw with Andrew's trip report there last year with some amazing classic coasters and modern thrills all mixed into one amazing park.
So that's our Bucket List parks in the US. Sure, there are a LOT of parks out there, and some we left out, but for us, these are the parks that we love to visit or hope to visit someday. Visiting a park for us isn't always about the latest and greatest thrill, but more than anything, enjoying our hobby with family and friends. The least amount of stress the better, and I think one common thread you'll see for most of the parks on our list are an amazing staff, good food and spots where you can just chill out and relax.
Be sure to check out all of our related trip reports to many of these parks below.
So what parks are on your bucket list? Be sure to share them below.
And if you have an "Ask Team Park Journey" question feel free to send us a message on Facebook or Twitter, use our "Contact Us" form or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We'd love to hear from you for future articles.