12 Best Amusement Parks in New York State

Everyone is always looking to have fun and there is nothing better than going to an amusement park. Here are the Best Amusement Parks in New York State.

When planning a trip or weekend getaway we always planned a day or two at an amusement park. Your kids will love it and it gives you the opportunity to just have fun and be a kid yourself again.

Some are big parks run by major corporations like Six Flags while others are small family-run businesses. Whatever the case you will have a good time going on all the roller coaster and other thrill rides as well as family and kiddie rides.

Don’t you just love taking a carousel and listening to that music as you go round and round? These are the things that make these parks so much fun.

Here is a list of the best amusement parks in New York State. So get out and have some fun!

People on a roller coaster

Six Flags Darien Lake, Darien Center

Located close to Niagara Falls and Buffalo, Darien Lake has a combination of thrill rides, family rides and a water park that will satisfy all members of your family from young to old.

With a total of 12 thrill rides of which 7 are roller coaster (including one wooden one), it’s the biggest amusement park in New York.

Darien Lake Sky Screamer

It also is the home of the tallest thrill ride in New York. This ride was introduced in 2019. At 242’, the “Sky Screamer” travels at 35 mph swinging in the air (not for the folks afraid of heights).

Darien Lake also has family rides and kid rides as well as entertainment. Shows include an illusion performance, variety show, and even a hypnotist.

Water Park

Be ready to cool off in the water park area with 8 water rides that your family will love. The “Big Kahuna” is a raft ride where you will get soaked. It’s part open, partly closed so get ready to get wet!

Water Slide

There are also water slides, a lazy river, a wave pool, and a kids lagoon.

This park also has a 20,000-seat concert venue offering name performances throughout the season. Check their website for the list of summer concerts.

For my camping friends, Darien Lake State Park is right down the road from the amusement park. They offer 123 campsites with electric hookups, a beach and boat area on the lake and hiking trails.

Six Flags The Great Escape, Queensbury

Located just miles from Lake George, The Great Escape has over 135 rides including thrill and family rides as well as an updated new outdoor water park, Hurricane Harbor.

Prior to being purchased by Six Flags, the Great Escape had a fairytale theme to it. Unlike other Six Flag parks, this theme remains today. The swan boats, story town train, Alice in Wonderland ride are just to name a few.

It’s also home to The Comet, originally built in 1948 and moved to the Great Escape in 1994.

This wooden coaster goes 55 mph and has an 85’ drop. I’ve ridden this coaster many times and boy what a great experience! It is a designed ACE Roller Coaster Landmark.

The park is the home of one of the three free-wheeling coasters remaining today and the only one in the northern US. The Alpine Bobsled still operates today and is a great ride, it’s my daughter’s favorite!

New for 2020, is the Adirondack Outlaw, a thrill ride where you will soar 16 stories high at 50 mph in a 360-degree rotation. If you have the guts to have your eyes opens, you will get to see beautiful views of the area.

Water Park

Hurricane Harbor’s the Bucket Baster is where you spin-in barrels and get to soak friends and family with water guns. Other areas include a pool that features geysers, fountains and water sprays.

When Six Flags purchased the Great Escapes park they build an indoor waterpark resort, The Six Flags Great Escape Lodge, right across the street. It’s a great place (and opened year-round) along with many other hotels, campgrounds, and cabins in the Lake George area.

Lake George Expedition Park, Lake George

Formerly, Magic Forest, the mid-size park is geared towards young children. With 24 kiddie rides in the Magic Forest section of the park, there is plenty to keep you kids busy and entertained.

The new Dino Roar Valley is a ½ mile work though a nature trail where you get to see 16 life-size dinosaurs along the way. Climb in a dinosaur nest, dig for fossils and walk among the tallest dinosaur of all, the Titanosaurus. Your kids will love this!

Huck Finn’s Playland, Albany

It’s a little crazy to think that a furniture company owns an amusement park but after Hoffman Playland closed its door in 2014 a void was left in the Albany area. Residences tried to save the park and Huck Finn’s Warehouse decided to buy it and move all the rides to its current location.

This is a small kiddie amusement park with several rides including a train, carousel, small coaster, and several carnival-style rides.

There is no admission to the park just tickets for the rides that you want to go on. Most of the rides are 1 ticket with 4 larger rides at 2 tickets. It’s a reasonable place to take a family and have some fun for a few hours.

Fantasy Island, Grand Island (Buffalo)

With over 40 rides and attractions, this park is geared more towards families with 10 family rides and 12 kiddie rides.

Although it has 6 thrill rides, they only have one big roller coaster, the Silver Comet, a wooden coaster with speeds up to 50 mph. So if you are looking for thrill and fast rides I would recommend going to Darien Lake Amusement Park about an hour away.

The one thing it has that you don’t see in amusement parks it that you can go canoeing at the Eagles Landing Canoe attraction. Here they have real canoes and you can take a relaxing stroll on a lake.

In addition to the above, they also have a small water park with a wave pool, a lazy river, and several water slides.

Santa’s Workshop, North Pole

This park was one of the first “theme” parks in the United States when it opened its doors in 1949. Of course, it’s a Christmas theme and has a Santa’s Village.

This park is geared towards children under 10. Some of the rides and shows include a reindeer carousel, Christmas train, and Santa Claus Parade. You can even visit the “Frosty North Pole” in the summer.

The village has 11 shops including Santa’s Bake Shop, Santa’s Toy Shop, Candy Shop, Blacksmith Shop, World of Christmas and Reindeer Barn.

I have happy memories of this place as I went here with my parents as a kid and of course, also took my own kids here too!

Bumper cars amusement ride

Seabreeze Amusement Park, Rochester

Seabreeze is one of 13 “trolley” parks still operating in the United States today. Owned by the Long Family since 1879, the first rides (Carousel) arrived in 1900 and the park has grown from there.

Today Seabreeze has over 70 rides and attractions with 4 roller coasters including the famous “Jack Rabbit” with a 75’ drop and many dips, it even has a dark tunnel. It’s the oldest continuously operating roller coaster in America.

In addition to 7 family rides and 7 kiddie rides the park also has a water park. With a wave pool, lazy river, kiddie water fun section, and water slides. The main attraction in the water park is the “Helix”, an ultimate plunge ride you ride around then drop into a dark hole into a  pool.

Adventureland, Farmingdale

I grew up and still live 30 minutes from Adventureland. The park has been around since 1962 and is a medium-sized neighborhood park on Long Island.

Over the years it has grown and today has 6 thrill rides, 3 water rides, 9 family rides, and 10 kid rides.

Unlike most of the other parks on this list, it’s located in a suburban busy area surrounded by stores and businesses. However, if you’re ever in the area and looking for something to do, especially with young kids, it’s worth a visit but I wouldn’t make a special trip to go here.

The Cyclone Roller Coaster
The Cyclone Roller Coaster in Coney Island photo credit to Annie Pratt

Coney Island, Brooklyn

Coney Island has a long history of amusement parks over the last 150 years. Although they had some bad years, today it has been revitalized and has three large parks and many smaller parks making up the Coney Island amusement area.

Some of these parks include the following:

Luna Park

Luna Park reopened in 2010 and is the home of the famous “Cyclone” roller coaster. Since reopening they have restored or built new rides based on the famous rides of yesteryear.

The Parachute Jump was restored in 2013 along with the restoration of the carousel. The original BB carousel which had 50 hand-carved wooden horses and two chariots was totally restored and is now cherished by Luna Park visitors.

Wonder Wheel in Coney Island
image by Cami Talpone

Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park

In 2020, Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park will be celebrating its 100th season in operation. It’s famous for its Ferris wheel which has been continuously operating since the park opened in 1920.

Deno’s has 16 kiddie rides and a total of 5 unique adult rides.

There are also things places to visit while in Coney Island including the famous Coney Island Boardwalk, the Aquarium, Eldorado Bumper Cars & Arcade, Coney Island USA home of the Coney Island Circus, the museum and of course take in a game of the Brooklyn Cyclones, a minor league baseball team.

Oh, and you can’t leave Coney Island without having at least one Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs!

Playland, Rye

I grew up going to this park and have very fond memories of spending time with my cousins here.

It is the only park in the United States that is government-owned (Westchester County) but is run by an amusement company.

This is a medium-sized park that’s on the water and has a boardwalk and pool. They have rides of all types for kids, family and some thrill rides too.

If you are in the area, it’s worth a day trip too. Prices are not crazy in comparison to other parks and your kids will enjoy the fun.

Legoland opening in New York on July 4th, 2020

Legoland themed park will be opening this July in Goshen, NY in the Hudson Valley area.

This kid-oriented park will have more than 50 rides and attractions mostly build out of Lego bricks. As a matter of fact, over 15,000 Lego models made from more than 30 million bricks will be displayed throughout the park.

They even have a train and carousel made out of Legos. Check here for more information and events on the grand opening. 

I don’t know about you, but I’m excited to see Legoland coming this year.

Final Thoughts

Although New York amusement parks may have a short season compared to other warmer states we sure do have some great parks to visit.

Come enjoy some of these fun parks and spend a fabulous time with your family and friends at the Best Amusement Parks in New York.

Go have so fun, Kathy xoxo

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6 thoughts on “12 Best Amusement Parks in New York State”

  1. Thanks so much for sharing this content. Knowing your experiences makes it easier for families with children to plan trips to the best amusement parks or even to plan itineraries when staying in New York State. Great post!

    1. Thank you. When my kids were younger every trip we took had a least one amusement park day. We would see other things and did lots of hiking, canoeing and biking but we always included an amusement park for the kids ( and me too, lol)

    1. Haven’t been to Kings Island but I have been to Cedar Point, absolutely love all the coasters there, It’s the roller coaster capital of the world. I’m working on a post over the best amusement parks in all the states and Cedar Point is the best in my book in Ohio!

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