The 10 Best Water & Amusement Parks in California, United States

August 2, 2021 Renato Branum

California is a fertile, peaceful place where you’ll find a near-equal balance of vineyards and deserts, beaches and mountains, hippies and traditionalists. Catch an epic wave in Big Sur or swirl a glass in Napa Valley. Be dazzled by the Joshua Tree night sky or just star-gaze in Hollywood. Swish down the slopes of a Tahoe ski resort, or cruise across the Golden Gate Bridge with the top down and the music blasting. Above all, don’t forget to soak up some Golden State sunshine.

1. HangTime

8039 Beach Blvd, Buena Park, CA 90620-3200 +1 714-220-5200 https://www.knotts.com/
Excellent
95%
Good
5%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5.0 based on 20 reviews

HangTime

Reviewed By marcoallain006

Gird your loins because this thing dangles you over the main drop. Oh and with only a lap restraint!

2. Disneyland Park

1313 Disneyland Dr, Anaheim, CA 92802 +1 714-781-4636 https://disneyland.disney.go.com/
Excellent
64%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
4%
Terrible
3%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 27,350 reviews

Disneyland Park

Welcome to the place where imagination is the destination. For young and old, big and small — it's the happiest place on earth! Come build memories with your family that last a lifetime as you discover the wonder of this magical, fantastical world. When you enter the lands that comprise Disneyland Park, stories come to life around you, immersing you in tales from some of your favorite Disney films.

Reviewed By silvia_martins - Katy, United States

We had a wonderful time there! It was not supposed to be crowded, according to crowd calendars, but I did think it was quite busy and some lines were long, which makes it difficult with two very young kids. It is natural to compare with Orlando and the possibility of getting Fastpass for almost everything (which does not happen at Disneyland!), so in that sense we could not go to all the rides we wanted to as it would be too tiring for the kids, but we definitely enjoyed it a lot and we were able to go to many. Since a lot of the rides do not have a minimum height limit, we really enjoyed a lot of options! We really enjoyed Buzz Lightyear (it is definitely one of our favorite ones - we got to go twice on the same day!) and the classicals like Small worls, Dumbo, Storybook Canal, Finding Nemo, Space Mountain (single rider line was really helpful as only my husband and I could go and we needed to go separately!) Highlight for the kids was Toontown!!! They loved every bit of it and had major fun to greeting the characters (including Goofy and Pluto that were just walking around!!!!)

3. Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park

3050 Hecker Pass Rd, Gilroy, CA 95020-9411 +1 408-840-7100 [email protected] http://www.gilroygardens.org
Excellent
55%
Good
32%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
3%
Terrible
3%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 448 reviews

Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park

An extraordinary combination of nature preserve and theme park that comprises more than 75 acres of trees, plants, water and rocks combined with rides, picnic grounds, miniature golf and spectacular gardens.

Reviewed By ccrconinc - Concord, United States

Late October and early Nov is the perfect time and place to spend a beautiful fall day with the kid( s ) or just wanted to be a kid yourself amazing trees scape ride for the kids Time for bonding !!!

4. Universal Studios Hollywood

100 Universal City Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 91608-1002 +1 800-864-8377 http://www.universalstudioshollywood.com/
Excellent
61%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 36,488 reviews

Universal Studios Hollywood

Get ready for the ultimate Hollywood experience! Find a full day of action-packed entertainment all in one place: thrilling theme park rides and shows, a real working movie studio, and Los Angeles’ best shops, restaurants and cinemas at CityWalk. Universal Studios Hollywood is a unique experience that’s fun for the whole family. Explore Universal Studios backlot on the legendary Studio Tour. Then face the action head on in heart-pounding rides, shows and attractions that put you inside some of the world’s biggest movies. End your day with the energy and excitement of Universal CityWalk. All this and much more. Only at Universal Studios Hollywood, The Entertainment Capital of L.A.

Reviewed By Jazzyjeff041 - Clacton-on-Sea, United Kingdom

We visited and stayed at Disneyland Anaheim at the Clarion, we used a private transport company from our hotel to Universal which costed us at the time $120 each way (the company was Newman’s and the driver friendly and the vehicle immaculate) well worth the money if you want to travel in style and stress free. We could not fault Universal in anyway, we only had one day at universal due to the traveling distance so we upgraded to the one free fastpass entrance to every ride, this is a must to get everything done in a day which we done comfortably, amazing park, amazing atmosphere, Harry Potter world is a magical place, and the tram tour takes you around the real Universal film production areas and sets from past movies like psycho, war of the worlds etc. Highly recommended.

5. Children's Fairyland

699 Bellevue Avenue, Oakland, CA 94610-5055 +1 510-452-2259 http://fairyland.org/
Excellent
50%
Good
39%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
3%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 241 reviews

Children's Fairyland

Children's Fairyland is a magical mid-century park where young children can create, imagine, play, and learn all day long, located on the shores of Lake Merritt in Oakland, California.

Reviewed By 623ramim - Benicia, United States

I remember bringing my children to Fairyland so it was a particular joy getting to experience it again with my granddaughter. She loved getting to experience her favorite nursery rhymes and fairytales come to life. I can still hear her giggles as we watched the puppet show. The staff were a pleasant addition, offering smiles and assistance as we rode the train and carousel. After 50 years Fairyland is still a magical place for young and old alike.

6. Disney California Adventure Park

1313 Disneyland Drive, Anaheim, CA 92803-3232 +1 714-284-6391 http://disneyland.disney.go.com/destinations/disney-california-adventure/?CMP=OKC-dlr_TA_173
Excellent
67%
Good
22%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
2%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 15,496 reviews

Disney California Adventure Park

Experience the thrill of the an old wooden rollercoaster, but with modern twists, turns and technology, at "California Screamin." Or enjoy a live performance by your favorite characters at Disney's newest theme park, featuring a slew of exciting rides and family entertainment.

Reviewed By vicky255068 - Brisbane, Australia

So much to see and do , Cars Land is amazing and the cars ride is epic ???? world of color show is stunning , I did the dessert party , best seat in the house and scrummy food ???? plenty to do for young and old ????

7. Downtown Disney District

Disneyland Dr at Katella Ave, Anaheim, CA 92804 +1 714-781-4565 https://disneyland.disney.go.com/experience-updates/downtown-disney/
Excellent
50%
Good
34%
Satisfactory
13%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 8,768 reviews

Downtown Disney District

Make way for more magic with unique eateries, upscale shops and exciting entertainment for Guests of all ages at Disneyland Resort's Downtown Disney District! Check out Disney fan favorite shops like World of Disney, Disneyland Resort Backlot Premiere Shop, & Disney Home; and unique restaurants like Black Tap Craft Burgers & Shakes & Salt & Straw. For the most up to date health and safety measures and top things to know, go to: https: //disneyland.disney.go.com / experience-updates / downtown-disney / Check out Disney fan favorite shops like World of Disney, Disneyland Resort Backlot Premiere Shop, & Disney Home; and unique restaurants like Black Tap Craft Burgers & Shakes & Salt & Straw. For the most up to date health and safety measures and top things to know, go to: https://disneyland.disney.go.com/experience-updates/downtown-disney/

Reviewed By CMelam - Bend, United States

In addition to the two Disney parks, there's also Downtown Disney which is a must see when in Anaheim. We always have a great time walking around Downtown, shopping, having a great meal, and just hanging out. There are plenty of restaurants, great shopping opportunities if you've forgotten to buy your keepsakes in the park, and a great place to people watch. You can get many of the sweets that you can find in the park, and the huge Disney store has everything you could want.

8. Adventure City

1238 S Beach Blvd (between Ball and Cerritos), Anaheim, CA 92804-4828 +1 714-236-9300 [email protected] http://www.adventurecity.com
Excellent
51%
Good
39%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
4%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 166 reviews

Adventure City

Adventure City is the little theme park that's big on family fun! Admission for a family of four is less than a ticket to a big park so you can enjoy all of our 17 rides, shows and attractions for one affordable price! Experience thrills on one of our two roller coasters including our newest coaster, Rewind Racers. North America's first forward and reversing family shuttle coaster. Take a ride on the Adventure City Express Train for a scenic trip around the park or get a little loony on the crazy bus. Meet some new animal friends in our petting farm. Enjoy fun, interactive children's shows and so much more! Adventure City, Orange County's premier destination for affordable family fun!

Reviewed By elizabethlascheid - Marina del Rey, United States

Adventure City is just the best little theme park in Southern California. The people that work there are so kind and helpful. The place is spotless and I don't know how they do that with all the kids. There are plenty of bathrooms, and all are super clean. There is not a ton of food there so maybe eat before. We have been before. This time we went to their Halloween event. They were open for most of October at night and on a week night--they are usually not open late on weeknights. It was wonderful. It was a great price. You just go to their website and buy on line. The staff is dressed up and they have trick or treating for the kids. All the rides are dressed up for the holiday and the whole experience is just the best. Adventure City is not something for adults without kids. Most of the rides are for 13 and under, but anyone can go on them. They do have a big coaster which is the best. You will love this place. Have the best time.

9. Drop Zone Waterpark

2165 Trumble Rd, Menifee, CA 92585 +1 951-210-1600 http://www.dropzonewaterpark.com
Excellent
54%
Good
38%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
4%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 24 reviews

Drop Zone Waterpark

Reviewed By 669marcusl - Perris, United States

Drop zone is in perris not menifee. Menifee gets no parts of drop zone. It's a perris family theme park atraction.

10. Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters

1313 Disneyland Drive in California Adventure Park, in CarsLand, Anaheim, CA 92802 https://www.facebook.com/Disneyland/
Excellent
58%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
11%
Poor
1%
Terrible
3%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 344 reviews

Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters

Reviewed By The_Wrights_Komoks - Comox, Canada

Our first trip to Disneyland (and California Adventure Park) and this was our very first ride!!! Super cute and fun ride to break yourself in with.

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