Ten Theme Parks to Visit in New England This Summer
Looking for a way to end the last month of summer with a bang? If kayaking down the Charles or snagging deals down Newbury Street aren’t thrilling-enough activities for you anymore, we don’t blame you. Instead of hitting a crowded beach on a hot day, why not make the most of the rest of your summer by checking out these water and amusement parks instead? They’re all within a few hours’ drive away from the city—just perfect for a day trip.
1. Water Country
If you’re looking for a fun way to cool off, look no further than Water Country. Float down the Adventure River under waterfalls and inside caves, go through white water rafting adventures with a group of friends or family members, and race down slides headfirst with a buddy. With 26 acres of attractions for the whole family, including rides and slides, waves, rivers and pools, and kiddie attractions, there’s no way you’ll be bored (or dry!) this summer.
$38.99 for general admission (48 inches or taller), 2300 Lafayette Rd., Portsmouth, NH, watercountry.com.
2. CoCo Key Water Park
If you’ve got the urge to swim or cool off even on those dark and rainy summer days, CoCo is for you. This 65,000-square-foot, brightly colored indoor park is open year-round, so if you don’t get a chance to swing by this summer, don’t worry. CoCo also makes for a great place to have a stay-cation, with water park packages guests can purchase if they choose to stay at the DoubleTree Hilton, and towels provided to overnight guests. CoCo’s arcade, dip-in theater, and water basketball also serve as great alternatives to water slides at this park.
$45 for a full-day pass (kids more than 48 inches tall and swimming adults), 50 Ferncroft Rd., Danvers, MA, cocokeyboston.com.
3. Water Wizz
Water Wizz has slides like the Squid Row that let you shoot down sharp twists and turns without knowing where you’ll go next, and Devil’s Peak, featuring two freefall, 61-foot-tall water slides for the boldest riders who aren’t afraid of heights. Those less inclined toward heart-pounding thrills can head over to Harpoon Lagoon, where visitors can try to make their way across the pool by walking on floating lily pads or unwind in the lazy river or wave pool.
$35 (48 inches and over) or $24 after 4 p.m., 3031 Cranberry Highway, East Wareham, MA, waterwizz.com.
4. Six Flags New England
Daring rollercoaster lovers know that Six Flags is the place to be this summer. From blood-pumping coasters to family-friendly and more mellow rides for kids, Six Flags has plenty to take advantage of. Zoom down Scream, a freefall drop more than 200 feet high, or hang on to your seats on the brand new Wicked Cyclone coaster, a hybrid integrating steel and wood, which reaches 55 miles per hour and takes riders up to 10 stories high in the air before plummeting down a 78-degree vertical drop. Looking for less intense, but just-as-entertaining options? Smash into friends on the bumper cars, relax and drift your way down a scenic lazy river in the summer heat, or meet your favorite Looney Tunes and Scooby-Doo characters.
$46.99 for discount online ticket purchased at least one day in advance, $61.99 for general admission; 1623 Main St., Agawam, MA, sixflags.com/newengland.
5. Canobie Lake Park
Canobie has much more to offer than just corkscrew and wooden rollercoasters. Arcade games, live entertainment (with musical tributes to superstars like Michael Jackson and One Direction), and four water rides (including and a “Boston Tea Party” water ride that allows guests to experience what it was like to be a tea bag during the famous historical event) make a visit to this park a unique and diverse experience. Though it only has two coasters, Canobie boasts a wide range of thrill rides for the average adrenaline seeker, including Xtreme Frisbee, which spins riders while swinging in a pendulum motion up to 60 feet high in the air.
$36 for general admission (48 inches or taller), 85 N. Policy St., Salem, NH, canobie.com.
6. Lake Compounce
Boomerang coasters with drops of more than 100 feet, rickety wooden rollercoasters, and plenty of thrill rides to whirl around in make this Connecticut theme park—the oldest in America—another exciting place to check out this summer. Head to water slide “Lights Out” to slip and slide your way through the dark, or go on a raft adventure with some friends down Mammoth Falls. New to the park this year is Dino Expedition, an attraction where guests can interact with more than a dozen lifelike, animatronic dinosaurs while learning more about the prehistoric giants. And on weekend nights, a stunning laser show will light up the night sky. With a combination of thrilling and dizzying coasters and water rides, Lake Compounce is the perfect place to get your heart racing or cool off from the summer sun.
$40.99 for general admission (52 inches or taller), 186 Enterprise Drive, Bristol, CT, lakecompounce.com.
7. Quassy Amusement Park
Although it’s a farther drive away, the trip to Quassy is well worth it—and easily the cheapest on the list. For just $26.50 you can spend a day riding its coasters and getting drenched at Splash Away Bay Water Park. Quassy’s new thrill ride, “FRANTIC,” is perfect for adrenaline junkies and will have you spinning and catapulting 360 degrees through the air. Cabana and beach rentals also give Splash Away Bay water park ticket holders a little more privacy and room to relax, with food and beverage service, provided water bottles, and exclusive use of the area.
$26.50 for All-Day Ride & Splash Away Bay Pass (45 inches or taller), 2132 Middlebury Rd., Middlebury, CT, quassy.com.
8. Funtown Splashtown USA
Take your pick between Funtown Ride Park and Splashtown Water Park—or buy a combined ticket for $36. Adults can take a spin on Funtown’s “adult bumper cars” on the water and bump and collide with each other on steerable rubber boats. Funtown is also home to Excalibur, the tallest and largest wooden roller coaster in Maine, and Thunderbolt, a thrill ride that lets you jam to pop music while you ride and even request songs from your iPhone or iPod. At Splashtown, drop down water slides alone or with a friend and get drenched in bucketfuls of water.
$36 for Combination (Rides and Water Park) one-day ticket (48 inches or taller), $29 for Funtown USA Ride Park one-day ticket (48 inches or taller), $25 for Splashtown USA Water Park one-day ticket (48 inches or taller); US Route 1, 774 Portland Rd., Seco, ME, funtownusa.com.
GREAT FOR KIDS
9. Edaville USA
Keep the little ones busy at Edaville, especially those looking for a thrill-seeking adventure. Fly high into the sky on jumbo elephants, get a great view of the park from the top of the ferris wheel, or stay low to the ground on the Spinning Lady Bug Coaster. Though it’s only open on weekends until August 15, when its new Thomas Land area opens (inspired by the beloved PBS show), Edaville is great for a weekend trip or an eventful Saturday afternoon.
$23 for general admission through August 8, $29 for general admission from August 15, $50 for two-day admission; 5 Pine St., Carver, MA, edaville.com
10. Palace Playland
Palace Playland is the only beachfront theme park in New England, with 25 rides and attractions to enjoy and an enormous arcade featuring more than 200 games. Ride to the top of the Electra Wheel, Playland’s gondola ferris wheel, and catch breathtaking views of the beach and park, and then take advantage of classic carnival foods and munch on fried foods, burgers, ice cream, and candy when you get back down. To top it all off, every Thursday night, watch a spectacular fireworks display at 9:45 p.m. before heading back home.
$32 for unlimited pass, 1 Old Orchard St., Old Orchard Beach, ME, palaceplayland.com.