Few things are as exhilarating as the loop-the-loops of a rollicking roller coaster or a splashy plunge down a sky-high water slide. Sure, New York City has Coney Island and a handful of rides at other parks, but if you subscribe to the bigger-is-better mentality when it comes to theme parks, you're going to have to get out of town to find the best chills and thrills.
Here we've rundown our top five amusement parks within driving distance of the city. Buckle up!
1 Six Flags Blvd., Jackson, New Jersey (60 miles from Midtown)
Six Flags sets the standard for great roller coasters, and this Jackson, New Jersey location is no exception. Coasters here range from the massive Green Lantern which flies 63 miles per hour over more than 4,155 feet of track to the Kingda Ka, billed as the world's tallest coaster. The Great Adventure park includes tons of kid-friendly rides and family entertainment too, while over at Six Flags Safari, you can board open-air trucks for a tour of the 350-acre animal park featuring more than 1,200 animals. It truly is two great attractions in one.
144 Berlin Road, Clementon, New Jersey (97 miles from Midtown)
Can't decide between thrill rides and water slides? Then head directly to Clemonton Park & Splashworld, which features 19 pulse-quickening rides plus a full-scale water park. The wooden Hellcat roller coaster and 10-story tall ThunderDrop are sure to excite, while epic water slides like the fully-enclosed Viper and the 60-foot tall Torpedo Rush provide splashy fun. Multiple kids' rides and attractions, like the 23,000-square Wave Bay wave pool, make this family-friendly destination worth the drive.
100 Sesame Rd., Langhorne, Pennsylvania (70 miles from Midtown)
Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Place? Yes, we can! It's just 70 miles from Midtown Manhattan, over the New Jersey border, in Pennsylvania. Here, you'll find an amazing array of Sesame Street-themed rides and attractions for the whole family. There are kid-friendly coasters and play areas, a water park with slides and a 10,000-square-foot wave pool, plus plenty of live shows and parades featuring your favorite Sesame Street characters. Sweep the clouds away and head to where the air is sweet, at Sesame Place.
100 W. Herseypark Dr., Hershey, Pennsylvania (165 miles from Midtown)
What can one expect at an amusement park with a chocolate theme? A lot of rides and a lot of chocolate! Built in 1907 by Milton S. Hershey, the park's earliest attractions included a baseball field, carousel, miniature railroad and bumper cars. Completely redeveloped in the 1970s, today, Hersheypark is a 121-acre wonderland including tons of coasters and kids' rides, an 11-acre zoo, a butterfly garden, and, of course, Hershey's Chocolate World and The Hershey Store. It's delicious fun!
186 Enterprise Dr., Bristol, Connecticut (102 miles from Midtown)
At 170 years old, Lake Compounce bills itself as the oldest, continuously-operating amusement park in North America. In its bucolic lakeside setting you'll find tons of rides, amusements and entertainment for folks of all ages. The 150-foot-tall Phobia Phear Coaster and the 125-foot Zoomerang will get pulses racing while classic kids' rides like Flying Elephants and bumper cards amuse the little ones. Next door, Crocodile Cove features a wave pool, floating river and tons of water slides.