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Seeking a Thrill: 7 Great Amusement Parks with Nearby Campgrounds

Knotts Berry FarmTheme parks and campgrounds are a perfect pairing for family activities. Imagine spending all day speeding around in rollercoasters, flying down a towering waterslide, or showing the world of Planet Snoopy to your children, then being able to keep the family bonding time going by roasting marshmallows and watching the stars above. Here are just a few suggestions for you to enjoy the theme-park-campground combination.

Knotts Berry Farm, Buena Park, Calif.

Knotts Berry Farm really did start as a berry farm, but is now 160 acres of rollercoasters, water rides and family entertainment. The park has five themed areas including Ghost Town, Fiesta Village, The Boardwalk, Camp Snoopy and Indian Trails. Best of all, it’s less expensive than nearby Disney World. The park’s largest attraction is GhostRider, a wooden roller coaster that takes riders on a thrill ride through a mine.

Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio

Cedar Point, located on a mile-long stretch of beach property on Lake Erie, calls itself the roller coaster capital of the world. It has 17 roller coasters, including Millennium Force, voted best steel roller coaster in the world, and kid-sized coasters. It also includes a waterpark, live entertainment, and a Dinosaurs Alive exhibit, which features more than 50 life-sized animatronic dinosaurs.

Mt. Olympus Water and Theme Park, Wisconsin Dells, Wis.

Mt. Olympus, the world’s largest theme park and water park resort, has four areas including Zeus' Playground, Neptune's Water Kingdom, The Parthenon, and Medusa's Indoor Waterpark. The outdoor park has 44 slides and water rides, five rollercoasters and eight go-kart tracks, plus golfing in the fall and skiing and tubing in the winter. The indoor park has water slides, go-karts and other attractions year-round.

SchlitterbahnSchlitterbahn Waterpark, Kansas City, Mo.

The Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City is home to the brand new, world’s tallest waterslide called Verruckt (German for “crazy”). This 168 ft. 7 in. tower gives riders a thrill of their lives while strapped into a three-person raft. The waterpark also offers a mile-long, interconnected river, water coasters, 13 mini slides, and a beach with private cabanas, heated pool and swim-up refreshment bar.

Hersheypark, Hershey, Pa.

Originally founded as a leisure park for the employees of the Hershey Chocolate Company, Hersheypark now includes roller coasters, water rides, and other family rides from mild to wild. Signs at each ride entrance let you know if a ride is right for you based on your brand (i.e. height). Brands include Jolly rancher (over 60 inches tall), Twizzlers, Hershey’s, Reece’s, Hershey’s Kiss, and Miniatures (kiddie rides).

Busch Gardens in Tampa, FLBusch Gardens, Tampa, Fla.

Busch Gardens is a 19th century African-themed animal theme park and zoo with a tropical landscape and more than 12,000 animals! The park offers thrill rides, live shows, and exclusive park experiences including a Serengeti Safari—a trek across the wild African Plain in an open-air touring vehicle, where you can get up close to exotic animals and feed some by hand.