Best Southern California Amusement Parks: 5 Attractions for Thrill-seekers

From Mickey’s original Magic Kingdom to life-size castles made of blocks, southern California offers amusement parks for all ages. While many vacation in SoCal to have access to beaches, many break from the surf at area attractions. Plus a thrill ride may provide the adrenaline rush needed to refuel the soul. See who made our picks for the best southern California amusement parks.

Best Southern California Amusement Parks for Vacationers

Disneyland, Anaheim

Disneyland is the original home of Mickey Mouse and all his friends. Enjoy plenty of exciting rides and entertainment at two parks: Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park. Meet Disney and Pixar characters, ride coasters, watch fireworks over Cinderella’s castle, tour the haunted mansion and cool off in water features. Disneyland also hosts dance parties, live entertainment and special shows.

Knott’s Berry Farm, Buena Park

Knott’s Berry Farm offers a traditional amusement park with exciting roller coasters, adrenaline-pumping thrills, water rides, kiddie rides and plenty of family activities. Ride the rapids, go upside-down, drive bumper cars and scream with delight on fast roller coasters. Then spend the day at Knott’s Soak City, an on-site water park full of slides, pools and waves.

Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal City

This top among the best southern California amusement parks offers thrilling movie-themed rides and tours of Universal’s movie production complex. Step into the magical world of Harry Potter, take the studio tour and see real-life stunts, and get silly with characters. If lucky, guests may even see celebrities!

SeaWorld, San Diego

This longtime favorite welcome guests of all ages to ride coasters, see shows and get up-close with marine life. Enjoy thrills with the family, then get a seat to learn about dolphins, orcas, sea lions and Polynesian fire dancing. In the summer, kids will love seeing their favorite characters during the Sesame Street Parade. For an additional fee, guests can receive VIP seating for the parade and dine with Elmo and friends.

LegoLand, Carlsbad

Legoland offers rides, a water park, entertainment and hands-on fun catered to families with younger children. Rides range from small coasters and boats to bounces and cars. Kids can even drive their own vehicles at the driving school and build Lego masterpieces. The water park offers places to float, splash and slide. When not playing outside, head to the Sea Life Aquarium. This attraction has over 15 interactive exhibits for families to enjoy.

Prepare to launch! Browse vacation rentals in California and pick your favorite southern California amusement parks.

Main photo: extremis, Pixabay