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One of summer’s quintessential pleasures is a spending a sunny day testing the senses at an amusement park. Young or old, with friends or with family, there is something for everyone—from stuffing yourself with tasty treats and shopping for souvenirs to carnival games and first-rate entertainment. But of course the main draw is always the thrill of the fast and furious, shriek-inducing, heart-stopping roller coasters and other adrenaline-fueled amusements. Here are some of our favorite parks to visit this season.

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Lake Compunce | Flickr CC: mikkime

Lake Compunce in Bristol, Connecticut

The oldest amusement park in the country, opened in 1846, celebrates its 171st season this summer. Amusements aside, the number one reason to visit is the scenic beauty. What began as a picnic park at the base of a mountain, situated next to a scenic lake, slowly evolved over the years to include amusements, some of which remain today, including the Boulder Dash Mountain Coaster, which attracts coaster enthusiasts from all over the world. Newer attractions range from mild to wild. In addition to all the nearby hotel options, the Bear Creek Campground gives guests a chance to stay overnight close to the park and further enjoy the wooded beauty, offering discounted park passes during the day and a convenient tram to and from the park. When on site, don’t miss the Phobia Phear Coaster, a triple-launch coaster reaching speeds up to 65 mph.

Hersheypark | Flickr CC: Michael Gray

Hersheypark in Hershey, Pennsylvania

What could be sweeter than enjoying all-American chocolate confections while taking in a 121-acre theme park with more than 70 rides and attractions? Hersheypark was opened in 1907 by Milton S. Hershey as a picnic and pleasure grounds for his factory employees. Over the years, the park grew to include 13 coasters and more than 20 kids’ rides. Enjoy versions of the chocolate that started it all by visiting places like Simply Chocolate, Founder’s Way Funnel Cake and the S’mores Cart. Hersheypark Place desserts, such as the signature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Pie, are a park favorite. The park’s newest attraction, Hershey Triple Tower, which has tower drops from different heights and at varying speeds, may best be enjoyed after first digesting any sweet treats.

Kings Dominion | Flickr CC: David Blaikie

Kings Dominion in Doswell, Virginia

Charlie Brown fans won’t want to miss the world’s largest Peanuts-themed area, Planet Snoopy, located within this theme park. In 2017, Planet Snoopy added three new exciting children’s rides—PEANUTS 500, Kite Eating Tree and Sally’s Seaplane, for a total of 20 rides in the themed area. Since opening in 1975, Kings Dominion has grown to include more than 400 acres in two parks, featuring 60-plus rides and attractions. The park features six brand new live shows and is now equipped with free Wi-Fi, and a mobile app showing ride wait times and a park map.

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Dollywood | Flickr CC: matthew macpherson

Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Open since 1986, entertainment reigns supreme at Dollywood, as you would expect at an amusement park created by one of country music’s greats, Dolly Parton. Situated on 150 acres in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, Dollywood offers more than 40 rides and attractions, as well as a live showcase of country, bluegrass, southern gospel, classic rock ‘n’ roll and Appalachian music. This summer the park welcomed two new children’s stories at The Little Engine Playhouse—Coat of Many Colors, based on Parton’s newest children’s book, and Pretend by Jennifer Plecas. Drop Line, a new ride that debuted this season, treats riders to a 230-foot free-fall experience, affording them an expansive, bird’s eye view of the mountains on a leisurely ascent before a thrilling drop back to the ground.

Cedar Point | Flickr CC: Jeremy Thompson

Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio

It’s all about roller coasters at the second oldest amusement park in North America. The park’s history dates back to 1870, when the destination on the Cedar Point Peninsula at the shores of Lake Erie first opened as a public bathing beach. From the park’s first roller coaster in 1892 to the 17 roller coasters at the park today, riders have long enjoyed twists, turns and drops, along with more than 150 attractions in the 364-acre park. Don’t miss Valravn, the world’s tallest, fastest and longest dive coaster, with its 90-degree-angled drop and a 270-degree roll. Or, check out Rougarou’s hairpin turns and loops, experienced at an incredible speed. When it’s time for a break from the action, head to the newly opened Cedar Point Shores Water Park. Cool off on a hot day at the 18-acre aquatic playground on one of 17 water attractions.

Photo courtesy of Lagoon Park

Lagoon, Farmington, Utah

Located just 17 miles from Salt Lake City, Lagoon has been privately owned since it first opened in 1886. In addition to rides, entertainment and food, this park takes guests more than 100 years back in time when they visit Pioneer Village, a reconstruction of a typical frontier community containing 42 buildings and typical artifacts of the period. The village boasts one of the finest collections of small arms in the country, and Carriage Hall has almost every type of wheeled conveyance used at the turn of the century. The park added two new attractions to their Kiddieland area (one of the largest in the nation) for 2017—Flying Tigers and Ruka Safari, which can accommodate both children and adults.

Knott’s Berry Farm | Flickr CC: Jeremy Thompson

Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, California

Wholesome food accompanies wholesome fun at an amusement park that developed on land farmed by Walter and Cordelia Knott in 1920. The Knotts are in part responsible for the invention of boysenberries (all of these berries in the world can trace their roots back to the farm) and for the world’s largest chicken dinner restaurant, cooking fried chicken feasts since 1934. Join up to 1,000 diners at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant to sample both park staples after enjoying an array of rides and attractions, including new addition for 20 17 – Sol Spin, rotating riders on one of six spinning arms, up to six stories high. Returning from 2016, and not to be missed, Ghost Town Alive! allows guests to play an interactive role while exploring the park’s Old West Ghost Town.

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