There's no shortage of theme parks in the state where they all began when Disneyland opened in 1955.
Southern California Theme Parks
You'll find many southern California theme parks open year-round.
Los Angeles and Orange County Theme Parks
- Disneyland and California Adventure: By far the most popular and Disneyland is the oldest. Best for families and people who like something besides a fast roller coaster.
- Knotts Berry Farm: Fast, faster and fastest roller coasters, Wild West theme. They also have a fun Halloween event called Knotts Scary Farm.
- Santa Monica Pier: More of an amusement park, it has a few rides, including a famous carousel. Fun, seaside ambiance.
- Six Flags Magic Mountain: North of the metro area, popular with older teens and twenty-somethings who don't mind waiting for its thrill rides.
- Universal Studios Hollywood: Part movie studio tour and part movie-inspired theme park, Universal has the area's goriest Halloween event.
San Diego Theme Parks
- Legoland: Especially good for the younger set, who will find some rides with a MAXIMUM age limit and adults will enjoy the Lego-themed creations everywhere.
- Sea World: Ocean creatures and shows. We always have more fun than we think we will.
- Belmont Park: San Diego's oceanside amusement park
San Francisco and Northern California Theme Parks
Most the northern California theme parks all close for the winter, but may be open weekends and holidays.
- Gilroy Gardens, Gilroy: Botanical theme is pretty and this smaller-scale park is perfect for smaller children and multi-generation family outings.
- Paramount's Great America, Santa Clara: The local's favorite for fast rides. There's a water park inside, too.
- Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, Vallejo: It used to be called Marine World and retains some of that theme, with dolphins, sea lions and other critters as well as a good collection of fast rides.
- Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk: An old-fashioned version of a theme park, right on the beach.
Return to the California for Kids Index
to find more fun, family-oriented places to go on your California vacation.