Theme parks in California are among the most popular attractions in the state. People come from all over the world to visit the Disneyland theme park, Universal Studios CA, or Sea World San Diego.
But California theme parks run the gamut from the world-famous to small family-run affairs. Some appeal to thrill seekers, teens, families with young children, and animal lovers. Others appeal to anyone with a sense of fun. This page lists only the briefest of descriptions. Click on the links for each region to get more details.
Theme parks can be expensive, so be sure to check the official web site for special deals and discounts. You can often get cheap theme park tickets by purchasing tickets online. Some parks also offer special passes that allow you to avoid waiting in long lines.
My picks for best theme parks in California? Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood, and Sea World San Diego. How could you go wrong?
The parks listed are either in coastal counties, or an easy drive from the coast. The best ones are located in these areas, because that's where the great weather is. Listings are ordered from north to south. Be sure to check out the handy map on this page for locations.
Trees of Mystery: An unusual combination of redwood groves, Paul Bunyan, and Native American artifacts.
Sonoma Traintown: Ride the narrow-gauge railway and other rides at this family-friendly park.
Six Flags Discovery Kingdom: A combination of rides, wild animals and marine animals, and shows.
California's Great America: Plenty of thrill rides, Nickelodean characters, and a water park.
Gilroy Gardens: Rides, gardens and some very unusual trees make this a unique family experience.
Six Flags Magic Mountain: Best known for its thrill rides, but there are also attractions for younger kids.
Universal Studios Hollywood: A showbiz extravaganza, with rides, entertainment and studio tours.
Disneyland Resort: The iconic theme park experience, Disneyland theme park and Disney's California Adventure.
Knott's Berry Farm: Roller coasters, rides, music and entertainment.
Adventure City: Designed with younger kids in mind. Rides, petting farm, arcade and more.
Boomers: Small amusement park with bumper cars, go carts, miniature golf and similar attractions.
Legoland California: Lots of elaborate Lego models, rides, shows, and attractions.
Sea World San Diego: Marine animals, amazing shows, rides, and restaurants.