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The 10 Best Amusement Parks in the U.S. for Thrill-Seekers

From epic roller coasters to fun rides for the whole family, these amusement parks are full of adventure.

There's nothing like the anticipation of going up the lift hill on a roller coaster knowing that, in just a few seconds, you'll be zooming down the track at high speeds.

Thrill-seekers around the U.S. are constantly looking for the next big thing to give them that rush of excitement and adrenaline. And for those who prefer staying firmly placed on solid ground, amusement parks, in general, can offer so many attractions to keep you and your family occupied for a full day of fun.

If you're looking for an amusement park that packs in the thrills and frills all in one place, then keep reading. Here are the 10 best amusement parks in America for thrill-seekers and fun chasers. And next, don't miss The 10 Best All-Inclusive Resorts in the U.S. for a Stress-Free Getaway.

EPCOT, Orlando, Florida

EPCOT Center Entrance Gate
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While you may be thinking Walt Disney World has rides that are calmer, those who venture into EPCOT know that this is the park with the most intense thrills at any of the four Disney parks in Orlando.

The newest ride, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, starts with a reverse launch before twisting and turning around the track to help the ragtag clan of Guardians save the universe.

Another thrill is Mission: Space, which simulates the feeling of being launched into outer space with an intense G-Force of 2.5 Gs.

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Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Dollywood Entrance in Tennessee
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Dolly Parton's Dollywood amusement park is dually known for its delicious cinnamon bread and its thrilling attractions.

Take a ride on Barnstormer, a swinging arm thrill ride that reaches speeds of 45 miles per hour, rotates up to 230 degrees and goes 81 feet in the air.

For a different type of thrill, hop in line for Mystery Mine, which takes you through an abandoned coal mine with a 95-degree, 85-foot long vertical drop into complete darkness. If that doesn't get your hair standing up on your arms nothing will.

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Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio

Cedar Point in Ohio
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Cedar Point is home to 17 high-speed roller coasters, making this a spot for all-day thrills. For a true high-speed adventure, get in line for Millennium Force. The massive coaster reaches speeds of 93 miles per hour, with a max height of 310 feet, making for a truly unique ride.

For a slightly tamer ride, consider Valravn, which is the longest and fastest dive coaster in the country. It reaches a top speed of 75 miles per hour and reaches 223 feet high.

Carowinds, Charlotte, North Carolina

Carowinds in North Carolina
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Thrills come in a variety of ways on the coasters at Carowinds. Strap in tight on Carolina Cyclone because the ride features two vertical loops and two barrel rolls. Even though the ride is short at just one minute long, the intensity of the ride is worth the wait.

On Copperhead Strike, you'll feel the rush of the Carolina's first double-launch coaster with speeds that reach up to 50 miles per hour in just two seconds. With five inversions and plenty of twists and turns, the coaster is sure to have you grinning from ear to ear when you get off.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Tampa, Florida

Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay Florida
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Orlando doesn't get all of the thrills in Florida because Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is home to some of the fastest roller coasters in the state. One of the newest at the park is Iron Gwazi, a hybrid wood and steel coaster. Reaching top speeds of 76 miles per hour and with three inversions, this should be your first stop while at the park.

For another thrilling experience, get on SheiKra, which has a 90-degree, 200-foot drop straight down from the sky.

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Hershey Park, Hershey, Pennsylvania

Hershey Park in Pennsylvania
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Celebrating everything chocolate and candy, Hershey Park is a fun weekend trip with plenty of thrills. Let your feet dangle on Great Bear, which features drops, lifts, and corkscrews with a speed of up to 61 miles per hour.

One of the newest rides is Jolly Rancher Remix, where you'll have a different experience each time with a unique mix of music and lights, as you race over six inversions at 47 miles per hour.

Universal's Islands of Adventure, Orlando, Florida

Universal's Islands of Adventure in Florida
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The absolute thrill in Orlando is Universal's Islands of Adventure. Here, wizards and witches can see unicorns and other magical creatures whizzing by on Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. The high-speed ride takes you around the Forbidden Forest before returning you to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Dinosaur lovers will want to get on Jurassic World VelociCoaster, which reaches speeds over 70 miles per hour as you race alongside the iconic velociraptor. With a barrel roll just inches over the lagoon in the middle of the park, this ride is not for the faint of heart.

SeaWorld Orlando, Orlando, Florida

Sea World in Orlando
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Thrill-seekers who also love animals will want to visit SeaWorld Orlando to get their fill of both. Be sure to ride the newest roller coaster at the park, Ice Breaker, which features four launches, and a jaw-dropping 100 degree beyond vertical drop down over 90 feet.

If that's not enough of a thrill, get in line for Manta. The giant ray-themed coaster is incredibly smooth, so you may forget it's a thrill ride, but when the face-down inverted nosedive hits, you'll definitely remember.

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Kings Dominion, Doswell, Virginia

Doswell Virginia
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Kings Dominion is known for its fast roller coasters that range from wooden marvels to ones with a lot of loops. Those who want a bit of nostalgia should get on Twisted Timbers, which is a hybrid coaster made of steel and wood. The big thrill on this ride is the 109-foot-tall barrel roll drop.

Then, there's Anaconda, which is unique because it takes riders through an underwater tunnel, then right after shoots them up a 360-degree vertical loop.

Silver Dollar City, Branson, Missouri

Branson Missouri
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Silver Dollar City is a fun amusement park that has something for everyone in the family and thrill-seekers will find that the rides will more than satisfy their need for speed.

On Outlaw Run, riders will hop aboard the world's first wooden roller coaster that has a double barrel roll. The ride reaches a top speed of 68 miles per hour, adding to the thrill level. Another exciting ride is Time Traveler, which is a spinning coaster that has three inversions and two launches, making it one of the most exciting at the park.

Megan DuBois
Megan duBois is a travel journalist with years of experience covering everything from Disney Parks and cruises to group travel and food destinations. Read more
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