Top Theme Parks in the
San Francisco Bay Area

Weeeee!!!  Ahhhhh!!!!  Yeehaw!!!

There is nothing like a fast rollercoaster to get the heart pumping! Here is our list of the top Theme Parks in the San Francisco Bay Area and Beyond! This guide is especially useful to help you identify age appropriate theme parks for the young, very young and young at heart! And yes, even ornery teenagers may find our list useful…DUH! 

Here are some of the top theme parks located in Northern California:

  1. Six Flags Discovery Kingdom: Located in Vallejo, this theme park is home to a variety of roller coasters, rides, and animal exhibits.
  2. California’s Great America: Located in Santa Clara, this theme park features a variety of thrill rides, family rides, and water attractions.
  3. Gilroy Gardens: Located in Gilroy, this unique theme park features a variety of horticultural attractions and rides geared towards younger children.
  4. Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk: Located in Santa Cruz, this seaside amusement park features classic boardwalk rides such as the Giant Dipper wooden roller coaster.
  5. Raging Waters Sacramento: Located in Sacramento, this water park features a variety of water attractions such as slides, wave pools, and lazy rivers.
  6. Waterworld California: Located in Concord, this water park features a variety of water attractions including slides, wave pools, and a lazy river.

Each of these theme parks has something different to offer, so it depends on what type of experience you’re looking for!

To refine your search and focus exclusively on a specific travel destination, e.g., Mendocino Coast or Reno, please select the desired vacation location from our Destination tab located on the main menu.


Six Flags – Vallejo

The park is a 135-acre park featuring awesome rides, great shows, and incredible attractions. This park has something for all ages. It has rides specifically designed for thrill seekers, teens, tots and the whole family. If amusement rides are not your thing, they have plenty of animal exhibits and shows.

Great America – San Jose

Great America was recently voted the Bay Area’s most exciting theme park! Along with their ultra thrill seeking rides, they have Planet Snoopy – a section dedicated to the younger children.

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk – Santa Cruz

Voted the world’s Best Seaside Amusement Park in 2007 and 2008, the historic Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk features both modern and classic thrill rides, restaurants, miniature golf, video game arcades, and family bowling, all located on a mile-long sandy beach. On the south end of the park, is their section for young kids. The admission-free Boardwalk offers affordable ticket options and free summer entertainment. A truly unique California experience!

Gilroy Gardens – Gilroy

(formally Bonfante Gardens)

The family oriented theme park has over 40 rides, gardens and exhibits.  The Park’s mission is to entertain and educate families — especially young children — making it the most family friendly theme park in the region.

Raging Waters –  Sacramento

Sacramento’s largest water park, features signature thrill rides for a full day of fun for the entire family.   More >>

Raging Water – San Jose

Northern California’s largest water park, features signature thrill rides for a full day of fun for the entire family.   More >>

Disneyland – Anaheim, CA

Disneyland Park is Walt Disney’s original theme park where dreams have come true for generations of families at the Disneyland Resort in California.

Disney California Adventure Park – Anaheim, CA

Disney California Adventure Park is a Southern California theme park featuring Disney and Pixar characters and stories at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim.

Knott’s Berry Farm – Buena Park, CA

Looking for California’s best theme and amusement park? Look no further than Knott’s Berry Farm. Take into account all that Knott’s Berry Farm has to offer: Ghost Town. The one minute, 30 seconds of head-over-heels fun of Boomerang. For the kids, there’s always Camp Snoopy. Take a ride on the Calico Railroad. For water fun, there’s Bigfoot Rapids. And let’s not forget why Knott’s Berry Farm is California’s best amusement park–Boysenberry Pie and famous chicken dinner.