Hang onto your hat, America. If you visit New England this summer, don’t miss the amusement parks. Whether you’re into high-velocity rides or a low-key family fun park, you will find it in the North East.
Why does New England love it’s amusement parks so much? Long winters give residents a real carpe diem attitude about the summer, and fun parks are just one of the many activities around the state with which to direct the family’s pent-up seasonal energy.
From Six Flags with over 100 rides, shows, and attractions to Clark’s Trading Post with its more low-key offerings there is always somewhere nearby for a family outing. If you would like a chance to pick your fruit and experience barnyard animals, check out Story Land.
You will never run out of amusement parks in New England—we’d list them all, but we’d rather be eating funnel cake—and these 10 are simply the best amusement parks from around New England. If you’re looking for Ferris wheels and splash pads within just a two- or three-hour drive from Boston, then we’ve got you covered.
10. Clark’s Trading Post
Clark’s Trading Post (110 Daniel Webster Hwy, Lincoln, NH) became known for its trained “pet” bears when the owners, Florence and Ed Clark purchased their first black bear in 1931. Their sons Edward and Murray began training the bears in 1949. The business began as a meager roadside stand in 1928 (when it was known as “Ed Clark’s Eskimo Sled Dog Ranch”), where visitors were treated to the tamer Labrador sled dogs.
Clark’s Trading Post remains a White Mountains attraction that now includes the Clark brother’s train collection. The current train ride is powered during most of the season by a Climax steam locomotive and sometimes by a 1943 GE diesel locomotive.
9. Edaville Family Amusement Park
Edaville in Carver, MA is a heritage railroad that opened in 1947, possibly making it the oldest heritage railroad in the United States. Now, the park is full of train and non-train related rides geared toward the whole family. A gorgeous antique carousel and the Bone Shaker mini roller coaster are classics, and so is the fully-stocked arcade. Take a break from the rides by fishing in the catch and release pond or hitting the Dino Land Walking Trail.
8. Lake Compounce, Crocodile Cove
Lake Compounce is an amusement park located in Bristol and Southington, Connecticut, named after a local lake. The park opened in 1846 and is considered the oldest continuously-operating amusement park in the United States. The market hall and restaurants are housed in a cute little European village, kind of reminiscent of Epcot’s world pavilions.
Lake Compounce is home to a ride called Boulder Dash, which has been voted the world’s #1 wooden roller coaster. It also contains Connecticut’s largest water park, with rides like the Riptide Racer and Bayou Bay Wave Pool. At night, Illuminate the Night is a music, and fireworks show that lights up “The Lake” while visitors watch from the banks.