3 Day Road Trip: Amusement Parks

With dozens of amusement and water parks, New Jersey is one of the best places to get your adrenaline pumping. Check out our three-day itineraries below—customized to riders of all types and complete with rainy day alternatives—then go from zero to sixty on your own pulse-pounding adventure! (And as always, be sure to check the websites and social media channels of your destination before you go to ensure you have all the need-to-know info.)

Day One

For non-stop thrills: Jackson is home to the king of the state’s amusement parks: Six Flags Great Adventure. With tons of fun for family members of every age (and level of bravery!), including rides large and small, live entertainment, shopping and great food, Six Flags has something for everyone. In the summer months, you can even make it a half amusement park/half waterpark day by spending the hot afternoon hours making a splash at Six Flags Hurricane Harbor. After a long day in the park, you can stay overnight in the Radisson Hotel or American Hotel, both less than fifteen miles away in Freehold.

Rainy day alternative: iPlay America (also in Freehold) is a popular entertainment oasis with indoor amusement rides, laser tag, virtual bowling, an indoor boardwalk, arcade and more.

For childlike joy: The Land of Make Believe in Hope was founded in 1954 with the idea of bringing parents back into family fun so they don’t just sit by the sidelines—they become kids again themselves as they ride, slide, laugh and play. There are several places to stay the night less than 20 miles away, including the Holiday Inn and Days Inn, both located in Budd Lake.

Rainy day alternative: Travel across the state to East Rutherford and live the American Dream in a mega-entertainment, retail and dining complex complete with the indoor Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park and DreamWorks Water Park.

Day Two

For constructive play: Diggerland USA is the nation’s ONLY building-themed amusement and water park with real-live specially engineered construction equipment. Kids and adults can drive and dig, ride and operate, and soak and slide the day away in West Berlin. Just up the road, you can rest your hard-working bones in a comfy bed at the Hampton Inn in Voorhees.

Rainy day alternative: Just a half-mile away you can jump into the fun at Big Kahuna’s, an indoor and outdoor waterpark. So, even if the weather is miserable outside, your family can play all day in a 60,000-square-foot tropical paradise under a state-of-the-art retractable roof. 

For flexible fun: Amusement rides or water slides? Indoor games or outdoor thrills? You don’t need to choose between them at The Funplex in Mount Laurel, which has 100,000 square feet of attractions—both inside and out—so there’s no need for a rainy day alternative. There are even places to stay within a 10-mile drive—including the Hampton Inn and Residence Inn By Marriott.

Day Three

For seaside excitement: End your three-day trip down the shore with a day of boardwalk amusement pier fun. Atlantic City is home to Steel Pier, a classic amusement park that juts out over the Atlantic Ocean. For thrills and chills, venture to Ocean City for Gillian’s Wonderland Pier and OC Waterpark or The Wildwoods for Morey’s Piers and Beachfront Waterparks. Each one of these beach destinations has a wide variety of overnight accommodations—from Atlantic City’s casino-hotels to Ocean City’s inns to the doo-wop motels of The Wildwoods—plus an equal number of options for indoor fun on rainy days.