Narrowing down just one vacation destination can be difficult, especially if your family has divergent interests. If you can all agree on your love of theme parks, though, your job just got a whole lot easier. Here's a list of destinations that are sure to provide days of pulse-pounding entertainment as you tour the various parks of the region.
This spot in Southern California is a haven for theme park fans. Home to the original Disneyland and its sister park, Disney California Adventure, it balances the excitement of thrill rides with the laid-back spirit of the Golden State. There's ample reason to visit these Disney parks this summer: If you go before Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge opens in June, you may get a special discount. Knott's Berry Farm and Adventure City, both nearby, have plenty of local color to go along with the pizazz of the larger chain destinations.
The original Universal Studios Hollywood and Six Flags Magic Mountain can both be found in this California city, just a short drive north of Los Angeles. If you'd rather not restrict yourself to the typical theme-park diet of burgers and popcorn, plenty of tempting dining options await in nearby Santa Clarita.
Let's say the teenagers are clamoring for a trip to Europe, but that's not in the budget. Dull the sting by taking them to Busch Gardens Williamsburg, where the majority of the entertainment has a European flair, right down to the design of the heart-stopping roller coasters. A number of seasonal festivities are on offer around Halloween and Christmas, and the park offers annual memberships to encourage repeat business (useful if you live in the region and plan on returning at least once within the year). Williamsburg also provides a good base for visiting Water Country USA, the largest water park in the mid-Atlantic.
Some of the best roller coasters in the world can be found in Central Florida, from SeaWorld's shark-themed Mako to the Rock'n'Roller Coaster, located at Disney's Hollywood Studios. If your kids are Harry Potter fans, they could easily spend the whole week at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which is split between Universal's Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida (connected by the Hogwarts Express, of course). If you're not too worn out, take a stroll through Disney Springs to sample the shopping, dining, and nightlife.
In short, there's no need to travel to Florida every year to get your theme park fix. While Orlando is certainly a top draw (and not to be missed), there are plenty of other exciting alternatives just waiting to be discovered.
One of the best ways you can make the most of your vacation is to do something different or new! Running in a marathon or half marathon on vacation may not sound like the most exciting thing, but the feeling of being part of something bigger and doing something truly unique is one of a kind.