The 13 Best Amusement Parks Near NYC, Whether You’re in It for Thrills or Treats

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Nothing screams summer like shrieks, sweets and sweat at the local amusement park. But don’t worry—just because you’re in a bustling metropolis doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the fun and adventure of a theme park. Whether you’re looking for exhilarating roller coasters or toddler-approved attractions, we’ve got just the ticket. (Pun intended.) For family-friendly fun, water rides and more fried food than you could ever dream of, check out our roundup of the best amusement parks near NYC.

Editor’s note: We have listed park opening and closing dates below, but these are subject to change. Please contact the amusement park before visiting to confirm these dates.

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amusement parks nyc cat
Luna Park

1. Luna Park In Coney Island

  • Season: April through end of October
  • Distance from NYC: 30 minutes

When you think of Coney Island, the beloved Luna Park is probably the first thing that comes to mind (aside from the original Nathan’s, of course). The Brooklyn staple and NYC’s largest theme park employs over 1,200 people every summer and is home to a range of rides—some of which are over 100 years old—including the Cyclone, the Thunderbolt roller coaster, Clockworkz, the B&B Carousell, the Grand Prix and more. With three brand new rides this summer, buy an unlimited ride wristband online ($38 for children under 48” and $62 for adults) or pay-per-ride tickets as low as $3 at the park. To get there, just hop on the Q, F, D or N trains. If you just want to enjoy an Italian ice and walk the boardwalk, admission is totally free—plus, this summer, the park has introduced open air, green, pedestrian plazas that will feature food, live entertainment and a brand new beer garden for guests.

1000 Surf Ave, Brooklyn, NY

amusement parks nyc fantasy island amusement park
Little Island Media

2. Fantasy Island Amusement Park

  • Season: June through September 2
  • Distance from NYC: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Located on Long Beach Island in Beach Haven, New Jersey, Fantasy Island boasts an impressive 18 rides, 11 boardwalk games, a giant upgraded arcade, Scoops Up Ice Cream Parlor, Shark Bites Grille and Surfside Snack Shack—in other words, plenty of fun for the whole family. What’s more? Summer specials! It’s only $30 for unlimited rides on Fridays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and $15 for kids to enjoy two hours of unlimited rides on the eight kiddie rides on weekends from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. For an extra special summer evening, make sure to stop by during Summer Fun Fest every Tuesday from 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. for face painting, stilt walkers, balloon artists, jugglers and caricature artists!

750 N Bay Ave, Beach Haven, NJ

amusement parks nyc nickelodeon universe theme park
KENA BETANCUR / Contributor/Getty Images

3. Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park

  • Season: year-round
  • Distance from NYC: 1 hour, 15 minutes

If you (and your little ones) like slime, roller coasters and the kooky casts of your favorite Nickelodeon shows, this one’s a must-visit. This year-round, indoor theme park—the largest indoor theme park in the Western Hemisphere—is located in New Jersey’s American Dream Mall and boasts a whopping 35 rides, attractions and experiences for kids of all ages. Say hi to SpongeBob, Dora the Explorer, PAW Patrol’s Chase and more in between trips to the Shredder, Aang’s Air Gliders, Blue’s Skidoo, the Shellraiser and the Skyline Scream. While kids under 2 get into the park for free, any chaperone, regardless of whether or not they’re riding the rides, will need an entry ticket, which ranges between $39 and $89. Want more fun while you’re there? Check out DreamWorks Water Park next door.

1 American Dream Wy, East Rutherford, NJ

amusement parks nyc six flags great adventure
STAN HONDA / Staff/Getty Images

4. Six Flags Great Adventure

  • Season: April through December 31
  • Distance from NYC: 1 hour, 30 minutes

With 14 world-class coasters, a zoo boasting 1,200 animals and 100 rides, not to mention countless shows, special events and themed areas, Six Flags Great Adventure truly has it all. Starting at $45 for an all-day pass, this spot offers great bang for your buck with plenty of grub, games and things to do and see in the expansive, walkable park situated between NYC and Philadelphia. If you want something extra special, take your family to the Wild Safari Drive-Thru Adventure for an additional charge—you can thank us later. If you’re not driving to the park, you can also take the Northeast Corridor PATH train to the Six Flags Great Adventure bus, which takes just about as long as it does to drive. Note that only credit cards are accepted inside of the park, including for parking, though there are cash-to-card devices inside the park.

1 Six Flags Blvd, Jackson Township, NJ

amusement parks nyc morey s piers beachfront water parks
Courtesy of Morey’s Piers

5. Morey's Piers & Beachfront Water Parks

  • Season: April through October 10
  • Distance from NYC: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Open for over 50 years, Morey’s is home to three amusement piers and two luxurious beachfront water parks in Wildwood, New Jersey, just 2.5 hours south of NYC. With thrilling, extreme, kiddie and family rides, there’s something for everyone, and plenty of splashes and summer bites to go around, although these parks do tend to be on the more expensive side. Located on the Jersey Shore, the two water parks, Ocean Oasis Water Park & Beach Club and Raging Waters, offer two experiences sure to fit the bill: one more upscale, and the latter for the more adventurous guest. If you’re traveling a decent distance, be sure to look into staying at one of their associated hotels, motels and resorts. In case you need more convincing, the parks have been recognized for their world-class commitment to safety and guest service, and run almost entirely on solar power.

3501 Boardwalk, Wildwood, NJ

amusement parks nyc urban air adventure park
Courtesy of Urban Air Adventure Park

6. Urban Air Adventure Park

  • Season: year-round
  • Distance from NYC: 30 to 45 minutes, depending on location

With three New Jersey locations in South Hackensack, Avenel and Milltown, plus a Brooklyn location set to open by the end of the summer, these trampoline adventure parks are great for birthday parties, field trips or just a regular old Saturday. Enjoy laser tag, climbing walls, indoor skydiving, go-karts, bowling, mini golf, warrior obstacle courses, countless trampolines, dodgeball, an arcade, a ropes course and so much more, all for under $40. And if you can believe it, parents jump for half price! Each location is under an hour drive from NYC, but you can also take a quick trip via the bus or the PATH trains. So, round up the troops and get jumping at this active amusement park.

amusement parks nyc playland
Courtesy of Playland

7. Playland

  • Season: June through end of September
  • Distance from NYC: 45 minutes

Rye’s Playland has been one of the most iconic amusement parks in the country since it opened in 1928. Ride the historic Dragon Coaster, take a stroll down the boardwalk, or simply enjoy the shores of the Long Island Sound’s National Historic Landmark and its glorious 280 acres. Younger kids might enjoy magical story time with a princess or getting down to some music, so check out the Playland calendar before you head to the park. Love fireworks? Stop by every Friday night through Labor Day for a spectacular show in the sky. Take the Metro North from Manhattan (and bundle your MTA ticket with your park ticket for a discount), and purchase tickets online for a cheaper price, with a special local discount for Westchester County residents. And if you think Playland looks familiar, it could’ve been from the 1988 Tom Hanks hit Big or Mariah Carey’s “Fantasy” music video.

1 Playland Pkwy, Rye, NY

amusement parks nyc adventureland
Courtesy of Adventureland

8. Adventureland

  • Season: March through end of October
  • Distance from NYC: 1 hour

Hop on the LIRR or take a quick drive through Long Island to your new favorite adventure spot: Adventureland! With a range of kid-friendly rides, big thrills and water rides—like the Tea Cups, the FireBall, the Turbulence, the Frisbee, the Mystery Mansion and the Little Dipper Water Ride, just to name a few—the 30 rides and attractions are sure to please the whole family. Have your Dippin’ Dots, pretzels, funnel cakes or burgers inside or outside, or opt to spend the day in the air-conditioned arcade. (We don’t blame you.) Save $5 by purchasing tickets in advance online, as everyone who enters the park will need an admission ticket, starting at $37. Adventureland also gives back to the Long Island community with Adventureland’s Helping Hands Foundation, a non-profit that supports local students and charities with scholarships and donations to create a better Long Island for all.

2245 Broadhollow Rd, Farmingdale, NY

9. Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement Park

  • Season: June through end of October
  • Distance from NYC: 30 minutes

Did someone say no height requirements? That’s right. This park, just next to Luna Park, offers a majority of the rides, attractions and fun for everyone, above or below 48 inches. Coney Island’s iconic ferris wheel—ahem, Deno’s Wonder Wheel—has been enjoyed by over 40 million people, who have marveled at the incredible views from 150 feet high atop the Coney Island beach all the way to the Manhattan skyline. Stop by on Friday nights through Labor Day for a free fireworks show, and make sure to hop on the 1-year-old Phoenix Family Thrill Roller Coaster while you’re there. The amusement park is located just steps away from the N, D, F and Q trains.

3059 W 12th St, Brooklyn, NY

10. Fantasy Forest Amusement Park

  • Season: April through end of October
  • Distance from NYC: 30 minutes

Famed for its carousel that debuted at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, Fantasy Forest is Queens’ only amusement park—and home to the borough’s only roller coaster, the Corona Cobra Coaster. Best for younger kids, this park has eight tot-friendly rides and four amusement park games, including basketball shoot-out and a ring toss station, all for only a few bucks. If you’re looking to celebrate an extra fun birthday at the park, look into their birthday package, featuring a dedicated party host, a private party area, two party tents, eight picnic tables, 15 unlimited ride wristbands (and goodie bags!), and custom Fantasy Forest-themed e-invitations. Take the 7 train, the Q58 or the LIRR to the park, located next to the entrance of the Queens Zoo and a 10-minute walk from the New York Hall of Science.

5351 111th St, Queens, NY

amusement parks nyc field station dinosaurs
Courtesy of Field Station: Dinosaurs

11. Field Station: Dinosaurs

  • Season: May through November 13
  • Distance from NYC: 30 minutes

This one’s for the little guys and the Jurassic Park lovers. Field Station: Dinosaurs is the world-class paleontological expedition in Bergen County’s Overpeck County Park that’s full of shows, games, surprise parties and interactive dinosaurs—all included in the price of admission. Walk through the scenic trails in the wooded park along the Overpeck Creek and keep your eyes peeled for the 30+ life-size, hand-sculpted, moving (and roaring), realistic dinosaurs created by the world’s leading roboticists and paleo-artists. Open all summer Tuesdays through Sundays, this educational adventure is one your kiddos won’t soon forget. For public transit, take the 182 Bus (towards Hackensack), and don’t forget to say hi to the 15-foot T-Rex, the baby Hadrosaurus and its dino wranglers, and their newest dinosaur, the Toddlersaurus!

3 Overpeck Pk Driveway, Leonia, NJ

12. Adventurer’s Amusement Park

  • Season: April through end of August
  • Distance from NYC: 30 minutes

This 55-year-old Bensonhurst amusement park may be small in acreage, but it’s big on family fun in the sun, and it’s on the more affordable end of NYC amusement parks. Enjoy 21 rides and three games, plus go-karts and mini golf all summer long just feet from Gravesend Bay, the D train and the B6 bus. Planning on celebrating a birthday? Ask about their party packages—the birthday child gets a special gift, and all of their guests get complementary pizza, a drink and a bag of chips. Keep an eye on their social media and website for events where DJs may make a special appearance. Our favorite part: admission is free (as is parking) and you can pay per ride.

1824 Shore Pkwy, Brooklyn, NY

13. Area 53 Adventure Park

  • Season: year-round
  • Distance from NYC: 15 minutes

Book a three-hour time slot for $44 on weekdays or $54 on weekends at this East Williamsburg adventure park. Complete with a ropes course, indoor paintball, rock climbing, roller skating, a ninja course, slides, a laser maze, a battle beam and an arcade, it’s no wonder this is a top destination for NYC birthday parties. It’s so awesome, they’ve also got two other Area 53 locations in the five boroughs, one in DUMBO and the other in the Bronx with outdoor paintball. Adults, finally something especially for you: Tuesday is 21+ night from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. and Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. is Double Fun Night, where you can play paintball and explore the adventure park freely for one low cost. Bookings start four weeks in advance, but it’s recommended you make your reservation as early as possible; Area 53 also takes walk-ins, but admission is not guaranteed.

616 Scholes St, Brooklyn, NY

purewow author

Freelance PureWow Editor

Quinn Fish is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer covering all things New York City, from the tastiest espresso martinis to the best amusement parks to the perfect weekend getaways...