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Top Theme Parks in the ​San Francisco Bay Area

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! 

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 Explorer and search away!
   

 

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.

  

What’s on Tap

Events

San Francisco Bay Area & Beyond Festivals & Events:

Thunderbirds on the Santa Cruz Wharf! Sept. 30th at 9am to 3pm.

Featuring the classic 1955-1957, the 1958-1965 vintage and the retro, 2002-2005 Thunderbirds.

Welcome Back Monarchs Day – Oct. 8, 2017 11am – 4pm.

Natural Bridges SB in Santa Cruz

San Francisco Fleet Week – Oct. 1 – 9, 2017

Airshow, ships and much more!

Sonoma County Harvest Fair Oct. 6 – 8, 2017.

This festival is all about grapes and celebrating the local wineries, with more than 150 local wines, artisanal crafts and foods on offer from October 6 to October 8, 2017.

Giant Pumpkin Patch at Guadalupe River Park – Oct. 14, 2017

San Jose—Fun activities and lots of pumpkins

Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Patches – October 2017

Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival Oct. 14 & 15, 2017

Santa Cruz Pumpkin Patches – October 2017

Haunted Halloween on The Embarcadero at Crystal Jade – Oct 28, 2017

San Francisco

SF Japantown Halloween Carnival – Oct. 27, 2017

Pleasanton Harvest Festival – Oct. 27-29, 2017

17th Annual Halloween Hoopla  – Oct. 29, 2017

Event features interactive performances and games for kids under 10 and their adults and the return of the Yerba Buena Pumpkin Patch!

Dia de los Muertos – Day Of The Dead Procession and Festival of Altars – Nov. 2, 2017 at 7:00 PM

San Francisco – The annual procession, November 2nd at 7:00 PM at 24th & Bryant, in the Mission District of San Francisco. The procession ends in Garfield Park at the Festival of Altars 8:30 PM at 26th & Harrison.

Please bring flowers, candles, and remembrances of your loved ones for our community altar.

 

For more “top” events, click on our Festivals & Events page or select a specific travel destination from our City Selector.

Attractions

Top Winter Attractions:

Snow Skiing in the Sierras

Lake Tahoe is home to 15 snow ski resorts and some of the best alpine and cross county snow skiing in the world. You’re sure to find a ski resort and hotel that will meet your expectations.

Whale Watching – Dec. through May

California grey whales migrate down the coast

Elephant Seal Watching – December through March is breeding season. Año Nuevo State Reserve has a large colony of northern elephant seals that assemble there each winter. Watch 5,000 pould males fight for breeding rights!

 

Advisories

The Region’s Fall Advisories:
Yes, it’s still water, water, water! California is undergoing an extreme drought. If you are planning a lake vacation be sure to check about water levels. That rafting trip, fishing, or skiing can be impacted.

EXTREME fire danger. The drought has created a very dangerous combination of dry vegetation and no moisture in the air to help contain any fire. Please use extreme caution during your trip.

Traffic Conditions. Traffic through major cities and extremely popular travel destinations can be challenging. Plan ahead to drive before and after commute hours. Go to www.caltrans.com to learn about road conditions. As a special note, Highway 92 in to and out of Half Moon Bay can be very difficult during the pumpkin season. Plan ahead and arrive early and leave late!