Kings Dominion, an hour and a half drive from Washington, D.C., offers more roller coasters than any of the other amusement parks in the area, and a full water park for the hot days of summer to boot. Two of the park’s coasters, the Flight of Fear and Volcano, launch you to full speed right out of the gate, without a lift hill — Flight of Fear does it indoors, and Volcano does it with riders dangling beneath the track. The Anaconda plunges you straight through the surface of a lake and into an underwater tunnel. You’ll also find wooden coasters, a floorless coaster, a standing coaster, and dozens of other rides.
And don’t forget your bathing suit, because the water park offers its own set of thrills. Play in two separate wave pools totaling over a million gallons. Zip down one of the many different waterslides ranging from the straightforward and tame-ish to the intense drops and turns on Thunder Falls. Or take the little kids to Soak City Splash House, a multilevel playhouse with a swinging bridge, several small waterslides, and a giant bucket that dumps hundreds of gallons of water on everyone below every few minutes.
For a great deal, buy your tickets online in advance and save.
Hours: The park is open from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day during the summer, until mid-August, when it closes at 8 p.m. most days. After Labor Day the park is mostly closed through September (with the exception of a few days), then in October open Friday evenings, Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. to midnight, and Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., with a Halloween theme.
Admission: For updated ticket prices, click here.
Metrorail: No metro. To drive, take I-95 south to exit 98.