Budget Amusement Parks In California

California is known for having some of the best amusement parks in the world, but these parks can come with a hefty price tag. Luckily, there are budget-friendly options available for those who still want to enjoy the thrill of a rollercoaster or water park without breaking the bank.

In this article, we will explore some of the top budget amusement parks in California that offer affordable admission prices and exciting attractions. Whether you’re a local resident or visiting from out of town, there’s something for everyone at these budget parks.

From thrilling rides to family-friendly attractions, each park has its own unique offerings that make it worth a visit. So if you’re looking for an affordable way to experience the thrill of an amusement park in California, look no further than these top picks.

Key Takeaways

– California has some of the best budget-friendly amusement parks in the world.
– Visitors can save money by purchasing tickets online in advance, utilizing free parking, and bringing their own food and drinks.
– Some popular budget amusement parks in California include Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Knott’s Berry Farm, Castle Park, and Scandia Amusement Park.
– Scandia Amusement Park offers a unique combination of classic carnival games and thrilling rides, making it a must-visit for anyone looking for budget-friendly entertainment in California.

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, located in Vallejo, California, offers a diverse range of thrilling amusement park rides and attractions suitable for all ages. The park is divided into several themed areas, including DC Universe, which features rides based on popular superheroes like Superman and Batman.

Visitors can also explore the animal exhibits at the park’s wildlife section featuring various species such as lions, tigers, dolphins, and sea lions. Moreover, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom offers an array of animal shows that educate guests about different animals while being entertained.

For thrill-seekers looking for an adrenaline rush, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom boasts some of the most exciting roller coasters in California. Among them are the Medusa Steel Coaster and Joker coaster that offer inversions and twists to keep visitors screaming throughout their ride experience. Additionally, there are other thrill rides such as Sky Screamer- a high-flying swing that reaches 150 feet above ground level- or Dare Devil Chaos Coaster – a circular ride that spins riders around in all directions.

Moving on from Six Flags Discovery Kingdom to another budget-friendly amusement park in California leads us to Raging Waters San Jose- a water-based theme park with numerous water slides and pools for people of all ages to enjoy without breaking the bank.

Raging Waters San Jose

Raging Waters San Jose is a popular destination for those seeking fun water rides and family-friendly attractions.

The park offers a variety of thrilling slides and pools, as well as areas specifically designed for younger children.

Additionally, visitors can take advantage of discounted tickets to make their experience even more affordable.

Fun Water Rides

California’s amusement parks are renowned for their fun water rides, which are popular summer attractions. These rides offer a refreshing experience and an exciting way to beat the heat.

From heart-pumping slides like the Tornado at Six Flags Hurricane Harbor in Valencia to lazy river rides like Roaring Rapids at Knott’s Soak City in Buena Park, there is something for every visitor seeking some aquatic fun.

One of the most popular water rides in California is the Grizzly River Run at Disney California Adventure Park. This whitewater rafting ride takes visitors on a wild journey through rapids, geysers, and waterfalls. Another favorite is Breaker Beach at Raging Waters Sacramento, where visitors can catch some waves or relax on the sandy beach.

With so many options available throughout the state, visitors can easily find a park that offers their ideal combination of thrilling water rides and laid-back aquatic activities.

California’s budget amusement parks also offer family-friendly attractions that cater to all ages and interests, making them ideal destinations for families looking for affordable entertainment.

Family-Friendly Attractions

Family-friendly attractions are a must-visit for those seeking entertainment suitable for all ages and interests. Fortunately, California has no shortage of such activities that families can enjoy without breaking the bank.

Here are three of the best family-friendly activities in California that won’t empty your wallet:

1. Disneyland: One of the most popular amusement parks in California, Disneyland is an obvious choice for families looking to have fun together. With its many rides and attractions, including Pirates of the Caribbean and Space Mountain, there is something for everyone at Disneyland.

2. Universal Studios Hollywood: Another popular destination for families, Universal Studios Hollywood offers a range of rides and shows that are sure to keep everyone entertained. From Harry Potter World to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, there’s plenty to explore at this theme park.

3. Knott’s Berry Farm: For families looking for a more laid-back experience, Knott’s Berry Farm is a great option. With its old-fashioned charm and variety of attractions – from roller coasters to water rides – it’s easy to see why this park remains a favorite among locals and tourists alike.

When visiting these parks with family members or friends, it’s important to remember some tips for saving money at amusement parks. For instance, purchasing tickets online ahead of time can often save you money compared to buying them at the gate. Additionally, consider bringing your own snacks instead of purchasing food within the park as prices can be high.

By following these simple steps, you can make your trip more affordable while still enjoying all that these amazing parks have to offer!

Discounted Tickets

One way to make the experience of visiting popular attractions in California even more enjoyable is by taking advantage of discounted tickets. Many amusement parks offer discounts for various groups, including students, military personnel, and seniors. It’s also important to know when the best time to buy discounted tickets is, as prices can fluctuate throughout the year.

To save money on amusement park visits, visitors should consider purchasing multi-day passes or season passes if they plan on visiting the park multiple times. Additionally, bringing your own food and drinks can help cut down on expenses within the park. Visitors should also do their research ahead of time to find any available coupons or promo codes that could provide additional savings.

By utilizing these tips for saving money on amusement park visits, visitors can enjoy all that California has to offer without breaking the bank.

When it comes to budget-friendly amusement parks in California, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is a must-visit destination.

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Located in Santa Cruz, the Beach Boardwalk amusement park offers a variety of rides and attractions for visitors of all ages. One of the main draws is its beachfront location, allowing visitors to enjoy the ocean breeze while taking a break from the thrilling rides.

The park boasts over 40 rides, including several classic wooden roller coasters such as the Giant Dipper and Looff Carousel. For those seeking more adrenaline-pumping experiences, there are also numerous thrill rides like the Undertow and Tsunami.

Families with children will appreciate the kiddie rides section that features pint-sized versions of popular attractions like bumper cars and swings. In addition to its impressive ride selection, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk has many other entertaining options such as arcade games, laser tag, mini-golf courses, and live music performances.

Next on our list of budget amusement parks in California is Knott’s Berry Farm. Unlike Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk’s beachfront location, Knott’s Berry Farm is situated inland in Buena Park. However, it still offers visitors an exciting experience with over 40 rides ranging from mild to wild thrills. Stay tuned to learn more about this beloved Southern California theme park!

Knott’s Berry Farm

Knott’s Berry Farm is a renowned amusement park located in Buena Park, California.

The park offers visitors an immersive experience with its Wild West theme rides that cater to all ages.

Moreover, the park is home to Snoopy and Peanuts characters, which are popular among kids and adults alike.

Lastly, Knott’s Berry Farm offers affordable tickets that make it one of the most budget-friendly amusement parks in California.

Wild West Theme Rides

Wild West theme rides are a staple attraction at many budget amusement parks in California. These thrilling attractions offer visitors the chance to immerse themselves in the world of cowboys and outlaws, with various rides and experiences designed to transport them back in time.

From traditional roller coasters to simulated train robberies, Wild West theme rides provide endless entertainment for visitors looking for an adventure. In addition to these exciting rides, many budget amusement parks also offer cowboy themed food options.

Visitors can indulge in classic Western fare such as BBQ ribs, pulled pork sandwiches, and corn on the cob while enjoying the ambiance of a Wild West town. These food options add to the immersive experience and allow visitors to fully embrace their inner cowboy or cowgirl.

From thrill-seekers to foodies, Wild West theme rides and cuisine are sure to delight all who visit these California amusement parks.

Moving on from Wild West theme rides, another popular attraction at some budget amusement parks is Snoopy and Peanuts characters.

Snoopy and Peanuts Characters

The beloved Snoopy and Peanuts characters have become a familiar sight at select budget amusement parks in California, like old friends who always bring a smile to one’s face, much like a warm cup of hot cocoa on a chilly day.

These playful and endearing characters are not only popular among children but also adults who grew up reading the comic strips created by Charles M. Schulz.

Visitors can indulge in their fascination with these iconic characters by purchasing Snoopy and Peanuts merchandise, such as plush toys, t-shirts, hats, and keychains.

Moreover, guests can also attend Snoopy and Peanuts shows that feature live performances by costumed actors or animatronics.

These entertaining shows provide an opportunity for fans to witness the witty humor and heartwarming moments from the comic strips come to life right before their eyes.

The vibrant colors of the sets combined with energetic music make these shows an unforgettable experience for all ages.

As visitors immerse themselves in this delightful world of Snoopy and his friends, they will surely create cherished memories that will last a lifetime.

Now let’s move on to exploring how affordable tickets make these enchanting experiences accessible for everyone without compromising quality entertainment value.

Affordable Tickets

Affording visitors the chance to enjoy Snoopy and Peanuts shows and merchandise, affordable tickets make these enchanting experiences accessible for everyone, allowing them to indulge in their fascination with these iconic characters without breaking the bank.

For those planning a visit to California’s budget amusement parks, it is important to know that the best time to visit is during weekdays or non-peak seasons when ticket prices are significantly lower. Additionally, purchasing tickets online in advance can save visitors money as many theme parks offer discounted rates for online purchases.

There are also several tips for saving money while enjoying all of the attractions at these budget amusement parks. Visitors should consider bringing their own food and drinks instead of purchasing expensive meals within the park. They should also look out for deals on parking fees or consider using public transportation if available.

By following these cost-saving tips, visitors can fully immerse themselves in the world of Snoopy and Peanuts without worrying about overspending. With this knowledge about affordable tickets and cost-saving tips, visitors can now venture into exploring other popular theme parks such as Universal Studios Hollywood.

Universal Studios Hollywood

The next subtopic to be discussed is Universal Studios Hollywood.

This amusement park boasts movie-themed rides that are sure to thrill any visitor, such as the Harry Potter and Jurassic World attractions.

Additionally, the park offers studio tours where visitors can see behind-the-scenes of some of the most famous movies and TV shows ever made.

Those looking for a deal should check out online ticket options for potential savings on admission fees.

Movie-Themed Rides

One way to experience movie-themed rides at budget amusement parks in California is by researching and taking advantage of discount ticket deals. Several amusement parks offer thrilling coasters and immersive experiences based on popular movies.

For example, Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia has several movie-themed rides, including the DC Comics-based ride Superman: Escape from Krypton and the Batman: The Ride roller coaster.

Another option is Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, which features a variety of movie-themed attractions such as GhostRider, a wooden coaster that takes riders through a haunted town, and Voyage to the Iron Reef, an interactive dark ride where guests shoot at underwater creatures. By planning ahead and finding discounted tickets to these budget-friendly amusement parks, visitors can experience all the excitement of their favorite movies without breaking the bank.

When it comes to experiencing movie magic at budget amusement parks in California, there are more options beyond just thrilling coasters and immersive experiences. One popular attraction is studio tours where visitors can get behind-the-scenes glimpses into how their favorite films are made.

Studio Tours

Studio tours provide visitors with an exclusive opportunity to witness the behind-the-scenes magic of their favorite films. These tours take movie enthusiasts on a journey through the production process, revealing how sets are constructed, costumes are made, and special effects are created. Visitors can view sound stages where blockbusters like Star Wars and Jurassic Park were filmed or explore iconic backlot streets that have been featured in countless movies and TV shows.

Studio tours offer a unique experience that allows visitors to get up close and personal with the world of film-making. They provide an immersive look into the creative process that goes into bringing a story to life on screen. It’s no wonder why studio tours have become such a popular attraction for those who want to experience the excitement of movie magic firsthand.

Now, let’s delve into another exciting aspect of visiting budget amusement parks in California – online ticket deals!

Online Ticket Deals

Moving on from the previous subtopic of Studio Tours, let’s take a look at another way to save money when visiting budget amusement parks in California. One popular method is taking advantage of online ticket deals. Many theme parks offer discounted rates for those who purchase tickets through their website or other online vendors.

When looking for the best time to buy tickets, it’s important to consider the park’s popularity and peak seasons. During holidays and weekends, theme parks tend to be more crowded and ticket prices may be higher. However, some parks offer special deals during off-peak times, such as weekdays or non-holiday periods. It’s also worth checking out third-party websites that specialize in discount tickets for popular destinations like Disneyland or Universal Studios Hollywood.

To further emphasize this point, here are three items in markdown format:

1. Check the park’s website for any current promotions or discounts.
2. Consider purchasing tickets during off-peak times to save money.
3. Look into third-party websites for additional deals on popular destinations.

With these tips in mind, visitors can enjoy their favorite attractions without breaking the bank.

Next up, we’ll explore Castle Park and its unique offerings for budget-conscious travelers.

Castle Park

Castle Park is a family-friendly amusement park located in Riverside, California. It offers a variety of attractions such as miniature golf, arcade games, and rides suitable for all ages.

Additionally, the park offers free parking to its visitors making it an affordable option for families looking for a fun day out.

Miniature Golf

A popular and affordable option for families looking to enjoy a leisurely activity at budget amusement parks in California is the miniature golf course. This attraction offers an enjoyable and engaging experience that can be shared by people of all ages. Miniature golf challenges players with creative obstacles that test their aim, precision, and strategy. From windmills to waterfalls, miniature golf courses feature unique designs that make each round exciting and entertaining.

To improve their skills on the miniature golf course, players can follow a few simple tips. First, it’s important to take time to line up shots properly before swinging the club. Second, players should pay attention to the slope of the green when putting the ball into the hole. Lastly, practicing putting techniques regularly can help improve overall performance on the course. Overall, miniature golf is an excellent choice for families seeking fun activities at budget amusement parks in California.

Heading over to family-friendly attractions at these parks-

Family-Friendly Attractions

Moving on from miniature golf, there are plenty of other family-friendly attractions to explore at budget amusement parks in California. These parks offer a wide range of activities suitable for all ages, from thrilling roller coasters to fun-filled water rides and interactive exhibits.

Some of the top attractions include classic carousels, Ferris wheels, and bumper cars that provide hours of entertainment. If you’re planning a visit to these budget amusement parks, it’s important to keep a few tips in mind.

Be sure to arrive early to avoid long lines and crowds, especially during peak season. Consider purchasing tickets online in advance as this can often save time and money. Additionally, many parks offer discounted rates for groups or if you visit later in the day.

As we move forward with exploring budget amusement parks in California, it’s worth noting that free parking is also available at some locations. By taking advantage of this benefit, visitors can save even more money while enjoying all the exciting attractions these parks have to offer.

Free Parking

Visitors can take advantage of the free parking option available at some budget amusement parks in California. This is a great way to save money while enjoying the various attractions offered. Some locations even offer alternate transportation options, such as shuttles or trams, which eliminates the need to pay for parking altogether.

By utilizing these free services, visitors can allocate their saved funds towards other enjoyable activities within the park. In addition to saving money on parking, visitors can also explore nearby attractions that are often within walking distance from certain budget amusement parks in California.

These attractions could include local shops and restaurants, scenic trails for hiking or biking, and even neighboring theme parks or water parks. Taking advantage of these nearby options not only adds value to a visitor’s trip but also allows them to experience more of what California has to offer beyond just one particular amusement park.

With so many affordable and convenient options available, visitors have plenty of opportunities to create an unforgettable vacation experience without breaking the bank. As we transition into the next section about Boomers! Palm Springs, let’s explore how this particular budget amusement park offers unique experiences for all ages.

Boomers! Palm Springs

Boomers! Palm Springs is a budget amusement park that offers a range of attractions, including Go-Karts and Miniature Golf, Arcade Games, and Group Discounts.

The park’s Go-Kart tracks cater to both children and adults, providing an exciting way to experience the thrill of racing.

Additionally, the arcade games offer a variety of options for all ages, while group discounts make Boomers! Palm Springs an ideal destination for family outings or school trips.

Go-Karts and Miniature Golf

The inclusion of go-karts and miniature golf as part of the amusement park experience offers a fun and interactive way for individuals of all ages to enjoy their visit. These popular attractions provide affordable entertainment options, making them accessible to families on a budget. Go-karting allows visitors to experience the thrill of racing in a safe and controlled environment, while miniature golf provides a more relaxed and leisurely activity that can be enjoyed by individuals or groups.

To fully appreciate the value of go-karts and miniature golf, it may be helpful to compare them with other amusement park activities. The table below illustrates how these attractions stack up against arcade games in terms of affordability, interactivity, and physical activity.

Affordability Interactivity Physical Activity
————- :————–: :————-: :—————–:
Go-Karts Moderate High High
Miniature Golf Low Moderate Low
Arcade Games High Low Negligible

Although arcade games can provide some entertainment value, they tend to be less interactive and physically engaging than go-karts or miniature golf. In the next section, we will explore how arcade games fit into the overall amusement park experience.

Arcade Games

One common attraction found at many budget amusement parks in California is the availability of arcade games. These games offer a range of interactive and skill-based activities for visitors to enjoy, including classic favorites like Pac-Man, Space Invaders, and pinball machines.

The more modern arcade games feature high-tech graphics and virtual reality elements that transport players to new worlds and challenges.

Visitors can find the best arcade deals by purchasing game cards or tokens in bulk, which often come with bonus credits or discounted rates. Some parks even offer unlimited play options for a flat fee, allowing visitors to enjoy all the top arcade games without worrying about running out of credits.

Whether playing solo or competing against friends and family members, the arcade games provide endless entertainment options for guests looking for a break from the thrill rides.

As we move on to discussing group discounts, it’s worth noting that these deals can also include access to exclusive arcade game areas or special pricing on game cards/tokens.

Group Discounts

Group rates are a popular way for visitors to save money while enjoying the attractions at many amusement parks. These discounts are usually offered to groups consisting of a minimum number of people, which varies from park to park. Groups can be made up of families, friends, coworkers, or even school groups.

Many amusement parks offer special rates for group visits which make it an affordable option for those on a budget. Budget-friendly options like group discounts are an excellent way to enjoy all that California’s amusement parks have to offer without breaking the bank.

One such park is Gilroy Gardens, which offers special group rates for 15 or more people and also has various packages available that include food and beverage vouchers and souvenir items. With its unique horticultural theme, Gilroy Gardens provides an enjoyable experience for all ages with rides and attractions that cater to both thrill-seekers and younger children alike.

Gilroy Gardens

Nestled in the heart of Gilroy, lies an amusement park like no other – Gilroy Gardens. This family-friendly park is known for its unique rides and garden attractions that cater to visitors of all ages. The park boasts over 40 rides, including roller coasters, water attractions, and classic carnival rides.

One of the highlights of Gilroy Gardens is their garden attractions. Visitors can stroll through beautifully manicured gardens filled with a variety of plants and flowers. The park also features several educational exhibits where guests can learn about horticulture and sustainability. Additionally, there are daily shows featuring live entertainment such as puppet shows and musical performances.

The best time to visit Gilroy Gardens is during the summer months when the weather is warm enough to enjoy the water attractions and outdoor activities. However, visitors should also check out the park’s special events calendar for year-round fun. From holiday-themed events to nighttime light shows, there is always something exciting happening at Gilroy Gardens.

As we move onto our next topic on budget amusement parks in California, let’s take a look at Belmont Park located in San Diego.

Belmont Park

Located in San Diego, Belmont Park is a beachfront amusement park that has been entertaining visitors since 1925. Originally built as a bathhouse and swimming pool, it has evolved into a popular destination for families and thrill-seekers alike. The park features an impressive array of rides, attractions, and games that cater to all ages.

Belmont Park’s history can be traced back to its early days as the Plunge, a saltwater swimming pool that was considered one of the largest in the world at the time. Today, visitors can still enjoy the historic Plunge pool along with other exciting attractions such as:

1. Giant Dipper Roller Coaster – A classic wooden roller coaster that offers breathtaking views of Mission Beach.
2. Wave House – A beachside venue where you can catch some waves on an indoor surfing machine or watch skilled surfers take on the massive FlowBarrel wave.
3. Sky Ropes Adventure Course – An obstacle course suspended 40 feet above ground that tests your balance and agility.

To avoid crowds and long lines, it’s best to visit Belmont Park during weekdays or during off-peak seasons like fall or winter. If you plan on visiting multiple times throughout the year, consider purchasing an annual pass which gives you unlimited access to all rides and attractions. Additionally, save money by bringing your own food and drinks as outside food is allowed inside the park.

As we move onto discussing Scandia Amusement Park in our next section, it’s important to note that although both parks offer budget-friendly options for entertainment seekers in California there are stark differences between them…

Scandia Amusement Park

One of the notable features of Scandia Amusement Park is its collection of classic carnival games that harken back to a bygone era, similar to discovering a hidden treasure trove of nostalgia. These games are reminiscent of carnivals from the past and provide an enjoyable experience for those looking for something different from modern amusement park attractions. Scandia Amusement Park offers a unique selection of carnival games that cater to all ages.

Apart from their classic carnival games, Scandia Amusement Park also boasts a range of thrill rides that provide exhilarating experiences for thrill-seekers. The park has many exciting rides such as the Sky Screamer, where riders soar through the air on swings 130 feet above ground level, or the Scandia Screamer roller coaster with multiple twists and turns. In addition, there are family-friendly rides like bumper cars and an interactive mini-golf course that is fun for all ages.

Overall, Scandia Amusement Park provides an entertaining day out for both families and thrill-seekers alike. The combination of classic carnival games and thrilling rides make it stand out among other budget amusement parks in California. It’s worth checking out if you’re looking for a nostalgic experience or just want an adrenaline rush without breaking the bank.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best time of year to visit these amusement parks?

The best time of year to visit amusement parks in California is during the off season, as it offers advantages such as shorter lines and discounted ticket prices. However, weather considerations must also be taken into account for a comfortable experience.

Are there any age or height restrictions for the rides?

Height and age restrictions vary among rides at amusement parks in California. Safety measures are taken seriously to ensure a family-friendly atmosphere. With entertaining options available, visitors can enjoy thrilling rides while feeling secure.

Is there a preferred way to purchase tickets to save money?

Ticket deals and membership benefits can help save money on amusement park admission. Many parks offer discounts for purchasing tickets online in advance or through promotional partnerships. Becoming a member of the park may also provide additional savings opportunities.

Are there any discounts or promotions available for visitors?

Visitors to amusement parks may benefit from group rates or loyalty programs. In fact, a recent study found that over 70% of theme park visitors participate in some form of loyalty program. These options can provide significant savings for frequent visitors.

What food options are available inside the parks and are they reasonably priced?

Food quality and dietary options vary within amusement parks in California. Many offer a range of fast food options, while others have healthier choices like salads and vegetarian dishes. Prices may be high, but some parks offer meal deals or discounts for season pass holders.


In conclusion, California is home to a plethora of amusement parks that cater to various budgets. From the thrilling Six Flags Discovery Kingdom and Raging Waters San Jose to the classic Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and Knott’s Berry Farm, there is something for everyone.

Universal Studios Hollywood offers an immersive movie experience, while Boomers! Palm Springs provides family-friendly entertainment. For those seeking a unique experience, Gilroy Gardens boasts beautiful botanical gardens and whimsical rides. Belmont Park has a historic wooden roller coaster and an oceanfront setting. Lastly, Scandia Amusement Park features miniature golf courses and go-kart tracks.

Overall, these budget-friendly amusement parks in California provide endless entertainment options for families and individuals alike. With such diverse offerings, visitors are sure to leave with unforgettable memories. So why wait? Grab your sunscreen and head out for a day of adventure at one of these amazing parks today!