By Gabe Willison, Contributing Writer

As a self-pronounced coaster enthusiast, my summers include a plethora of visits to various amusement parks. So if you’re anything like me, and staying in or around Kentucky this summer, you’ll want to make sure you check all three of these amusement parks off your list.


Cedar Point 

Sandusky, Ohio

Roller Coaster Capital of the World. If you’ve never been to Cedar Point, you’re missing out. This park sits on a picturesque peninsula on Lake Erie. With 17 first class coasters (one of them voted Best Steel Coaster in the World), you could spend an entire weekend just trying to check all the rides off your list. If you’ve been there before, this summer is a great time to go back. The stand-up coaster formally known as Mantis has been transformed into a less painful, seated version of its former self with a new name, “Rougarou”. And if you’re like me and love the Wild West themed Maverick, it’s getting all new, less ear-smacking restraints.

Single Day Ticket: $49.99 (Online Price) 

Season Pass: $123

Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari 

Santa Claus, Indiana

This family owned and operated park is located about an hour west of Louisville. Imagine celebrating four major holidays in one day. In its theme park, Holiday World built “The Voyage”, a wooden roller coaster that won the award for best new ride in 2006, and continued to win the award for best wooden coaster for the next five years. New this year is a first-of-its-kind launched wing coaster named “Thunderbird”. Over on the Splashin’ Safari waterpark side is the world’s two longest water coasters. Plus, your ticket includes free soda, sunscreen, and parking.

Single Day Ticket: $44.99 (Online Price) 

Season Pass: $138


Charlotte, North Carolina

Have you been to Kings Island one too many times? Try its sister park. I can give you one huge reason to visit Carowinds: Fury 325 (pronounced three-two-five). At 325 feet tall, Fury is the fifth tallest coaster in the world. Imagine Diamondback at Kings Island, but 95 MPH and nearly 100 feet taller. Did I mention there are no over-the-shoulder restraints? In addition to Fury, the park has 10 other roller coasters, a waterpark, and because the state line runs through the park, you can stand in both of the Carolinas at once. Trust me, the drive is worth it.

Single Day Ticket: $41.99 (Online Price)

Season Pass: $96