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Next summer I'm going to be going on a fairly large 10-14 day coastering car trip across the northeastern part of the US. The plan was to head north from San Antonio and hit some number of parks going clockwise around the east coast. This is the general concept/rough draft:

 

SFOT

SDC

SFStL

KI

CP

SFGAdv (may switch order with PA parks)

Knoebels/Hershey/Kennywood (help me decide!!!)

Carowinds

SFOG

 

I want to cut down the trip so I can have 2-3 days at CP, and I wanted to go to Knoebels and Hershey but also wanted to space the parks out so there wouldn't be too many long parkless stretches, but at the end of the trip that may be nice (?)

 

Are there any parks here worth taking out (I'm thinking SFStL and SFOG, and then 1 or 2 of the PA trio. I probably won't stay at SFOT too long but I want to stop for a few hours because NTaG. That is all that needs to be said).

 

Which parks are worth staying at for 2-3 days (besides CP), which parks should we budget for fastpass, which parks should we hit on weekends as opposed to weekdays (since time is limited), and which parks should we go to or skip that are/aren't on the list? Many things could be subject to change depending on new additions for next year, or course.

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Next summer I'm going to be going on a fairly large 10-14 day coastering car trip across the northeastern part of the US. The plan was to head north from San Antonio and hit some number of parks going clockwise around the east coast. This is the general concept/rough draft:

 

SFOT

SDC

SFStL

KI

CP

SFGAdv (may switch order with PA parks)

Knoebels/Hershey/Kennywood (help me decide!!!)

Carowinds

SFOG

 

I want to cut down the trip so I can have 2-3 days at CP, and I wanted to go to Knoebels and Hershey but also wanted to space the parks out so there wouldn't be too many long parkless stretches, but at the end of the trip that may be nice (?)

 

Are there any parks here worth taking out (I'm thinking SFStL and SFOG, and then 1 or 2 of the PA trio. I probably won't stay at SFOT too long but I want to stop for a few hours because NTaG. That is all that needs to be said).

 

Which parks are worth staying at for 2-3 days (besides CP), which parks should we budget for fastpass, which parks should we hit on weekends as opposed to weekdays (since time is limited), and which parks should we go to or skip that are/aren't on the list? Many things could be subject to change depending on new additions for next year, or course.

 

Go to Kings Island, you can ride Banshee, The Beast and more! Also:

 

Banshee is an AMAZING ride.

On The Beast's lift hill, you could make a sandwich.. Pass the time.

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Quite a bit of driving on this trip! Here are some some quick thoughts.

 

When to visit SFGAdv, Knoebels, or Hershey, assuming you're visiting in the middle of the summer

SFGAdv: Budget for a Flash Pass, visit on a weekday, and see if you'll need the FP OR visit on a weekend and almost definitely buy a FP

Hershey: Visit on a weekday, consider doing the preview the night before, especially if you're unable to do your main visit on a weekday

Knoebels: Visit pretty much whenever. The park will be crowded on weekends but in my experience if you give yourself a full day at the park you should manage fine.

 

Knoebels vs Hershey

We've had this discussion other places, but here's what it comes down to for me: if you're focused solely on coasters, go to Hershey. IMO it has probably the most all-around fun coaster collection in the northeast, although if you're not into Skyrush you might feel it lacks an "elite" coaster. If you want to have a really fun day at an amusement park, go to Knoebels. It's a totally unique park with a world-class woodie, a solid second tier of coasters, and one of the best and most interesting collections of flats in the US. Particularly on a trip filled with big chain parks, I think Knoebels would be a breath of fresh air and most likely a more enjoyable day than Hershey. Honestly both are top-notch parks.

 

Other thoughts

So, knowing nothing about where you have or haven't been yet, what else you're doing on this trip, or how you approach large-scale coaster trips like this, I'm going to say that I think this trip is slightly off balance. It seems to me like you're doing a lot of long drives and skipping a lot of worthwhile parks along your route. Just looking at what you were planning on doing so far, it seems like without adding more than 2 hours of driving you could visit Holiday World, Kentucky Kingdom, Waldameer, whatever of the PA parks you end up skipping, Dorney Park, Six Flags America, Busch Gardens, Kings Dominion, and a few others slightly further away. I think if I were planning a trip like this I would consider cutting out SFGAdv and Knoebels / Hershey, and saving those for a dedicated Northeast trip involving PA, NJ, NY, New England, and maybe Virginia to go on some time in the future. The northeastern US is a very park-rich part of the country so it feels to me like you're doing a lot of driving there to barely scratch its surface. I think if you focus this trip into more of a midwest/south trip you'd end up being able to hit more parks more efficiently, and then come back and really get what the northeast has to offer in full!

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I pretty much haven't been out of Texas, coaster-wise. Next summer is the prime time for me to hit parks as it's the only time right now where I have a secured budget.

I may end up doing both Hershey and Knoebels, but the advice on saving the northeast is nice (what about El Toro?) but I may not get to do another trip like this for quite a while. I could probably budget for another one two summers out, but it could be tight.

 

Additionally, hitting too many non SF/CF parks adds up and can end up being hard to budget for.

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OK, so the second half of the trip is not going to have a huge focus on coasters but rather it'll have a focus on driving (since there aren't very many parks in the southeast) and cool stuff we find on the way/are interested in seeing.

I'd rather hit less parks with better coasters than more parks with huge credit counts.

Right now I'm still trying to find ways to cut down on parks out of this:

 

Six Flags Over Texas

Silver Dollar City

Six Flags St. Louis

Holiday World

King's Island

Cedar Point (2-3 days)

Dorney/Knoebels (same day)

Hersheypark

Six Flags Great Adventure/Coney Island (same day???)

King's Dominion

Carowinds

Six Flags Over Georgia

 

We cut Six Flags America for time constraints, Busch Gardens Williamsburg for financial reasons, Kentucky Kingdom for financial reasons, Kennywood for financial reasons, SFNE/LC because it was too far north, and Dollywood because my dad said no.

The schedule for this is for next June (although July may happen too).

We're trying to stay within as limited a budget as possible while allowing fast passes for Cedar Point and SFGAdv and wherever else needed.

 

My main questions are:

-Which parks/sets of parks should we take out? I wanted to cut SFStL but we can get lodging with my dad's friends in St. Louis so it doesn't make sense not to, and we need to fit this into as little time as possible with the best parks we can, but plans are very subject to change depending on how we are next summer both financially and time-wise.

-Is it possible to do Coney Island and SFGAdv in one day if you have a Platinum FP at SFGAdv? I know NY traffic is terrible...

 

There's so much we can't do due to time/money so help us with what we can do

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I'd rather hit less parks with better coasters than more parks with huge credit counts.

 

Based on this comment, you cut.

SFStL

Dorney

Coney Island

SFoG

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I'd rather hit less parks with better coasters than more parks with huge credit counts.

 

Based on this comment, you cut.

SFStL

Dorney

Coney Island

SFoG

I can see cutting SFOG, Dorney and Coney for time get from place to place sooner/get more time at Knoebels/save time respectively, however I already have considered cutting SFStL:

I wanted to cut SFStL but we can get lodging with my dad's friends in St. Louis so it doesn't make sense not to

 

That leaves the trip revised to this:

 

Six Flags Over Texas

Silver Dollar City

Six Flags St. Louis

Holiday World

King's Island

Cedar Point (2-3 days)

Knoebels

Hersheypark

Six Flags Great Adventure

King's Dominion

Carowinds

 

My dad may also want to do Coney Island anyway since we're interested in hitting historical landmarks/interesting places during the trip as well, but who knows how that'll work out.

We may also cut out SFOT since by next summer I will have been there before (maybe even twice).

Thanks for the help!

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  • 2 weeks later...

So I've made some cuts, cutting out SFOT (because I've been there twice now) and SFStL (based off of mapping, we won't need to stay there).

I'm considering cutting Kings Dominion because my only big draw there is I305, and I'm not really a big fan of blacking out on coasters, but we still have to make the Platinum CF pass worth it.

 

Questions:

 

-If we're doing both Hershey and Knoebels, what order should we do them in? The next day will be spent at SFGAdv, if that helps.

-We have the budget for FP/FL at SFGAdv and Cedar Point, but it's looking like we may be hitting Carowinds on a Saturday. Should we budget for that FL too? I'm guessing yes. One of the CP days will be a Saturday as well.

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I would look at some of the Past Theme park review trips. i feel that the paths that they take seems to be best not to many Long driving days but at the same time hit up little parks that you would not think about.

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Six Flags Over Texas

Silver Dollar City

Six Flags St. Louis

Holiday World

King's Island

Cedar Point (2-3 days)

Knoebels

Hersheypark

Six Flags Great Adventure

King's Dominion

Carowinds

!

 

Those are all good choices. The weakest one in my opinion is St. Louis but I understand from a budget perspective it helps with the Six Flags pass. Carowinds can get very crowded on Saturday and Nighthawk line can be very slow. You can avoid getting the fast lane plus by hitting that at opening. I would also try to move things around and hit it on a weekday.

 

If you drop SFOT I would drop St. Louis and add Busch Gardens since you would not need the season pass to Six Flags. Also 2 days should be plenty at CP.

 

Also Kings Island and Kings Dominion have a lot of same rides but again I understand with the platinum pass why you would do them both.

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^ I would say do SF St. Louis, for a couple of reasons. One, you'll be on I-44 in Missouri anyway, and the park is right on the highway. You'd be driving right past it if you didn't stop. Two, you can do the park in half a day easily, if the following are all true:

 

- You are going on a weekday

- You do not do the waterpark (trust me, Splashin' Safari is WAY better)

- You skip all the coasters that are also at other Six Flags parks

 

So you'll be riding Screamin' Eagle, Boss, American Thunder, and River King Mine Train. You can easily run in for a couple hours and do that. Mr. Freeze and Batman are both mirror images of the ones at SFOT, Ninja is also at SFOG, and Pandemonium and Boomerang are identical to the ones at SFFT. If you're into spinning flats, I've heard Excalibur is good. It makes me queasy just to look at it, so I've never been on it in all my visits there. But it is the only really unique flat at the park.

 

I would leave Branson by 7 AM, drive to SFStL and arrive by 10 AM, spend a couple hours there, head out early afternoon, and continue on to Holiday World (about 3-3.5 hours from SFStL).

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Sounds good, and since it's no extra fee I may as well hit SFStL. Maybe also do Dorney on Knoebels day?

 

I'm considering cutting KD because besides I305 there's nothing there that interests me all that much, but I'd probably replace it with another day at CP or SFGAdv.

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After hitting a lot of parks, I've realized that there are certain types of parks that have a dozen coasters and yet nothing worth going out of your way for if they don't have that signature ride. I went to Carowinds over the weekend and Fury 325 is very close to the best coaster I've ridden. I'd still rather spend a day at Knoebel's or Kennywood, parks that don't have the sheer numbers of a coaster spamming park, but parks that provide something that is innately enjoyable to go along with a signature coaster or two. Surely if you go to a park like SFoG you will get a large number of coasters, but after doing a couple small coaster roadtrips myself, the numbers just stop to mean anything compared to the unique rides. A ride on the Phoenix, Thunderbolt, or Phantom's Revenge will be far more worthwhile than almost anything else you will do outside of the gigas and things. Try not to miss these.

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Volcano at KD is worth visiting the park for the speed and the high inversions make for a top tier ride.

I also enjoy the massive loop of Dominator and it has has some surprising airtime after the mcbr.

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I love CP, and it's been my "home park" essentially, for over 30 years of fun! However, unless you are going wanting to ride every single flat ride, and take in every single show (as well as eating at as many different sit-down restaurants as possible), I don't see why you would need to spend more than 2 days there. Especially if you're getting the Fast Lane for at least one of those days. I can go there in mid May, right after the park opens for the year, and ride every coaster there and a few of the best flats, with time to spare. Yes, that's not going in the middle of the Summer on a weekend, but my point is that even with extra wait times, CP is still a solid 2-Day park, not a 3-Day park. Unless you're going for the complete park experience, and not just hitting the major coasters, which it seems like you're wanting, 2 days will be plenty!

 

I am a huge fan of BGW, myself, so I would never be able to swing through Virginia on a coaster trip, without hitting it up! I understand the financial aspect you're up against, but I'd still give it some thought if I were you. My three favorite amusement parks are Cedar Point, Hersheypark, and BGW, and that was before they added some of the awesome looking coasters they have now! Just something to think about...

 

I would also add another voice to those suggesting that you hit up Kennywood! Especially if you trim a day from CP, I would say it's worth the effort. You probably won't even need a full day there to get it done, but you'll be able to hit up all their old classic wooden coasters, the fun little Sky Rocket, and my #6 coaster, the awesome Phantom's Revenge! Oh, and don't forget Exterminator! That's a fun indoor spinning mouse coaster, not to be missed!

 

I know you'll have the Cedar Fair pass, and want to maximize that vs. spending on non-pass parks, but I'd still give serious consideration to holding off on Dorney Park, SFGAdv, and Coney Island, and adding Kennywood and BGW to your trip (assuming you also do Knoebels and Kings Dominion still.) Hitting those three parks in conjuntion with a Northeast trip a later year seems to be a better idea to me.

 

Have fun, whatever you do!

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I wanted to do a separate northeast trip but this is probably going to be the only big trip I can do for a while, so I'm trying to hit all my bucket list parks east of where I am (we're having a family reunion later in the summer and can hit the NoCal parks (and SoCal SF/CF if I can make time)). Basically, I have to do as much as I can fit into two weeks or so. The time isn't exactly figured out yet, and neither is the exact budget, but we know that two weeks is probably a maximum. The schedule is flexible but my dad insists on doing CP and SFGAdv (darn jeep doesn't care about Knoebels!)

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