I’m often asked about the best time to visit theme parks. After reading this week’s Top 3 Thursday you’ll be able to find beautiful sights like this empty queue for Magnum XL-200 at Cedar Point. In order of worst to best, here are the best days to visit theme parks.

#3 – Weekdays During the Summer
If you have to go to a park during the summer months, do yourself a favor and visit during a weekday. Although you may have to take off from work, your visit will be worth it. You’ll actually be able to get on and off of the attractions and experience more of the park in less time.

#2 – Weekends Early or Late in the Season
Even though parks will run special Halloween promotions late in the season and opening weekend promotions early in the season, crowds are much smaller on the first and last days of the season. Look for discounted admission coupons late in the season and discounted season pass promotion early in the season.

#1 – Weekdays Early or Late in the Season
Weekdays early (March, April, and early May) and late (September and October) are the best time to visit theme parks. Many parks will only have weekends open during these times of the year, but some do offer weekdays. These days are your best bet for smaller crowds as cooler temperatures usually prevail. Also, kids invade theme parks in massive numbers when school’s out.

Tips to Remember:
#1 Saturdays are the worst, especially for popular parks. Avoid them like the plague!
#2 Weekdays are better than Weekends
#3 Cooler months are better than warmer months
#4 Bad weather forecasts can lessen crowds
#5 Some parks offer Twilight Admission. Enter the park late afternoon (usually 4 PM) and admission is reduced 40 to 50%.

What’s Your Take?
Any questions or comments? Leave ’em below.

About The Author

Founder of CoasterCritic.com. My favorite coasters are B&M hypers and gigas. I'm also a huge fan of terrain roller coasters.

7 Responses

  1. Mike

    Anyone know how attendance is on weekdays during May when theme parks have school trips coming to the park??

    • JaMeS 15

      im just in middle, and me and my frends r goin on the sheikra

  2. furrehhuskeh

    If you don't mind a little rain, slightly wet days are amazing to go to the park! Up here at Canada's Wonderland, I had a 15-minute wait for Behemoth or less the whole day, with some being a complete walk-on.

  3. @mattmcirvin

    I'd add another one: watch out for special promotions. Canobie Lake is a perfect place to visit on weekends in May and September, but you'd better steer clear of the place on Mother's Day, when mothers get in free, and the place gets bigger crowds than on a summer weekend.

    We made that mistake in 2011. There was a 30-minute wait for the chicken-finger stand, and over an hour for the "Canobie 500" mini sports-car ride. Since the mothers have to come with their children to get the deal, anything with kiddie appeal gets particularly mobbed.

    I've avoided the place on Father's Day, but I imagine it's even worse.

    This summer, we've had generally good luck. I went to Story Land in Glen, NH with my daughter on a sunny Monday in June and there were short waits everywhere; the longest lines were for the antique cars and the swan boats (both low-capacity, very popular rides). The Polar Coaster was a walk-on all day, so Jorie got to learn about re-riding front, back and center.

    Then in July, I went to Lake Compounce with my wife on a Saturday that was supposed to be mid-90s and stormy, and had had a little rain in the morning. The weather actually turned out great, and the crowds were quite light; I think they'd been scared off. Boulder Dash was about a 15 minute wait, and some of the water slides had lines, but a lot of things were walk-on.

  4. Koolcat

    i have found labor day is one of the best times ( I don’t know why but it just is.


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