The Most Affordable California Theme Parks

in Knott's Berry Farm, Theme Parks

Pacific Park on Santa Monica Pier at night California Theme Parks

Credit: Pacific Park

California has a plethora of Theme Parks to choose from for your vacation. However, things can get expensive. So whether you head to the northern or southern part of The Golden State, these parks are your most affordable options.

A view of Pixar Pier at night, overlooking the lake.
Credit: Disney

There’s a reason that California is one of the top tourist destinations in the world. Gorgeous beaches, unbelievable camping, and some of the best Theme Parks in the entire world, like Universal Studios Hollywood, SeaWorld San Diego, Six Flags Great America, and, of course, Disneyland Resort. But because of this, everything in The Golden State is horrendously expensive.

That doesn’t mean saving money when you visit California is impossible! In fact, there are plenty of affordable Theme Park options that can give you the best vacation possible for the least amount of money. So let’s take a look at the most affordable Parks in all of California.

These Theme Parks Are The Best Bang For Your Buck

The Big Dipper at Belmont Park at sunsetTheme Parks
Credit: Belmont Park

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As mentioned earlier, there are plenty of Theme Parks in California. So what determines whether a Park is affordable or not? Regarding finances, we’ll be looking at three categories: ticket price, parking fee, and accommodation. According to HomeToGo.com, that means the median price per night to stay near the Park.

Other than finances, there’s one more factor that’s being considered: the number of attractions. Basically, how much will you and your family be able to do when you visit the Park? While a $100 ticket fee might not seem that bad, it’d be too much if they only had one ride.

Disney Characters at Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Resort in California
Credit: Disney

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That means there are honorable mentions that fit some of these criteria but not all of them. Belmont Park and Pacific Park are great Southern California options with a low entry fee, but they both have the least attractions, with seven and eleven a piece. Oddly enough, the Parks with some of the least expensive accommodations are Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, assuming you’re not staying at a Disney Hotel.

But enough with the preamble! Here are the most affordable California Theme Parks, split into Southern and Northern California.

Southern California: Knott’s Berry Farm

Ghostrider at Knott's berry farm theme parkCalifornia Theme Parks
Credit: Knott’s Berry Farm

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One of Disneyland’s earliest rivals, Knott’s Berry Farm is one of the most underrated Theme Park experiences in the country. Often overshadowed by Disney and Universal Studios Hollywood, Knott’s offers more thrills than either for a lower price.

The entry fee and parking aren’t that bad, totaling $109.99, and the accommodations are even better with the lowest price of any California Park, $45.60. That means you’ll only be paying around $155.59 for a day at Knott’s.

Add on 35 different attractions, including some of the best roller coasters in the country, and you have what is easily the most affordable Park in Southern California.

Northern California: Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

The Joker coaster Six Flags Discovery KingdomCalifornia Theme Parks
Credit: Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

While Southern California gets the most attention, and the most Theme Parks, Northern California is deserving of its own recognition. Not only does it have a natural beauty that is unmatched by anywhere else in the United States, but it actually has the most affordable Park in the state: Six Flags Discovery Kingdom.

Located 40 miles outside San Francisco, Discovery Kingdom is one of four Six Flags parks in California. What separates it from the rest is that it has 40 different attractions, right behind Six Flag Magic Mountain‘s 41. This includes animal interactions, making it one of the most unique Parks in the state.

However, Discovery Kingdom has some of the least expensive entry fees, with the parking and ticket combined for only $89.99. With the $92.59 median accommodation, you’ll only be paying $182.58 total. That’s much less than Magic Mountain’s $232.65.

What’s your favorite Theme Park in California? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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