Travel to These Fun Theme Parks That Are 4 Hours or Less from Indy

Nothing is more exhilarating than the rush of a rollercoaster for my children. Now that my kids are getting older, they are so excited to finally meet the height requirements for these thrill rides. Being a lover of fast rides and crazy rollercoasters myself, it is so exciting to share this with my children.

Midwest Theme Parks Near Indy

If you’re looking for a high-energy, adventurous getaway for your family, look no further than the Midwest’s best theme parks. You can make a weekend of it or just squeeze in a day trip. All the options on this list are around four hours or less from Indianapolis, so these action-packed destinations are easy to add to your summer plans!

Indiana Beach

5224 E. Indiana Beach Road, Monticello, IN 47960

Time from Indy: 1 hr, 30 min

Price: $21.99 – 41.99

Located on Lake Shafer, Indiana Beach has been a summer staple in Monticello since 1926. Featuring roller coasters, a log flume, carnival rides and games, a fully operational riverboat, a haunted house, and other rides, there’s something for everybody. Parents and grandparents will get a taste of nostalgia while providing new memories with the little ones.

What’s new in 2024: The debut of the brand-new roller coaster, The All-American Triple Loop, a steel coaster that features three vertical loops and hits a top speed of 53 mph. The minimum height requirement for this coaster is 59 inches.

Kentucky Kingdom and Hurricane Bay

937 Phillips Lane, Louisville, KY 40209

Time from Indy: 1 hr, 45 min

Price: $29.99 – 79.99

Kentucky Kingdom offers a “Free Pre-K Season Pass” option, where kids ages 3-5 can enjoy a summer full of fun completely free. All you have to do is register each child on the Kentucky Kingdom website. Following online registration, bring your child’s birth certificate or age-verifying ID to the season pass processing center on any operating day through June 30, 2024. After that, your littles will be all set to enjoy a summer of theme park fun!

Formerly known as Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom, the theme park has been around since 1987 and features multiple roller coasters ranging from kid-friendly to high thrills, raging rapids river ride, a 5-D theater, and plenty of variety regardless of age. Hurricane Bay has water slides, a lazy river, a wave pool, a kids’ splash zone, and even cabana rentals for some extra privacy and relaxation.

What’s new in 2024: While not under the summer fun umbrella, Kentucky Kingdom will debut its Christmas At Kentucky Kingdom event starting November 29th. The holiday festivities will feature over a million lights, a 175-foot snow tube hill, Santa’s house, and a whole lot more!

A child gives a thumbs up while seated on a ride at a theme park.

Kings Island

6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason, OH 45034

Time from Indy: 2 hrs

Price: $49.99

Now with over 14 roller coasters, King’s Island has been going strong in Mason, Ohio since its debut in 1972. Featuring one of only seven giga coasters in the entire world, Orion, the park has plenty of high-speed thrills. Invertigo is another unique coaster, as it’s the only face-to-face inverted coaster in the Midwest! If you’re not a thrill seeker, there are still plenty of calmer rides for all ages as well as the Soak City waterpark to cool off on those hot summer days!

What’s new in 2024: Camp Snoopy will open during the 2024 season. The new area will feature Snoopy’s Soap Box Racers, a boomerang coaster that launches backward and forwards with a max speed of 36 mph and will be a perfect roller coaster for first-timers or those looking for thrills that aren’t too intense for younger riders. Camp Snoopy will also feature Beagle Scout Acres, a playland featuring slides, tunnels, and more for younger kids.

Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari

452 E. Christmas Blvd. Santa Claus, IN 47579

Time from Indy: 2 hrs, 30 min

Price: $49.99 – 64.99

Built in 1946, Holiday World is a staple of southern Indiana to this day. The theme park is great for all ages and features everything from roller coasters to merry-go-rounds. Splashin’ Safari is a full-scale waterpark and a destination in its own right.

The theme park is divided up into four different holiday lands: Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, and Fourth of July, each with holiday-specific ride names. Holiday World has won multiple awards over its nearly 80 years of existence, including being awarded more ‘Golden Ticket” awards by Amusement Today magazine than any other amusement park in the world since 2016.

What’s new in 2024: The Good Gravy! Family Coaster makes its debut this summer. The new boomerang coaster sends riders traveling up a seven-story spike before going backward. The coaster features a max speed of 37 mph and has a minimum height requirement of 38 inches.

Six Flags Great America

1 Great America Parkway, Gurnee, IL 60031

Time from Indy: 3 hrs, 30 min

Price: $41 – 130

The self-proclaimed “Thrill Capital of the Midwest” has been captivating generations since it opened in 1976. Located an hour north of Chicago in Gurnee, Six Flags Great America has been at the forefront of revolutionary rides and thrills to keep fans coming back year in and year out. Roller coasters like the classic wooden American Eagle, modern classics like Batman: The Ride and Raging Bull, or new thrills like The Flash: Vertical Velocity or Maxx Force, there’s something for every thrill seeker.

For the non-coaster crowd, there are carnival rides like bumper cars, log flume rides, carriages, a carousel, and Kidopolis, a theme area for younger attendees. Hurricane Harbor is the waterpark at Great America, featuring the world’s tallest water coaster, Tsunami Surge, water slides (both body and raft), there’s plenty to cool you off on the hot summer days.

What’s new in 2024:  Sky Striker is the brand-new thrill ride for the 2024 season.  The high-flying pendulum ride reaches speeds of 75-mph, up to 175-feet in the air, and will bring riders nearly upside down with its 130-degree swings.

Six Flags St. Louis

4900 Six Flags Road, Eureka, MO 63025

Time from Indy: 4 hrs

Price: $35 – 76

If you’re planning a road trip on I-70 W, make sure you circle Six Flags: St. Louis as a can’t-miss destination. Located about 40 minutes west of St. Louis, Six Flags St Louis is full of fun and thrills. Home of classic coasters like The Boss and American Thunder, Six Flags St. Louis also features coasters like Boomerang, Ninja, Catwoman Whip, and Fireball, among others. For more thrills, there’s SkyScreamer, a swinging ride that takes you 236 feet in the air!

For fun with the younger kids, there are plenty of Looney Tunes-themed rides! Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety Bird, and others are all featured in different rides appropriate for all ages. Plus, the Hurricane Harbor and Adventure Cove waterparks will cool you off when the temperatures rise this summer!  Rides, slides, and relaxation is the name of the game when it comes to soaking in the sun while splashing around.

What’s new in 2024: The Joker: Carnival of Chaos takes everyone’s favorite Batman villain into one of the world’s tallest pendulum rides.  Standing at over 17 stories tall, Carnival of Chaos will send riders through the air at 75 mph and reaching heights of 172 feet.  With a minimum rider height requirement of 52 inches, Carnival of Chaos looks to send riders as close to the summer sun as possible.

A woman and a teen smile while riding a theme park ride.

Cedar Point

1 Cedar Point Drive, Sandusky, OH 44870

Time from Indy: 4 hrs, 20 min

Price: $49.99

Opened in 1870, Cedar Point is the second-oldest operating amusement park in the country.  The massive 364-acre park features a huge roster of 17 roller coasters that continue to push the limits of both speed and size. Massive coasters like Millennium Force, Magnum XL-200, and Valravn will twist, turn, and drop you from hundreds of feet at high speeds to keep you coming back for more.

For the younger crew, rides featuring the Peanuts characters keep the fun closer to the ground.  If it’s time to cool off, there’s the Cedar Point Shores waterpark, or you can soak up some sun at Cedar Point Beach, a mile-long beach along the waters of Lake Erie.

What’s new in 2024: A new high-speed roller coaster of course! Cedar Point unveils Top Thrill 2, the world’s tallest and fastest triple-launch strata coaster. What does that all mean? It means you’ll be shooting into the sky not once, not twice, but three times, reaching a top speed of 120 mph and reaching a height of 420 feet. A thrill seeker’s dream just came true!

A wooden roller coaster at Cedar Point in Ohio, just four hours from Indianapolis.

Legoland Discovery Centers

157 Easton Town Center, Columbus, OH 43219 (Time from Indy: 2 hrs, 45 min)
601 N. Martingale Road, Schaumburg, IL 60173 (Time from Indy: 3 hrs)
4240 Baldwin Road, Auburn Hills, MI 48326 (Time from Indy: 4 hrs, 45 min)

Price: $15.99 – 43.99 (varies by location)

Want to trade the fun in the sun for some air-conditioned entertainment? Look no further than the Legoland Discovery Centers! With three locations in the Midwest, Legoland Discovery Centers bring the fun and joy of all things LEGO to your backyard. From rides, roller coasters, and experiences featuring characters from LEGO movies, shows, and the popular toys, there is something exciting to do for all ages.

You don’t need to be a fan of LEGO to be able to have fun and make memories with your kids. From 4-D theaters to rides that keep you on the ground or put you in the air to just playing with LEGOs, there’s something for everybody. Legoland Discovery Centers offer one of the most affordable family fun options when looking for summer thrills!

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