Amusement Parks

Family Vacations to Cedar Point

Last updated 16th October 2017

Why Go

If roller coasters really get your family’s blood pumping, this is the place to go—skip Florida and come to the surprisingly beautiful Lake Erie coastline, about an hour east of Cleveland. Known as “America’s Roller Coast,” this award-winning amusement park is uniquely situated on a long, skinny peninsula that juts out into the scenic lake. Cedar Point boasts an astounding 16 roller coasters, the second most number of thrill rides in the world. But perhaps even more impressive is its collection of types of coasters, including: steel, wooden, inversion, suspended, floorless, strata accelerator, impulse and dive. And for those truly looking for a stomach-dropping experience, five of the coasters are more than 200 ft tall.

What to Do

The theme park, while known for excitement, does also have several areas that cater to the smallest kids, each with about 10 simple, carnival-style rides: Kiddy Kingdom, Camp Snoopy, and Planet Snoopy. There are slower paced thrill rides, as well, like bumper cars, splashing water adventures and swinging rides. And for adults or kids less interested in the loops and hills, there are many slower-paced attractions and sit-down shows strategically located around the park. Try the Lusty Lil’s Wild West Revue and the All Wheels Extreme show featuring bikers, skateboarders and gymnasts.

The roller coasters are spread out through the park and there are numerous eateries for every appetite and price range, but a favorite is Famous Daves, a sit-down chain restaurant located just outside the park at the Cedar Point Marina. Simply get your hands stamped on the way out and take a refreshing break from the bustle of the amusement park an easy three-minute walk away.

Cedar Point also recently expanded its water park, Cedar Point Shores. There is a separate admission required, but you can purchase combination ticket packages if you want to spend part of your day cooling off and splashing around in the pools. Here, families can enjoy 17 water attractions, such as a lazy river, extensive splash area, solo water slides and multi-person raft slides.

Best Rides

With so many world-famous thrill rides to pick from, what do you do first? Here’s a guide to our favorites.

Millennium Force

This 310-foot monster steel coaster is one of the smoothest rides you’ll ever take. You’ll reach speeds of 93 mph and have unbelievable views of Lake Erie from the top of the first hill.

Magnum XL-200

The first coaster to break the 200-foot barrier back in 1989, the Magnum is still an excellent, quality ride. But perhaps its best feature is that because it’s old hat to so many park visitors, the line is often a crazy-short 15 minutes on even the busiest days.


This newer roller coaster, while not as impressive sounding in terms of speed or height, gives plenty of thrills, due to some unexpected mid-ride launches and plenty of twists. The wild west themed coaster is consistently one of the most popular rides in the park.

Top Thrill Dragster

Visible well before you arrive at the park, this 420-foot behemoth launches riders from a standstill to 120 mph, giving you the most intense rush of the day.


Cedar Point’s first winged coaster, this ride dive bombs around and through the gates at the front of the park like a jet fighter, giving an impressive visual to visitors entering for the day. Riding the left or the right side of the trains is so different, they might almost be two entirely differently rides.

Blue Streak

This simple coaster, one of the park’s smallest, is an excellent first roller coaster for smaller kids who are afraid of the bigger rides. The two-minute ride reaches just 40 mph and there are no inversions, just a nice ride up and down various sized hills.

Getting Around

Driving is really the only way to get to the park itself, as the mostly rural area surrounding it does not have public transportation options. Cedar Point is an easy hour drive from Cleveland or Toledo, 2 hours from Detroit or Columbus and less than 3 hours from Pittsburgh. There are numerous hotel options around the park, but if you stay at one of the park-owned hotels or campgrounds, you’ll be able to enter the park earlier than the general public. You may also score discounted tickets or free passes to Cedar Point Shores. Daily tickets to the park are as low as $49 if bought online, though adding the optional Fast Lane Plus will bring that to $122.

Paul J. Heney is an award-winning writer and avid world traveler. He has written extensively about family travel, green issues, cruises, and LGBT travel issues. He lives in suburban Cleveland with his partner and two sons, Joshua, 16, and Mathew, 10.