Wow factor The Eiffel Tower, visible from I-95. Oh yeah, and did we mention that there are 15(!) roller coasters?
Admission $33.99-$56.99; $59.99 for two-day passes
Information 804-876-5000 or kingsdominion.com
Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Why you should visit in 2010 Even after being tagged the country's most beautiful amusement park for 20 years running by the National Amusement Park Historical Association, the European-flavored Busch Gardens Williamsburg is far from resting on its laurels. "We re-envisioned the Ireland section of our park," spokesman Kevin Crossett says, adding a new show, "Celtic Fyre," and a new flight-simulation ride, "Europe in the Air." ("You're up in the air." Get it?).
Even more colorfully, however, the park has added IllumiNights, a brightly lit nighttime display with elements in each of the park's four European-themed areas (16-foot-tall puppets in Ireland, a living cuckoo clock in Germany), ending in a spectacular fireworks display nightly at 9:30.
"It's kind of hard to put IllumiNights into words," says Crossett. But, he assures, it sure is pretty.
IllumiNights runs through Aug. 22.
Address Williamsburg, Va., Exit 243A off Interstate 64
Miles from the Inner Harbor 200
Wow factor Consistently rated even more beautiful than Disney World? That's impressive.
Hours through Labor Day 10 a.m.-10 p.m. daily through Aug. 22; closes 8 p.m. Aug. 23-27, 9 p.m. Aug. 29, 7 p.m. Aug. 30
Information 800-343-7946 or buschgardens.com/bgw