Once upon a time, Boblo Island provided the roller coaster fix for Metro Detroiters. Since the Island went condo, however, residents have had to branch out. There are a fair amount of amusement and theme parks near Detroit. They are ranked according to their distance from the Metro Detroit area.
Stagecoach Stop USA
Where: Irish Hills
Stagecoach Stop USA is a mock western town, complete with gunfight shows, a stagecoach ride and a saloon serving sarsaparilla root beer. It's about an hour or so drive from the Metro Detroit area, but the park provides a good half-day worth of entertainment.
Note: While the park closed in 2007, it was purchased in 2013 and turned into a western resort.
Crossroads Village and Huckleberry Railroad
Crossroads Village is an entire 19th-century village, complete with 35 buildings and a working locomotive for train rides. Crossroads Village is a great place for a family with younger children. It has a carousel, gondola, costumed villagers and the Genesee Belle, an authentic paddle-wheel riverboat. It also has special exhibits on the holidays.
Where: Sandusky, Ohio
Cedar Point offers both an amusement park filled to the brim with roller coasters and a water park. It is located on a narrow peninsula in Lake Erie, just outside of Sandusky, Ohio. For many Detroiters, the Blue Streak was their first and favorite roller coaster. It is still there but seems small compared to the Magnum that literally towers over it. These days, the park has 17 roller coasters and holds several records.
Where: Outside of Muskegon, Michigan
A lesser-known cousin to Cedar Point, Michigan's Adventure is owned by Cedar Fair. It has both an amusement and water park, which are comparable in size to one another. The park's main claim to fame for years was Shivering Timbers, one of the world's top-ranked wooden roller coasters. In recent years, however, the park brought in a couple of bigger and scarier rides, including 2008's Thunderhawk.
Where: Niagara Falls, Ontario
Beluga whales, roller coasters, zoo animals and cheesy jokes are some of the attractions available at the theme park. Because it is located off the main drag in Niagara, it has a lot of land and therefore feels less crowded than a lot of other parks.
King's Island gives Cedar Point a run for its money when it comes to quantity of roller coasters. With only three fewer roller coasters than the Point, there is a large number to choose from, including Firehawk, a flying coaster. The park is also home to the tallest and fastest wooden roller coaster in the nation, Son of Beast.