More than 116 million people visit the Disney parks each year, with 17 million at the Magic Kingdom alone, according to the Themed Entertainment Association. Instead of spending thousands of dollars to struggle through crowds in the hot Florida sun, give smaller, regional theme parks a try.
Some of the country's most popular theme parks are found in surprising locations, so you're never far from a towering waterslide or thrilling coaster. Best of all, many parks offer annual passes for not much more than the cost of a one-day ticket. For the very best deals, look for mini waterparks at local pools or community centers. By sticking close to home, you'll not only avoid piling on vacation-related debt, but also get to extend your stay-cation all summer long.