Anyone who likes entertainment will appreciate the Herschend entertainment attractions. These fun stops include well-known parks as Silver Dollar City, as well as some more obscure options such as the Newport Aquarium. That said, no matter which Herschend attraction you choose, you’re sure to have a blast during your visit.
Does that sound like fun to you? What if I told you that you could enjoy a number of the Herschend attractions in one fell swoop for a fraction of what the price might normally be? Well, you can, and I highly recommend doing so.
Every great mission involves a well-devised plan, and this road trip is no exception. Here’s how you can go about seeing several awesome sights for very little money.
Purchase an Annual Pass
The trick to taking this awesome Herschend trip on a budget is to purchase an annual pass. Almost all of the Herschend attractions offer reciprocal benefits. However, I’ve found that the best option for this particular trip is the Stone Mountain basic annual pass. This pass is $59.95 for the entire year, and gives you unlimited admission to Stone Mountain Park as well as deep discounts at a number of Herschend attractions.
Pick up your discount tickets
When you arrive at each park, don’t forget to show your Stone Mountain Pass. This should get you 50% off the gate price, making this trip totally affordable despite the fact that you’ll be visiting eight different theme parks.
Stay at state parks
In general, what I’ve found when camping on a budget is that state parks give you the biggest bang for your buck. Luckily, there are plenty of state parks along this road trip route. You can easily find them (and other campgrounds along the way) while planning your route on RV Trip Wizard.
That said, there are a few exceptions to the state park rule. For instance, I recommend checking out the prices at the Stone Mountain Campground before booking the nearby state park. This campground often has comparable rates, and staying in the park’s lodging will mean you can skip the $15 parking fee.
So where exactly will you be going on this trip? Well, you’ll pass through seven states and see eight attractions. This trip can be done quickly, in a matter of a couple weeks, or you can choose to drag it out with relaxing camping days thrown into the mix.
Wild Adventures and Splash Island (Valdosta, GA)
Wild Adventures is the first park in our lineup. It’s a zoo and theme park rolled into one, making it tons of fun for the entire family. Attractions include tons of kiddie rides, a few coasters, a handful of other thrill rides, animal exhibits, and even a few animal encounter experiences and shows.
Additionally, admission to Wild Adventures includes admission to Splash Island, the property’s water park. Be sure to make your visit during the summer so you can take advantage of this fact!
- Full Price Admission: $49 for adults, $44 for kids
- Total for one adult with Stone Mountain Pass: $27
- Nearest State Park Camping: Reed Bingham State Park — $38 per night, 37.4 miles away
Stone Mountain Park (Stone Mountain, GA)
The second stop on our list is Stone Mountain Adventure Park. This attraction is quite unique. It includes a sky ride to the top of Stone Mountain, a ropes course, a scenic train ride, mini golf, a water playground, a 4D movie, a huge indoor playground, and occasional traveling exhibits. This park is ideal for the more adventurous souls out there, but still has a little something for everyone.
- Full Price Admission: $28 for adults, $23 for kids
- Total for one adult with Stone Mountain Pass: Free
- Nearest State Park Camping: Stone Mountain Park has a campground with full hookups. Also nearby is Fort Yargo State Park — $32 per night, 33.7 miles away.
Dollywood and Splash Country (Pigeon Forge, TN)
Any true Dolly Parton fan knows about Dollywood. This large, exciting theme park is a super fun family getaway that draws an enormous number of visitors each year. Attractions here include top-notch performances, kiddie rides, and thrill rides.
In addition to the traditional theme park, this property is also home to Splash Country, the Dollywood water park. Here, guests can slip, slide, and splash the day away in cool, clear water, making it the best place to be on a hot summer day.
- Full Price Dollywood Admission: $67 for adults, $54 for kids
- Full Price Splash Country Admission: $49 for adults, $44 for kids
- Total for one adult with Stone Mountain Pass: $33.50 for Dollywood and $24.50 for Splash Country; $58 for both parks
- Nearest State Park Camping: Panther Creek State Park — $24 to $31.25 per night, 43.3 miles away
Newport Aquarium (Newport, KY)
By the time you hit Kentucky, you may be ready for a brief break from the theme park madness. Lucky for you, the attraction this time is a gorgeous aquarium rather than a bustling amusement park. Newport Aquarium is an award-winning attraction, and something everyone should see at least once. To top it off, the aquarium is surrounded by other super fun things to do!
- Full Price Admission: $24.99 for adults, $17.99 for kids
- Total for one adult with Stone Mountain Pass: $12.50
- Nearest State Park Camping: Big Bone Lick State Park — $25 per night, 25.3 miles away
Silver Dollar City and White Water (Branson, MO)
Last but definitely not least, you’ll arrive in Branson, Missouri. This town is packed with things to do including the well-known Silver Dollar City. This history-themed amusement park is one of the best out there, and something that is well worth doing whether or not you choose to take on the Herschend road trip.
Right by Silver Dollar City is the park’s water park addition, White Water. This is a great place to be when it’s warm, giving you another reason to plan your trip in the summer.
- Full Price Silver Dollar City Admission: $54 for adults, $43 for kids
- Full Price White Water Admission: $35 for adults, $20 for kids
- Total for one adult with Stone Mountain Pass: $27 for Silver Dollar City, $17.50 for White Water; $44.50 for both parks
- Nearest State Park Camping: Table Rock State Park — $19 to $28 per night, 8.7 miles away
Purchasing the reciprocal theme park pass really makes this incredible trip financially feasible. By moving quickly and visiting each park once, a family of 4 should be able to take this trip for well under $2000, and may even be able to keep it under $1500. That said, you will want to remember to budget for gas, food, and parking ($12 to $15 at each attraction)!