Here’s how to plan your visit to the D.C. region’s hidden gem amusement park.
Six Flags America delivers fun for all ages without breaking the bank or breaking your spirit waiting in long lines.
Here’s how to attend Six Flags America and have a good time on a dime!
Where is Six Flags America?
Six Flags America is in the D.C. suburbs of Prince George’s County, specifically 13710 Central Avenue, Bowie, Md. It’s almost due east of Washington, D.C., outside the I-495 beltway.
It takes about a half hour to get there from downtown D.C., Bethesda, Silver Spring, or Arlington. That makes it a fairly easy drive, depending on traffic, from just about anywhere in the area.
Parking at the park costs $30. However, it’s free for season pass members (read on for why you should do this).
How to get to Six Flags on Metro
There are no good public transit options. The only way is to take Metro’s Blue Line to Largo Town Center and transfer to the C22 bus. The bus trip takes about 30 minutes itself and Metro times vary by departure location.
For those in D.C or its suburbs, Six Flags America is far more convenient than the two other similarly sized parks in the region, Hershey Park in Pennsylvania or Kings Dominion in Virginia, and delivers a very similar experience.
Six Flags America is clean, well landscaped, more walkable than its peers, and still delivers plenty of fun.
How to Score Ticket Deals
A daily ticket starts at $35 and goes to $40 on weekends (plus fees). If you plan on going more than once, however, you should buy a season pass.
A season pass costs just $60 (plus fees) and includes free parking.
Six Flags is NOT included on a DC Tourist Pass - which is a great way to save money on attractions.
If you score a season pass early (before Memorial Day sales end), you also get the Hurricane Harbor admission for the same price. If you’re a family of four, for example, you save $140 with season passes for everyone versus two weekend daily ticket visits for everyone.
If you live in the D.C. area, buying a season pass makes a lot of sense if you think you’ll go more than once over the entire season May-October.
If you’re visiting from elsewhere, the daily ticket may be the better option (unless the kids beg to go back). For those living in the D.C. region, take advantage of their holiday and other early-bird sales.
Six Flag America Hours
The park is open daily in the summer.
11am-7pm (later on Saturdays during Summer Break)
The park is open on Fridays and weekends starting in late May, every day from early June-late August, and weekends in September and October. Season passes expire in mid-November.
Check dates/hours here.
With the park closed in the winter, don't forget to check out other great things to do in Washington, DC.
What age is Six Flags America good for?
Kids 2-years-old and younger receive free admission to Six Flags America and Hurricane Harbor, and there is plenty for them to do.
The smallest kids rides have a minimum height of 36 inches to ride alone and there are several rides that have no height requirement with an adult.
The amusement park also has special rates for group admission and parties. Also, there are bring a friend deals for $19.99 on weekdays in June and July as part of the monthly season pass holder benefits.
Washington DC has hundreds of things to do with kids - museums, tours, fun activities & more.
Bag Policies and Safety
One of the annoyances of amusement parks is the price of concessions.
This is no difference at Six Flags, where a burger and fries will cost you about $20. Food and beverages may not be brought into the park, per their official guidelines.
However, bags are allowed inside.
The pain of bringing a bag into a theme park is you either need to rent a locker (at six different locations) or carry it with you to every ride. There is a free cubby (or area inside the ride gates) to put your bag before boarding rides, so it’s actually not much of a hassle.
I suggest bringing a small backpack.
You can bring empty water bottles into the park. There aren’t many water fountains around, but you can ask to fill it up at one of the restaurants.
There’s also a $10 add-on to a daily ticket that gives you an All-Day Drink Bottle with unlimited soft drinks.
There are safety precautions as you enter the park, including bag checks, metal detectors and security guards. Prohibited items in the park include:
- Firearms, ammunition, knives and weapons of any kind
- Marijuana (including marijuana enriched products) or any illegal substance
- Glass bottles (excluding small containers such as baby food jars)
- Drones, remote controlled devices, scooters, skateboards and shoes with built-in wheels
- Selfie sticks, monopods and similar hand-held extension poles for cameras or mobile devices
The entire park is cashless, so all purchases must be made with a credit/debit card. Apple Pay is not available and accepted throughout the park, so don’t leave home without your wallet.
Amusement Park Rides
What keeps most people away from theme parks is the thought of sweating in long lines waiting for rides.
My favorite part of Six Flags America is the lack of people, and thus lines. It remains a hidden gem of D.C. tourism attractions, likely because it’s in an area not known for tourism.
It’s always best to avoid weekends if possible, but even then, the lines are not outrageous.
On a summer weekday, you will wait no longer than two rotations (or about 10 minutes) to get on all but a few of the biggest roller coasters.
If you have younger kids who are too scared to go on the big coasters, you will hardly experience any wait.
On a Friday in late May, my 7-year-old daughter and I remained in our seats for multiple rides in the front seat on the same roller coasters because there was nobody in line. It’s a kid’s dream come true.
There are rides for all ages, heights and bravery in the amusement park. Most of the coasters require kids to be 48 inches or taller (about 6-7 years old for most kids) to ride. Even if they haven’t reached that threshold, there are plenty of options.
Batwing, Firebird, Superman Ride of Steel, and Joker’s Jinx are for the bravest of riders and requires riders be at least 54 inches tall.
There are six general areas to the park: Main Street 1776 (shopping), Looney Tunes Movie Town (little kid rides), Olde Boston (classic fair rides), Mardi Gras (medium kid rides), Chesapeake (mostly medium kid rides), and Gotham City (thrill rides).
Here’s a link to the full map, which you can print out before you go or grab a free one on your way into the park.
Admission to the water park, Hurricane Harbor, is NOT included in your general admission ticket.
However, there has not been a separate ticket-taking area when entering the water park, which is entered through the amusement park. The only place tickets are scanned is when you first enter the front of the amusement park.
Regardless, a “pass” to the Hurricane Harbor water park is just $7 for a single day and is included as a free upgrade if you buy a season pass before Memorial Day sales end (which extend slightly pass Memorial Day).
Hurricane Harbor has something for everyone on those hot, muggy days of D.C. summers.
There’s a giant wave pool (Hurricane Bay) surrounded by dozens of reclining pool-side chairs. You’ll have to be nimble to score a chair in the shade, however.
Just behind the wave pool is a lazy river with tons of tubes. You don’t have to wait long to grab one (they’re free) and you’re on your way.
There are also a couple slides that dump into pools inside the lazy river, so you can stay there a long time with the kids.
Next to the wave pool is a splash park (Buccaneer Beach) with small slides for the younger children (about 7 and under). Splashwater Falls is similar to Buccaneer Beach but for bigger kids and is more of a water play structure than a pool.
For the thrill seekers, there are five “maximum thrills” water slides, mostly requiring riders to be at least 48 inches tall to ride alone.
You cannot wear bathing suits on amusement park rides, except for dried trunks/shorts. That means extra clothes must be packed if you plan to go from the water park to the amusement park. It’s another reason to bring a bag with you.
What if I don’t like roller coasters?
If you’re feeling squeamish or tired, there are free shows at various times throughout the day in several areas of the park.
The park also has special events throughout the season, including Viva La Fiesta on weekends in June, fireworks shows on Saturday nights in July, Oktoberfest on weekends from September through October, and its signature “Fright Fest”
Halloween event on evenings in mid-September-October.
If looking for a bite to eat or to just relax with a frosty beverage on a hot day, there are plenty of options. Coffee & Cones, located on the main street you enter, has Starbucks coffee and Tillamook ice cream.
Steelworks Pub in Gotham City and Hurricane’s in Mardi Gras have beer, wine, and spirits. Johnny Rockets in the middle of the park serves up your classic lunch and dinner fare and there are many more options regardless of where you are in the park.