One of the most fun things about going to an amusement park is riding a roller coaster! If you love soaring high up into the air, followed by your stomach dropping as you dip down low, then loop up and around, you know all about this thrilling sensation. If you’ve never been on a roller coaster, what are you waiting for? You’re just in time to celebrate National Roller Coaster Day on August 16, but these coasters are sure to be fun whenever you ride them.
We’ve gathered some of the most daring, exciting, and unforgettable roller coasters in the United States for you to try.
Kingda Ka is the briefest of the rides we’ve listed, clocking in at only 50 seconds, but what a 50-second ride it is! At 456 feet high, this roller coaster at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson Township, New Jersey, is the tallest coaster in the whole world and the fastest in North America. This U-shaped roller coaster goes from 0 to 128 miles per hour in just 3.5 seconds—see, we told you it was fast! Then you go 90 degrees straight up, followed by a 270-degree spiral ending with a 129-degree camel hump (the hump-shaped hill where you feel like you’re weightless).
This exhilarating roller coaster, located at Lagoon Park in Farmington, Utah, whisks riders along its 2,375 feet at 70 miles per hour and has three inversions, including a 140-foot-tall inverted loop, plus a water feature. In other words, if you like to scream, you’ll want to ride Cannibal!
Wonder Woman™ Flight of Courage
This new for 2022 roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Santa Clarita, California, is the world’s longest, tallest, single-tail roller coaster. At 3,300 feet in length, with a speed of 58 miles per hour, riders are in for unforgettable scream-worthy thrills.
For those who enjoy wooden roller coasters, Outlaw Run is one you’ll want to check out. Located at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri, Outlaw Run has a first drop of 162 feet at 81 degrees, with a top speed of 68 miles per hour. You’ll view the Ozark Mountains as you zoom through the air, including three upside-down twists. What better way to enjoy nature than with a stomach-dropping ride?
You’ll probably want to wait to eat until after you ride Phantom’s Revenge (formerly called steel phantom) because it has a 232-foot drop (and that’s its second drop, so you’ve got one to prepare you). And that’s not all! Phantom’s Revenge at Kennywood amusement park in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, passes neighboring coaster Thunderbolt twice, with their website promising it’s “so close your heart will skip a beat.”
Also located at Kennywood, Steel Curtain boasts nine inversions, the most of any roller coaster in North America. If you love hanging upside down in the air and are a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, this ride’s perfect for you. One of those inversions happens at 197 feet in the air, the tallest inversion in the world. This is definitely not a ride for roller coaster newbies unless you’re ready to truly take the plunge!
Located at SeaWorld San Diego, Emperor is floorless, so your legs will hang in the air as you swoop down 90 degrees through the air and scream as it takes many loops that will have you hanging on tight. Inspired by the Emperor penguin, this roller coaster is not for the faint of heart.
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay in Florida categories the Montu roller coaster as extreme, and they aren’t kidding. This roller coaster has seven different inversions, including an Immelman loop, a simultaneous loop and roll, for those who like to enjoy their rides with the maximum thrill factor.
If you like roller coasters, you know how they work: you go forward at an increasingly high rate of speed, taken uphill, followed by a plunge down that’s likely to make you feel like your stomach is doing cartwheels. The Pantheon at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia, the world’s fastest multi-launch roller coaster, has that, along with a twist: it also goes backward! Right before one of its largest dips, it sends passengers backward for a whole new level of roller coaster thrill. With four launches, two inversions, and a 95% drop, this ride is for true roller coaster aficionados.
Wooden roller coaster, The Voyage, lives up to its name! This ride, located at Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana, lasts almost three minutes and gives riders a feeling of weightlessness for 24.3 seconds, which can feel like a lifetime while you’re riding. Along the way, riders travel through five underground tunnels and experience three 90-degree banking turns. This is a trip you’ll never forget!
Many parks offer you the option of immortalizing your ride by getting a souvenir photo of you on the roller coaster so you can capture all those happy screams. Happy Roller Coaster Day!