A Guide to the Best Roller Coasters in the U.S.

best roller coasters

Hands up and say, “wheeeee!”

Happy National Roller Coaster Day! What, you guys didn’t know it was a holiday? It’s cool… but now that you do, there’s only one way to celebrate. Whether you like them faster, taller, or upside-down, it’s time to check out some of the best roller coasters in the U.S.

If you’re feeling brave enough to experience life’s ups and downs—literally—head to one of these cities for the (roller coaster) ride of your life!

  • Anaheim, CA

    This SoCal city is home to numerous theme parks, including the original Disney park, Disneyland.

    Disneyland Resort arguably has some of the most fun, themed rides in the country. Iconic coasters such as the Matterhorn Bobsleds and the newly redesigned Incredicoaster will take you for exciting rides with dips, twists, and the occasional inversion.

    Bringing little ones that don’t meet height requirements? Disneyland makes it simple! Use their Rider Switch program, where adult riders can take turns staying with non-riders, without having to wait in line twice.

    Disneyland’s coasters might not be as fast or tall as some of the others on the list, but when it comes to storytelling and attention to detail, it’s the gold standard.

    Best Roller Coasters for: die-hard Mouse-keteers of all ages

  • Jackson, NJ

    Ready to scream yourself hoarse? Then head over to Jackson, NJ and its beloved Six Flags Great Adventure Park.

    The park has a ton of roller coasters, but we’ll start off with just two words: Kingda Ka. Because that’s the name of its flagship coaster… which also happens to be the biggest and the fastest roller coaster in the U.S. Yikes!

    We’ll spare you the harrowing deets, but suffice it to say it includes a U-shaped 45-story upside-down track and trains that go from 0 to 128 mph in an unforgettable 3.5 seconds.

    When your head finally stops spinning, head over to El Toro. This wooden roller coaster has won several “best of” awards, and with good reason! We’re talking insane drops, unmatched speeds, and maximum hang times.

    Then take a break, and go ahead… ride them again. We double-dare you!

    Best Roller Coasters for: getting an unparalleled adrenaline rush

  • Orlando, FL

    Oh, Orlando! The sunny city is home to the other “House of the Mouse,” Disneyworld, plus a host of other coaster-filled theme parks, including Universal Resort’s 2 theme parks and Sea World.

    Disney’s coasters aren’t toooo over-the-top; not many upside-down loops or terrifying drops. But that doesn’t make classic rides such as Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and Expedition Everest any less exciting!

    But if you’re up for something a bit more adrenaline-spiking, head over to the theme parks at nearby Universal Resorts. Their coasters are undoubtedly faster, taller, and all-around more thrilling. The Incredible Hulk Coaster, VelociCoaster, and Rip Ride Rockit are amazing “traditional” coasters, while Escape from Gringotts throws in special effects, and 3-D animation to bump up the excitement.

    Best Roller Coasters for: multi-park, heart-pounding fun

  • Sandusky, OH

    No roller coaster tour would be complete without Cedars Point amusement park, the 150-year-old “Roller Coaster Capital of the World.”

    Probably the most well-known of the park’s roller coasters is Millennium Force. The once-highest coaster boasts some pretty amazing stats: over 300 feet high and an intense speed of 93 mph. It’s not just a thrill, it’s a loooong thrill, lasting for a heart-thumping two-and-a-half minutes.

    Once your breathing gets back to normal, head over to Top Thrill Dragster. Just behind Kingda Ka in terms of height and speed, it features an unreal 420-foot, 90-degree drop!

    If your poor heart can handle more, check out Steel Vengeance. This “hyper-hybrid” combines a classic wooden coaster and cutting-edge steel coaster for a long ride that includes a full 30 seconds of air time.

    Best Roller Coasters for: an action-packed ride through theme park history

If your heart is happily pounding just from reading these descriptions, it’s time to pick a city, book a flight, and ride some of the best roller coasters in the U.S.!

And to make sure your adrenaline rush comes from a roller coaster, not stress, ship your bags to your final destination with LugLess. No hassles at the airport, no waiting at baggage claim. So you can go straight from flying in the air to, well, flying in the air!
Happy Coastering, you guys!