10 Midwest roller coasters you must ride

You've got all summer to conquer these towering regional thrill rides

Photograph courtesy of Mt. Olympus

Hades 360 at Mt. Olympus (Wisconsin Dells, WI)

Photograph: Butterbean

Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point (Sandusky, OH)

Photograph courtesy of Six Flags Great America

Goliath at Six Flags Great America (Gurnee, IL)

Photograph courtesy of Kings Island

Banshee at Kings Island (Mason, OH)

Photograph: MarcProudfoot

The Beast at Kings Island (Mason, OH)

Matthew Owen

Millennium Force at Cedar Point (Sandusky, OH)

Photograph courtesy of Michigan's Adventure

Shivering Timbers at Michigan's Adventure (Muskegon, MI)

Photograph courtesy of Holiday World

The Voyage at Holiday World (Santa Claus, IN)

Photograph courtesy of Six Flags St. Louis

The Boss at Six Flags St. Louis (Eureka, MO)

Photograph: Jeremy Thompson

X-Flight at Six Flags Great America (Gurnee, IL)

The Midwest still doesn't have a Disney World equivalent, but it does play host to a handful of amusement parks packed with some amazing roller coasters. If you're not feeling like a day at the beach or you've already finished your summer reading, maybe it's time to go ride something a bit faster than the Red Line. This summer, new rides like Goliath and Banshee will offer up fresh thrills while old standbys like Millennium Force and the Boss continue to entertain. Fans of wooden coasters and steel attractions will find something to scream about on our list of the Midwest's must-ride roller coasters within a five-hour drive from Chicago.

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The Voyage

Leave it to a family owned and operated theme park in Santa Claus, Indiana to create one of the most exciting wooden coasters in the Midwest. The Voyage commemorates the Pilgrims' journey to America with a 154-foot drop and three insane, 90-degree banked turns. You'll be thankful for the chance to ride this coaster. Holiday World & Splashin' Safari (452 E Christmas Blvd, Santa Claus, IN).

Shivering Timbers

The design of Shivering Timbers is fairly simple as far as wooden coasters go—it's just a series of hills that gradually decrease in size. For riders who like getting some airtime, this coaster offers plenty of out-of-your-seat thrills. Michigan's Adventure (4750 Whitehall Rd, Muskegon, MI).


The first "wing coaster" to be built in America incorporates a repurposed air traffic control tower from O'Hare which riders fly through near the end of the ride. Clouds of smoke, zero-G rolls, vertical banks and the coaster's unique seating arrangement make X-Flight a ride you'll want to lift off in. Six Flags Great America (1 Great America Pkwy, Gurnee).

The Boss

Get in touch with nature by hopping onto this "terrain twister" style wooden coaster. Its 5,000 foot track was constructed in a way that incorporates the topography of the land, rising and falling with hills and valleys while riders let out primal screams. Six Flags St. Louis (4900 Six Flags St Louis Railroad, Eureka, MO).

The Beast

Built in 1979, the Beast is the granddaddy of wooden roller coasters, a sprawling 7,359 foot-long behemoth that is still the world's longest wooden ride. Throughout the years it has spawned a "sequel" coaster (the ill-fated Son of Beast) and inspired an R.L. Stine novel—all while remaining one of the top attractions at Kings Island. Kings Island (6300 Kings Island Dr, Mason, OH).

Hades 360

This Greek-themed ride won't drag you to the depths of the underworld, but its underground turns and banked curves may make you feel like you're about to meet the God of the Dead. The wooden coaster's most exciting feature is a 360 degree inverted roll that sends riders head over heels. Mt. Olympus Water and Theme Park (1881 Wisconsin Dells Pkwy, Wisconsin Dells, WI).

Millennium Force

The first giga coaster (a ride that exceeds 300 feet in height) may not be the tallest in the world anymore, but Millennium Force still one of the most thrilling experiences you can have at an amusement park. Boasting top speeds of 93 miles per hour and a gut-wrenching 300-foot drop, this coaster is a force to be reckoned with. Cedar Point (1 Cedar Point Dr, Sandusky, OH).


It's worth the wait to take a spin on this new Kings Island coaster, which takes riders through 4,124 feet of track in 2 minutes and 40 seconds. Banshee is the world's longest and fastest inverted roller coaster, so prepare to dangle your feet as you whip through zero-G rolls, loops and spirals at 68 miles per hour. Kings Island (6300 Kings Island Dr, Mason, OH).


This newly-opened Six Flags Great America attraction breaks three world records, securing its place as the world's tallest, fastest and steepest wooden roller coaster. It all starts with a 180 foot, 85 degree drop that leads riders onto a twisting track of inversions and banked turns at speeds of up to 72 miles per hour. You owe it to yourself to conquer this giant. Six Flags Great America (1 Great America Pkwy, Gurnee).

Top Thrill Dragster

There aren't many roller coasters that shoot you 420 feet into the air at 120 miles per hour, but that's exactly what you'll experience on this Cedar Point attraction, which uses hydraulics to achieve its incredible speeds. It's all over in 17 seconds—unless your train doesn't make it over the top and you roll back to the starting line for a second try. Cedar Point (1 Cedar Point Dr, Sandusky, OH).