The best roller coasters in America

The best roller coasters in America offer thrill-seekers exhilarating twists, drops and high-speed fun
Photograph: Courtesy Cedar Point/Jordan Sternberg
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If you can’t get enough of fast-action rides this summer, then this list of the best roller coasters in America is going to rock your world. Take your pick from our selection of the top wooden coasters and speeding machines of steel all waiting to shoot you into the sky and pull you back down to Earth at crazy speeds. While our list features rides from around the U.S.A., you’ll find some of these roller coasters in amusement parks near NYC. Kiddos too small to join in on the thrills? Then check out the best indoor amusement parks near NYC and the best water parks near NYC.

Best roller coasters in America

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Photograph: Courtesy Cedar Point/Jordan Sternberg

Millennium Force, Cedar Point, OH

Located in "The Roller Coaster Capital of the World," this steel giant is not for the faint of heart. It stands tall at 310 feet and reaches speeds of up to 93mph for a whirlwind experience that has riders feeling as if they’ve taken flight. 1 Cedar Point Dr, Sandusky, OH (419-627-2350, cedarpoint.com). From $49.

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Photograph: Courtesy Jordan Sternberg

Maverick, Cedar Point, OH

This Wild West-inspired ride packs a punch with twists and dives into tunnels at 70mph. If you can, keep those eyes open to catch beautiful views of the surrounding Lake Erie. 1 Cedar Point Dr, Sandusky, OH (419-627-2350, cedarpoint.com). From $49.

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Photograph: Courtesy Flickr/Matthew Nelson

Twisted Colossus, Six Flags Magic Mountain, CA

Once this wooden icon added steel components to its structure, the roller coaster was able to offer more thrilling features like inversions, crazier turns and a “Zero G Roll” 360-degree twist. And at four minutes long, it’s the world’s longest hybrid coaster. 26101 Magic Mountain Parkway, Valencia, CA (661-255-4100, sixflags.com/magicmountain). $82.99.

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Photograph: Wikimedia Commons/Jeremy Thompson

X2, Six Flags Magic Mountain, CA

Riders speeding on X2 won’t even know which way is way up: seats situated on wings extending off the track spin 360 degrees, drops are experienced head first and faced down at 76mph and music, fire and speed will all make for one amazing sensory overload. 26101 Magic Mountain Parkway, Valencia, CA (661-255-4100, sixflags.com/magicmountain). $82.99.

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Photograph: Courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Dusso Janladde

Nitro, Six Flags Great Adventure, NJ

If you can muster the courage to face that first drop of 215 feet, you’ll be rewarded with a subsequent 181-foot fall, speeds of 80mph, U-turns, camelback hills and a 540-degree helix spiral. It’s no wonder this sleek ride is dubbed a "hyper coaster." 1 Six Flags Blvd., Jackson, NJ (973-275-5555, sixflags.com/greatadventure). $74.99.

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Photograph: Courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Paulm27

El Toro, Six Flags Great Adventure, NJ

This wooden beast is going to try its hardest to shake off riders with an initial drop of 176 feet at a steep 76 degrees so hold on tight. After that first plummet, riders will fly at 70 miles per hour with hard twists, whips and heart-stopping drops in a little over two minutes. 1 Six Flags Blvd., Jackson, NJ (973-275-5555, sixflags.com/greatadventure). $74.99.

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Photograph: Courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Wildcat1 at English Wikipedia

Boulder Dash, Lake Compounce, CT

The award-winning wooden roller coaster has an initial drop of 115 feet and reaches more than 60mph as it weaves through and under trees on the mountainside’s terrain. 822 Lake Avenue, Bristol, CT (860-583-3300, lakecompounce.com). $43.99.

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Photograph: Courtesy Holiday World

The Voyage, Holiday World, IN

At 1.2 miles long, this ride is one of the world’s top two longest wooden coasters and features one of the steepest drops on a wooden roller coaster. Brave voyagers will enjoy 90-degree banking, eight underground tunnel experiences and a total of 24.3 seconds of zero-gravity moments over the course of the ride. 452 E Christmas Blvd, Santa Claus, IN (812-937-4401, holidayworld.com). From $27.99.

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Photograph: Courtesy Flickr/Steve Nuss

Fury 325, Carowinds, NC

If a “hypercoaster” no longer elicits heart palpitations, then you might want to test your nerves on a “giga coaster.” This steel ride begins with a climb to 325 feet before racing through an 81-degree drop, 190-foot tall barrel and horseshoe turns and S-curve moves at speeds of up to 95mph. And don’t think the lightning speed means it’ll be over quickly; the ride lasts 3.25 minutes and is over 1.25 miles long. In fact, it flies across North and South Caroline state lines. 14523 Carowinds Blvd, Charlotte, NC (704-588-2600, carowinds.com). $44-$65.

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