Remember your first ride on a roller coaster? Were you a young daredevil who begged and pleaded with your folks to let you go or were you dragged against your will kicking and screaming by your friends? However you rode that first coaster, you probably felt no higher form of exhilaration.

In honor of National Roller Coaster Day, we’ve put together a list of the most stomach-churning, weightlessness-inducing, bladder-leakage causing, and downright absolutely terrifying coasters in America. Hold on tight!

Kingda Ka

Six Flag Great AdventureJackson, NJ

Being the tallest steel roller coaster in the world (456 feet) not only gives this monster coaster bragging rights, but it also brings the thrills with an eye ball popping 418-foot drop at speeds of up to 128 mph from its zenith. It’ll all be done in about a minute or so, so remember to keep your eyes open!

Millenium Force

Cedar PointSandusky, OH

Credit - Cory Disbrow/Flickr Creative Commons

Credit – Cory Disbrow/Flickr Creative Commons

This coaster has many riders feeling a sense of weightlessness that it is – for a lack of a better word – totally breathtaking (no, seriously, you could almost blackout from the drop if you don’t breathe normally). With a series of solid steep drops and speeds exceeding 90 mph, you’ll get off the ride feeling like a human yo-yo.


Lagoon Amusement ParkFarmington, UT

Debuting in July 2015, this new coaster on the block plummets into an underground tunnel, and features four inversions, including a unique inversion that consists of a counter-clockwise 360-degree roll followed immediately by a clockwise 360-degree roll. Yep, you better skip on that second hot dog before the ride.


Cedar PointSandusky, OH

Credit - shawnmeyer12/Flickr Creative Commons

Credit – shawnmeyer12/Flickr Creative Commons

Being a Wing Coaster (with riders suspended on either side of the track), means it’s already upped the thrill/scream points exponentially, but this coaster also is known for it “near hit” excitement factor as it propels dangling riders at speeds of up to 67 mph through narrow openings. You’ll also be able to experience the highest inversion in the world (a 170-foot drop).

Intimidator 305

Kings DominionDoswell, VA

While this NASCAR-themed coaster might look a bit run-of-the-mill at first glance, its hair-raising, low-to-the-ground turns will make you scream “Mommy!” as you feel like you’re going to scrape the gravel at any moment. That’s right – it’s called “Intimidator” for a reason.

El Toro

Six Flags Great AdventureJackson, NJ

Credit - Richard/Flickr Creative Commons

Credit – Richard/Flickr Creative Commons

You might feel like you’re up to taking El Toro by the horns, but be warned: you’re bound to feel like you’re being unseated by a bucking, raging bull when weightlessness kicks in. This wooden roller coaster hits speeds of up to 70 mph and is frequently rated as one of the best in North America.

Top Thrill Dragster

Cedar PointSandusky, OH

Sharing similar design features as Kingda Ka, you’d think Top Thrill Dragster has nothing new to offer. Think again. Being propelled at speeds of up to 120 mph to a height of 420 feet means you’re guaranteed to get your money’s worth … as well as an embarrassing picture of you clinging on to your friend’s hand in the seat next to you.


Six Flags New EnglandAgawam, MA

Credit - Sean Go/Flickr Creative Commons

Credit – Sean Go/Flickr Creative Commons

Themed after Superman’s evil mirror opposite, you’ll definitely feel a Kryptonian punch to the gut as this floorless coaster takes you through pyrotechnics, a mist spray, and a Zero G roll … all stretched out over an epic three and a half minutes of terrifying madness. Tip: You can blame the tears trickling down your cheeks on the mist spray.

Fury 325

CarowindsCharlotte, NC

This coaster’s 325-foot maximum drop and high-speed 95 mph turns will leave you feeling a bit light-headed and seeing red. Of course, we also have to mention the nervous anticipatory climb to the first hill at the very beginning (by a slow-moving chain lift), which will definitely give you time to chew through some fingernails.

The Voyage

Holiday World and Splashin’ SafariSanta Claus, IN

Credit - Jeff King/Flickr Creative Commons

Credit – Jeff King/Flickr Creative Commons

Holding the record for the most air-time (weightlessness) for a wooden roller coaster (24.3 seconds), this unique ride not only takes you through 90-degree banked turns, sickening drops, and multiple “headchopper” effects, but also weaves in and out of several underground tunnels.

There are so many terrifying and awesome rides out there that we found it really tough to narrow it down for our list, but if you’ve had a great roller coaster experience you want to tell us about, let us know in the comments below!

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Socialite, philanthropist, costumed crime fighter by wait...that's bad ... Musician, writer, travel junkie, dog lover, and database of useless information. I love to learn about new cultures, experience new cuisines, meet new people, and have a few laughs along the way!