Best Of The Best Roller Coasters In America: Top 5 Thrill Rides, According To Experts

There’s something you can’t beat about the anticipation of that clinking, clanging, and lurching lift as you rise up into the sky on a high-powered roller coaster. Emotions are running wild in your head as you contemplate just why you decided to go on this extremely tall and fast ride. Your stomach is in knots and there’s a nervous grin on your face. Right as you get to the top of the hill and you see what’s before you, you start to scream! The next few minutes are an adrenaline-pumping cacophony of laughs, screams, and hollers. Right as the train comes to a complete stop, all you’re asking yourself is, “When can we go again!” For thrill-seekers, here are the top five best roller coasters to add to your bucket list.

It’s obvious that roller coasters fall in the category of thrills and a study has shown that one-fifth of people who take part in these types of activities have a “happy glow” when it’s over. Also, men were more likely to engage their inner daredevil than women.

While some are petrified to strap into a rollercoaster ride, others find them to be enjoyable and exciting. It’s quite possible the screams you hear on the way down are a mixture of emotions. In fact, a recent study finds most people can’t tell the difference between screams of joy and screams of terror. Hopefully, you aren’t the kind to shy away from amusement rides and can add a few to your bucket list after reading this list.

Okay thrill-seekers, pull down that lap bar and get settled because here is our list of the best roller coaster in the United States. StudyFinds set out to do the research for you, visiting 10 expert websites to put together this list of the best roller coasters in the United States by seeking out the rides that were most recommended. If you’ve got your own suggestions, please leave them in the comments below!

The List: Best Roller Coasters in the U.S., According To Experts

1. El Toro at Six Flags

Despite the ride being closed at this time and reopening in 2023, the majority of experts agree that this wooden beast is an incredible ride from start to finish.  

“Airtime. Like seriously, airtime. It is almost unfathomable just how ejector the airtime is on El Toro’s first drop and first two hills. The first 20 seconds of this ride may be the best 20 seconds you’ll find on any coaster in the world.” says the riders at Blooloop

The writers at BestLife agree with the previous riders when they said, “This wooden coaster packs all of the punch—without making you feel like you’ve been punched all over your body.”

The Travel Channel were fans of this ride as well, “Matadors know the thrill of encountering angry bulls, and El Toro bucks and shakes its riders as if it’s trying to throw them off the rails. This wooden roller coaster has an ultra-modern engineering design that allows it to climb almost 19 stories before making a 176-foot dive.”

2. Fury 325 at Carowinds Amusement Park in Charlotte, NC

The Carrowinds hosts the second pick on our list with Fury 325. A Steel giga coaster that’s over a mile long! Manufactured by Bolliger & Mabillard, this ride opened in 2015. 

The Points Guy laid down the track with the stats of the ride, “This hornet-themed ride will send you down a 325-foot drop with twists and turns at speeds up to 95 mph — and that first drop is a doozy.”

“The exceptionally long ride snakes throughout Carowinds and includes a harrowing dive into a tunnel beneath the park’s entrance path,” says TripSavvy

Explore couldn’t leave the coaster off their list “This list is not complete without the world’s tallest – 325 feet — and fastest –95 mph — giga coaster. Fury 325 riders start their adventure on one of three 32-passenger, open-air trains to the peak following an 81-degree drop.”

3. The Voyage at Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari

Santa Claus (yes, a real place), Indiana hosts our next pick with this wooden roller coaster called The Voyage. It opened in 2006 and has been the shining beacon at the park. 

“One of a trio of highly regarded wooden coasters at Holiday World, The Voyage is the park’s most extreme. It drops 154 feet, accelerates to 67 mph, and delivers over 24 seconds of airtime — more than any other woodie. It also dives underground eight times, including a subterranean ‘triple-down’ in which the train descends three times in succession in total darkness,” say the experts over at Thrillist

The thrills are close and personal on this ride. “It’s packed with highly banked turns, two at 90-degree banking and some sections that have small ‘banked hills or bumps’. This part of the ride is fun in the front and pretty darn rough in the back of the train. The 90-degree curves are great. You feel like your head might skim the wood and they definitely take riders by surprise,” writes Coaster Critic

“The Voyage is the best wooden roller coaster in the world and it is not really even close,” adds Blooloop.

4. Kingda Ka at Six Flags

Another top pick from Six Flags in New Jersey, Kingda Ka is the largest and fastest roller coaster in the world. 

“The most thrilling part of this ride is that you will experience slight acceleration while at the top of this ride. You need to leave the station for going 0 to 128 miles. The entire journey will end up within 3.5 seconds,” say the enthusiasts at The Travel Facts

Sometimes short and sweet is the best way to experience a ride. “Can a coaster ride be any fun if it lasts just 59 seconds and goes over only one hill? Well, if you like being launched out of the gate at 128 mph, climbing straight up a 456-foot lift hill, spending a second on top of the world, and then plummeting straight down…the answer is yes,” according to BestLife

The Travel Channel agreed with the brisk but intense duration of the ride, “Riders shoot out of the boarding station, reaching 128 miles per hour in an astounding 3.5 seconds, and climb straight up at a 90-degree angle. From the top of the tracks, which reach 45 stories into the air, the coaster hurtles back down in a 270-degree spiral. At least riders don’t have to scream for very long. This royal rush is over in less than a minute.”

5. Millennium Force at Cedar Point

Our list ends today with a look at the steel giant from Ohio. Millennium Force was named after the year it opened, 2000. 

A trendsetter for its time, “At 310 feet, Millennium Force is so tall, Cedar Point and the ride’s designers came up with a new category designation: the ‘Giga-Coaster’,” says TripSavvy.

“The quiet, speedy lift doesn’t help to settle your nerves as you quickly rise high into the air and feel like you’re basically over Lake Erie. And then, the BEST and most intense drop I’ve ever experienced,” according to the experts at Coaster Critic.

If you’re not one who likes to be upside down, The Travel Facts writes “This coaster is all about speed, you don’t experience any loops on this ride. It is designed to give you a thrill so that you visit this coaster again and again.” 


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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.