The 6 Scariest Roller Coasters in America
The world’s first roller coaster debuted at Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York in 1884. We’ve come a long way, baby. Today’s roller coasters combine heart-pounding twists with stomach-churning ten-story drops. Check out this list of some of the scariest roller coasters in America.
Kingda Ka, Six Flags Great Adventure & Safari: Jackson, NJPitK/Shutterstock
It’s the world’s tallest—456 feet—and the world’s second-fastest, at 128 miles per hour. As you leave the station, you’ll go from 0 to 128 miles per hour in just 3.5 seconds, which is about as long as it takes to say “Kingda Ka.” The 45-story climb is a straight 90 degrees (as if you needed another reason to hold your breath). As the old saying goes, what goes up must come down, and down you go—416 feet in a dizzying 270-degree spiral. Kingda Ka is one of only two roller coasters in the world that pull off such heights and speeds. Go ahead, we dare ya! Check out the fascinating story of how roller coasters really got their start.
Steel Vengeance, Cedar Point: Sandusky, OHJoe Hendrickson/Shutterstock
With its suite of 18 world-class thrill rides, Cedar Point bills itself the “Roller Coaster Capital of the World.” The newest ride in the park’s amazing lineup, Steel Vengeance, owns the title of being the tallest, fastest, and longest hybrid coaster anywhere in the world. Comprised of a wood structure below and a smooth steel track above, part of what sets the Steel Vengeance apart is its path. Standing 205 feet tall and reaching speeds of 74 mph, it features a 90-degree drop, almost 30 seconds of airtime (more than any other coaster in the world), and four head-over-boots inversions. In other words, ride this one before lunch, not after.
Full Throttle, Six Flags Magic Mountain: Los Angeles, CACourtesy @thatsixflagsphotographer/Instagram
As far as bucket list items go, Full Throttle claims to be the tallest and fastest roller coaster of its kind in the world, topping out at 160 feet. But what helps set it apart is its three separate launches, which is really just amusement park-speak for those abrupt stops followed by sudden starts that accelerate to 70 mph in shocking time. The second time it happens you’re shot out in reverse, adding to the surprise. When you’re about halfway up the big dive loop, you change direction, eventually riding on the outside part of the track and giving you the illusion that you’re going to fall right off. If thrill rides leave you queasy, check out these 7 surefire motion-sickness solutions.
Time Traveler, Silver Dollar City: Branson, MOCourtesy @jessedee93/instagram
Also new in 2018 is Time Traveler, the world’s fastest, steepest, and tallest complete-circuit spinning roller coaster. Let’s break down what that means, exactly: It’s the first and only coaster to have three inversions, a 95-foot vertical loop, and a double launch (the first takes you from zero to 47 mph in three seconds, and the second goes from 30 to 45 mph in 3.5). That’s in addition to a ten-story, 90-degree free fall you experience almost right out of the station on the side of an Ozark mountain. Tucked inside an 1880s-style theme park, the coaster has a kitschy, old-timey look and feel to it that belies its brand-new custom design. Check out these bizarre and cool theme parks you can actually visit.
Twisted Timbers at Kings Dominion: Doswell, VACourtesy @125rollercoaster/Instagram
Just in time for the 2018 summer season, the wood-and-steel hybrid Twisted Timbers debuts with a whopping 20 moments of airtime—you’ll achieve weightlessness at speeds of 54 mph. You’ll also plummet down a 109-foot barrel roll with not one, not two, but three loops. The theme park features an abandoned apple orchard, giving the coaster its own Disney-like story behind it. The story goes that an unknown force destroyed the harvest eons ago and pretty much froze the orchard in time. Now it’s reopened for tours, and the twisted ride is the star of the show—if you’re willing.
SheiKra, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay: Tampa, FLAstrid Gast/Shutterstock
In a state known for its share of theme park rides, SheiKra holds the title of the tallest roller coaster in Florida. One of the world’s largest steel dive coasters, what sets this beauty apart is that it’s floorless, so your feet pretty much just dangle the whole time, including at the top of a 200-foot drop, where after a short pause you plummet a near-perfect 90 degrees. SheiKra isn’t Busch Gardens’ only free-fall experience. Also in the Tampa theme park is Falcon’s Fury, a drop tower ride that falls more than 300 feet at 60 mph while you’re facing the ground. Ready for more crazy thrill rides? Check out the world’s most mind-blowing water slides.