Best Roller Coaster (2015)


Nothing gets the adrenaline pumping quite like a good roller coaster, and as coaster engineering technology improves, the trills and chills are getting crazier than ever! USA TODAY 10Best recruited a panel of coaster experts to choose 20 nominees for Best Roller Coaster across the USA, then we turned it over to our readers.

  • Bizarro

    Six Flags New England - Agawam, Mass.

    Bizarro, formerly Superman – Ride of Steel – is, indeed, steel, but it’s different than the other Superman-inspired ride at Darien Lake. This “megacoaster” at Six Flags New England is considered one of the world’s best steel coasters, with a 221-foot drop at 70 degrees, two tunnels and top speeds of 77 miles per hour. Bonus: You can also expect audio effects, fire and mist special effects and other features to add to the excitement.
    Photo courtesy of Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

  • Outlaw Run

    Outlaw Run
    Silver Dollar City - Branson, Mo.

    Outlaw Run at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Mo. brings the world’s only double-barrel roll on a wooden roller coaster. We’re talking a 720-degree, triple, upside-down twist. Outlaw Run also claims to be the world’s steepest wooden coaster, with an 81-degree drop down 162 feet, as well as the second-fastest wooden coaster, reaching 68 miles per hour. With all of those rankings and a proud list of awards that Outlaw Run has well earned, you’d better hold onto your horses.
    Photo courtesy of Silver Dollar City

  • Maverick

    Cedar Point - Sandusky, Ohio

    This Cedar Point roller coaster is Wild West inspired, featuring plenty of twists and turns and a signature “twisted horseshoe roll.” Maverick will also bring riders through a lengthy, mysterious pitch black tunnel. But the drop is the best – or worst, depending on how you feel about diving more than 90 degrees downward. Maverick is as steep as they come. The 4,450-foot-long coaster was built for a hefty price tag: $21 million.
    Photo courtesy of Cedar Point

  • Boulder Dash

    Boulder Dash
    Lake Compounce - Bristol, Conn.

    Boulder Dash has been named the world’s best wooden roller coaster. It’s not as fast as some, traveling at about 50 miles per hour, and neither are the drops as steep (the first is about 115 feet down). But Boulder Dash is unique in that it uses the region’s natural environment, trees, the mountain range and rocks, to create an outdoorsy feel. Something about that feels equally freeing and wild.
    Photo courtesy of Lake Compounce

  • The Voyage

    The Voyage
    Holiday World - Santa Claus, Ind.

    Head to the Holiday World in aptly named Santa Claus, Ind. for one of the nation’s most highly regarded wooden roller coasters. Highlights include one of the steepest drops on a wooden coaster, a world-record of five underground tunnels and a whopping 24.3 seconds of weightlessness. This is no quick ride, either. The Voyage adventure is more than a mile long, earning it the honors of one of the world’s longest and fastest wooden roller coasters.
    Photo courtesy of Holiday World

  • Fury 325

    Fury 325
    Carowinds - Charlotte

    Fury claims to be the world’s tallest and fastest “gigacoaster,” which means it specializes in speed and height. How high? Per the name: Expect a 325-foot drop. Fury 325 reaches extreme speeds of 95 miles per hour and will surprise riders with a dive underground beneath a bridge. This steel, three-minute-long ride at the Carowinds amusement park in North Carolina has made a huge impact on the amusement park scene since it opened just a few months ago.
    Photo courtesy of Carowinds

  • Apollo's Chariot

    Apollo's Chariot
    Busch Gardens Williamsburg - Williamsburg, Va.

    This steel coaster, at Busch Gardens Williamsburg in Virginia, is another hypercoaster, which brings passengers on a 210-foot drop and reaches 73 miles per hour. All combined, however, Apollo’s Chariot will drop and drop some more – nine drops in all – until it totals 825 whopping feet. Expect to feel like you are flying. Or falling. Or floating – while screaming.
    Photo courtesy of Busch Gardens® Williamsburg

  • Manta

    SeaWorld Orlando - Orlando

    Head to Florida for this unique manta ray-shaped, flying steel coaster. You’ll feel like you’re sitting atop a giant manta ray, gliding and spinning, sometimes face-first and upside down, above SeaWorld Orlando. Experience four inversions at 56 miles per hour. Even the line is fun; there, waiting passengers get to see various types of rays. There is truly no coaster like Manta.
    Photo courtesy of 2015© SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment

  • El Toro

    El Toro
    Six Flags Great Adventure - Jackson, N.J.

    This Jackson, N.J., wooden roller coaster is known as “the bull” for its powerful and shaky train. It is also one of the tallest and fastest wooden roller coasters in the world. But this is no ordinary wooden coaster; it’s built with some of the highest-tech engineering, which contributes to a totally unique, old-school-new-school experience.
    Photo courtesy of Six Flags Great Adventure

  • Banshee

    Kings Island - Mason, Ohio

    Banshee is the longest inverted coaster in the world, with a track of more than 4,000 feet. Because of its design, larger passengers may not be permitted to experience Banshee’s seven different inversions that can reach as fast as 68 miles per hour. This steel roller coaster is relatively new; it opened last year at Kings Island in Mason, Ohio. But it has already earned a lofty reputation as a thrilling, upside-down adventure.
    Photo courtesy of Cincinnati USA Regional Tourism Network

After four weeks of voting, the results are in. It was a close race between the top three coasters, but in the end it was Six Flags New England's Bizarro that earned the most reader votes and the title of Best Roller Coaster. With a 70-degree, 221-foot drop and speeds of 75 miles per hour, Bizarro ranks among the best steel coasters in the world.

Outlaw Run at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Mo., runner up for Best Roller Coaster, features the world's only double-barrel roll on a wooden roller coaster.

The top 10 winners in the category Best Roller Coaster are as follows:

  1. Bizarro - Six Flags New England
  2. Outlaw Run - Silver Dollar City
  3. Maverick - Cedar Point
  4. Boulder Dash - Lake Compounce
  5. The Voyage - Holiday World
  6. Fury 325 - Carowinds
  7. Apollo's Chariot - Busch Gardens Williamsburg
  8. Manta - SeaWorld Orlando
  9. El Toro - Six Flags Great Adventure
  10. Banshee - Kings Island

Other nominees for Best Roller Coaster included Diamondback at Kings Island, Goliath at Six Flags Over Georgia, The Incredible Hulk at Universal's Islands of Adventure, Intimidator at Carowinds, Iron Rattler at Six Flags Fiesta Texas, Monta at Busch Gardens Tampa, Ride of Steel at Darien Lake, Texas Giant at Six Flags Over Texas, Thunderhead at Dollywood and Twisted Colossus at Six Flags Magic Mountain.

A panel of experts picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Joel Bullock (The Coaster Critic), Lance Hart (Screamscape), Steve Kalkofen (RollerCoasterPro), Arthur Levine ( Theme Park Expert) and Robert Niles (Theme Park Insider) were chosen based on their extensive knowledge of American amusement parks.

10Best and USA TODAY extend their congratulations to all the winners. The contest was promoted on 10Best and USA TODAY.

License the 10Best Readers' Choice Award Logo



AlertThe Experts

Joel Bullock

Joel Bullock

Joel Bullock

Lance Hart

Lance Hart

Lance Hart

Steve Kalkofen

Steve Kalkofen

Steve Kalkofen

Arthur Levine

Arthur Levine

Arthur Levine

Robert Niles

Robert Niles

Robert Niles