Warmer weather is here, and families plan their weekend or week-long trips throughout the summer. One classic adventure that appeals to people of all ages is roller coasters! From wooden coasters that dip and dive to loop-de-loop coasters that suspend you hundreds of feet in the air, many amusement parks in the Midwest feature roller coasters that you won’t want to miss!
Each amusement park on this list is approximately a one-tank trip from Indianapolis. And pro tip: If you’re not a fan of waiting in lines, check the amusement park’s website before you go, to find out when crowds might be lighter (typically mid-week).
Best Roller Coasters in the Midwest
Six Flags Great America
1 Great America Parkway, Gurnee, Illinois
Six Flags is, of course, a chain of amusement parks across the country –- 26 amusement parks, to be exact. At Six Flags Great America, visitors will find more than 45 rides and attractions, as well as a 20-acre water park. Check out Goliath, the worlds tallest, fastest and steepest wooden roller coaster. It starts with a 180-foot drop that speeds riders through twists, turns and inversions.
New for 2022 is a themed area of the park, DC Universe, where guests can immerse themselves inside a DC comic book-inspired world with three reimagined attractions. The area includes three reimagined rides, including The Flash: Vertical Velocity, Aquaman: Splashdown and DC Super-Villains Swing.
Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari
452 E. Christmas Blvd., Santa Claus, Indiana
At Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, check out the Thunderbird, a roller coaster that launches you from 0 to 60 miles per hour straight out of the gate. Experience multiple loops, rolls, twists and turns, including the tallest vertical loop on any wing coaster. For the “near miss” experience, grab the outermost seat on the Thunderbird’s left wing.
Cedar Point Drive, Sandusky, Ohio
The Rougarou is named after a mythical French werewolf and happens to be Cedar Point’s first floorless coaster. At 60 miles per hour, the ride takes adventure-seekers down a 137-foot drop and a series of loops and inversions.
While you’re there, check out the Top Thrill Dragster. The coaster shoots you 420 feet into the air at 120 miles per hour and back down again. It’s simple, it’s only 17 seconds, but it’s a thrill every second of the way.
6300 Kings Island Dr., Mason, Ohio
If you’ve been to King’s Island, then you already know about The Beast, listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest wooden roller coaster in the world at 7,350 feet. King’s Island hasn’t been resting easy on that title, though. In 2020, King’s Island opened Orion, one of only seven giga coasters in the world (which means it has a height or drop of 300-400 feet). The first drop features a breathtaking 300-foot drop, over seven more hills and 5,321 feet of track in the parks tallest, fastest and longest steel coaster.
4750 Whitehall Road, Muskegon, Michigan
The Thunderhawk at Michigan’s Adventure is the first suspended looping coaster in the state of Michigan, and gives riders the exhilarating feeling of flying. Soar up to 120 feet, just to free fall 86 feet before swinging into inverted loops, a series of barrel rolls and more.
937 Phillips Lane, Louisville
The fun aspect of this Louisville adventure park is the wide variety of rides and options for all ages. Lightning Run at Kentucky Kingdom features a 100-foot drop on the 10-story steel coaster, followed by inversions and loops that’ll take your breath away.