Who's up for a summer vacation roller coaster road trip?

June 4, 2019, 5:09 PM · Following Bobbie Butterfield's review of the new Yukon Striker dive coaster at Canada's Wonderland from last weekend, I thought it might be nice to offer up some additional inspiration for a summer roller coaster road trip.

Many of you might have hit up coasters from multiple parks on a summer vacation in the past, so for this list I am focusing on some of our top-rated coasters that have opened in the United States over the past three seasons. I am starting us in the southeast, then heading north before turning west.

How many of these coasters have you ridden already? If so, follow the links to submit your rating and review, if you haven't done that already. And tell us in the comments what other new (to you) coasters you are looking forward to enjoying your first ride on this summer.

Twisted Timbers
Kings Dominion tickets Kings Dominion

Don’t let those stats fool you — Kings Dominion has managed to pack a punch into a relatively small frame. Twisted Timbers shows that you don’t need to break any records to create a world-class roller coaster. — Full review by Russell Meyer

Busch Gardens Williamsburg tickets Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Even with record-breaking roller coasters steps away, InvadR brings a unique experience that is every bit as fun as the other world class coasters in the Busch Garden Williamsburg collection. — Full review by Russell Meyer

Mystic Timbers
Kings Island tickets Kings Island

The “spooky” theming really sets the mood of the ride, with a ton of foreshadowing for the mystery that awaits in the shed. Mystic Timbers takes a roller coaster and a dark ride and combines them for something unique. — Full review by Anne Kelley

Steel Vengeance
Cedar Point tickets Cedar Point

Steel Vengeance has everything and does everything that The Best Roller Coaster in the World should do. It thrills. It entertains. It breaks record after record. And the new RMC tracking makes it smooth as silk. — Full review by James Koehl

Time Traveler
Silver Dollar City

Time Traveler is innovative, thrilling, beautiful, and fun. It hits all the right notes, resulting in a symphony of coaster elements that merge beautifully together to provide an immersive ride experience that will keep Silver Dollar City visitors coming back... time after time after time. — Full review by James Rao

Knott's Berry Farm tickets Knott's Berry Farm

HangTime isn't about the 57 mph top speed, but all those flips and turns as it disorients you sense of what is up and what is down. If the coaster's opening moment is the hang time, the rest of this surfing-themed ride is the wipeout, as the waves throw you around, back toward the beach (aka unload). — Full review by Robert Niles

Thanks for riding with us, and happy road trips!

Replies (7)

June 5, 2019 at 8:08 AM

Our big theme park trip this summer is to SoCal, so HangTime is the only one from this list on our docket. However, I'm looking forward to getting my first rides on Full Throttle and Twisted Colossus (and maybe West Coast Racers, though seems doubtful at this point) at SFMM and riding all of the SoCal coasters my son was too small to ride when we last visited 6+ years ago.

I've been thinking about trying to find a way to get to Kennywood to ride Steel Curtain (wearing one of my Ravens jerseys of course), but there's been little indication as to when the new coaster will be ready (Maxx Force also sounds like it won't be open for a while either, so might be an S&S issue). I'd also like to get up to Cedar Point now that my son is tall enough for Steel Vengeance (was just shy of 52" when we were there last year), but our 15-Day SoCal trip is consuming a lot of our summer to carve out anything more than a long weekend here or there, and we try to avoid Cedar Point on summer weekends whenever possible.

It looks like once again my desire to do a run through the Southeast (Carowinds, Dollywood, and SFoG) is not going to happen. At some point we will get back to Dollywood.

June 5, 2019 at 9:03 AM

Full Throttle is fantastic! The hang time at the top of the loop is one of my favorite elements of any coaster I've ridden. I'm definitely looking forward to your trip recap!

June 5, 2019 at 9:24 AM

I just wish Full Throttle didn't have a 54" height requirement, since my son is unlikely to meet that to ride when we're there in less than 2 months. I told him he can ride X2 while I'm riding Full Throttle and Tatsu.

June 5, 2019 at 10:01 AM

I'm doing a KI — Kennywood — CP trip with friends during Father's Day week, but it 's looking like the Steel Curtain won't be ready by the time we visit. Bummer.

June 5, 2019 at 10:02 AM

Last year I managed to ride Twisted Timbers, Mystic Timbers, Time Traveler and Steel Vengeance. (Twisted Timbers proved to be the most surprising of the lot; I took it for granted that the others would be good but wasn't expecting Twisted Timbers to be as outstanding as it is.) This year I'm trying to hit some other parks and have already had to cancel a trip to Carowinds due to inclement weather, so inclement that the airport in Charlotte was closed when my flight was scheduled to depart. I rescheduled the trip for this weekend and the forecast is for heavy rain and thunderstorms both Saturday and Sunday so I may have to reschedule again. For this to happen twice within a period of several weeks is almost unbelievable; I wonder when is a safe time to plan a trip to North Carolina.

June 5, 2019 at 1:06 PM

Ugh, that's no fun! Should I pray for a growth spurt? :-P

June 5, 2019 at 5:20 PM

I made it to everything on that list last year except for Time Traveler, which I will be hitting at the end of this month. I was hoping to catch Maxx Force on the same trip, but it's starting to look pretty slim that it will be ready in time. If they aren't testing by this weekend, I'd say it's pretty much a no for a June opening.

I like to plan a year out, and while plans are still in flux the big targets for 2020 are Steel Curtain and the new Nickelodeon Universe park in New Jersey. Time permitting, I'd like to try to get Yukon Striker in there as well, but we'll have to wait and see on that. Of course, it's too early to lock anything down yet...we've got to wait and see what Six Flags, Cedar Fair, and SeaWorld have up their sleeves for next year.

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