Where Virginia Ranks Among Best States For Roller Coasters

Fact Checked by Jim Tomlin

There’s an entire culture of thrill-seekers who search out the most exciting, sometimes most stomach-churning, amusement rides that will get their adrenaline pumping. 

Since those rides are often roller coasters, BetVirginia.com – your source for the best Virginia sports betting updates – did some research to help those roller coaster enthusiasts find those dizzying highs and breathtaking lows relatively close to home.

BetVirginia.com used GoldenTicketAwards.com to gather the top 50 steel roller coasters and top 50 wooden roller coasters from their 2022 Golden Ticket Awards ceremony. 

We identified the state of each roller coaster of those 100 top finishers to determine which U.S. states have the best roller coasters in America. The percentages aren’t out of 100 because the GTA awards are global. There were 23 roller coasters outside of the U.S. in the top 100.

Here are the results.

Must be 21+ to participate. T&Cs apply.

States With Best Roller Coasters In America

Rank State Top 100 Coasters Pct. Of Top Coasters
1. Pennsylvania 12 15.6%
2. Ohio 10 13.0%
3. Virginia 6 7.8%
4. Florida 6 7.8%
5. Missouri 6 7.8%
6. Texas 6 7.8%
7. California 5 6.5%

Six Virginia Roller Coasters Make Worldwide List

For Virginia, six roller coasters (accounting for 7.6%) made the list among the top 100 up-and-down thrill rides. Of those six, five were in the steel roller coaster category and one was in the wooden coaster category.

The two theme parks that dominate in Virginia are Busch Gardens in Williamsburg and Kings Dominion in Doswell.

At Busch Gardens, Apollo’s Chariot finished as the No. 8 steel roller coaster in the U.S., and just behind at No. 9, was the Intimidator 305 at Kings Dominion.

For a preview of Apollo’s Chariot, which has a drop of 210 feet, there is this description from Busch Gardens: “Guests sit in elevated seats, creating a ‘free-flight’ sensation as the train traverses more than 4,882 feet of track in two minutes and reaches speeds of 73 miles per hour.”


Kings Dominion has this to say about the Intimidator 305: “The ride stands 305 feet at its highest point with a first drop of 300 feet at an 85-degree angle.”


Those details should give folks a good idea about two of Virginia’s top roller coasters.

Also in the top 50 for steel roller coasters, according to the GoldenTicketAwards.com list, was No. 36, Alpengeist at Busch Gardens; No. 40, Twister Timbers at Kings Dominion, and No. 43, Pantheon at Busch Gardens.

Must be 21+ to participate and present in VA. T&Cs apply.

Lone VA Wooden Coaster On List Is At Busch Gardens

The only Virginia roller coaster to make the top 50 in the wooden coaster category was at No. 45, the InvadR at Busch Gardens.

With six roller coasters among the top 100 combined for steel and wooden (7.8% of the American rides), Virginia ranked tied with three other states for third for most coasters ranked in the top 100. The others tied for third were Florida, Missouri and Texas.

The state that had the most coasters on the combined list was Pennsylvania with 12 (15.6%), followed by Ohio with 10 (13%).

For the record, the top-rated steel roller coaster in the United States is Fury 325 at Carowinds in Charlotte, North Carolina, and highest-rated wooden roller coaster in America is the Phoenix at Knoebels Amusement Resort in Elysburg, Pennsylvania.

The complete lists for the 50 top steel and 50 top wooden roller coasters can be found at GoldenTicketAwards.com. And the best Virginia sportsbook promos can be found here at BetVirginia.com.


Bill Ordine

Bill Ordine was a reporter and editor in news and sports for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Baltimore Sun for 25 years, and was a lead reporter on a team that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News. Bill started reporting on casinos and gaming shortly after Atlantic City’s first gambling halls opened and wrote a syndicated column on travel to casino destinations for 10 years. He covered the World Series of Poker for a decade and his articles on gaming have appeared in many major U.S. newspapers, such as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald and others

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