The United States is home to some of the most thrilling and beloved roller coasters in the world that range from decades old and wooden to modern steel innovations. When most people think of thrill rides, particularly roller coasters, they tend to picture Cedar Point in Ohio or Central Florida which is home to Universal Studios and Walt Disney World. However, there is another state that is home to many amazing roller coasters that thrill seekers can’t get enough of. Virginia is home to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg and Kings Dominion which is located just outside of Richmond in the town of Doswell. Each theme park features family-friendly attractions that guests of all ages can enjoy in addition to thrilling roller coasters. From big thrills to unique design systems, these two parks have it all. Here are the top roller coasters to enjoy while spending time in Virginia.
Tempesto – Busch Gardens
The Festa Italia area of Busch Gardens is home to an innovative roller coaster that first debuted in 2015. Tempesto is a steel roller coaster that features three distinct launches thanks to a unique track. Guests first launch forward out of the station but don’t make it into the first corkscrew before moving backwards through the station and launching partially up the hill on the other side. The final high-speed launch puts guests back up the initial hill into a tight turn one hundred and fifty-four feet in the air. With top speeds of sixty-three miles per hour and tight turns, Tempesto is a must-do.
Griffon – Busch Gardens
Another steel roller coaster in Busch Gardens combines height with top speeds for a thrilling experience in the Aquitaine area. Griffon opened in 2007 and is the second-fastest dive coaster in the world reaching speeds of over seventy miles per hour. The floorless coaster brings guests up a massive lift hill that tops out at two hundred feet before plunging them down to the ground below at a ninety-degree angle. Featuring one additional smaller drop and two inversions, Griffon is a roller coaster that packs some of the biggest thrills in the park.
Volcano: The Blast Coaster – Kings Dominion
One of the most popular roller coasters in Kings Dominion can be found in the Safari Village area and features its own volcano. Volcano: The Blast Coaster opened in 1998 and was the first inverted roller coaster to feature a linear induction motor and gives guests the thrill of experiencing four G’s. After the initial launch sequence, guests experience speeds of seventy miles an hour with four inversions and a ninety-degree angle that brings them straight to the sky as they launch out of a volcano.
Loch Ness Monster – Busch Gardens
While many of the most thrilling roller coasters in Busch Gardens are fairly young in age, another has been bringing thrills since 1978. The Loch Ness Monster is celebrating its fortieth birthday this year and it still is as popular as ever. Featuring speeds of sixty miles per hour, The Loch Ness Monster hurtles guests along over three thousand feet of track and through two interlocking vertical loops, tunnels, and more. For a thrilling experience that has stood the test of time, thrill-seekers definitely need to enjoy this coaster.
Alpengeist – Busch Gardens
The Rhinefeld area of the park brings the feel of the Alpines to life including a thrilling roller coaster that debuted in 1997. The Alpengeist translates to “Ghost of the Alps” and brings guests on an adventure that features top speeds of sixty-seven miles per hour. This floorless coaster has maintained its title as the world’s tallest complete circuit inverted coaster and brings guests to just under two hundred feet in the air and through six inversions. With theming to make guests feel as though they are in the Alps and big thrills, the Alpengeist is a must enjoy experience.
The Flight of Fear – Kings Dominion
One roller coaster in Kings Dominion combines theming with big thrills to totally immerse guests in the experience. The Flight of Fear brings guests into an area similar to Area 51 and once strapped in, they find themselves launched from zero to fifty-four in pure darkness. The entire experience then occurs in thrilling darkness as guests go through four inversions over twenty-seven hundred feet of track. With thrills from the speed and inversions that are only heightened by the darkness, The Flight of Fear is an amazing experience to enjoy.
Apollo’s Chariot – Busch Gardens
While inversions are part of what makes a roller coaster even more thrilling, some guests are not fans of them and Busch Gardens has the perfect option for them. Apollo’s Chariot in the Festa Italia area of the park brings the thrills through eight airtime hills that literally bring guests out of their seats. Featuring nearly five thousand feet of track, speeds of over seventy miles an hour, and the top height of two hundred and five feet, Apollo’s Chariot is a thrilling experience without any inversions.