The Year’s Newest Roller Coasters

Fasten your seat belt for these 10 brand-new, hair-raising, nerve-rattling, completely crazy coasters for 2013. By Dara Continenza, SmarterTravel.com

If you like your summer fun with a side of negative Gs, then 2013 is your year. Multiple theme parks are launching brand-new attractions sure to thrill, from old wooden favorites with slick track refurbishments to soaring steel monsters that catapult you, weightless, into the air.

Fasten your seat belt (or shoulder harness) for these 10 brand-new, hair-raising, nerve-rattling, completely crazy coasters.

2. Outlaw Run, Silver Dollar City

Blazing through Silver Dollar City in Branson is this speed demon of a ride. Outlaw Run clocks in at 68 mph, is just shy of 3,000 feet long, and features a nearly vertical 162-foot drop tailored to make your tummy do flip-flops as you barrel back toward Earth. Oh, and did we mention that this positively criminal wooden coaster goes upside down?

Location: Branson, Missouri

3. Full Throttle, Six Flags Magic Mountain

This year, self-proclaimed “Coaster Capital of the World” Magic Mountain tacks on another thriller to its already packed roster of 17. The newest addition is not only billed by the park as “the tallest, fastest looping roller coaster in the world,” but it also features a zero-to-70 mph acceleration and a stomach-churning 160-foot loop through which riders will hurtle—twice. Welcome to the family, Full Throttle.

Location: Valencia, California

4. GateKeeper, Cedar Point

GateKeeper will give you wings—literally. Its innovative fiberglass and steel coaches suspend riders over the very edges of the track as they embark on a 4,164-foot flight around the park entrance. A series of switchbacks and spirals and a zero-gravity roll with nothing but air beneath your feet make this one hell of a welcome to Cedar Point.

Location: Sandusky, Ohio

5. Gold Striker, California’s Great America

In the works since 2009, Great America’s Gold Striker is officially ready to take off this summer. After an initial drop of more than 100 feet, the wooden coaster wraps around the Sky Tower before twisting, banking, and bunny hopping crazily on its 3,197 feet of track. Curious? Take a virtual test drive here.

Location: Santa Clara, California

6. RiverRush, Dollywood’s Splash Country

Adjacent to Dolly Parton’s megapark lies Splash Country—and its newest attraction, RiverRush. This “water coaster” is engineered to refresh families overheated by the Smoky Mountains sun but bored stiff by conventional waterslides. Riders in four-person “toboggans” four stories above the ground race around hairpin turns and through pitch-black tunnels, getting thoroughly soaked along the way.

Location: Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

7. Undertow, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

This seaside spinning coaster’s got some crazy dips and turns, but its best feature is that, dependent on the weight and position of the riders, no two go-rounds are ever alike. While Undertow is medium in both size and speed, it offers panoramic views of the historical Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and the crashing Pacific below—when you’re done spinning madly in circles, that is.

Location: Santa Cruz, California

8. Iron Rattler, Six Flags Fiesta Texas

When the original Rattler debuted in 1992, it was the tallest, fastest wooden coaster in the world. But Fiesta Texas is hardly content to rest on its laurels: 11 years later, the ride has been reborn as the wood-and-steel hybrid Iron Rattler. Outfitted with an innovative steel track, a death-defying 81-degree drop, and a brand-new inverted barrel roll, Iron Rattler celebrates the marriage of old, new, and terrifying.

Location: San Antonio, Texas

9. Hades 360, Mt. Olympus Water & Theme Park

Riders go down under at Mt. Olympus in Wisconsin this year on the recently revamped Hades 360. With the addition of a 360-degree upside-down loop and a 110-degree overbanked turn, this wooden wonder is being upgraded with features usually reserved for its steel brethren. Have fun confronting your mortality at a blazing 70 mph—underground.

Location: Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

10. El Loco, Adventuredome

Step aside, roller coaster at New York New York, there’s a new sensation on the Strip in 2013. The family-friendly Adventuredome at Circus Circus will welcome El Loco later this year. While relatively diminutive at 70 feet in height, the indoor coaster will come complete with a customized soundtrack and a steeper-than-steep drop. (Other El Loco coasters have set world records for drops of up to 120.5 degrees.)

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

11. Meg-a-Blaster, Schlitterbahn Kansas City

Schlitterbahn’s been mum on the details about its record-breaking new water coaster, Meg-a-Blaster. (In fact, we don’t even have a photo to show you yet.) “To ensure the record-holding statistics of this new extreme attraction, we are not going to release final height and scope of the project until we are ready to welcome our first guests,” says park co-owner and attraction designer Jeff Henry. But what we do know is that the current record holder for the tallest, fastest slide, Insano in Brazil’s Beach Park (at 134.5 feet tall and 62.5 mph) must be shaking in its water shoes.

Location: Kansas City, Kansas

12. World’s Wildest Waterslides

It’s hot out there. Need to cool off?

13. 10 Great State Fairs for Deep-Fried Fun

Vendors push the limits of what can be deep-fried at these blue-ribbon-worthy state fairs.

14. America’s Best Boardwalks

On these 10 boardwalks—from the Jersey Shore to the West Coast—it seems like summer could last forever.

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