Do You Live in a Roller Coaster Desert? - Coaster101

Do You Live in a Roller Coaster Desert?

Do you drive more than three hours for the nearest roller coaster that’s taller than you are? If so, you may live in what I call a “roller coaster desert.” For roller coaster enthusiasts living in these vast wastelands void of amusement parks and roller coasters, life can be tough.


But where do these black holes exist, specifically in the United States? Unfortunately, there are many, especially in the western half of the country.

I used RCDB‘s handy-dandy map plotter functionality to generate this map of all 290 parks (or entertainment centers) with at least one operating roller coaster in the United States .

I highlighted the “roller coaster deserts” that immediately stood out to me. I’m sure I’ve overlooked some. And a blue dot could represent nothing more than a family entertainment center with a kiddie coaster — unlikely to quench a thrill junkie’s thirst.

Update: Chris (in the comments section) found a much better RCDB-generated map that provides a more realistic picture of where the roller coasters are located in the United States:


You can find the list version of those coasters here.

If you live in the west (or mid south, as I do), you’re more likely to live in a roller coaster desert than say the Northeast or Southeast.

Of course, much of this distribution of theme parks is due to population sizes. But there are a few surprising coaster deserts out there in relatively populous areas.

Next, I’ll write about some advantages to living in these roller coaster-less places. Stay tuned.

Do you live in a roller coaster desert? Where is your nearest home park? How do you cope with a lack of amusement parks? Discuss in the comments section below.


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4 Responses

  1. Chris says:

    What a great topic! I look forward to your follow-up article. Unfortunately, the RCDB report you used is including 52 parks with zero roller coasters. I think this RCDB report will give you a more accurate picture by removing the 52 zero coaster parks as well as some of the kiddie coaster only parks:

    • John says:

      Chris, nice catch! That map is a much better representation. I’ve updated the article and included the link. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Jeremy says:

    I just spent like 20 mins just looking around the country at all the roller coasters. Thanks for the link.

  3. rcr22 says:

    You said, “Next, I’ll write about some advantages to living in these roller coaster-less places. Stay tuned.” How long do we have to stay tuned?

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