Velocity is king at Magic Mountain, the ultimate roller-coaster park, where you can go up, down and inside-out in ways only Space-X can outdo. The park's world-record 19 roller coasters include the aptly named Scream, which goes through seven loops, including a zero-gravity roll and a dive loop, with you sitting in a floorless chair.

If you’ve got a stomach of steel, X2 lets you ride in cars that spin 360 degrees while hurtling forward and plummeting all at once. Other favorites include the classic 4990ft-long, wooden Twisted Colossus (recently reinforced with steel on those twists for extra oomph), and the new-school Batman, where your seats dangle backwards from a track above. The world's tallest loop coaster, Full Throttle, takes you first inside the loop and then over the top. When the Superman: Escape from Krypton ride blasts off, it sounds like a fighter jet.

Note that many rides have minimum-height restrictions, ranging from 36in to 58in. However, there are plenty of tamer rides for the elementary-school set in the park's Bugs Bunny World, plus shows, parades and concerts to keep everyone entertained, as well as the Six Flags Hurricane Harbor water park next door.

Discounts and package deals, available on the website, can help you save buckage, and pay-in-advance parking passes can save you time. If you're looking to minimize your wait time for rides (some are 45 minutes or more), the Flash Pass system costs extra but can help a lot. Plans run $30 to $95 per person; purchase Flash Pass across from the main entrance.

Magic Mountain is in the Santa Clarita Valley, north of the San Fernando Valley. It's about 22 miles north of the US-101–I-405 Fwy interchange or about 32 miles from Santa Monica (via I-405 and I-5), about 26 miles from Universal Studios (via the CA-170 and I-5 freeways) and 36 miles north of Downtown LA (via I-5). Parking is $23. Some hotels and/or hostels in LA offer Magic Mountain shuttles.