Six Flags is known as a budget theme park brand for a reason — but within the company itself, there are parks that rise above the others. Six Flags Georgia is one of them. 

While it sports one of the chain’s most complete coaster lineups, what really drew me down to this Austell, Georgia park was how it sets itself apart from the typical Six Flags experience with other rides and a respect of its own history. 

Entrance fountain at Six Flags Over Georgia (Theme Park Tribune)

In essence, I wanted to see a Six Flags park that doesn’t feel like a Six Flags. The park didn’t always pass that test, but I can confidently say the experience was worth the trip. 

The coasters

Like other Six Flags parks, the main reason to venture here is the roller coaster lineup. While the coaster offerings may not be the best of the best, they’re consistently good rides, with few exceptions. 

Top on my list is Goliath, the park’s Bolliger & Mabillard hyper coaster. While sporting only a 175-foot drop — shorter than other hypers where both the height and first drop surpass 200 feet — Goliath has all the floater airtime you’d expect from a B&M hyper plus a more distinctive. Rather than the more typical out-and-back style, Goliath’s 4,480 feet of track takes you outside of the park to a downward, 540-degree helix that is almost guaranteed to cause “graying out.” 

Goliath at Six Flags Over Georgia (Theme Park Tribune)

No. 2 on the park’s coaster hierarchy is Twisted Cyclone, the Rocky Mountain Construction hybrid which debuted in 2018. While shorter than other RMC creations in height (100 feet), length (2,400 feet) and speed (maxes out at 50 mph), it still delivers the relentless thrills which has made RMC the darlings of coaster enthusiasts. (Pro top: The best RMC in Georgia is located about 25 miles away at Fun Spot Atlanta.)

Beyond those top two, the park’s lineup leans into inversion-heavy coasters, including a Batman: The Ride clone; the original version of the Superman – Ultimate Flight flying coaster; and Dare Devil Dive, a three-inversion coaster built by German firm Gerstlauer. My surprising favorite of this bunch was Blue Hawk, a 1992 Vekoma coaster, which packs in five surprisingly smooth inversions thanks to its upgrade to vest restraints back in 2016.

That’s not to say all the coasters here are winners. Riddler Mindbender, an Anton Schwarzkopf classic dating to 1978, has clearly seen better days, and what used to feel like a scenic water feature now looks like you’re diving into a stagnant pool for mosquitoes. 

Riddler Mindbender (Theme Park Tribune)

Georgia Scorcher is the last of the 1990s B&M stand-up coasters, and while it’s admittedly not as bad as its brethren, it’s still very uncomfortable.    

Beyond inversions, there’s the park’s classic woodie, the Great American Scream Machine. I came in bracing for unbearable roughness due to the ride’s reputation, and was plenty surprised to find a relatively smooth ride with abundant airtime over 3,450 feet of track. 

Great American Scream Machine (Theme Park Tribune)

For family-friendly coasters, there’s thankfully better options than small, carnival-like kiddie rides. Dahlonega Mine Train dates from the park’s 1967 opening, and while it shows its age in some spots, still offers a solid stepping stone for younger riders getting used to higher thrills. Joker Funhouse Coaster, a Chance Rides Big Dipper added in 2004, is much better than its 900 feet and 30 mph top speed would suggest thanks to some additional theming and a layout that weaves in and out of structures. 

Since my visit in the spring of 2023, Six Flags Over Georgia has added one new coaster and announced another is coming in 2024. Kid Flash Cosmic Coaster is a dueling, single-rail family coaster, one of two that opened in the Six Flags chain late in the 2023 season. While I can’t personally speak to the ride quality, having a new family ride — and one that features LED light display for an extra visual flair — is a welcome addition. 

For 2024, the park plans to add the first of a new coaster model by Intamin, called an Ultra Surf. This launched shuttle coaster with spinning cars and water effects may serve as a test to see whether the compact model can be replicated throughout the Six Flags chain. It won’t be the longest ride, nor have the highest capacity, but it does offer something different from the rest of the park’s lineup. 

Beyond coasters

Here’s a bold statement: The best reason to visit Six Flags Over Georgia is, of all things, its dark ride. 

Monster Mansion is a Disney-esque boat ride through a “Monster Picnic” where animatronics both welcome us humans — and warn us repeatedly to “stay out of the marsh!” Naturally, that’s precisely where we end up, surrounded by figures that can be genuinely scary at times. 

Monster Mansion (Theme Park Tribune)

It’s not on the same level as Disney’s best, of course, but it’s a charming Old Mill-style attraction using many of the same tried-and-true theme park tricks to great effect. I couldn’t help but ride this three times on my visit!

Monster Mansion also helps set Six Flags Over Georgia apart within the chain. Here, the park has an original creation — rather than just another ride with a DC or Looney Tunes character slapped onto it — which preserves a piece of park history, can be enjoyed by the whole family and is actually telling a story. Regional theme parks should do a lot more of this. 

A clone of the Justice League: Battle for Metropolis interactive dark ride makes Six Flags Over Georgia one of the rare regional parks with two dark rides. It’s the same attraction you’ll find at other Six Flags parks, but at least it adds some variety.

The park also checks some other boxes that you can’t take for granted within the Six Flags chain. It has a train ride with two separate stations and an antique cars ride, the Hanson Cars, both of which date to the park’s 1967 opening. 

Merch and food

The only disappointing part of my Monster Mansion experience was the fact there didn’t seem to be any original merchandise based around the attraction. It was one area where Six Flags Over Georgia slipped back in Six Flags’ bad habits. There were plenty of stores, but all were carrying the same cookie-cutter shirts and hoodies you’d find at other parks or just at the local mall. 

Why use theme park retail space for this? (Theme Park Tribune)

Food service generally has the same problem. Unlike the more varied menus of Cedar Fair parks, Six Flags Over Georgia has uninspiring fare like Johnny Rockets, JB’s Sports Bar & Grille, and all the bland, overpriced pizza and chicken nuggets your heart desires. Nothing stands out, even as a one-off snack. Save your money and dine off-site. 

What’s missing

This is a hard question to definitively answer given the balance in the park’s attraction lineup. Usually this would be the obvious place to advocate for a traditional dark ride at a Six Flags park, but not here! 

Before the 2024 announcements, I would have wanted the park’s lack of a launch coaster to be addressed. The forthcoming Ultra Surf technically fills that gap, but will the ride experience be more about the launch or the splash down? 

If it’s the latter, then any other kind of launched model would be welcome here, like something from Premier Rides along the lines of West Coast Racers at Six Flags Magic Mountain.

What needs to go

Six Flags Over Georgia is one of two parks in the Six Flags family that has a Gerstlauer Euro-Fighter — and Dare Devil Dive shows why it’s not a good fit for a larger regional park. 

Dare Devil Dive (Theme Park Tribune)

This was among the first coasters I did on my visit because of its reputation for frequent breakdowns and slow loading leading to long wait times. A couple of six-rider trains just isn’t enough capacity for a park of this size. It’s also just not a very interesting ride and is too short (95 feet) to really sell its “dive coaster” marketing. 

Something like the compact B&M dive coasters built by Six Flags Fiesta Texas or SeaWorld San Diego would be a major upgrade on Dare Devil Dive’s real estate.  

The verdict

Six Flags Over Georgia has a varied and consistently thrilling coaster lineup, some vintage rides that have survived since its opening, and most importantly, a charming and rare Six Flags dark ride. That almost doesn’t sound like a Six Flags park, which may be the biggest compliment you can pay to this park. 

Typical Six Flags shortcomings creep in when it comes to food and merchandise, but that only stops a very good park from achieving greatness. Maybe the coming change in management will push it to that next level. 

Grade: B

DISCLOSURE: This review is based on my own opinion and perspective. I paid for my park ticket and the park did not grant me any special access to conduct this review.