Every U.S. State’s Favorite Carnival Ride

A header image for a blog about carnival ride popularity in the U.S.
A header image for a blog about carnival ride popularity in the U.S.

As state fair season rolls in and the aroma of cotton candy fills the air, there’s a palpable excitement that takes over. Beyond the delicious food and exciting games, one of the main attractions that draws crowds from all corners is the dazzling carnival rides. But have you ever wondered which rides are the most sought-after across the nation?

The team at Shane Co. decided to take a whirlwind ride of our own into the world of Google Trends to unveil the most searched carnival rides across the U.S. Whether you’re a fan of the high-flying pirate ship, the adrenaline-pumping drop tower, or the classic charm of a kiddie ride, we’ve got insights that’ll make your head spin (in a good way)!

Are you curious to find out which ride reigns supreme in your state? Buckle up and join us on this thrilling exploration!

The Most Popular Carnival Ride in Every U.S. State

A U.S. map showing the most popular carnival ride in every state

As you navigate our map showcasing the most popular carnival ride in every state, you might notice some familiar favorites dominating the charts. Let’s dive deeper into these fan-favorite rides that have captured the hearts (and oftentimes stomachs) of thrill-seekers across the country.

In Alaska, the wild and free nature of the pirate ship resonates, making it the top choice not only there but in 10 other states, including Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming.

This pendulum ride, swinging back and forth, captures the imagination and adventure that only real pirates could emulate. That makes it no surprise that it was North Carolina’s favorite ride, as off the coast of the Tar Heel State lies the Graveyard of the Atlantic, a hotspot for pirates like Blackbeard over the years.

Meanwhile, in the South, states like Alabama and Louisiana find joy in the simple pleasures, with the kiddie ride reigning supreme. These rides, while humble, mirror the states’ focus on family and the joy of childhood. The same charm of the kiddie ride also appeals to folks in Colorado, Maryland, and Oklahoma.

The thrill of heights and the unexpected is something that the residents of Hawaii, Kentucky, Ohio, and Virginia can’t resist. The drop tower, which propels riders skyward before plunging them into a heart-stopping freefall, is a thrilling embodiment of the adventurous spirit, making it the third most popular overall.

The spirit of the Wild West is alive and well in Arizona, New Mexico, and especially Tennessee. The mechanical bull offers a thrilling test of endurance, challenging riders to maintain their balance and poise as it bucks and twists unpredictably. In fact, Tennessee’s rich country music history and cowboy culture make the mechanical bull practically a state symbol.

Lastly, the Devil’s wheel, with its dizzying spins, finds its fans in Indiana, Missouri, and Wisconsin. Perhaps it’s the states’ love for lively dances, their bustling state fairs, or the whirlwind of activities that these states offer, making the Devil’s wheel a fitting representation.
There’s a notable absentee from our list: the Ferris wheel. Synonymous with fairgrounds and iconic skylines, the Ferris wheel has long been a symbol of joy, romance, and nostalgia. Surprisingly, despite its rich history and universal appeal, the ride didn’t clinch the top spot in any state.

Closing Thoughts

As the sun sets on another exhilarating fair season, the echoes of laughter and the thrill of carnival rides linger in our memories. The fair isn’t just about adrenaline-pumping attractions; it’s also the canvas for countless romantic moments.

For moments like these, where memories become timeless, you need a token that matches the occasion’s gravity. Whether you’re looking for the perfect engagement ring or a unique piece of jewelry that tells your story, Shane Co.’s collection has something for everyone. Our jewelry ensures that your symbols of love are as unforgettable as the moments they commemorate.


To determine the most popular carnival ride in every state, we analyzed Google Trends search data for named, common carnival rides over the past 12 months to find out which rides residents in each state are searching for most often. The search interest data in our study reflects relative search interest from Google Trends from September 2022 to September 2023.

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