Located on the border of North Carolina and South Carolina, Carowinds amusement park has been taking adventure-seekers on wild rides since 1973. Home to more than 400 rides, attractions, and entertainment options, the amusement park is easily one of the best things to do in Charlotte. 

Carowinds attracts millions of guests annually and continues to add over-the-top, record-breaking rides to its impressive roster. Ahead, we’ll break down the best rides at Carowinds, special events, and how to reserve tickets and season passes.

Carowinds with the family

You'll be all smiles as you take on Carowinds' best roller coasters!

Who Should Reserve Tickets At Carowinds In Charlotte?

If you're someone who loves amusement parks and enjoys spending time on rides, Carowinds is a great place to go. With a variety of rides and attractions, there is something for everyone to enjoy. 

Carowinds offers a range of attractions suitable for all ages, making it an ideal destination for families with children. There are numerous rides designed for younger children, such as the Peanuts-themed area, as well as more thrilling rides for older kids and adults.

Some of the more exhilarating, heart-pumping options include roller coasters such as Fury 325, which is the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the Southeast. If you're looking for an adrenaline rush, Carowinds is definitely worth a visit.

Carowinds is also a great destination for large parties, such as school groups, youth groups, and corporate events. It offers a range of packages and discounts for groups, making it an affordable and fun option for large groups. Come alone, come with a friend, or come with an entourage – Carowinds boasts plenty of attractions to keep all amusement park fans entertained!

Fury 325 Carowinds roller coaster

Behold, the Fury 325!

What Are The Best Carowinds Rides And Attractions?

What’s the best ride at Carowinds? That’s certain up for debate, though we recommend trying them all to find out for yourself! Carowinds is home to a variety of rides, from gentle rides for younger children to some of the tallest and fastest roller coasters in the world. Some of the best rides at Carowinds include:

  • Fury 325: This is Carowinds' tallest and fastest roller coaster, standing at 325 feet tall and reaching speeds of up to 95 miles per hour. One of the tallest roller coasters in the world, this award-winning amusement park ride even lifts parkgoers out of their seats for a brief moment in time!
  • Intimidator: This roller coaster was inspired by NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt’s infamous race car and features a 232-foot first drop, speeds of up to 80 miles per hour, and lots of airtime. You’ll feel invincible as you navigate surprise drops, sharp turns, and banked curves.
  • Copperhead Strike: While this is a newer coaster, it maintains bragging rights as the first double-launch coaster in the Carolinas! Positioning riders as trespassers on a country farm, the ride serves as their getaway vehicle, launching them through five inversions, and lots of twists and turns.
  • Nighthawk: This is a flying coaster that lets riders experience the sensation of flight as they soar through the air at speeds of up to 51 miles per hour.
  • Carolina Cyclone: This classic steel coaster features four inversions, including a vertical loop, and lots of high-speed turns. Debuting in 1980, the Carolina Cyclone was the first roller coaster in the world to include four gripping inversions! These days, the Carolina Cyclone recently enjoyed a fresh paint job and updated harness restraint system, so visitors can step aboard knowing they’ll be safe as they cruise up to 41 miles per hour.
  • The Drop Tower: Get ready to feel your stomach in your brain! This open-air tower suspensefully lifts riders 174 feet before plunging them into a riveting freefall! If you can, do your best to take in the alluring views of the North Carolina state line before you drop to ground level.
  • The Carolina Goldrusher: Make the trek to Carowinds’ oldest roller coaster, first opening to the public in 1973. Constructed from wood and steel, the Carolina Goldrusher lurches across various hills and drops while hugging treacherous turns and passing by other attractions.
  • The Woodstock Express: This one’s for the kids! Named after Snoopy’s best bird pal, the Woodstock Express takes riders on a thrilling trip through the park. Reaching speeds up to 35 miles per hour, the Woodstock Express serves as a great introduction to roller coasters.

In addition to these rides, Carowinds also has a variety of other roller coasters and attractions, including water rides, family rides, and children's rides.

Street corn great food at Carowinds in Charlotte

Mmm…street corn!

What Kind Of Food Is At Carowinds?

Of course, you’ll need to fuel up on a hearty meal to take on the full adrenaline rush of each roller coaster you conquer. 

As your roam through Carowinds, you’ll encounter classic amusement park fare like burgers, hot dogs, and pizza. A range of Mexican, Italian, Asian, and other international cuisine can be found, as well as healthy salad and fruit alternatives.

If you have allergies to gluten, dairy, or other products, the food stands and restaurants at Carowinds can accommodate your needs. Those without any dietary restrictions will surely want to check out the funnel cakes, churros, and popcorn buckets that abound throughout the park.

Whether you’re in search of fast food to consume while standing in line or casual sit-down eateries, you’ll find all dining options available at Carowinds. Of course, we recommend waiting a few minutes to digest before attempting sharp 180 turns and loops. Outside of the park, you can find some of the best restaurants in Charlotte closeby.

Winterfest at Carowinds best holiday attractions in Charlotte

WinterFest at Carowinds

When Is The Best Time To Book Tickets For Carowinds?

The best time to visit Carowinds depends on your preferences and schedule. Here are some things to consider when planning your visit:

  • Weather: Carowinds is located in Charlotte, North Carolina, where summers can be hot and humid, and winters can be cold and rainy. If you prefer milder temperatures, consider visiting in the spring or fall when the weather is more temperate.
  • Crowds: The park can be quite busy during weekends and holidays, especially in the summer. If you prefer smaller crowds and shorter wait times for rides, consider visiting on weekdays, especially in the spring or fall.
  • Ride availability: Some of the park's rides may be closed for maintenance during certain times of the year. Check the park's website for information on ride closures and plan your visit accordingly.
  • Special events: Carowinds hosts special events throughout the year, including a Halloween-themed event called SCarowinds and a Christmas-themed event called WinterFest. If you're interested in attending one of these events, plan your visit accordingly.

Overall, the best time to visit Carowinds is during the spring or fall when the weather is milder and crowds are smaller. However, if you're interested in attending one of the park's special events or prefer hot weather and longer park hours, the summer months may be a better choice for you. Check out this list of the best hotels in Charlotte NC to book your stay for a long weekend of amusement park fun!

SCarowinds best Halloween activities in Charlotte

Watch out for familiar villains and spooky surprises at SCarowinds!

Tell Me More About SCarowinds and WinterFest

SCarowinds has long held a reputation as one of the best Halloween attractions in North Carolina! During SCarowinds, the amusement park is transformed into a spooky, haunted terror-scape with mazes, scare zones, and live entertainment. Visitors can wind their way – with trepidation – through terrifying mazes inhabited by maniacal actors, or immerse themselves in interactive scare zones.

As you walk throughout Carowinds, you’ll be blanked by illuminated jack-o-lanterns, rotting skeletons, and other Halloween-themed props. Even the roller coaster rides have been made over to convey an even more ominous warning to those who dare to embark upon a harrowing high-speed journey!

SCarowinds runs on select nights during the Halloween season, from late September until early November. It is worth noting that SCarowinds is intended for mature audiences, so young children or those who are easily scared or startled may not enjoy visiting the park at this time.

WinterFest, on the other hand, represents a perfect time to bring the kids to Carowinds! Morphing into a winter wonderland, WinterFest illuminates the park with millions of dazzling lights and even opens an outdoor ice rink. 

As you wassail from ride to ride, take advantage of hot cocoa and cider stands as well as other holiday-themed dessert offerings. WinterFest operates on select evenings from Late November through December – this is one Charlotte winter attraction you’ll want to return to year after year.

Reserve Carowinds tickets online

Book your Carowinds tickets online.

How To Reserve Tickets And Seasons Passes At Carowinds

We know, you can hardly wait to go on your first ride at Carowinds! It’s all too easy to purchase tickets and make reservations for Carowinds on the park’s official website:

  1. Start by going to www.carowinds.com.
  2. Click on the “Tickets & Passes” tab in the top navigation menu.
  3. Select the type of ticket you’d like to purchase – like a single-day ticket or season pass.
  4. Choose the date you’d like to attend the park and the quantity of tickets needed.
  5. Select any add-ons you’d like to include with your single-day ticket, such as a Fast Lane pass or dining plan.
  6. Click “Checkout” once you have reviewed your order.
  7. Enter your payment and contact information to confirm your purchase.

If you have a strong affinity for thrill-seeking, the season pass option may be ideal for you and your family. You’ll need to create an account where you can book and manage your season passes. Once you’ve logged in successfully, follow these directions:

  1. Go to the “My Account” option in the top navigation menu
  2. Log in and click “Reservations” to see available dates.
  3. Choose your optimal date and select the number of guests who will be attending with you.
  4. Confirm your reservation.

And just like that, you and your party are ready for a jam-packed day of fun at the best amusement park in the Carolinas!

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