Discover the Fun & Get Tips for Enjoying Carowinds on a Budget

Carowinds – Theme Park of North & South Carolina

Carowinds, an amusement park located on the North Carolina and South Carolina border, offers a wide variety of rides, shows, concerts, shopping, food, and more.

Cedar Fair’s Carowinds offers visitors something new each year. Located off exit 90 off I-77, this theme park is conveniently located near Charlotte. Don’t let the new names of some of the rides fool you – many are still the same that thrill-seeking visitors have enjoyed for years.

Thrill Rides at Carowinds

Carowinds offers ten thrill rides with admission prices for those interested in roller coasters. Thrill-seekers can enjoy the fast vertical drop of the Drop Tower, the slow swing of the Southern Star, the inverted speed of the Afterburn (formerly Top Gun), and the uphill helix of the Carolina Cyclone. You may even wish to stand for a ride on the Vortex, ride backward on Thunder Road, or lie down in the Nighthawk (previously the Borg). If you are looking for a 60 m.p.h. free fall flight, try the Xtreme Skyflyer for an extra charge.

Carowinds Water Fun

With five water slides, a wave pool, and more, Carowinds offers a water park amidst the coasters and fun in Boomerang Bay. This area offers fun for people who swim and for those who just want to get wet. Several areas are designed for children with shallow play areas, a small water slide, and a three-story water jungle gym.

If you would like to cool off without entering Boomerang Bay, several rides offer wet fun within the “dry” side of the park. Rip Roarin’ Rapids warns riders that they will get wet and may get soaked and WhiteWater Falls plunges riders through a waterfall while onlookers can also enjoy a cooling splash. Plan ahead by having swimming clothing and regular clothing if you wish to enjoy Boomerang Bay because swimwear is required for many of the attractions in the water area, but other clothing may be required for other parts of the park.

Family & Kids Fun at Carowinds

Carowinds offers several different smaller coasters, such as the Carolina Goldrusher, a train-themed wooden coaster that is surprisingly exhilarating, or The Fairly Odd Coaster, that might leave you hanging on a dip. You may also want to try the inverted Rugrats Runaway Reptar or even the tiny Hey Arnold’s Taxi Chase.

For kids who like transportation, Carowinds offers cars, bumper cars, boats, jets, Sporticopters, Dora the Explorer’s Azul Adventure train, and a large carousel. If spinning is high on the agenda, try the swings or Boots’ Balloon Race. Take it however high you want to go with Phantom Flyers or take it a full 180 degrees on the Flying Dutchman’s Revenge.

Helpful hints if traveling with a family includes:

  • Check ride restrictions. Many have become more stringent over the years. It is helpful to have at least two adults if traveling with several smaller children as many rides require an adult to ride with each child.
  • Play it safe by using sunscreen and planning to drink plenty of fluids. Some rides, such as the Sporticopters, TV Road Trip, and Little Bill’s Cruisers, can get rather hot and maybe more enjoyable during cooler and less crowded times.
  • Small children may enjoy the park more when they can ride in a stroller when tired.
  • Nickelodeon Central offers diaper changing areas, a water fountain, microwave, and private areas for nursing.
  • You may be able to get shorter wait times for rides during showtimes.

Helpful Hints – Carowinds on a Budget

  • Season passes offer the best bargain with nice perks such as free parking, days when you can bring a guest at a significant discount, and early entry into the Carowinds and Boomerang Bay.
  • Several discount options are offered, such as a 2-day pass, a twilight pass, or four tickets for $99.99 in 2009.
  • From Monday, July 20 to Monday, September 7, save $13 off regular full-price admission by bringing in a Coca-Cola product to the Main Gate.
  • Parking, which is about $10/vehicle, is something to consider when looking at ticket prices.
  • Food is expensive, but Carowinds offers a variety of eating options dispersed throughout the park and catered tickets for groups. Guests may wish to picnic outside the park to save money – exit through a gate that offers re-entry.
  • Watch weather reports – many rides are closed during certain weather patterns.
  • The park is less crowded on weekdays, which allows more riding time. The park can be particularly crowded on the dates when season pass holders can bring a guest at a discounted rate, so check their website (link in blue above) if you wish to avoid those dates. Carowinds does not offer Fast Pass options for people who do not wish to wait in line. People with disabilities may check-in at the front gate for information regarding rides and boarding information.
  • If you are coming from the North Carolina side, you may find better gas prices on the South Carolina side.

Carowinds Offers Many Thrills

With its vast array of rides, shows, and events, Carowinds offers people of all ages an exciting theme park adventure with several types of ticket options. Read about fun Fall and Halloween activities at Carowinds by visiting Carowinds and How-O-Fest’s Boo Bash.


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