May 21, 2021 - Things to Do

Everything you need to know about Carowinds

carowinds aerial shot

Carowinds from above. Photo: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The roar of coasters. The smell of funnel cakes. The hot sun beating on your shoulders as you stand in line. We’ve missed it all in the year and a half that the pandemic kept Carowinds closed.

Need to know: The amusement park opens Saturday, May 22, but you’ll have to wait until June 12 for the Carolina Harbor waterpark.

  • Reservations are required so book your tickets in advance.
  • Masks aren’t required if you’re outdoors and/or fully vaccinated. Be sure to bring a mask for any unvaccinated member in your party when going indoors or whenever social distancing isn’t possible. (Read more on Carowinds’ COVID-19 policies here.)

Cost: Day passes cost $42 (or $35 if you enter after 3pm). You can also opt for a season pass, which costs $99 and includes unlimited visits.

  • Fast Lane pass: Season Fast Lane passes are sold out, but you can add one onto a day trip for $65 to spare yourself the time spent standing in line for every ride.

The rides: Carowinds has over 50 rides at varying thrill levels. Scan Carowinds full list of rides here and sort by attraction type, thrill level, minimum height and fast lane accommodations.

  • Kid-friendly: There are a number of kid- and family-friendly rides, including the Flying Ace Balloon Race and the Kiddy Hawk coaster.
  • The coasters: Carowinds is home to 14 roller coasters, including the world’s top-rated steel coaster, Fury 325. Copperhead Strike is the park’s newest coaster.
carowinds copperhead strike
When Copperhead Strike opened in 2019, I rode next to the Observer’s Théoden Janes (left) who kept a straight face throughout the entire ride as a joke. The video’s pretty funny.

Food: Grab food from any of Carowinds’ 30 food stalls and restaurants, including the newest addition: a milkshake booth called Shake Central.

  • Fun fact: There are three food stalls dedicated to funnel cakes so you can grab one almost anywhere in the park.

Entertainment: The park has five options for live performances, including the kid-friendly Peanuts Party show and country and bluegrass music from The Ramblers.

Getting there: If you’re coming from Charlotte, take exit 90 off I-77.

  • Parking: $15 if you purchase online in advance, and $20 day of. Parking is included in a season pass.

More questions? Head straight to the source. Here’s Carowinds’ FAQ page.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Charlotte.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Charlotte stories


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Charlotte.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more