Carowinds with Kids: Tips for Your Visit

Last month we took a two-day family trip to the Carowinds Theme Park on the NC/SC border. We had a fabulous time, despite the 100 degree temperatures. Sure, there were some meltdowns, but all in all, it was a really fun trip.

Here are our tips to going with young children.
Tips for Doing Carowinds with Kids

1. Go on a week day.
We went on a Monday and arrived right when it opened. We stayed four hours and did just about everything my kids wanted to do MULTIPLE times. We never waited longer than five minutes on any ride (except for an adult coaster and I waited 10 minutes.)

2. Do the kid area first.
Planet Snoopy is Carowind’s Kid Area. When you come in the main entrance, it’s to the left. They have 13 rides for the kids to choose from and there is something for everyone. Some rides are really slow and others, like the Woodstock Express (my daughter’s favorite ride), are much faster. We were able to ride everything they wanted before lunch, which made everyone really happy.


Note to parents: the Flying Ace Balloon Race will cause you to get dizzy. Both J and I felt really barfy after riding with the kids, who OF COURSE loved it and wanted to ride it again and again. (We had to ride as Miss E wasn’t tall enough to ride alone.) Also, Lucy’s Crabby Cabbie has a really jerky section where every adult I saw on it looked like they were doing to lose their last meal. (I got to sit that one out.)

Flying Ace Balloon Race Carowinds

3. Bring bathing suits and hit up Boomerang Bay.
We did the main park and water park on two different days, but if you were planning to be there for a full eight hours, it’s a must on a hot summer day. They have lockers that you can rent for the day, so you can drop off a bag with your bathing suits and towels. Don’t forget flip flops! The pavement can get really hot. And if you don’t remember (I brought mine but forgot the kids!) they sell them at the shops for around $10.

Next time we go, we’ll plan on hit up the water park after lunch and morning of rides to cool everyone off.

Boomerang Bay Carowinds

4. Hit up Chick-fil-a for lunch. It’s air-conditioned.
Yes, it’s more expensive than your regular Chick-fil-a, but it’s worth it. As my husband put it “we just paid $20 for our food, and $20 for air conditioning.” And it was TOTALLY worth it. We all needed to cool down.


5. Ride the Carolina SkyTower. 
This gentle, slow moving ride is a great way to see the entire park before you leave. We loved going up high (262 feet!) and watching all the roller coasters as we took in the amazing view. It was the last thing we did for the day and it was the perfect way to end our visit.

View from Carolina SkyTower Carowinds


I am an official Caro-Blogger and have been provided season passes in exchange for sharing my experiences, events and promotions. All opinions are my own.

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  1. Karen says

    Hello…my family is planning a day at Carowinds in a few weeks. I am interested in your advice about the dining plans. I really don’t think we would eat enough to get the all day plan, but I didn’t know what an average meal would cost. Also, your thoughts on the souvenir free refill cups. My family consists of 5: my husband and I, 2 teenagers, and 1 nine year old.


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