North Carolina Theme Parks and Amusement Parks

The Hurricane at the North Carolina State Fair
Brian Vetter/Getty Images

The one major amusement park in North Carolina is the popular Carowinds Park (which is actually located on the border of both North and South Carolina), but there are also a number of smaller parks and places to find fun in the state if you're looking for a family day-trip to take during your summer vacation.

There used to be more amusement parks across the state, especially in the mid-1900s when these parks first came into major popularity, but many of the old parks have closed due to a lack of customer interest. However, there are still seven great parks to check out, listed below in alphabetical order. Although it's not a theme park per-say, you should also check out Christmastown USA.

01 of 07

Carolina Beach Boardwalk (Carolina Beach)

Carolina Beach Ferris Wheel
Wilmington and Beaches CVB
Carolina Beach Ave S, Carolina Beach, NC 28428, USA
Phone +1 910-458-8434

The Carolina Beach Boardwalk in Carolina Beach is perfect for a day spent on the water while relaxing with some traditional carnival-style games. There are a few rides and activities, such as a Ferris wheel and mini-golf along the classic seaside boardwalk. 

Guests can enjoy boardwalk foods like hot dogs and giant pretzels, try their hand at a few carnival games like ring toss, or just enjoy all the sights and sounds of this popular tourist destination throughout the summer.

02 of 07

Carowinds (Charlotte)

Carolina Cobra rollercoaster at Carowinds, North Carolina
Mike Liu/Flickr
300 Carowinds Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28273, USA
Phone +1 704-588-2600

If you're looking for a traditional yet exciting theme park, Carowinds in Charlotte is North Carolina's biggest and best attraction. This huge theme park has one of the largest collection of roller coasters in the world, including the incredibly tall and fast Fury 325, the hyper-coaster Intimidator, and the inverted coaster Afterburn.

Beyond the thrilling roller coasters, Carowinds also includes access to the Carolina Harbor water park in its admission price when visiting.

03 of 07

Frankie's Fun Park (Raleigh)

People riding a ride at Frankie's Fun Park, Raleigh, NC
Frankie's Fun Park
11190 Fun Park Dr, Raleigh, NC 27617, USA
Phone +1 919-433-7888

This family fun center includes go-karts, an arcade, and a few rides, such as bumper boats, the Sidewinder pendulum ride, and the spinning WindStarz, as well as "the best mini-golf in Raleigh."

Other fun attractions include the Dark Ride XD, the Fun House obstacle course, laser tag, a batting cage, the Drop Zone, the Spider Web, and a number of great restaurants and snack shops to satisfy your hunger during an active day at this amusement park.

04 of 07

Galaxy Fun Park (Raleigh)

Child completing a ropes course at Galaxy Fun Park
Galaxy Fun Park
14460 New Falls of Neuse Rd, Raleigh, NC 27614, USA
Phone +1 919-584-4000

The Galaxy Fun Park is another family fun center with go-karts, bumper cars, trampolines, laser tag, and a ropes course located in Raleigh. Keep in mind that Galaxy Fun Park does not allow open-toed shoes including flip flops, sandals, or heels due to the nature of activities offered at this amusement center.

Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07

Santa's Land Fun Park & Zoo (Cherokee)

Person at Santa's Land, Cherokee, NC dressed as a Christmas elf and petting two bear cubs.
Santa's Land
571 Wolfetown Rd, Cherokee, NC 28719, USA
Phone +1 828-497-9191

This small Christmas-themed amusement park and zoo in Cherokee includes the Rudicoaster roller coaster, a Ferris wheel, a carousel, and a few other rides, along with animal exhibits featuring deer, monkeys, bears, exotic birds, and kangaroos. Even though the park is only open during the summer, Santa is on hand to greet kids and take note of their off-season holiday wish lists.

06 of 07

Tweetsie Railroad (Blowing Rock)

Old-fashioned locomotive train at Tweetsie Railroad, Blowing Rock, NC
Tweetsie Railroad
300 Tweetsie Railroad Ln, Blowing Rock, NC 28605, USA
Phone +1 828-264-9061

The train-themed park features a three-mile ride through the North Carolina mountains on an authentic narrow-gauge, coal-fired steam train. Other attractions include covered wagon rides, a carousel, a chairlift ride up to Miner’s Mountain, a small zoo, gold panning and gem mining, a Ferris wheel, and other spinning rides.

07 of 07

WagonMaster Adventure Ranch Resort (Murphy)

People playing mini-golf at WagonMaster Adventure Ranch, Murphy, NC
Wagonmaster Adventure Ranch
8420, 359 Adventure Ranch Rd, Murphy, NC 28906, USA
Phone +1 828-494-7542

This small family fun park includes mini-golf, wagon rides, gold panning, live animals, skeet shooting, and a bouncy castle as well as camping and RV sites on-premise for overnight accommodations. Nearby, the Smoky Mountains are full of creeks and rivers that are great for summer swimming and fly fishing.

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North Carolina Theme Parks and Amusement Parks