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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.